Disney's Robin Hood Comic Strip. 3

We have now reached the third installment of the wonderful comic strip version of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood which appeared in the Belgian Mickey magazine in the 1950's. The strip was based on the live-action film that was released in 1952 and starred Richard Todd, Joan Rice, Peter Finch, James Robertson Justice and a whole host of fabulous actors and actresses.

Down the years my blog has tried to keep interest in this live action movie alive. So special thanks go out to Matt Crandall for sending in these comic strips that appeared shortly after the film was released. His excellent web site dedicated to Walt Disney's classic animated movie Alice in Wonderland is here.

To see the previous comic strips please click here.

Richard Todd's Home at Pinkneys Green, Maidenhead

Neil has recently discovered this interesting article in the Woman magazine from 24th May 1952. This was about two months after the premiere of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men in which Richard Todd (1919-2001) had appeared as the outlawed hero.

The magazine contains details of Richard Todd former home at Wayside House, Pinkneys Green in Maidenhead, where he had lived with his first wife Kitty (Catherine Grant Bogle) (1926-1997). The couple had met at the Dundee Rep shortly after WWII and were appearing together in the American comedy Claudia. 'Kitty' was the daughter of William Grant Bogle a steel brass founder. 

Richard and Kitty were married on 13th September 1949 at St. Columba's church, Pont Street, Chelsea. They had two children Peter and Fiona.

Richard Todd with his wife Catherine and 'Baron' their dog.

From the article it appears that Wayside House was in a bad state of repair when the film star and his Scottish wife first purchased it. The magazine reporter Edith Blair, goes into great detail about how Richard and Kitty spent many weeks rubbing turpentine and linseed oil into the wooden beams and eventually furnishing their new home.

In Richard Todd's first volume of autobiography Caught In The Act The Story Of My Life - page 272 has:
On the following Saturday, 12 August, we celebrated our wedding anniversary. It was our lucky weekend. On the Sunday we had decided to drive down to Hurley for supper at the Old Bell, and had stopped at Pinkneys Green to let the dogs have a run in the woodland there while we gazed covetously at our dream-house, Wayside.
While we looked, a bent old figure, almost a caricature of Old Father Time, even to the scythe he carried, came shuffling by on the open grass space opposite house. He was clad in black trousers, long black coat, and high-crowned bowler hat that I had not seen since the days of Mr Prout, our gardener at Holsworthy in my childhood. 
As he drew level with us he touched his hat and gave us a gummy smile. 'Nice house, that,' he said.
'Lovely,' I said. 'Do you know anything about it?'
'Oh, ar,' he replied. 'When I were a boy it were the Shoulder of Mutton Inn. Very old. Dick Turpin, the highwayman, used to stay there.'
'Really? Gosh!'
'Ar. This grass ride were the old main road from London to Bath. Very dangerous for robbers. Jack Scott, the highwayman, were taken in the Shoulder of Mutton and hanged at Tyburn. That big bit at the side were the barn. Dick Turpin's Black Bess would have been stabled there.'
If we had thought it charming before, now it positively entranced us. 

Richard and Kitty became the owners of Wayside (their first house) at the end of September 1950. The following Spring, Richard appeared in a movie about another famous English outlaw - Robin Hood.

In the picture (above) Catherine is holding what appears to be a book with the title The Dam Busters. This could be the book written by Paul Bricknel and published in 1951. Together with Guy Gibson's Enemy Coast Ahead (1946) these two books would form the basis of Michael Anderson's classic war film The Dam Busters (1955) in which Richard Todd would appear as Wing Commander Guy Gibson.

Special thanks to Neil for supplying the information from the Woman magazine.

To read more the life and career of Richard Todd please click here.

Disney's Robin Hood Comic Strip 2.

Here are the next two comic strips from the Belgium Mickey Magazine which featured Walt Disney's Robin Hood. This was based on the live action movie which was made in England in 1951. 

Apart from the large amount of promotional stills he was able to use for reference, I wonder how many times Jessie Marsh watched the movie before he embarked on his comic strip?

Please click on the images to enlarge them.

Special thanks to Matt Crandall on the excellent Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland blog for sending the strips. To read more about the life of the cartoonist and illustrator Jessie Marsh please click here.

Who Played the First Sheriff ?

Fred Johnson (1899 -1971)

There are a number of actors and actresses that appear in Walt Disney's live-action movie the Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952) that do not appear in the credits. Down the years we have attempted to discover the identities of these people who helped make such a wonderful film. One success was the identity of Giles the pageboy, who I later discovered was played by Cavan Malone. Thanks to Neil and Laurence we also managed to put names to some of  Robin's outlaw band here.

