Disney’s movie, is based on the book by Daniel P. Mannix written in 1967. The protagonist, Amos, and his hunting dog, Copper, were modeled after Bee Dee Adkins and his favorite hunting dog, Copper.
In 1944 Bee Dee and family moved to Perris, California. There he took up employment for the Fish and Game Commission and also led private hunting parties in California and Mexico. It was on a private expedition that Bee Dee met Daniel P. Mannix. Mannix was so enthralled with Bee Dee’s personality and adventuring spirit, that he incorporated Bee Dee’s experiences into magazine articles and books (i.e. “Dangerous Game” and Cowhand). Mannix portrayed Bee Dee’s mannerisms and somewhat gruff persona in the character, Amos, in The Fox and the Hound. The story line includes Bee Dee’s favorite hunting dog, Copper, and a fox, Tod. In preparation for writing the novel, Mannix studied foxes, both tame and wild, a wide variety of hunting techniques, and the ways hounds appear to track as witnessed on his expeditions with Bee Dee.
Bee Dee moved back to Arizona in the early 1950s and worked at the O. R Parker Ranch. In August of 1954 his life came to an unfortunate end when he tried to cross the flooded San Pedro River at Redington, and drowned. His body was carried downstream for six miles and found by ranch hands and sheriff’s deputies. Bee Dee is buried in Evergreen Memorial Park in Tucson.
Disney bought the rights to the Mannix book in 1967 but didn’t begin development until 1977. The animated film was released to theaters in 1981. The movie had a lifetime gross of $63.5 million.