Champion Archer Found!

Last week I posted two letters that has been received by John Nelson from Richard Todd. In John's second letter, Richard described how he had been trained for his role as Robin Hood in Walt Disney's live action movie:
"I was given some weeks of training and practice in archery for my role in Robin Hood and became quite proficient. My teacher had been the champion archer of England and I greatly enjoyed working with him and carried on using a bow and arrow for some years for pleasure."

So the big question last week was who was 'the Champion Archer of England' in 1951?

I would like to send a huge thank you! to Chrissy Noel on our Story of Robin Hood Facebook page, who went to the trouble of contacting 'The Society of Traditional Archers' with our question. They responded almost immediately with an answer, 'it was the late great George Brown'.

Very little information is available on the internet about George Brown. Chrissy thinks he may have had connections with 'The Sherwood Archers', an archery club based in Southwell, Nottinghamshire. 

The 'Society of Traditional Archers' had this to say:
...we all knew about George. He was a Gentle Giant of a man, unassuming, a true gent and a true champion. This was the 1950's, a change over period in modern archery when man made materials were taking over from traditional equipment. George never made 'champion' again but like the wonderful Edward McKewan he is a legend to those of us who are lucky enough to remember him. he inspired many of us as children as did Richard Greene, Richard Todd et al. I bumped into Richard Todd outside the may fair theater in London...My God I exclaimed you're Richard Todd... he shook my hand and replied, 'Yes, young man I am indeed.' He was small in stature but a legend.

Chrissy did manage to find some silent film footage by British Pathe of George Brown at a 'Grand National Archery Meeting' in 1956. And SOTA confirmed that this is the man we have been looking for.

George Brown in 1956

The irony is that George Brown has appeared on this blog before. 

Way back in 2008, Neil sent in this fantastic still, showing behind the scenes during the making of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). Not only does the image give us a rare glimpse of the equipment and crew as they a film by the river bank with Richard Todd, but Neil managed to get the names of the two archers - James Hemmings and George Brown. 

So here is Richard Todd and George Brown possibly on set together!

Thanks to Chrissy and Neil I believe we have managed to trace Richard Todd's champion archer!

George Brown the Champion Archer of England during the 1950's


Clement Glen said...

Richard Todd's Champion Archer of England!

George Brown

A big thank you to Chrissy Noel on the Disney's Story of Robin Hood Facebook Page!!!!

And Neil Vessey for sending in that fantastic behind-the-scenes picture.

Mike Giddens said...

Fantastic article clement .This great movie keeps turning up fresh topics all the time , brilliant!!

Clement Glen said...

Thanks Mike. Yes I have had some fantastic input from my readers recently and some great comments on Twitter and the Disney'sRobin Facebook page. Onwards and upwards!

Neil said...

I love that film still showing the actual filming of the famous scene we know where Richard Todd scrambles up the river bank as arrows thud into the ground around him - and we see how that was done. Pleased that you identified the champion archer George Brown and I bet he had great fun on the set. When you did the original post with that still, you also put in the Technicolor scene from the film and that proved very impressive. I liked your post very much on this one and it gives us all yet another snippet to add to the knowledge that you have helped us acquire on the very famous colour film that has attained classic status.

Unknown said...

Yes it's was George brown I knew him in the 80s at Royal Richmond Archery Club he told me many stories of his times in Hollywood