So I was thrilled last week, to receive this email from Christian:
I have researched on subject character who appears only once in the film, that is to say upon King Richard’s departure for the Holy Land. At that moment, the sheriff requests permission to follow his king with his men across the seas, a request granted by his sovereign, prompting the latter to ask his brother Prince John : find a new sheriff !

This character plays a pivotal role in the film, since it justifies the whole plot of Robin becoming an outlaw. Should the sheriff had remained in England, the story would have been very different for obvious reasons.

I believe the Sheriff is played by Irish actor Fred Johnson (1899-1971), a very good character actor who has unfortunately made very few films (mostly horror pictures). Fred Johnson is uncredited in the Story of Robin Hood and no filmography lists him as one of the actors in this film.

Attached is Fred Johnson's filmography and a few pictures.

The Sheriff (Fred Johnson) asks King Richard I if he can join the Crusade

Christian seems to have found our lost Sheriff!

Fred Johnson was born in Dublin, Ireland on August 6th, 1899 and went on to have a very successful acting career both on the silver screen and television. He was also a screen writer and director.
Johnson is best remembered for his roles in The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), A Christmas Carol (1951) and The City of the Dead (1960).

Fred Johnson as Father Stepnik in 'The Brides of Dracula' (1960)

Christian has very kindly created a list of Fred Johnson's career:

Von Richthofen And Brown 
Movie, Actor - Jeweler

Where's Jack? 
Movie, Actor - Merchant

Eden Cried 
Movie, Director

Eden Cried 
Movie, Writer

Young Cassidy 
Movie, Actor - Cab Driver

Life Is A Circus 
Movie, Actor - Mr. Deaken

Loss Of Innocence 
Movie, Actor - American Tourist

Doctor Blood's Coffin 
Movie, Actor - Mr. Morton

Horror Hotel 
Movie, Actor - Elder

The Brides Of Dracula 
Movie, Actor - Father Stepnic/Cure

Scream Of Fear 
Movie, Actor - Father

Sea Fury 
Movie, Actor - Doc

The Curse Of Frankenstein 
Movie, Actor - Grandfather

Miracle In Soho 
Movie, Actor - Priest

The Weapon 
Movie, Actor - Fitzsimmons

Lust For Life 
Movie, Actor - Cordan

The March Hare 
Movie, Actor - Joe Duffy

They Can't Hang Me 
Movie, Actor

The Break In The Circle 
Movie, Actor - Farquarson

Land Of Fury 
Movie, Actor

Tonight's The Night 
Movie, Actor

Black Glove 
Movie, Actor - Inspector Mackenzie

Martin Luther 
Movie, Actor - Prior

The Saint's Girl Friday 
Movie, Actor - Irish Cassidy

Treasure Hunt 
Movie, Actor

The Long Memory 
Movie, Actor - Driver

You Can't Beat The Irish 
Movie, Actor

No Resting Place 
Movie, Actor - Bailiff

A Christmas Carol 
Movie, Actor - Collector

Flesh And Blood 
Movie, Actor

The Naked Heart 
Movie, Actor - Esdras the Bonesetter

Dance Hall 
Movie, Actor - Mr. Wilson

Adam And Evalyn 
Movie, Actor - Chris Kirby

Movie, Actor - Head Waiter

Nora Prentiss 
Movie, Actor

The Mark Of Cain 
Movie, Actor - Prison Chaplain

Knickerbocker Holiday 
Movie, Actor - Juggler

Native Land 

Movie, Actor - The Farmer

Many thanks to Christian.

To see more about the lives of the wonderfully talented cast of actors and actresses who appeared in the Story of Robin Hood (1952) please click here.

Disney's Robin Hood Comic Strip 1.

The Story of Robin Hood was the first Walt Disney live-action movie to be adapted to a comic strip. This was yet another way in which Disney was able to advertise his new releases and keep the film fresh in the audiences mind. The strip version of the film originally ran for twenty five weeks, from 13th July till 28th December 1952 and was illustrated by Jessie Mace Marsh (1907-1966).

Down the years I have posted on this blog about Marsh and we have seen a few versions of his Robin Hood drawings in various stages of production. Unfortunately those examples were all I could find until recently when I was contacted by Matt Crandall. Matt runs the excellent Disney's Alice in Wonderland blog and has very kindly sent me images of all the Robin Hood strips that re-appeared in the Belgian Mickey Magazine in 1953. 

So Matt has now given the readers of this blog a chance to see how Jessie Marsh graphically interpreted our favorite movie in colour all those years ago. So in the coming weeks (thanks to Matt) I will be posting the series. Enjoy!

Please click on the images to enlarge them and to read more about Jessie Marsh and his work (including his work for Walt Disney) please click here.

Real Actors!

