Showing posts with label Behind The Camera. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Behind The Camera. Show all posts

Production Memorabilia 3

Prop and Set-Dressing List

These are the final images available of the production notes for Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men, made in England in 1951. The folder, containing many pages of fascinating detail has recently been sold at auction.

Above is a page from the Prop and Set-Dressing List, showing details from what appears to be the scene of King Richard’s departure for the Holy Land. Included with the main characters are 20 foresters, 15 bill or axe men, 2 acolytes with sensors, 15 crossbowmen etc.

Prop and set-dressing list

The next image (above) appears to be a continuation of the list, which includes, 21 bows for the bowmen, 15 crossbows, 15 quivers, a charger for King Richard and the Earl of Huntingdon, and the banner of England on a staff.

Patrick Barr (King Richard I) with some of the props

Robin Hood’s Costume

Above are details of Robin Hood’s costume, worn by Richard Todd who starred as the outlaw hero. Richard would have reached his 100th birthday last June.

Richard Todd as Robin Hood

Listed is his legendary bugle horn, green cloth hood, green cloth kirtle, short boots of soft brown basel and quiver and bow.

Short Bio on Richard Todd

On this page, we can view the short bio on Richard Todd. It describes how three years before his selection for the role by Disney, he had been an unknown repertory player. He had founded the Dundee Repertory Company and after his demobilisation from the Parachute Regiment he had been discovered in London by a director of Association British and given a contract. His first film was “ For Them That Trespass,” which so impressed the executives of the production company he was given the key role in “ The Hasty Heart,” alongside Ronald Reagan and Patricia Neal.

These glimpses of the production notes from the making of this wonderful film, have been a real treat. Many thanks to John Nelson for sending them in.

More Production Memorabilia from Robin Hood

Various costumes

This is my second post about a collection of production memorabilia, recently auctioned, from Walt Disney’s live action motion picture the Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men. It was the last big-budget film to be made at Denham Studios in Buckinghamshire, England, in 1951. We have seen on this website, the amount of research into the making of this movie and this is yet another example of the Disney production crew's huge attention to detail.

Various props

If you click on the labels Behind the Camera and Film Production you will find many pages dedicated to the research and making of this Technicolor masterpiece. Down the years, I have posted about the discovery of the original script, also the unique short film The Riddle of Robin Hood, (which showed the creative process during the making of the movie) and even Disney’s memo about the choice of Maid Marian’s costume. There is so much on this website about this almost forgotten film.

The design of Nottingham Castle

Regular readers of this blog will have also seen my many articles about Carmen Dillon. She was the award winning head of Walt Disney’s Art and Design Department and these documents (above) would have definitely passed through her hands. So many thanks to John Nelson for making me aware of this fascinating collection. More soon.

Production Memorabilia of Robin Hood

Research Material for Robin Hood

I missed the auction! Although I could never have afforded the final figure of £250. It was for a collection of research material for Walt Disney’s live-action Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men, which was made in England in 1951 and released in 1952.

A huge thank you to John Nelson for making me aware of this sale. It is a fantastic piece of - not only film memorabilia -  but also a remarkable glimpse into the research and preparation of this wonderful movie.

Some of the 30 pages of notes

Unfortunately some of the images are unclear and it it is difficult to read the notes in pencil. It is very frustrating. Perhaps the new owner of this goldmine of information, will read this blog post and share some of the detail!

Designs of medieval belt pouches

I will be posting some more images of this fascinating collection soon.

Behind the Scenes at Denham Studios

Anthony Eustrel, Patrick Barr and Walt Disney

Once again I am indebted to Neil Vessey for sending me yet more rare pictures of the making of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). Neil has kindly scanned these images from the Picture Show Annual of 1953. Above we can see Anthony Eustrel in costume as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Patrick Barr as King Richard the Lionheart with Walt Disney, during the filming of Robin Hood at Denham Studios.

In July 1951, just as his cartoon version of Alice in Wonderland  was released in America, Walt Disney visited England with his wife Lilian and his daughters, to supervise the production of his second live-action movie.

Ken Annakin with Perce Pearce

In the second image (above) we can see Ken Annakin (1914-2009) the director of this wonderful film with Perce Pearce (1899-1955). Pearce was chosen by Disney to supervise and produce his early film productions in England, including Treasure Island, The Sword and the Rose, Rob Roy the Highland Rogue and of course The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men.

To read more about the making of Robin Hood at Denham Studios and the wonderful cast of actors that appeared in this Technicolor masterpiece, please click on the relevant labels.

