More Robin Hoods?

Some past Robin Hoods

Above is another of Laurence's wonderful montages. This image ties-in nicely with the latest news coming out of Hollywood.

The myth of Robin Hood  has existed for more than six hundred years, spreading from its modest medieval beginnings to every conceivable form of todays media and entertainment. But even that fact does not account for the unprecedented announcement that no less than four versions of the classic tale are due from America's film factory.

More images of a legend

  1. Firstly Lionsgate have a new motion picture, Robin Hood:Origins in production that will have a similar format to their successfully gritty Batman Begins of 2005.
  2. Warner Brothers - who in 1938 produced the classic version starring Errol Flynn - are planning a new movie about the outlaw.
  3. From ballad hero to superman? Sony intend to turn Robin's band of medieval outlaws into Marvel style action hero's in their up and coming flick.
  4. And last, but no-means least are Disney. Yes, this will be their third look at the legend. The first and by far the best was of course The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). Then, in 1973 they visited Sherwood again with the hero portrayed by a fox in an animated cartoon version. Now they have Nottingham & Hood, on their books, which they hope will launch a new adventure franchise rather like their lucrative Pirates of the Caribbean.

The legend lives on.. 

I would be interested to hear your opinions on these future movies.

Elton Hayes Poster

Above is a rare variety poster promoting a performance by Elton Hayes (1915-2001) at the Empire Theatre in Finsbury Park. This was probably shortly after the release of Walt Disney's live-action movie The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952) in which he played the minstrel Allan-a-Dale.

The success of the film led to a nineteen-city tour of the USA and Canada. In 8 hectic weeks he also managed to include 113 television and radio appearances.

Elton Hayes in 1963

Below is a small section of his detailed obituary by Evelyn Branston:

When Walt Disney's Treasure Island (1950) was made, Elton had the task of arranging the old sea shanties sung on board the 'Hispaniola'. This was followed by the job of researching ancient ballads for their second live-action production, Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). The producer Perce Pearce, asked him to assist in another actor's screen test, and then sprang the surprise that it had been Elton on test and the part of Allan-a-Dale was his! So good was he in that role that, although it started as a few lines, it developed into one of the main parts in the film.

Elton Hayes as Allan-a-Dale with Hal Osmond (Midge) and Joan Rice (Marian)

The success of the film led to Elton completing a nineteen-city tour of the USA and Canada, making 113 radio and TV appearances in eight hectic weeks!
Sadly his second film ['The Black Knight' (1954), Elton appears in the opening sequence as a minstrel on horseback] did not enjoy the same success. One of the film 'extras' inadvertently wore Elton's costume and was conspicuously killed in an early scene. Continuity failed to notice. Consequently all Elton's scenes were later consigned to the cutting room floor.
He sang in the Light Music Festival at the Royal Festival Hall, the Royal Film Performance at the Empire, Leicester Square, innumerable other concert appearances, private functions and then trips to the continent for recitals of higher academic standard to music societies, universities, international musicians etc. The nervous tensions of the concert platform began to take their toll and Elton realised that it was time for a change of career. Being a confirmed country lover the choice was easy; he became a farmer.
He bought a 47-acre farm at Hartest, near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk and soon built up a prestgious herd of pedigree pigs. He now found time to return to his youthful hobby of horses. This brought him into contact with the members of the British Driving Society and the art of carriage driving. Like everything else, Elton threw himself into this new interest with enthusiasm and was soon skilled enough to win awards for driving tandem (two horses, one behind the other).

Down the years, with the kind help of Geoff Waite and others, I have researched the life of Elton Hayes. To see his complete discography, read his full obituary by Evelyn Branston and a lot, lot more, please click here.