Robin and Marian

Richard Todd as Robin Hood and Joan Rice as Maid Marian

At this romantic time of year, I thought I would share one of my favourite stills from Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). It shows the young lovers Robin Hood (Richard Todd) and Maid Marian (Joan Rice) in one of the opening scenes of the film.

Several new versions of the legend are scheduled to reach the silver screen in the future, including another version by Disney called Nottingham & Hood. But I doubt it will match the sheer quality and magic of this Technicolor masterpiece.

The Sheriff in Robin’s Camp

Stills from the Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men often reveal the wonderful attention to detail by Walt Disney’s art and design department, led by Carmen Dillon. It is hard to believe this scene, like many, were filmed on one of the huge sound stages at Denham Studios in Buckinghamshire.

In this image we see a blindfolded Sheriff (Peter Finch) being led into Robin Hood’s (Richard Todd) camp in Sherwood Forest. 

Merrie Christmas and a Happy New Year!

This blog was started over a decade ago and this year I completed over 800 posts. When I began, I never dreamt that it was possible to learn so much about the making of my favourite movie. But together with my readers we have achieved that - and much more. I feel that this site is now a fitting tribute to this classic movie.

There are several new Robin Hood movies on the horizon, but I am sure they won’t come close to this classic film!

I would like to wish all my readers a very Merrie Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.

Robin and Hugh Fitzooth

Yet another rare image from our favourite movie! I am always surprised how many of these stills survive. And it is always a thrill to see them. From left to right we can see Robin’s father Hugh Fitzooth played by Reginald Tate, Richard Todd as Robin Hood (Robin Fitzooth) and Alan-a-Dale portrayed wonderfuly by Elton Hayes.

This site has hundreds of images that can be accessed via the ‘Picture Gallery’ label and across the 800 posts on this site. But, if you have any rare images from the movie that you would like to share, please get in touch.

Joan Rice at a Royal Premiere

Joan Rice meets Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret

This very rare image shows a nervous looking Joan Rice (1930-1997)  in a line-up of stars to meet Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret at the Royal Film Performance of Where No Vultures Fly (1951). 

The back of the press photograph does not mention Joan Rice, but says:

 'The Queen with Princess Margaret attended the Royal Film Performance of 'Where No Vultures Fly', in aid of the Cinematograph Trade Benevolent Fund at the Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square, London tonight (Monday) November 5th, 1951.
Photo shows:- Princess Margaret chatting to Jane Russell the American film star. Also seen on right is Mr R Bromhead.'

An Australian newspaper describes the premiere:

Joan's appearance as Maid Marian in Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men would be premiered in April the following year. Then, after the release of Curtain Up on 12th May, she left her Knightsbridge flat and spent 8 days in Hollywood where preparations had started for the filming of the blockbuster His Majesty O’Keefe for Warner Brothers. Sadly Joans big film career would be over as quickly as it started.

Walt Disney with James Robertson Justice

Neil has kindly shared this interesting image. It shows Walt Disney with James Robertson Justice (1907-1975). The photograph seems to have been taken sometime between June and September 1952, which coincides with the filming of Justice’s second movie for the Disney Organisation, The Sword and the Rose (1953). Justice is looking a lot more portly than when he appeared as Little John in The Story of Robin Hood (1952). This weight-gain was probably in preperation for his role as Henry VIII in the Tudor adventure.

Behind the Scenes at Denham Studios

Anthony Eustrel, Patrick Barr and Walt Disney

Once again I am indebted to Neil Vessey for sending me yet more rare pictures of the making of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). Neil has kindly scanned these images from the Picture Show Annual of 1953. Above we can see Anthony Eustrel in costume as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Patrick Barr as King Richard the Lionheart with Walt Disney, during the filming of Robin Hood at Denham Studios.

In July 1951, just as his cartoon version of Alice in Wonderland  was released in America, Walt Disney visited England with his wife Lilian and his daughters, to supervise the production of his second live-action movie.

Ken Annakin with Perce Pearce

In the second image (above) we can see Ken Annakin (1914-2009) the director of this wonderful film with Perce Pearce (1899-1955). Pearce was chosen by Disney to supervise and produce his early film productions in England, including Treasure Island, The Sword and the Rose, Rob Roy the Highland Rogue and of course The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men.

To read more about the making of Robin Hood at Denham Studios and the wonderful cast of actors that appeared in this Technicolor masterpiece, please click on the relevant labels.

Signed Posters by Richard Todd

John Nelson has recently sent me pictures of his collection of signed posters by Richard Todd - alias Robin Hood.

Many readers, I am sure, will be envious of this autographed poster of Walt Disney's live action movie 'The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men' which was released in 1952. 

Richard Todd (1919-2009) not only starred as Robin Hood, but also appeared in two other live-action films for Disney, including 'Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue' (1953).  

And John is also the proud owner of a 'Rob Roy' poster signed by Toddy. If you have any memorabilia from Disney's live action Robin Hood movie, please get in touch.

800 Posts!

Richard Todd (Robin Hood), Walt Disney and Joan Rice (Maid Marian)

This is my 800th blog post! It's hard to believe. I started this blog way back in October 2006 and never dreamt it would become so successful. 

It was Walt Disney's live action movie The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men released in 1952, that inspired me. Not only did I want to write about this forgotten film, but also learn more about its production and the lives of its wonderful cast and crew. Back then, the internet was new, so I had to muddle my way through creating this web site. It was all trial and error.

Robin Hood has fascinated me since my early childhood and I have studied the legend ever since. Unlike more recent productions, Disney's live-action movie showed respect to the ancient ballads about the outlaw. So, it was easy for me to highlight certain aspects of the film and explain some of the historical origins of the screen-play. Along with this, I featured places associated with the legend like Nottingham Castle. One of the many highlights for me, was tracing the ancient tracts through Sherwood Forest with Albie. 

You can read the vast amount of subjects I have covered by clicking on the labels in the task bar.

Richard Todd (Robin Hood) and Joan Rice (Maid Marian)

Over time, my readership grew and eventually I received messages and input from fellow admirers of this wonderful film. Neil Vessey, Mike Giddens, John Nelson, Laurence, Christian, Geoff Waite and many, many others. All of them made a huge and invaluable contribution to this web site. I thank you all so very, very much for your contributions (including all those I have forgotten to mention!)

One of the many stars of the film was Joan Rice (1930-1997). She was personally picked by Disney to play the part of Maid Marian. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her on that silver screen. But, I could find out very little about her life. Fortunately, I was contacted by someone who knew Joan back in the 1970's - Maria Steyn. Maria, together with members of Joan's family and readers of this blog, have all helped me gradually piece together Joan's life and career.

The article about my research

In 2009 a reporter from the Maidenhead Advertiser emailed me. She had been reading my articles about Joan Rice and asked if I would help her on a feature about the star's life and her connections to the town. This resulted in my appearance in two local papers and the discovery of Joan's final resting place in Braywick Cemetery.

There have been so many highlights since I started this blog. Neil has sent in countless amazing discoveries about this movie and its actors. Laurence created a fantastic strip of the whole film, and created our blog banner. Geoff Waite, the expert on the life of Elton Hayes, has provided us with numerous articles about our Alan-a-Dale, including a concise discography.

This blog has been mentioned (and praised) on several forums and websites down the years. Only this week I was informed that Phil Rose, the actor who played Friar Tuck in the classic TV series Robin of Sherwood highly recommends this site!

A big THANK YOU to everyone for making this blog such a success! Thanks also to the 205 followers of Disney's 'Story of Robin Hood' on Facebook. I am looking forward to completing the next 800 posts!