Joan Rice and baby Michael

Joan Rice and baby Michael

This web site is dedicated to the memory of Joan Rice (1930-1997) and down the years I have attempted to piece together the life of the beautiful English actress who charmed us all with her portrayal of Maid Marian in Disney's Story of Robin Hood in 1952.

This would not have been possible without the response from my many blog readers who have kindly sent in their memories of her. Here is another example - this was sent to me by Annie Winkler last week:

I have read with interest your website about Joan Rice, and saw you had asked for any anecdotes etc. about her. 
You may be interested to know that we used to know the Greens quite well.   I am just one month older than Joan and David’s son Michael.  Our family lived very near them up to 1964 in Maidenhead.   Actually it wasn’t Cookham, which your website said.  Cookham was about five miles from us.   Both our house and the Green’s house backed onto Maidenhead Thicket.  Interestingly we could see Richard Todd’s house just across the Thicket from our windows upstairs. We used to play nearly every day with Michael and other children of the neighbourhood, especially in the school holidays.  I was really sad to learn of Michael’s suicide.  It must have been a terrible shock to the whole family.  Unfortunately we lost touch with them when we moved to Bath in 1964 when Michael and I were about 11 years old.  I am now living in Derby, about one hundred yards from the City Hospital where I see from your website that Joan was born. 
Their house had a long drive and was one of the only ones, if not then the only one, with a swimming pool in the garden.  We occasionally went to swim in their pool, but not very often as it seemed freezing.  We were in and out of each others houses, but more often than not Michael came to play at our house.
Best wishes,  Annie Winkler

Joan Rice with David Green at Kiss Korner in London c.1953

Joan Rice and David Green were married at Maidenhead Register Office on the 16th February 1953 and the reception was held in Gables Lodge just outside Maidenhead. David was a film salesman (for a Hollywood company) and they met at a Christmas party shortly after Joan's return to England after filming His Majesty O'Keefe. It was a classic whirlwind romance. They were engaged on 15th January and married a month later!

Their son Michael was born in December 1953, but sadly Joan and David's marriage was dissolved in 1964. It was soon after that the Rank Organisation dropped Joan's contract, but she continued to work hard, by accepting bit parts in films and often touring the country doing live theater plays. She always supported herself, not accepting any support from her broken marriage. 

In 1984 Joan married Ken McKenzie, a former journalist with the Daily Sketch and they lived together at Quinney's, a house in Cookham in Berkshire. But by now her she was having problems with her health and she had become very frail. Joan passed away due to emphysema complications on January 1st 1997 aged 66.

Tragically, Michael had taken his own life in the early 1990's.

In December 2012 I received this short email from David Green, Joan's former husband :
I am alive and well and live in Las Vegas. Joan and my son Michael died over 10 years ago in the South of France. His 2 daughters live in Holland.  David Green.

There are now over 70 pages on this site of images and information about the life of Joan Rice, including pictures of her wedding and stills from her movies. Please click here.

Joan was always proud of the fact that she had been Walt Disney's first Maid Marian and this blog will certainly never forget her. So if you have any memories of Joan that you would like to share with us, please get in touch at

Movie Stills

Here are a couple of unusual movie stills from Walt Disney's live action movie the Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men, which was released in 1952.

Above we see Peter Finch as the Sheriff of Nottingham with Robin Hood (Richard Todd) and Little John (James Robertson Justice) disguised as castle guards. Below that image is Patrick Barr as King Richard the Lionheart summoning his Crusading army from Nottingham Castle. To see more stills from this classic movie please click on the Picture Gallery here.

Did Joan Rice Pass Her Driving Test?

This photograph of Joan Rice (1930-1937) is said to have been taken in 1951 and has raised a number of questions. She is leaning against the British School of Motoring's Austin A40 Devon, a four door saloon. Had she just passed her driving test?

Joan played the part of Maid Marian in Walt Disney's live-action movie the Story of Robin Hood  and his Merrie Men (1952) and this blog is dedicated to her memory.We know from Ken Annakin's autobiography So You Wanna Be A Director that during the making of Robin Hood, Joan was cycling to Denham Film Studios in the early months of 1951. He says:

Joan used to ride a bicycle to and from the local hotel and between shots would go speeding around the Denham lot. Nearly every day she fell off and came back bruised and some part of her costume hanging loose. One evening I saw her standing forlornly outside the studio door, and took pity on her. "Where's your bike?" I called."Smashed up, as usual, she grinned guiltily..."

