Elton Hayes attends the Cardiff Empire Provincial Premiere

Elton Hayes at the Cardiff Empire promoting Robin Hood

Down the years I have been able to publish a great deal about the making of Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men. Some of this information has come from my regular readers, including Geoff Waite. Geoff is a well respected authority on the life and recording career of Elton Hayes (1915-2001), who played the part of the minstrel ‘Alan-A-Dale’ in this Technicolor classic. 

Elton Hayes as Alan-A-Dale with James Hayer as Friar Tuck

Geoff contacted me recently regarding the ‘provincial premieres’ of Disney’s Robin Hood, something which, up until a few years ago, I did not realise had happened. 

Elton entertaining patients at the Cardiff Royal General Infirmary in 1952

Geoff says:

“ Going back to the question of the provincial premiere, or premiere’s, of Disney’s  The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men, we know that members of the cast such as Joan Rice, James Hayter and Elton Hayes made personal appearances when the film opened at selected theatres around the country.  I am aware that Elton Hayes attended openings at the Manchester Odeon, the Cardiff Empire, and the Gaumont theatres in Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester before he sailed for America on 6 May 1952 to promote the film for Disney.

Here are some photos from my private collection relating to the opening at the Cardiff Empire. As you will see, Elton was accompanied by two Maid Marian’s and one of the ‘Merrie Men’!!  The first has Elton demonstrating his prowess as a bowman (without an arrow). And earlier in the day, we find him serenading the two Maid Marian’s at Cardiff Castle. I think this is a splendid picture. He also entertained patients at the Cardiff Royal General Infirmary, and I will send these on to you.

Unfortunately, I do not know the Cardiff date, but it must have been around the time of the Manchester and Liverpool openings in April 1952. I hope you like the photos”.
(Geoff Waite)

Elton signs for a fan at the Cardiff Royal General Infirmary in 1952

I am sure my readers will agree that these are amazing images. Thank you Geoff for sharing them with us.

Elton with two Maid Marians at Cardiff Castle in 1952

This blog has 34 pages on the life of Elton Hayes (1915-2001). Included are details of his recording career, performances and a complete discography. Just click here to read a great deal more. 

Hal Osmond (1903-1959)

Hal Osmond

Many thanks to John, who has sent in this very early studio photograph of Hal Osmond. Regular readers of this blog will know that Hal appeared as Midge the Miller, in Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men, released in 1952.

Hal as Midge the Miller

Hal Osmond was born on May 27, 1903 in Southwark, London, England as Hal Lowther. 

He is described by IMDb as a ‘diminutive, lean-faced character actor. Who often appeared in small roles, often of ferrety, nervous types. During his 12-year long screen career, he portrayed a succession of small time crooks, informants or professional men.’ 

His films and TV performances include:

Once Upon a Dream (1949)
Vote for Huggett (1949)
A Boy, a Girl and a Bike (1949)
Diamond City (1949)
The Spider and the Fly (1949)
Your Witness (1950)
Double Confession (1950)
No Trace (1950)
Last Holiday (1950)
There Is Another Sun (1951)
The Happy Family (1952)
The Brave Don't Cry (1952)
Death of an Angel (1952)
The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952)
Love in Pawn (1953)
To Dorothy a Son (1954)
Tiger by the Tail (1955)
The Gilded Cage (1955)
Bond of Fear (1956)
Hell Drivers (1957) - Ticket Clerk
High Flight (1957)
The Vicious Circle (1957) - Joe - Golf Caddy
On the Run (1958)
Tread Softly Stranger (1958)
A Night to Remember (1958) - Steward (uncredited)
The 39 Steps (1959) - Stage Manager
Jack the Ripper (1959)

Hal in a scene from Robin Hood

Hal passed away in Taunton, Somerset England in December 1959.

To read a lot more about the lives of the stars that appeared in Disney’s live-action film Robin Hood (1952), please click on the labels in the task bar.