Neil has discovered an interesting snippet from The Cinema magazine of April 1951. It backs-up the strong rumor that Robert Newton had been lined up to play the part of Friar Tuck in Disney's Story of Robin Hood (1952).
It was in May 2008 that I first posted a story taken from the Los Angeles Times, that Disney had wanted both Bobby Driscoll and Robert Newton to appear in his version of Robin Hood. You can read it here. The original film script seems to have been based around the exploits of a young boy (Bobby Driscoll) in the outlaws camp. But in the end he decided to highlight the romance between Robin Hood (Richard Todd) and Maid Marian (Joan Rice).
Robert Newton had already worked for Disney on Treasure Island (1950) and had been a huge success.As Neil pointed out in his email to me, Newton's performance as Long John Silver is the yardstick to which all others are judged. Unfortunately Newton was already signed up to film Androcles and the Lion for RKO, so we will never know how he would have performed as Friar Tuck.
So the part of the jovial friar was given to James Hayter, who had only just completed playing the title role in the director Ken Annakin's earlier movie, The Verger (Trio) 1950.
James Hayter as Friar Tuck