‘Men of Sherwood Forest’ (1954)I would like to thank fellow blogger ‘Robin Hood’ for making me aware of yet another production that included the now infamous ‘Robin Hood Chair.’ Or should I say chairs?
It was originally designed and first used in 1951 at Denham Studios for Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men. I then noticed it in the TV series The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955-1958) and also Robin of Sherwood (1984-1986). After my post last week about its appearance in the episode ‘Trial by Battle,’ he has kindly sent me stills of the chairs also being used in Men of Sherwood Forest (1954).
Some of the chairs used in 'Men of Sherwood Forest' (1954)
This was the first of a trilogy of Robin Hood features made by Hammer Film productions and also their first colour movie. Recently some critics have described it as the possibly the worst sound film about the outlaw ever made, although American actor Don Taylor gives a good performance as Robin Hood and Reginald Beckwith is an excellent Friar Tuck in this low budget romp.
No doubt ‘Robin Hood’s Chair’ was shipped out of Denham Studios with all the other thousands of props after Rank Organisation stopped film production there when Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood was completed. After that it was obviously hired out for various projects for the small and silver screen.
The chair in Disney's Story of Robin Hood (1952)
The chair in Robin of Sherwood (1984 -1986)
Below are some comments I received on the Britmovie forum in 2007:
'I think it’s quite normal for props and costumes and even whole sets to be used in other films over the years, studios normally had their own prop stores and there are also several large independent prop hire companies around London that have been on the go for years, I remember visiting one in Acton many years ago while helping a friend find some props for a theatre production, it was like an Aladdin’s cave with the proprietor cheerfully pointing out what other famous plays some of the props had been used for in the past. Didn't the Carry On team use costumes and sets from other big productions that had filmed at Pinewood? I read that the costumes from Carry on Henry were originally used in Becket with Richard Burton, or was it A Man for All Seasons and that some of the costumes and props from Carry on up the Khyber were used in Zulu and so on. I guess it makes economical sense to recycle props,costumes etc. a point not lost on low budget film makers such as Roger Corman who was famous for doing deals with studios and using sets that had been used in other films, I’m pretty sure he came to Britain and purloined an existing set for one of his films.'
'Another one that a friend pointed out to me was that some helmets worn by a bunch of Knights Templar in an episode of Robin of Sherwood were those worn by the infamous 'Knights Who Say 'Ni!'' in Monty Python and the Holy Grail…'
'I guess most of the props these days are located in private rental firms. In the old days before studios went four walls they contained huge prop departments on site. I know Pinewood had a massive prop dept so it’s not unusual for the same prop to pop up in many films. Of course some props were spirited away when a production wraps and are now privately owned. I know when MGM Borehamwood closed they flogged a lot off in a huge auction and many went down the road to Elstree. Stanley Kubrick was of the opinion that none off his props should turn up in future productions so burnt a lot of his on the lot.'
So it would be interesting to know if it the chair is still stored away somewhere and what other films and TV series it has appeared in. Please get in touch if you have seen it at: firstname.lastname@example.org