Also in the short promotional film The Riddle of Robin Hood we get a glimpse of 'our Joan' riding through Denham's security gate and into the studio grounds. So, was this just an advertisement for the British School of Motoring? Or did Joan pass her driving test after Robin Hood had been made? Perhaps one of our readers can help.

James Robertson Justice

James Robertson Justice as Little John

James Robertson Justice (1907-1975) will always be remembered for his booming voice, bushy beard and the larger than life characters he played in movies, such as his portrayal of Little John in Disney's Story of Robin Hood (1952) and as the bombastic head surgeon Sir Lancelot Spratt in Doctor in the House (1954).

After getting his big break into the movies (at the age of 37) through the help of Peter Ustinov, Jimmy gained a two year contract with the Rank Organisation and went on to become one of Britain's most recognized screen personalities, appearing in over eighty films. His early ones included:

The Black Rose (1950)
David and Bathsheba (1951)
Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951)
Les Miserables (1952)
Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952)
Rob Roy (1953)
Sword and the Rose (1953)
Doctor in the House (1954)
Land of the Pharaohs (1955)
Moby Dick (1956)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

James Robertson Justice, Richard Todd and James Hayter in Robin Hood

The film producer Ken Annakin made several movies with James Robertson Justice and in his autobiography described how the big man could always be relied upon to add verisimilitude to any 'larger than life' character that he played. Annakin also recalled how the film crew would eagerly look forward to lunch-time breaks during the filming to hear more about Jimmy's exploits.

James Robertson Justice told of many amazing adventures that he had experienced during his early career. Tales like how he had joined the International Brigade against General Franco in the Spanish Civil War (where he gained a price on his head), or fled from Arabia on a camel after penetrating a Sheikh's harem. When the Germans marched into the Rhineland, Jimmy described how he had dropped his gun in front of Hitler. He also told how he had attended Bonn University and gained a doctorate in philosophy and a science degree at the University College London. He could speak three languages (later he increased it to twenty) -  and boasted about the fact that he was born under a distillery on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.

In fact JRJ seemed to have done more in a year than most of us do in a life time. He claimed to have become a professional racing driver, professional ice hockey player, worked for British Intelligence during WWII, was twice elected Rector of Edinburgh University, became friends with several members of the Royal Family taught Prince Charles how to fly falcons and was a notorious womaniser.

But how much of this was true? 

James Robertson Justice

Regular contributor Neil, runs a fantastic web site of his own, called Films of the Fifties, in which he often looks at stars of that golden era of movie making. This week he has included an article on James Robertson Justice  and using information from a latest biography on this larger than life character, reveals how behind Jimmy's mask there was a deeply contradictory and troubled man.

Although James Robertson Justice claimed he was Scottish (apparently he even played the bagpipes) his birth certificate shows he was actually born in the London borough of Lewisham and brought up in Bromley, Kent. At the age of 30 he added the 'middle name' Robertson to sustain the myth of his Scottish ancestry. Neither did he receive a doctorate in philosophy at Bonn University or a degree in science at University College in London.

So Neil's website Films of the Fifties unearths some of the truth behind those stories that JRJ loved to tell - and we learn a little more about the unrepentant socialist that drove a Rolls Royce and was a friend of the Royal Family. He was certainly a colourful character - one of a kind - and I am looking forward to reading the biography of our Little John.

To visit Neil's website please click here.

Robin Hood's Chair (Again)

Over the last few years, interest in my Disney's Story of Robin Hood Facebook page has been growing and there are now 41 members. One new member, Brian Varaday, has very kindly sent me another example of what has become known on this blog as Robin Hood's Chair.

The chair used in The Dark Avenger (1955)

Brian sent me a still from the movie The Dark Avenger (1955) which not only starred Errol Flynn, but also had many people involved in its production who would have been familiar with the chair when it was first used on the set of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood at Denham Studios in 1951. Actors such as Peter Finch, Michael Hordern, Ewen Solon, crew members Guy Green, Alex Bryce and technical adviser Charles R. Beard had all previously worked on Robin Hood.

The original chair used in Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood (1952)

It was while watching the classic television series the Adventures of Robin Hood (1955-1960) starring Richard Greene, that I noticed a familiar piece of furniture in the Sheriff of Nottingham's chamber. I was sure I had seen the highly decorated chair with its circular headrest and carved pineapples before.

That chair in the Adventures of Robin Hood (1955-1960)

I immediately paused the DVD and quickly grabbed my illustrated copy of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men. I was correct! It was the same chair that had been designed by Carmen Dillon and her art department for Disney's live-action movie in 1951. Somehow it had found its way to Nettlefold Studios and the ground-breaking set of the black and white television series.

