R is for — Robin Hood, legendary outlaw and hero of Sherwood Forest
When someone mentions Robin Hood, my first thought is of the 1938 movie with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. I love their portrayals of Robin and Maid Marian, and there’s enough action and sword fighting for a rousing good time. Heroes of Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood and his Merry Men battle the evil Prince John and his thugs, Guy of Gisbourne and the cowardly Sheriff of Nottingham, protecting the weak and stealing from the rich to give to the poor.
As much as I love the movie, I like the book even more. I read Paul Creswick’s 1917 edition, which differs quite a bit from the movie and gives an in-depth portrayal of Robin of Locksley’s life from a young boy, through adulthood, to his sad end. The rich details and background make his story that much more compelling. The reader gets to see what made him the man he was.
According to the legend, Robin of Locksley lived during the reign of King Richard the Lionheart, who ruled England in the Middle Ages, during the twelfth century. It’s not known for certain if the legend is based on fact or fancy, but it’s the kind of story that everyone wants to believe in — where good triumphs over evil and tyranny is thrown down.
I’ve enjoyed many versions of the Robin Hood story over the years, from books, movies, and even cartoons. The most outlandish adaptation was Rocket Robin Hood, a Canadian cartoon that aired in the late 1960s and had Robin and his merry band fighting Prince John in outer space on the New Sherwood Planet Asteroid in the year 3000. My favorite version, and by far the funniest, is the 1958 Warner Brothers Merrie Melodies Robin Hood Daffy, with Daffy Duck in the title role and Porky Pig as Friar Tuck. I’ve seen it a thousand times, and it still makes me giggle like I did when I first saw it as a kid. For those who like cartoons, here’s a link to it.