Friends of Sherwood Forest - Robin Hood - The Legend.
A Tribute to Richard Greene.
One of the great things I enjoy when travelling about the Country is introducing myself and the instant change I undergo from being a complete stranger to suddenly being acknowledged as a person who is instantly recognised, and Robin Hood is the legend that gets me there. Goes something like this, hello I'm Aidie from the Friends of Sherwood Forest, ah comes the reply... " Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest ", it's just like being recognised as an old friend. I am often as not instantly accepted as a Friend and I suppose as our name implies we are a friendly bunch, well I wish Robin were back today to give me a hand with some of the problems we have to deal with, I'm certain he would be our greatest asset.
My first encounter with the legend of Robin Hood was as a child watching Richard Greene on the telly in his usual half hour slot doing battle with the Nasty Sheriff of Nottingham and his wicked men. Portrayed as a superb Archer and swordsman he could escape any encounter to live and play another day. The acting at times by today's standards was stoic, but as children we were riveted to the monochrome screen like glue. From 1955 to 1960 The Adventure of Robin Hood played by Richard Greene was the first ever televised version of our National Hero making 143 episodes, and I could watch every one over and over again. Sadly Richard passed away on the 1st June 1985. His career had spanned 40 films before The Adventures of Robin Hood took charge in his life. During the War years he eventually managed to enlist and quickly rose to the rand of Captain Greene. At the conclusion of his famous Robin Hood series he returned to film work to make the Sword of Sherwood Forest an 80 min feature now available on DVD.
Richard Greene was not the only Actor to portray Robin Hood, amongst the many others were, Michael Praed, Errol Flynn, Jason Connery, Douglass Fairbanks, Jonas Armstrong, Cary Elwes, Russell Crowe, Martin Potter, Kevin Costner, Patrick Bergin, Dick Gautier, Patrick Troughton and ... Mr 007 - Sean Connery. Quite a Cast.
Later in Richards life he appeared in various roles in such series as Dixon of Dock Green, Tales of the Unexpected, The Doctors and even the Morecombe and Wise show together with featured parts in two Fu-manchu films in 1968 and 1969.
Did Robin Hood actually exist ? that is a question that needs careful handling in certain quarters, it is my belief that there were bound to be Robin Hoods that existed down the ages, think on to a Medieval system that ruled by force and a Country always in turmoil being dictated to by the latest Charlie to claim the throne for his or her own lust, there could have been little or no stability and the only rule for survival was to make sure you were on the winning side, a system that was bound to create outcasts and with no backup like Social Security or State Benefits meant that survival meant being a downright criminal to survive, anyone philanthropic enough may well have helped others along the way in such an unjust and evil system that prevailed. Robin Hood was a Legend created by a wicked I'm alright Jack system. The lust for power took precedence over everything else including man and beast.
Today you can see references to Robin Hoods haunts on Ordinance Survey maps such as Robin Hoods Well, Robin Hoods Cave, Grave etc, A lot of these places are well off the beaten track and taking a second look were like as not Robbers Cave or the Robbers well where thieves could settle for a day or two out of the way of the Authorities for a short rest, later these sites were taken to be not Robbers Cave but Robin Hoods Cave where outcasts or Outlaws could be found congregating and plotting their next revenge match on Society or what was travelling up the road in a coach that would be worth robbing.
It's obvious in the minds of his many creators that Robin was not inherently evil himself but an unfortunate victim of the ruling classes that wanted their own way regardless, much the same as it is today with Politicians and Westminster, the Government create their own class of victim and tread them down into the mire through no fault of their own. One thing is for certain the system did create a character that everyone could recognise and associate with at all classes and levels.\