Ken Annakin and Claudette Colbert


My thanks go out again to retired press photographer Horace Ward, who has very kindly sent me yet another rare photograph from his collection; this time taken at the charity premiere of Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men at the Leicester Square Theatre on Thursday 13th March 1952.

On the night, Horace just walked casually through the main foyer without any problem. “I had the cheek of the devil in those days,” he said.

His restored photograph shows the director of the movie, Ken Annakin arriving at the glittering premiere, with the legendary film and stage actress Claudette Colbert.

Richard Todd, in his autobiography ‘Caught In The Act,’ describes the first showing of Disney’s ‘Robin Hood’ as ,’.....the forthcoming Royal Film Performance.’ This led me to believe originally that it was a ‘Royal Premiere.’ But it was sadly not the case.

"I would have heard on the grapevine if royalty were around," Horace says, "...also the streets around Leicester Square would have been 'blocked off'. Security was tight then, like today. More so 'premieres', perhaps because of all that jewellery more than terrorists. All this talk about 'royals' attending might have been a publicity stunt by Disney. He could only wish...only a star, not a queen!"

If you remember, or even attended the charity premiere of Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men at the Leicester Square Theatre on Thursday 13th March 1952 please get in touch at : disneysrobin@googlemail.com. It would be great to hear from you.


4 comments:

Clement of the Glen said...

Charity premiere of Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood at the Leicester Square Theatre on Thursday 13th March 1952.

Ken Annakin and Claudette Colbert

Neil said...

Interesting in that Claudette Colbert must have been filming The Planters Wife at that time which Ken Annakin directed - it was released in Dec 1952 and has very good reviews. Horace has again produced another great photgraph from his collection. He was as at Joan Rice's wedding the following year and produced terrific photgraphs of that event. Hope he has more of the Premiere. Dont think that Richard Todd attended as he was away filming - maybe I have got that wrong - it would be unusual if he was missing from the great event

neil said...

In Ken Annakin's autobiography So You Wanna Be a Director he does state that The Story of Robin Hood was chosen for a Royal Premiere in London and it proved to be a 'happy, triumphant evening'
As an aside he also says that he was shooting the film for 20 weeks - which underlines the expense of the film and the scale it was on.

Clement of the Glen said...

Yes I read that. But the research I have done in magazines of the period shows that it was sadly only a gala charity premier.

It could be he has confused the Royal Film Premiere of Rob Roy which was on 26th October 1953.