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 : firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be great to hear from you.