Mexican Lobby Card

Vanessa has recently sent me this image of a Mexican lobby card for Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). The title of the film was changed as Los Arqueros Del Rey which translates from Spanish into English as 'The Archers of the King.'

I do not know when the film was released in Mexico, but it's premiere in Madrid, Spain was on the 17th May 1954.
Vanessa says:
Please note just under the picture of Robin and Marian in blue ink it says "con actores reales" (with real actors). I suppose they wanted to make it clear so audiences knew it was not a cartoon movie for children as most of Disney early movies were.

That is a very interesting observation. I have seen these lobby cards before but never noticed that particular description. It shows how the audiences of the time would have been unfamiliar with the Disney organisation being associated with anything else other than cartoon animation (even though this was their second live action movie picture).

Many thanks Vanessa for sending this to me.

To see a collection of film posters for Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men from all over the world, please click here. There are also various lobby cards here.

Joan Rice and Alice in Wonderland

Joan Rice at the premiere of Alice in Wonderland

Above is a lovely press picture of Joan Rice attending the premiere of Walt Disney's animated cartoon Alice in Wonderland at the Leicester Square Theatre in London on the 26th July 1951. 

By this time, filming of Disney's live-action movie the Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952) had just finished at Denham Studios in Buckinghamshire. This would be Joan's first 'big' movie as she had been personally chosen by Walt to play the part of Maid Marian.  J. Arthur Rank had billed her as the 'next Jean Simmons', so she was very popular with the British newspapers and magazines of the time. We can only imagine how this former waitress felt when she attended the premiere of Alice in Wonderland knowing she was the new toast of the film world.

Coincidentally I have been contacted recently by Matt Crandall who has a blog dedicated to Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland. It is a fantastic site, filled with amazing amounts of information and memorabilia from the classic movie. During his search for Disneyana connected to Alice, Matt had seen copies of the Belgian 'Mickey Magazine' containing the strip of Disney's Robin Hood and kindly said he would send me the images.

Below is an example of Matt's Alice in Wonderland blog:

Matt sent me this email:

I have recently come across what I believe is the complete adaptation as it appeared in Mickey Magazine in Belgium (French) issues 120-145.  Let me know if you'd like scans.


Matt has already sent me this sample (below) from the Belgium Mickey Mouse and there are more to come soon!

Matt's blog is here: Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland.

Walt Disney's Robin Hood Stamp Book

Special thanks this week go out to Vanessa and Christian who have both sent to me images of their copies of the Walt Disney's Robin Hood Stamp Book.

This is Christian's copy of the stamp book  (above and below) which was published in New York in 1955 by Simon and Schuster. The story inside was adapted from Lawrence E. Watkin's screenplay by Willis Lindquist with illustrations by Hamilton Greene (that could be coloured).

But what makes this book a 'must have' for all fans of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952) is the four pages of coloured stamps that were each titled and numbered. The owner had to stick these sixty stamps in the correct places on each page of the book.

Christian's copy has the stamp's still intact and his book is nearly in mint condition.

Readers of the blog will be familiar with most of these images on the stamps, but seeing them in colour like this shows why this wonderful movie was described as the best Technicolor film ever made in England. 

It also is another example of Walt Disney's phenomenal amount of promotion and advertising behind his movie production. 


Included among the stamps is an image ( shown above) of the Sheriff of Nottingham (Peter Finch) using a bow and arrow with a dead soldier in the foreground. It is stamp number '32' and has the title, "BRING HIM DOWN"  SHOUTS DE LACY." This is very interesting as the scene must have ended up on the cutting room floor, because it was never used in the movie.

Vanessa has also very kindly sent me a picture of the Spanish version of the stamp book that is in her collection.

I would like to thank both Vanessa and Christian for sharing with us their much-treasured albums.

Elton Hayes as Allan-a-Dale

Elton Hayes as Alan-a-Dale

Above is another still from Walt Disney's movie the Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men. It shows Elton Hayes (1915-2001) in his role as the minstrel Allan-a-Dale and I think you will agree that the lighting and atmosphere of this particular picture is quite unusual.

I have been amazed at how many various types of images from the film still exist. This is testament to the promotion and huge amount of publicity that surrounded Disney's second live-action film. The Story of Robin Hood would sadly be the last major movie to be produced at the legendary Denham Studios in Buckinghamshire, England but recent research on this blog has shown it to have been a big box-office success.

Down the years I have managed to accumulate many stills, posters and lobby cards from The Story of Robin Hood . In the Picture Gallery section there are now over 92 images and thanks to the input from my readers there are a lot more to come!

To access the Posters, Lobby Cards, Picture Gallery and the many other sections of this blog, just click on the links below and in the task bar.