Monday, November 23, 2009


In the 'Daniel Boone' episode "Take The Southland Stage", President John Adams was kidnapped in Philadelphia and held for ransom. First Lady Abigail Adams asked Boone to handle the ransom demands, but he was able to rescue the President, subdue the kidnappers, and keep hold of the money.

This is one of those "historical events" that never happened in the real world, but can easily be accepted in Toobworld - because of national security, all of the details were kept secret.

Adams had already been in Philadelphia where the first Presidential mansion was located. But he had gone to the Hotel Adelphia to give an old friend of his some bad news: Congress refused to hear Colonel Anthony Bedlow's claim to keep his plantation, which had been taken away from him due to some legal technicality. Colonel Bedlow claimed that he would have gone to see the President, but he had allegedly broken his leg in a fall from a horse. (Actually, this was a ruse and Bedlow turned out to be the mastermind behind the abduction.)

As he was taking his leave of Bedlow, President Adams (played by Torin Thatcher) mentioned that he had to be back in Washington for the dedication of the new White House. (He was the first resident President.)

Now, John Adams didn't move into the White House until November 1st, 1800, a Saturday. He only lived there until March 4th, 1801, when Jefferson became the third President of the United States. As the weather seems pleasant enough in the episode, I'm going to assume that the events of the kidnapping took place in the last week of October, and that the dedication of the White House would be highlighted by Adams taking up residence there. (Although apparently there was no ceremony upon his moving in, according to historical accounts.)

Boone was told to take the stage that was leaving for Baltimore on a Thursday. I think that means he left on October 23rd, and that the actual kidnapping probably happened on Monday the 20th. This would give Abigail Adams enough time to make the arrangements to meet with Daniel Boone, most likely on Wednesday the 22nd. (The First Lady would not move into the White House until a few weeks after her husband had already settled in.) Here's another historical twist: Adams refers to the new residence in Washington as "the White House" (with an odd inflection, as if the term was not yet common usage). However, the public didn't start calling it by that name until 1811, according to historical records. So there's yet another difference that separates Toobworld from the Trueniverse.



Anonymous said...

I have seen the episode''Take the Southbound Stage''It is generally well written,it features a fine group of character actors;Torin Thatcher, Mabel Albertson, Arnold Moss,Paul Brinegar, Robert Donner.But overall it is a major disappointment;One of the best aspects of a kidnapping story is to see the victim held captive, tormented by his captors andhow they respond.But in this episode once POTUS is kidnapped we never see him again until after Dan''l Boone rescues him.What a letdown.John Adams was like all His family a prolific writer.Had this incident really happened you have to believe that ''Old sink or swim''would have written a book about it or at least left an extensive entry about it in His autobiography.

Anonymous said...

How disappointing the show took such major dramatic license with stories. I was going to recommend my young niece start watching the series to learn about history. But after seeing that show, I've reconsidered. What a shame as it would have been a fun way for her to learn some history.

Anonymous said...

Daniel Boone was no place to learn
about American history.During the show's original run,1964-70,it was widely critcised for it's distortions of history.A young person watching the show would have assumed that ''Old Dan'l''
had won the revolutionary war singlehandedly.

John Anderson said...

Daniel Boone was a good show even if loosely based on history. I still watch it in reruns. Actually when the White House was built it was simply called the Presidential Mansion. It wasn't until our English cousins put it to the torch and it was painted white to cover the fire and smoke damage that it became known as the White House. When I comment on some gross historical error my wife says 'Johnny, it's only a tv show'. And that's all it is, just a good old Walt Disney tv show. lol