Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


WIFE DOTTIE AND I recently enjoyed a Robin Hood flick on the telly. What a hoot! A classic tale of medieval England, California landscapes, and, come to think of it, Southern Californian subtitles too. Here are tidbits on Robin Hood and a California perspective.

The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, and Basil Rathbone, Warner Bros., 1938.

The Adventures of Robin Hood, 1938, was the first talkie version of this classic tale, Douglas Fairbanks having portrayed a silent Robin in 1922.

Michael Curtiz (later to earn Casablanca fame) shared director responsibilities with William Keighley. Erik Wolfgang Korngold composed the score, stirring and memorable classic movie music.

Basel Rathbone and Errol Flynn fight it out.

Amazing prowess in sword fighting was exhibited by Errol Flynn (Robin) and Basil Rathbone (as baddie Sir Guy de Gisbourne). Claude Rains displayed acting versatility as the even badder and usurping Prince John. (He was later to portray Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca.

Olivia de Havilland’s Maid Marian specialized in two looks, happily anxious and unhappily anxious. Wife Dottie likened one of her medieval gowns to a silky skindiver outfit.

Olivia de Havilland looks suitably concerned.

Alan Hale, Sr., was in the midsts of setting a cinema record: He was Robin’s pal Little John in the 1922 flick, portrayed the same role in this one, and was to do it yet again in Rogues of Sherwood Forest, 1950. By the way, his son Alan Hale, Jr., was the Skipper on the TV sitcom Gilligan’s Island.

California Sherwood Forest. My research suggests that live oaks, genus Quercus, may not have been indigenous to medieval England, but they sure were to Errol Flynn’s version.

The setting for Warner Bros. Sherwood Forest was Lower Bidwell Park, in the Sacramento Valley city of Chico. Bidwell Park is the third largest municipal park in California and among the 25 largest city parks in the U.S.

Other scenes were shot at the Warner Ranch in Southern California’s Calabasas; the former Busch Gardens, now part of Pasadena’s Lower Arroyo Park; as well as locales used in the 1922 Douglas Fairbanks flick.

A 17th-century broadside of the Robin Hood tale.

Southern Californian Close Captioning? We tend to keep our TV’s closed-captioning option activated, all the better to confirm our ears’ perception of Cornish, Welsh, Yorkshire, Scottish, and Shetland accents.

However, the closed captioning of our Turner Classic Movies’ The Adventures of Robin Hood added Southern California touches:

The Norman overlords’ abuse of Saxon common folk was captioned early on as the crushing treatment of “surfs.”

In one scene of alcoholic celebration, “casts” of wine were broached.

The special arrow to the winner of the archery contest? A conniving knight says, “This golden ‘book’ should catch the fish.”

And traveling ahead, Sir Guy de Gisbourne’s “advanced car” got ambushed. The guardsmen didn’t stand a chance against the wily Merry Men of “Sherwin Forest.”

All in good medieval fun. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2019


  1. Gordon Craig
    April 27, 2019

    As a retired Special Education video/television editor and producer, 27 years, I can tell you real time captioning is fraught with constant phonetic spellings on the fly, and seems to fare no better in well meaning post-production studio captioning. “Surfs” becoming “serfs” is not surprising at all, just goes with the territory. best wishes, gordon

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