A Hold-Up At Robin's Camp

(Walt Disney with Ken Annakin on the set of Robin Hood)

After ten weeks of shooting The Story of Robin Hood, the film crew were sitting around, one day, waiting for the Special Effects men to fix four whistling arrows onto wires ( to make them fly into Robin’s camp) and disgruntled at the fact that the pay cheques had been delayed. When all of a sudden, the lowest assistant camera man, John Alcott (who later won an Oscar for his photography on Greystoke) began to parody a phrase that had just been used in a scene by Anthony Forwood as Will Scarlet:

Off with your kirtles, and on with your rags

Robin’s gone up to the office to sort out a breach,

And teach those Yankee bags

They must pay up or get out of reach!

The whole crew roared with laughter and began to chant the verse in unison. At that very moment Walt Disney, who had been holidaying in England with his family, walked into the studio completely unannounced with a very puzzled look on his face. He headed straight for the director, Ken Annakin and asked, “Something wrong? Why aren’t you shooting?”

Completely stunned, Annakin rather nervously explained the situation and held his breath while Disney turned away and thought carefully. Then suddenly he broke into a wide grin, put his hand to his mouth and yelled out, “Okay, fellas, I’ll go rob the rich and pay the poor. But for Pete’s sake, keep this show rolling. I’d like to come back to the UK with another one next year!”

To Annakin’s relief, Disney then moved on to see the latest rushes with his favourite art director, Carmen Dillon.

© Clement of the Glen 2006-2007

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