The chair used in TV's Adventures of Robin Hood (1955-1960)

As a young lad, these two versions of the Robin Hood legend had a huge influence on me. So you can imagine my surprise when I recently found, what I believe to be that very same chair (over thirty years later) in another all-time favourite of mine Robin of Sherwood (1984-1986).

The chair used over 30 years later in Robin of Sherwood (1984-1986)

I made a few enquires about this remarkable coincidence and received this message from a member of the Britmovie forum:

“I think it’s quite normal for props and costumes and even whole sets to be used in other films over the years. Studios normally had their own prop stores and there are also several large independent prop hire companies around London that have been on the go for years. I remember visiting one in Acton many years ago while helping a friend find some props for a theatre production; it was like an Aladdin’s cave with the proprietor cheerfully pointing out what other famous plays some of the props had been used for in the past.”


"I guess most of the props these days are located in private rental firms. In the old days before studios went four walls they contained huge prop departments on site. I know Pinewood had a massive prop dept so it’s not unusual for the same prop to pop up in many films and are now privately owned. I know when MGM Borehamwood closed they flogged a lot off in a huge auction and many went down the road to Elstree."

The Robin Hood Chair in The Men of Sherwood (1954)

A while ago another regular blog visitor kindly sent me stills of those chairs being used in another movie, The Men of Sherwood Forest (1954). This was the first of a trilogy of Robin Hood features made by Hammer Film productions and also their first colour movie. Recently some critics have described it as the possibly the worst sound film about the outlaw ever made! Although in my opinion, American actor Don Taylor gives a good performance as Robin Hood and Reginald Beckwith is an excellent Friar Tuck in this low budget romp.

The Men of Sherwood (with chairs designed by Carmen Dillon for Disney in 1951)

To read more about the work of art director Carmen Dillon, please click here.

If anybody reading this blog, knows of any other movies in which the props (particularly those chairs) from the Story of Robin Hood can be clearly seen (and if they still exist) please get in touch! 

Robin Hood's Camp in Sherwood Forest

Maid Marian with Friar Tuck and some of the outlaws.

A fortnight ago I posted a favourite still of mine from Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). It showed Maid Marian (Joan Rice) at the camp of Robin Hood surrounded by some of the outlaws. The image above was recently sent in by Neil and gives us another view of the scene, this time from a different angle. Looking at this picture, it is almost possible to feel the warmth of the camp fire and smell the cooking pot. This is yet another example of the artistry and fine attention to detail by the set designer, Carmen Dillon (1908-2000).

Carmen Dillon reveils a model of Nottingham Square for Robin Hood

Four years ago, Neil sent me the article Prejudice and Slacks from The Cinema Sudio (November 1951) in which reporter Catherine O'Brien looked at the immense amount of research and work Carmen Dillon did on the set of Robin Hood. On top of all this of course, we must consider the fact that at the time she was the only woman to succeed in becoming an Oscar winning director. She overcame a huge amount of prejudice during her career at a time when no one in the film business would take a female art director seriously.

Below is an excerpt from the article Prejudice and Slacks:

Carmen Dillon's set design of Robin Hood's camp

"One of the most important sets in the film is the Sherwood Forest camp where Robin Hood and his Merry Men live in outlawry, in their woodland hideout. Some weeks before the film, Carmen accompanied a research party including producer Perce Pearce, script writer Larry Watkin, and film star Richard Todd to Nottingham and returned laden with photographs of every relic of Robin Hood days, which would help her construct the original setting at Denham Studios."

Robin Hood's Caves in Nottingham

Larry Watkin, Richard Todd and some of Disney's research team.

"... the Robin Hood sets are sufficient to demonstrate the huge scale assignment tackled by Carmen Dillon on her latest appointment as art director and the great confidence placed in artistic talent by Walt Disney in the realisation of one of his most ambitious ventures."

(The Cinema Studio: November 1951) 

To learn more about the life and career of Carmen Dillon and to read the fascinating article Prejudice and Slacks please click here. There is also a lot more information on Disney's research party and their look at the incredible caves and sites associated with the Robin Hood legend under the tag 'Film Production' here.

