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Mike Fink is an American folk-character who was featured in the 1956 film Davy Crockett and the River Pirates.

History

Background

Mike Fink was a river boatman and brawler during the early-mid 19th century. He was the legendary king of keelboaters and sailed along the Ohio river and the Mississippi. Fink was well known for his ego, heavy drinking, adeptness on the river, fighting and crude personality. He operated mainly out of a keelboat known as The Gullywhumper.

Development History

Mike Fink is based off of the American folk-character of the same name. Said folk-character having been based off of frontiersman Miche "The Snapping Turtle" Phinck (c. 1770/1780 – c. 1823).

Appearances

Film

Davy Crockett and the River Pirates

In the film Davy Crockett and the River Pirates, Davy Crockett attempts to buy a ferry-trip from Fink only for Fink to refuse to work without a very high cost. Crockett goes on to get Fink drunk and challenge him to a keelboat race for a free ride if Crockett wins and all of Crockett's pelts if Fink wins.

The race had Fink on his boat trying to cheat by throwing obstacles at Crockett's keelboat only for Davy to emerge the victor. Due to this, Fink gives Davy free passage along the river. By the end of the film, they team-up to fight a band of river pirates.

Television

Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier

Fink appeared in the Davy Crockett's Keelboat Race episode of this TV serial which first broadcasted on November 161955. It is the origin of the Fink story found in the film.

Printed Materials

Davy Crockett's Keelboat Race

Fink appeared as the main-antagonist in this Little Golden Book adaptation of the TV show episode.

Disney Parks

Mike Fink Keel Boats

Mike Fink is the namesake of this attraction which appeared in Disneyland and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. This ride had guests from Frontierland board Mike Fink's boats, the Gullywhumper and the Bertha Mae respectively. The ride went around the Rivers of America as full episodes of Walt Disney's Davy Crockett played inside.

In Disneyland this ran from 1955-1997 while in the Magic Kingdom it ran from 1971-2001. This was the result of the Gullywhumper capsizing and neither boats held up to safety regulations.

Rivers of America

In Disneyland, following the closure of the keelboats, the Gullywhumper was put on display on Tom Sawyer Island where it is visible for riders of Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes, the Sailing Ship Columbia, and the Mark Twain Riverboat. Following a 2010 refurbishment, a settler's cabin on Tom Sawyer Island would be outfitted to being the home of Mike Fink with the Gullywhumper found nearby.

Mark Twain Riverboat

In the spiel for the Mark Twain Riverboat in Disneyland, while passing Fink's cabin the captain says, "There’s plenty of wildlife in these parts, but none wilder than Mike Fink. He’s the captain of that Gullywhumper keel boat, and he lives right over yonder in that cabin. And I believe he’s home right now. It sounds as if he’s got visitors. Must be the king of the wild frontier, Davy Crockett, with his good friend Georgie Russell".

Skipper Canteen

In the library of the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd Skipper Canteen in Walt Disney World, there is a book called Keel Boats of the Mississippi by Fink. The implication here being that the book was written by Mike Fink himself or at least a relative.

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