The Boys' And Girls' Cinema Clubs Annual
Regular contributor Neil Vessey has reminded me of an article about Walt Disney’s 'Story of Robin Hood' in ‘The Boys’ And Girls’ Cinema Clubs Annual’ of 1952. For six shillings this was the fifth edition of an annual for youngsters up and down the country who were members of Saturday Morning Clubs such as Grandiers, ABC Minors, Odeon, Empire Rangers and Gaumont Children’s Cinema Club. This was during an era when twenty five million people went to the ‘pictures’ every week!
It was printed by Juvenile Productions Ltd. of London and was packed full of various articles on the latest stream of movies being released for mainly the younger audiences of the time. Films such as Abbot and Costello in ‘Jack and the Beanstalk,’ Roy Rogers and Trigger in ‘The Golden Stallion’ and Disney’s ‘Lambert the Sheepish Lion.’
But also included were sections on new Hollywood blockbusters of that year, including ‘Ivanhoe’ with Elizabeth Taylor and Robert Taylor, ‘The Crimson Pirate’ starring Burt Lancaster and ‘The African Queen’ with Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. Along with all this are some fascinating behind-the-scenes pieces on how the movies were being made at the time and how The Children’s Film Foundation was formed in 1951.
Pages 8-11 outline Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood with eight stills from the movie including four in colour. But what is interesting, is the inside note from the editor-Robert Moss- on two youngsters who visited Denham Studios during the making of Robin Hood:
"Early one bright summer morning I called for Peter Green, a member of the Odeon Children's Cinema Club, at his home in South Norwood, London, and took him across London to the flat where ABC Minor Lavinia Baily lives. Then the three of us went on to Denham Film Studios, in Buckinghamshire, where we were introduced to Richard Todd, the star of Walt Disney's Robin Hood, and to lovely Joan Rice, the Maid Marian of the film, and other members of the cast.
We spent interesting hours on the set watching scenes in the film being shot and discovering some of the secrets of film making: then Richard Todd, resting between shots, called Peter and Lavinia over and told them the story of the film. Whilst he was doing this, we took a photograph of the three of them - and this is the lovely coloured photograph, you see on the front of this annual.
Wasn’t that exciting? You can guess how thrilled Peter and Lavinia were. Later on, we lunched with members of the cast, who were still in costume, so Peter and Lavinia can really claim to have feasted, not only with Robin Hood and his merry men, but with Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and all! "