Robin of Sherwood with Jules Frusher

In the days of the Lion spawned of the Devil's brood, the hooded man shall come to the forest. There he will meet Herne the Hunter, Lord of the Trees, and be his son and do his bidding. The Powers of Light and Darkness shall be strong within him. And the guilty shall tremble. (Prophecy of Gildas)

Michael Praed as Robin Hood

This is the second instalment of a look at my partner Jules Frusher's favourite television versions of the legend of Robin Hood. Two weeks ago I published her views on the recent BBC series Robin Hood (2006) starring Jonas Armstrong, Keith Allen and Richard Armitage. The  review can be seen here.

Jules made the interesting point that the BBC's Robin Hood episodes did not pretend to be in any way historically accurate, unlike the movie Braveheart for example. And although it was a radical change from the traditional telling of the ancient legend, Jules was sure the series would lead children to become interested in medieval history.

Jules Frusher is a published author and her most recent novel, The Devil To Pay is available here. She is also a historian and runs a website called Lady Despenser's Scribery in which she not only researches the life of Hugh Despenser, a 14th Century knight, but looks at every day life during that period. Her website is becoming very popular and well worth a visit.

Jules's second choice in her list of favourite interpretations of the Robin Hood legend, is the Robin of Sherwood  (1984-1986) television series, directed by Ian Sharp. Broadcast over 26 weeks, this series, made by HTV in association with Goldcrest, was without doubt the most successful and influential re-telling of the myth in more recent times. Richard (Kip) Carpenter (d.2012) and his writing partner Paul Knight, cleverly blended together elements of ancient pagan mysticism and folklore and created a gritty, realistic and hugely successful re-telling of the ancient legend for television. Carpenter had previously written and created another successful television series about a notorious outlaw, Dick Turpin for London Weekend Television back in 1978. 

Robin Hood and the outlaws of Sherwood Forest

Not only did Robin of Sherwood introduce the concept of the Green Man and the legend of Herne the Hunter, but this ground breaking series took the controversial decision to give the legend a pagan slant. Through the whole series there is continuous reference to the pagan beliefs of the opposite factions of  good and evil and the forces of light and darkness. Jules noted, that this helped  paganism become more accepted and not looked upon suspiciously as witchcraft.

The whole series was shot on film and almost entirely on location in the northeast and southwest of England, including Alnwick Castle, Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland and Wookey Hole caves in Somerset. HTV West in Bristol was the production base.

Together, Jules and I watched the double length episode, Robin Hood and the Sorcerer Part 1 first aired on the 28th April 1984.

It was refreshing to hear once again the haunting sound of  Irish folk band Clannad as they sang the opening theme and incidental music. Later released on an album, the atmospheric soundtrack to this series, Legend, won a BAFTA for the group, for best television music in 1984.

The story begins with Loxley village being attacked and razed to the ground by Norman soldiers searching for young Robin's father. Ailric (guardian of the silver arrow, a symbol of great power) is a Saxon and has openly rebelled against the tyrannical Norman rule. As the village burns, Ailric quickly takes Robin on horseback away from the soldiers to the safety of the home of Mathew the Miller. As the thunder booms overhead, Ailric  rides to a stone circle where he intends to hide the silver arrow, but the Sheriff of Nottingham (Nikolas Grace) and his cavalrymen are waiting for him. One by one the sheriff's men aim at Ailric and his body soon slumps to the ground covered in crossbow bolts. The Silver Arrow is now in the hands of the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Ailric of Loxley's last word are, "He's coming... the Hooded Man is coming!"

During the opening scenes of the destruction of Loxley village, Jules noted how the soldiers chain mail unfortunately looked more like sprayed fabric!

So, orphaned at an early age, Robin is secretly brought up by the village miller, alongside his younger foster-brother, Much (Peter Llewellyn Williams).

Fifteen years later, at Castle Belleme, the evil Simon De Belleme* is warned by his guardian - the possessed John Little - to beware the hooded one who will seek the arrow and that his master demands a sacrifice.

*A Robert de Belleme was exiled for sorcery and devil worship c.1300.

Robin (Michael Praed) discovers that Much has been hunting in the forest and killed a deer, breaking the Law of Venison - a crime punishable by the loss of a hand. They are both seen by Guy of Gisburne (Robert Addie d.2003) and his men and try to escape. But they are eventually captured and put into, what Jules described as a oubliette* at Nottingham Castle. This was a bottle-necked pit where prisoners were starved or driven to insanity.

*In 2006 an oubliette ('to forget,' in French) was discovered by archaeologists in the underground caves of the Galleries of Justice Museum in Nottingham.

