Phil Collins: King Of The Wild Frontier



The largest private collection of Alamo memorabilia resides in an impressive Geneva home in Switzerland. Also resident is singer songwriter and Genesis drummer - Phil Collins.

Davy Crockett and The Alamo are his very private passion and Collins invites presenter Patrick Humphries into his home to talk us through his impressive collection. We discover how he began collecting, where he secures his artefacts and how he has organised excavations through the profits of a gift shop at the famous Alamo battle site.

We have all heard of The Alamo but why does this American battle of March 6th 1836, when 180 Texans fought an army of 6,000 Mexicans still resonate nearly two centuries on? Collins is very knowledgeable about this particular period of American history and talks impressively about the framed the documents and letters, the dozens of rifles and swords, authentic uniforms and the many artefacts collected across 30 years. His comments, are complemented by Historian Bill Chemerka and we hear Film buff Lee Pfeiffer, he talks us through films and TV series which have enshrined the Alamo in many young minds 50 years ago.

Crockett was a largely forgotten hero, but his legend was reborn in the 1950s thanks to a Walt Disney TV show, which also introduced his legendary coonskin cap into his legacy. The John Wayne Alamo movie also raised Crockett's profile. The programme also hears from a living relative of Davy Crockett, his great great great grandson also called Davy! He reveals how the family see his famous father's legend and the events at The Alamo. However it's Patrick's visit to Phil Collins home that makes sure this is a different kind of history programme, revealing in the process why this particular piece of American history touches people so deeply.

Producer: John Sugar

A Sugar production for BBC Radio 4.

Patrick Humphries explores rock star Phil Collins's impressive Alamo collection.