“Robin Hood, Robin Hood
Riding through the glen.
Robin Hood, Robin Hood
With his band of men.
Feared by the bad,
Loved by the good,
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood”
That little ditty has been running through my mind since 1955. “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” which ran for 143 episodes from 1955 to 1959. In the fall of 2018 Amazon Pride streaming channel began showing the first two seasons. Matinée idol Richard Greene starred as dead shot archer and crusading knight Robin Hood, as the outlaw who ruled Sherwood Forest. I’ve been working my way through the 143 episodes ever since.
I’m a Scorpio with my birthday in November. Perfect timing. The series premiered on 26 September 1955 om CBS. By November 14th I had my own bow, with rounded, red plastic tips on my arrows. I purchased two more powerful fiberglass bows since. I used to shoot on “tight-wad hill” over-looking Cheney Stadium in the late 1960s and then shot on the soccer fields of Wilson High School. It was amazing that I never lost an arrow in the brush above the ball field, but the close cropped grass at Wilson devoured my missiles. I think they slid along the grass and then disappeared under the sod. I lived in fear that the mowing tractors would unearth the arrows and launch them into crowds of young students. I don’t believe anyone ever suffered a mower fired arrow wound, so I think I’m safe.
I have really enjoyed the TV re-runs. The shows featured a number of blacklisted (McCarthy era’s communism scare) American writers, including Ring Lardner Jr., who were used under assumed names in writing many episodes of the first season. In two early episodes I recognized Leo McKern, who would later play the heavy in the Beatle’s feature length film, “Help” and then star as Horace Rumpole in the British TV show “Rumpole of the Bailey.” Also, making two appearances in Season 2 was Donald Pleasance. Pleasence played Dr. Sam Loomis in Halloween, Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice, and RAF Flight Lieutenant Colin Blythe in The Great Escape. I’ve also recognized three of my favorite “Carry On” actors appearing in the series: Sid James, Joan Sims and Bernard Bresslaw.
I wish that my family had owned a larger TV in our early days on South Ferry in Tacoma. Our first TV had a nine inch screen and then we moved up to a thirteen inch screen by the time Robin Hood and his merry men rode on to the scene. Watching my large screen TV from bed last week, revelation struck me that I had been holding my bow wrong all those years. I had no instruction so I just followed the example I thought I saw on TV. Perhaps, it’s a personal preference, but I rested the arrow shaft on my left thumb. From what I see on the big screen, the shaft should rest on the knuckle of the index finger. Perhaps, that’s why my arrows disappeared.
Unlike my BB gun I never killed any birds or shot myself in the eye with an arrow.