Guy of Gisburne (Robert Addie 1960-2003)

The scene in the torture pit is excellent. As the light begins to clear we discover several oppressed men who have witnessed the cruelty of the Sheriff of Nottingham and eventually become the nucleus of Robin's band. It is also here that we are first introduced to one of the strongest personalities in the series, Will Scarlet, played by Ray Winstone.

But this Scarlet isn't the foppish personality we have seen in previous reincarnations. Carpenter wanted the characters to strike a cord with modern audiences and Winstone's portrayal is of a brash, angry and argumentative young man. Formerly known as Scathlock, he had witnessed the rape and murder of his wife in Loxley Village by drunken mercenaries. After being attacked she had been trampled to death by the men's horses. Scathlock was now Scarlet with hatred! 

'Hot headed' Will Scarlet, became immensely popular with fans of the series and Ray Winstone enjoyed the role describing him as the first football hooligan. Although when the series was dubbed into German, Winstone was very disappointed and said he sounded more like a 'psychotic mincer!' 
To read more about the legend of Will Scarlet please click here.

The Sheriff (Nikolas Grace) and his brother Abbot Hugo (Philip Jackson)

Back at Nottingham Castle, the sheriff and his brother, Abbot Hugo (Philip Jackson) of St. Mary's Abbey, argue over a flooded fishpond. But their attention is soon distracted by the arrival of Baron de Belleme as he is led through the castle gate by a possessed giant carrying a quarterstaff. In the castle grounds the beautiful Lady Marian (Judi Trott) is attending her bees* when she is warned of the arrival of the Baron by Brother Tuck (Phil Rose).

*This could be inspired by the poem Robin Hood: To A Friend by John Keats and his reference to 'Marian's wild bees'.

In the oubliete, Robin encourages the prisoners to try to escape. At first they are scared of becoming outlaws and being killed on sight. But Robin explains to them that there are parts of Sherwood Forest that the soldiers will not enter and it is there that they will find food and shelter. Scarlet agrees and says, he has nothing else to lose.

De Belleme is taken into the main hall* of Nottingham Castle and finally gets to see Marian. The Sheriff introduces her as the daughter of Sir Richard of the Lee, who was killed in Palestine and now ward of the Abbot Hugo. The Baron looks icily at Marian and explains that his wife had recently taken her own life and that she could take his place. This prompted a suspicious side-ways glance from both the sheriff and the abbot. But Marian looked bravely straight ahead and informed De Belleme that in the month she will become a novice at Kirklees Priory. Angrily the baron turned to the abbot accusing him of 'marrying her to God, so that her lands go to the church'.
The time is coming, he sneered, when you will beg for my help. Both of you. You will give her to me then, when the hooded man comes to the forest.

There is a stunned silence in the castle hall.

*In the hall of Nottingham Castle, the distinctive large decorated chair used by the sheriff appears to be the one originally seen in Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood (1952) and various other versions of the legend. See here

After the baron has gone, Abbot Hugo explains to his brother that De Belleme gets up to all sorts of naughtiness, devil worship and all that! The Sheriff answers him with, but to which devil? There are so many aren't there. And only one God, it hardly seems fair.

Robin Hood (Michael Praed) and Lady Marian (Judi Trott)

The prisoners manage to escape from the dungeon and Robin tells them to make their way to Sherwood. After a fight with some soldiers, the rest of the men get out through the castle gate, but Robin is too late and the portcullis is closed. So Robin makes his way along the battlements and into a castle tower where he finds himself inside Marian's bedchamber. They are instantly attracted to each other and Robin describes her like a May morning. She saves his life by not calling out* and as he turns to escape from the tower he lifts up his hood. Marian suddenly realises that he is the hooded man that De Belleme had described.

*Reminiscent of the classic Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland (1938).

 As Robin is making his way back to Sherwood Forest  he encounters Herne the Hunter for the first time. The woodland spirit explains to the outlaw that  the poor and dispossessed are all waiting for him.

Back in his castle Baron Simon De Belleme realises that the hooded man has returned to the forest, so he sends his possessed bodyguard, John Little off to Sherwood to hunt him down. In the forest, Robin encounters him on the traditional log over the river and a quarterstaff fight ensues. In the river, Robin eventually manages to knock the man out and free him of the Baron's hex by washing away the mark of a pentagram on his chest. This earns Robin the strangers friendship and upon hearing that his name is John Little of Hathersage, Robin Hood laughingly decides to call the giant Little John

The outlaws have now met up in Sherwood Forest and have decided to keep their heads down, do what they are told and go their separate ways. Robin revisits Herne the Hunter and asks him what he must do. Herne gives the outlaw a sword known as Albion, charged with the power of light and darkness. The woodland spirit then instructs Robin to string the bow and calls him Robin-I-The-Hood.

