Disney's Robin Hood Mag-O-Flex

The Mag-o-Flex

We have seen a large amount of promotional material on this blog that were released to promote Walt Disney's live-action movie The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). In fact more were produced than we imagined as we saw in a post I did in 2012. This (below) was taken from a magazine from Today’s Cinema dated 27 March 1952:

The caption reads: 'Many of London's biggest stores are collaborating with RKO Radio's Exploitation department in window display tie-ins for Walt Disney's British production in Technicolor, The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men, the RKO release with Richard Todd and Joan Rice, which is currently scoring a hit on its World Premiere run at the Leicester Square Theatre.

1.     The ‘Robin Hood’ display put on by the Houndstitch Warehouse Company in their women’s outdoor wear window.

2.     The elaborate sports window tie-in at Selfridge’s Oxford Street.

3.     Vatric, Regent Street, purveyors of vacuum cleaners, use this modernistic ‘Robin Hood’ motif.

4.     Famed toy store, Hamley’s, of Regent Street, brighten their windows ‘Robin Hood’ cut-outs, bows and arrows.

5.     Cramer’s music store, of Kensington High Street, favours the eye-catching ‘Robin Hood’ music display.

6.     This ingenious ‘Robin Hood tie-in’ is on show at Anglo-French Shoes, of Victoria Street.'

Laurence has recently sent me images of a child's projector produced about the time of the films release. It is a Mag-O-Flex, in excellent condition and is another rare example of a 'Disney's Robin Hood tie-in' from about sixty three years ago.

The Mag.O.Flex

The Mag-O-Flex was a  battery operated plastic film projector with four film strips.

The Mag-O-Flex with films

Laurence has also included images of the film strips, scripts and packaging.

He says:
Please find attached the Mag-OFlex images so that you can see them for yourself. I scanned them at a high resolution so you can blow them up if desired. They are not great pictures but then we are talking a childs projector in 1952! I would have given my right arm at the time!! Also attached the script that came with it and the package they came in.

Many thanks to Laurence for these wonderful images. I too would have given my right arm to own something like this when I was a child. If you have any memorabilia or memories of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood, please get in touch.

Robin Hood's Chair Yet Again !

The chair used in The Story of Robin Hood (1952)

I have recently been sent an email from Christoph, a regular reader of this blog, who says he has seen Robin Hood's Chair being used in an episode from the CBBC series Horrible Histories (2009-2013). If it is the chair (originally designed by Carmen Dillon for Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men in 1951) it means it has been in used in historical productions for 62 years!

It was while watching the classic television series the Adventures of Robin Hood (1955-1960) starring Richard Greene, that I noticed a familiar piece of furniture in the Sheriff of Nottingham's chamber. I was sure I had seen the highly decorated chair with its circular headrest and carved pineapples before.

That chair in the Adventures of Robin Hood (1955-1960)

I immediately paused the DVD and quickly grabbed my illustrated copy of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men. I was correct! It was the same chair that had been designed by Carmen Dillon and her art department for Disney's live-action movie in 1951. Somehow it had found its way to Nettlefold Studios and the ground-breaking set of the black and white television series.

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955-60)

As a young lad, these two versions of the Robin Hood legend had a huge influence on me. So you can imagine my surprise when I recently found, what I believe to be that very same chair (over thirty years later) in another all-time favourite of mine Robin of Sherwood (1984-1986).

The chair in Robin of Sherwood

I made a few enquires about this remarkable coincidence and received this message from a member of the Britmovie forum:

“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.”


"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 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."

The Robin Hood Chair in The Men of Sherwood (1954)

Another regular blog visitor kindly sent me stills of those chairs being used in The 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.

Men of Sherwood (1954)

Brian Varaday sent me another example (below) of the chair being used in The Dark Avenger (1955). This not only starred Errol Flynn, but also had many people involved in its production who would have been familiar with the chair when it was first used on the set of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood at Denham Studios in 1951. Actors such as Peter Finch, Michael Hordern, Ewen Solon, crew members Guy Green, Alex Bryce and technical adviser Charles R. Beard had all previously worked on Robin Hood.

The chair used in The Dark Avenger (1955)

But this is not the end of the story of Robin Hood's Chair and I was amazed to receive this email from Christoph recently:

I'm a frequent reader of your page and have posted some comments on it under the name BobBarnsdale. My name is Christoph and I live in Berlin, having a big intertest in movies depicting the middle ages, particularly in RH movies.

After I've read the articles about the RH chair I've spotted it in some more films like "The Black Knight" with Alan Ladd.

Now I found it a TV piece from 2013, maybe the most recent use of it. It's from BBC's "Horrible Histories" sketches in season 5 episode 1. It is about the coronation of Richard the Lionheart in 1189 and used as his throne. Allthough it is differently painted and the pieces on top of the chairback are missing, it is definetly the RH chair or a replica, best to be seen in the part where Richard wants to sell London.
A scene from the Horrible Histories episode on Richard I

Is it the original chair designed and used in Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood in 1951? What do you think?

A big thank you to everyone who has helped me trace the various productions that have used this prop. If you know where it is stored, please get in touch. After sixty two years it is nice to think Robin Hood's Chair is still being used during the reign of Richard the Lionheart!