Old Friends



Mike has recently sent me a rather heartwarming account of how Walt Disney’s motion picture the ‘Story of Robin Hood,’ helped him get through the trauma of moving to new surroundings:

“Hi Clement,

I thought I would tell you how the film helped me. Back in 1958 living in Plaistow, East London, an old EastEnders type house is all I knew, we were happy there, my brother, Mum and step dad. All at once life changed, Mum was given notice to quit the house after living there for 32 years, I was 17, and a non driver (still am). We searched and searched but had no luck in finding a new home, so we tried for an exchange to Basildon, Essex. To me at that time it was deep in the country. So it happened I had to leave my friends and my familiar surroundings, places I had known all my life.

Basildon then was a new town; there was nothing as far as entertainment goes not even a cinema at that time. I soon became unhappy but just struggled on, I missed Wanstead Park where we played at Robin Hood years earlier, all my memories were back there in Plaistow, and Basildon had none. One day in the local paper I saw the magic words “The Story of Robin Hood," it was showing at nearby Stanford Le Hope, it was a summer’s day when I caught the train and arrived two hours before the film started, I was excited to see it after what were quite a few years. No videos then of course, I walked the town streets trying to kill time, eventually I got in the cinema.


It was wonderful, like all my old friends were back, as fresh and colourful as ever, I felt so much better, and although my life had changed it made me realize that no matter where you are, you can still enjoy the things you love, things got better for me from then on and I thank our film for that, it was the turning point for me. And now all these years later it is shining brighter than ever, thanks in no small part to you my friend and Neil of course.

Best regards, Mike.”

When I asked Mike if he minded me posting his letter, he replied:

“ Go ahead by all means, I too would like to see how our film as affected others lives, there’s a sadness there as well , knowing that these people who gave us and continue to give us pleasure are no longer around, they live in our hearts and minds, that 90 minutes or so is kind of our Holy Grail.”

Many thanks Mike for sharing this with us. I’m sure we all agree with those sentiments. If you have fond memories of seeing any Robin Hood productions like this, please get in touch at: disneysrobin@googlemail.com

6 comments:

Clement of the Glen said...

Mike:

"Old Friends"

The Whistling Arrows

Avalon said...

That was a beautiful heart-warming story. I am glad it brought him happiness.

Herns son said...

The film still dose Avalon. my compliments on your Native American profile photo, this would make a great oil painting.

Neil said...

I am probably only a year younger than Mike and memories of the film for me are from its earlier release and I dont have a memory of the 1958 re release. Mike's story is indeed heart warming as Avalon says. The beautiful colours which are impressive even today were to young schoolboys eyes quite breathtaking in 1952 and we all longed to be in the woods firing arrows as our heroes did up there on the screen. When I see the Opening Titles and hear the music it just seems to be so right. Seeing the film - as I often do - is a very comforting way to relax. It tranports me back all those years and in its way it is, to me, a film that has never been equalled. If I could locate a Time Machine what would be better than to be transported back to Denham in the summer of 1951 and to be able to walk on to some of those incredible studio sets. I am sure Mike as a film maker would love to use the sort of film sets Carmen Dillon produced for this film

Clement of the Glen said...

I can still remember sitting on the bus, comming home from the cinema just stunned by the movie.

The colour,warmth,excitement and the host of wonderful character actors were spellbinding. That almost magical quality could never be re-captured these days.

Herns son said...

My poster is so precious to me , its the first thing i would see outside the cinema and i would gaze at it longing to have it. then wth a packet or two of sweet cigaretts i would go in and loved every minute, i would love to join you guys in the time machine .as Neil said, such "Beautiful colors".