Provincial Premieres of Disney's Robin Hood

Geoff Waite has very kindly contacted me regarding the film that accompanied Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men during its provincial premieres in 1952. 

Wynne Jones and Elton Hayes at the Gaumont Theatre, Liverpool

Geoff says:
"I seem to remember you were interested in discovering what the second feature was when Disney’s ‘Robin Hood’ was first released, but I don’t recall if you were ever able to discover the name of the film.

I am attaching a photo of Elton Hayes attending the opening of The Story of Robin Hood on 27 April 1952 at the Gaumont Theatre, Liverpool. This was four days after the Manchester provincial premiere. On the back of the photo it says ‘Mr. Elton Hayes and Mr. Wynne Jones’ (Liverpool Evening Express).

As you will see from the photo, on the poster displayed between Elton and Mr Jones the second feature is shown as being Hammer the Toff starring John Bentley and Patricia Dainton. The film, released in 1952, also starred Valentine Dyall and was based on a book by John Creasey."

A huge thank you to Geoff for sending in his picture and helping to answer a question that has been bothering me for many years. 

The Capitol Theatre in Salem, Oregon  in 1952

The New York Times review of June 27th 1952 describes the two accompanying films to Disney's Robin Hood in America as Water Birds (a true-life adventure) and a cartoon short called The Little House. 

On line sources show that Hammer The Toff was first released to British cinemas in March 1952. The world premiere of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men was at the Leicester Square Theatre in London on the 13th March of that year. As we now know from Geoff's previous research  there was a Provincial Premiere in Manchester on the 23rd April and at the Gaumont Theatre in Liverpool on the 27th April. So was Hammer The Toff  the second feature during the 'general' release of Robin Hood around the country in 1952? If you can confirm this please get in touch.

Elton Hayes and Joan Rice at the Provincial Premiere in Manchester

There is now a great deal of reports about the star studded premiere of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood on this blog. Please click here to read more. And with the help of Geoff Waite we have also accumulated a vast amount of information on the life and work of Elton Hayes here.

All the pictures taken at the provincial premieres and used on this site are the property of Geoff Waite.


Clement Glen said...

A big thank you to Geoff Waite for the information and pictures regarding the provincial premieres of Robin Hood in 1952.

Neil said...

Despite Geoff's Hard work in locating this, I am pretty sure that this was not the film that went on General Release with The Story of Robin Hood - I saw the film at the time but was very young so no real recollection but my own view is that it would be a Walt Disney Film as the second feature. Very interesting though - and to me very surprising.

Clement Glen said...

I agree Neil. Geoff's discovery of those provincial premieres has been a revelation. It has been thrilling to see images of premieres that I am sure many of us never new had happened. But I feel it was more likely that Robin Hood's general release would have been accompanied by other Disney features, possibly Water Birds and Little House, like in America.