Behind the Scenes at Denham Studios

Filming the final scene at Denham Studios of Robin Hood

Many of us have often wished to be at Denham Studios during the filming of The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men in 1951. Well - at least this incredibly detailed photograph (above), goes somewhere to fulfilling our wishes. It has been sent in by our regular contributor -Neil.

We can see Joan Rice (Maid Marian) hugging Robin Hood (Richard Todd) shortly after he has been made the Earl of Locksley by the returning King Richard the Lionheart. To see our picture strip of this scene, please click here.

Detail - showing Joan Rice, Richard Todd, James Hayter and Ken Annakin

Many of the production crew are visible in this remarkable image, including director Ken Annakin, standing alongside James Hayter (Friar Tuck). Also several of the 'outlaws', including Ewen Solon. Notice also, the huge Technicolor camera, which is possibly being operated by the director of photography, Guy Green.

Neil says:
"That is the Studio scene at Denham showing the filming towards the end  in Robin Hood’s Camp – but this is the original photograph and absolutely crystal clear  whereas we will both have seen this one in a smaller less clear version – I think from the Old Monrovians visit there at the time.

I think this scene would be filmed at the end of July 1951  - and I have a feeling that we would be on our holidays in St.Albans at  that time - so as a small boy with my parents and brothers, would have been passing the Denham Studios at that very moment

The other picture with Walt Disney, Richard Todd and Elton Hayes, we have seen before – but again this is a bigger clearer one.

I am so happy with these. Please use them on your site if you wish."

In the second picture that Neil has kindly sent, we can see Walt Disney on the Nottingham Castle set, during his visit to Denham Studios in June 1951. Alongside him is Elton Hayes (as the minstrel Allan-a-Dale) and Richard Todd (Robin Hood ‘disguised as a soldier of the Sheriff’). 

In his autobiography (Caught in the Act, Hutchinson 1986), Richard Todd describes the ‘solid’ dungeon walls as being constructed of pure wood and plaster.

Elton Hayes (Allan-a-Dale), Walt Disney and Richard Todd (Robin Hood)

Filming of Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men began on 30th April 1951. Ken Annakin, the director of the movie, in his autobiography (So You Wanna Be a Director, Tomahawk 2001) says that 10 weeks into shooting, Disney made a surprise visit to the set. Annakin describes how the great man had photos taken with the stars of the film in the Nottingham Square set on the lot. This also included ‘numerous’ pictures with Joan Rice (Maid Marian) on the archery field.

This fits with Richard Todd's (Robin Hood) memoirs where he describes Disney coming over from London to Denham near the end of June 1951 and how he was thoroughly pleased with the way things were going.

Coinciding with Walt’s stopover, the then Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) paid a visit to the Denham Studios, accompanied only by her lady-in-waiting and equerry. The future queen was shown by Walt Disney and the art director Carmen Dillon around the outside sets and the costume department. Perce Pearce, the producer of Walt Disney’s Robin Hood, insisted that filming should continue as normal as that is what the young princess wanted to see. So for about twenty minutes she stood quietly in a dark corner, while production carried on, then gave a friendly wave and slipped out of the stage. I wonder what scene it was she saw being filmed?

To read more about the production of the film, Walt Disney, or see the picture gallery please click on the labels in the side bar.

A huge thank you to Neil for sending these images.

Disney's Robin Hood Script 3

Richard Todd as Robin and Joan Rice as Marian

Below is another page from the script of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men which was filmed at Denham Studios and Burnahm Beeches in Buckinghamshire in 1951. The script was originally owned by Noland Blackburn, who worked for Walt Disney Productions during the 1950's. 

Robin describes his 'fair maiden'

I have featured a few pages from this script recently. The page above, shows an early scene in the movie in which Robin Hood (Richard Todd) teases Maid Marian (Joan Rice). But we can see that some of Marian's dialogue was eventually changed. The original script had her saying:

"Chop off infidel heads enough, you'd come back a knight. Forthwith, you'd be scrimaging in a tournament - - to please a lady - - and have your own head chopped of."

But those who have seen the film will know that this was later changed, so that Marian said:

" Chop off enough heads; you will come back a knight. As a knight, you would go jousting in a tournament, to please a lady, and have you own head chopped off!"

Joan Rice as Marian going through the script with Director Ken Annakin

In his memo, Walt Disney describes Joan Rice's difficulties with the dialogue. The director, Ken Annakin went into great detail in his autobiography about the problems he had with her; how he had to slavishly go over the script with her word for word. But it is worth mentioning, that she had been rushed through the ‘Rank Charm School’ a year earlier and that she had no experience in acting beforehand.