Now with a strong sense of purpose, Robin goes back to the outlaws and wakes them all up. Little John immediately asks if Robin has been possessed? He explains to the men that it is time that they all stopped sleeping. Since the Norman invasion they had had no voice, no justice and without it there would be no England. He tells them that it is time we fought back!

Meanwhile Marian is preparing to leave Nottingham Castle for Kirklees and asks Brother Tuck to look after her bees. Guy of Gisburne is to escort her and is instructed by the Sheriff of Nottingham to torture the miller on the way - to find out where the outlaws are hiding. Much the millers son witnesses Gisburne's burning of the mill and the death of his father (Robin's step-father) and rushes heartbroken back to the forest.

Robin swears revenge and ambushes Gisburne and his men along the forest road. Marian is led to safety by Much and Gisburne is stripped of his clothing, tied to his horse and told:
Tell the Sheriff of Nottingham that Robin Hood holds Sherwood, tell him Herne's Son has claimed his kingdom.

This was the end of the first episode of a two part special that introduced the main characters in the series. In the second instalment, Robin rescues Marian from the castle of the evil Simon De Belleme and it is here that we witness the first appearance of a new member of Robin's band for many centuries.

Nasir (Mark Ryan) is a Saracen that protects the Baron de Belleme and was originally scripted to be killed during the final battle scenes. But the writer, Richard Carpenter was so impressed and inspired by Ryan's swordplay that he re-wrote the script so that Nasir  joins the outlaws. This idea seems to have caught-on with later productions and we get Robin with a Moorish companion (Morgan Freeman) in Robin Hood :Prince of Thieves (1991) and Djaq, the Saracen girl in the BBC's Robin Hood (2006).

Robin meets Herne the Hunter

Jules thought that this series was the biggest influence on the legend for decades and I totally agree with her. The writer, Richard Carpenter wanted the past to come alive and be significant for the present and his adaption of those ancient tales certainly did that. Not only did Robin of Sherwood introduce a whole new audience to the medieval legend, but also to the renewed spirit of paganism.

To read about other TV and Film versions of the legend of Robin Hood please click on the links.

Readers of this blog voted Michael Praed their all-time favourite Robin Hood in a poll a few years ago! To see all the contenders and all the results, please click here.

Nothing is ever forgotten.

What did you think of the series?

Maid Marian visits Robin Hood's camp.

This is one of my favourite stills from Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). In this beautifully arranged scene in the outlaws camp, Maid Marian (Joan Rice) explains to Robin Hood (Richard Todd) how Prince John lies to the Queen about raising money for the king's ransom.

To see more images from this wonderful movie, please click here.

Pictures of Joan Rice

Joan Rice in His Majesty O'Keefe

As it is St. Valentine’s Day here in England today (Friday), I thought it would be a nice idea to post a couple of pictures of this web site’s favorite pin-up girl. It is, of course our Joan Rice (1930-1997), the heartthrob of many red-blooded males during the 1950’s. This site is dedicated to her memory and contains much of her life-story here.

The image above was kindly sent in by Christian and is taken of Joan in the lavish Warner Brothers production His Majesty O’Keefe (1954). Sadly, this film, with Burt Lancaster, would be the pinnacle of Joan’s very short rise to stardom. Why she faded from popularity with Hollywood remains a mystery. But her memory lives on in the pages of this web site.

Joan’s big break in the movie world came when Walt Disney chose her personally to play the part of Maid Marian in his second live-action film, the Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952).

Joan Rice at the Premiere of Robin Hood

The picture of Joan (above) was taken at the premiere of the Story of Robin Hood at the Leicester Square Theater on March 13th, 1952. In the audience were many distinguished guests and celebrities, including the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor of Nottingham who presented a gift to Joan.

Other guests included Claudette Colbert, Donald Peers, Petula Clark, Herbert Wilcox and Anna Neagle. It was announced from the stage that the advertising in the programme alone, had produced over £13,000 and all the money raised went to The National Advertising Benevolent Fund.

Also appearing on the stage that Thursday night was Elton Hayes, dressed in his Alan-a-Dale costume, who delighted the audience with one of the songs from the film, which was adapted for the occasion (even with a playful dig at the films critics). The premier was ended with a finely staged observance of the National Anthem with trumpeters beneath the Royal Coat of Arms and illuminated letters ER.

There is a great deal more information about the movie premiere of the Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men here.