Joan Rice (Marian) and Richard Todd Robin Hood) during a break from filming

That page also shows that the original script had Robin holding out his hand 'a foot above Marian's head', showing how much taller his imaginary 'fair maiden' was. This was also eventually cut from the movie.

Joan Rice's costume is adjusted before filming

Below is a section of a picture strip that shows that scene with Robin and Marian.

Joan Rice on set as Maid Marian

To see the whole movie in picture strip form, or read about the lives of Richard Todd and Joan Rice, just click on the relevant label in the task bar.

Special thanks to Cindy for sharing images of the script.

Disney's Robin Hood Script 2

Noland's Disney employee card

Those of you that have read my recent blog post, Disney's Robin Hood Script, will know of my excitement at seeing such a treasured item. Cindy has since, sent some more images, including the original employees identification card for Walt Disney Productions, once owned by her father-in-law, Noland Blackburn (above).

Reverse of Noland's employee card

Noland Philip Blackburn worked for Walt Disney during the 1950's and it is through the kindness of his daughter-in-law Cindy, that we are able to see pages from the original film script of The Story of Robin Hood (1952).

Robin (Richard Todd) looks for the assailant

Below is a page from the script describing the scene where Robin Hood's father is shot in the back by Red Gill, played by Archie Duncan.

Robin's father is shot by the assailant.

The original script describes the assailant and Robin both stalking each other and crawling 'in a circle through the brush.' These scenes were obviously later cut from the movie.

Robin kills that assailant - Red Gill.

Detail of the script 

Below is a couple of pages from Laurence's fabulous Picture Strip that show images of those scenes that were finally used in the movie. 

To see the whole of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men in this picture strip, please click here.

The final scene

I featured the page above in my last edition. This is the final scene where Robin Hood hugs Marian in front of King Richard and the outlaws. But this time the script is accompanied with a rare photograph taken in the studio at Denham as they filmed that exact same scene (below).

Marian (Joan Rice) hugs Robin (Richard Todd) in Denham Studios

Joan Rice as Marian and Richard Todd as Robin Hood

Once again many thanks to Cindy. 

Disney's Robin Hood Script

There have been many highlights compiling this blog over the last ten years. But I am sure my readers will agree, few can compare with seeing images of the script from our favourite movie!

Front cover of the Robin Hood script

I am extremely grateful to Cindy who has kindly emailed me these images from Canada. The script belonged to her father-in-law who worked for Walt Disney during the 1950's.

Detail of the cover

I have enlarged a few of Cindy's pictures, so that the pages can be read.

First page of the script

First page describing the opening scene

It is a pity Disney cut part of the beginning scene at Huntington Manor with Stephen the steward. In the final edit only the Earl's Page can be seen by the hall doorway holding the golden hunting horn.

Final page of the script

Joan Rice as Maid Marian and Richard Todd as Robin Hood

Detail of the final page

Cindy's father-in-law was Noland Philip Blackburn. She says he:
Went to the United States with his mother and wanted to pursue an acting career.  He got his job at Disney and was a mail clerk and told us he would deliver Walt's coffee and lunch to him.  His career there was cut short due to the draft.  He had to hop on a train to get back to Canada to avoid the draft.  He obtained a lot of his collection from items that were being thrown out when he worked there and kept them all these years.
I am sure you will agree that seeing the original screenplay by Lawrence Edward Watkin has been fascinating. So I want to send a huge thank you to Cindy.

The script will eventually be auctioned.

There will be more to see soon!

Bill Walsh's 'The Riddle of Robin Hood'

I last posted about The Riddle of Robin Hood over eight years ago.  Since then, I have discovered more fascinating information about the making of this little film.

Bill Crozier Walsh's (1913-1975) career with Walt Disney began in June 1943. Initially he started as a joke writer and publicist, which led to work on the syndicated Micky Mouse cartoon strip. But this portly, cigar chomping New Yorker would later become one of the most successful producers in entertainment history.

Disney soon noticed Walsh's talents in publicity and put him in charge of the studios first television production, One Hour in Wonderland which aired on Christmas Day in 1950. Walsh recalled Disney inviting him into his office and being told that he had decided to "go with television and that he was the guy that was going to do it."

Walsh was stunned and said, "I don't know anything about television." But Disney just grinned and said, "that's o.k. nobody does!" Walsh remained convinced this new venture was doomed to failure. So he wrote an urgent memorandum to Disney warning that the studio should avoid small screen productions at all costs.  

The note didn't work and ironically Disney's television debut was such a success that Walsh was then hired as head of all the studios television productions. These included the hugely popular series Davy Crockett, The Adventures of Spin and Marty, The Mickey Mouse Club and The Hardy Boys.
Bill Walsh with Walt Disney

When the studio began planning their second live-action movie The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men in 1951, Disney invited Walsh over to England. When he inquired as to what his role would be, Walt replied:
"There's a funny little magic word called 'initiative', and that will tell you what to do." 
Once in England, Walsh put his instinct as a publicist to good use and conceived the idea of 12 minute promotional film about the making of this new Disney's live action movie. He called it The Riddle of Robin Hood and it included details about the research that the studio had made into the ancient legend and backstage production scenes. 

The Riddle of Robin Hood was shown in schools, cinemas and TV stations all over the country. Walsh described Disney as being delighted because:
"We were getting a lot of mileage out of this goofy little film and Walt was sort of enchanted by all that free space promoting the film."
Whilst browsing the Chronology of the Walt Disney Company many years ago I discovered, under the year 1952, a mention of The Riddle of Robin Hood. It simply said-under, month unknown, “Disney releases the film The Riddle of Robin Hood for promotional use [501.470].” I immediately emailed the owner of the web site, but he later confessed that he knew very little else. So I put an appeal on this blog in September 2007 for anyone that might have seen this mysterious film.

Perce Pearce with Walt Disney in 'The Riddle of Robin Hood.'

Eventually Neil contacted me and revealed that he had acquired a copy of this very rare film. This was fantastic news! It was produced by the Disney organisation to promote their second live-action production The Story of Robin Hood (1952). It is not only an amazing piece of cinematic history - but also of Disney history.

Today, Walsh's 'goofy little film' gives a fascinating insight into the Disney studios live-action production of Robin Hood.  It takes you behind the scenes, right from the early research, the planning stages, set construction and on to the filming at Denham Film Studios in 1951. So you can imagine my surprise when I received this message from Disney expert Bill Cotter a few years ago:
“I just saw your post on this film and wanted to share what I wrote about it for my book The Wonderful World of Disney Television:
'Another project during this time also helped to confirm Walt's feelings about using television to promote his theatrical releases. After World War II, the Studio made several films in England to use funds being held there. Walt took Bill Walsh with him to England during the filming of The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men, a 1952 release starring Richard Todd. Walsh's assignment was to produce a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, and he took the unusual approach of questioning Robin Hood's actual existence. The resultant 12-minute film, The Riddle of Robin Hood, was Walsh's first live action film. The Studio wasn't quite sure what to do with it, and as Walsh later retold it, they decided to give it away for free to anyone who was interested in it:
"In those days, naive was the word for the TV people. They didn't know what to do - they had to fill up a lot of time all day long, but they didn't have the stuff. We planted this film with a lot of TV stations all over the country, planted it with schools, because it had kind of a documentary feel about it. So pretty soon we were getting a lot of mileage out of this goofy little film. Walt was sort of enchanted by that, all that free space promoting the film, so the next year the networks came in and wanted Walt to do a TV show, and he was sort of spooky about it. I think he had had a bad experience on radio using the voices like the Duck and the Mouse. Nobody could understand it and the show wasn't successful, so he was a little leery about doing a TV show."
While it wasn't originally planned as a television program, The Riddle of Robin Hood certainly served the purpose of proving once again that television and films could happily co-exist.'
(Bill Cotter) 
Below are two more screenshots from The Riddle of Robin Hood.

Richard Todd up in The Major Oak in Sherwood Forest

Carman Dillon designing Nottingham town square

After several years in television Walsh switched to live-action films. He was either a writer, co-producer and producer on such memorable Disney productions like Mary Poppins, The Absent Minded Professor, That Darn Cat, Black Beard's Ghost, One Of Our Dinosaur's Is Missing, Bedknobs And Broomsticks, The Love Bug and Herbie Rides Again.

On Mary Poppins, Walsh shared an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture with Walt Disney.  He also shared an Academy Award nomination for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay with Don Da Gradi.

Bill Walsh

Marsh's remarkable creative talent led him to become Disney's right-hand man and close friend until Disney's death in 1966. 

Songwriters Richard and Robert Sherman described Bill Marsh as:
"one of the most gifted men ever to have worked for Disney-deft with language and humour."
Bill Warsh died of a heart attack on January 27th 1975.