The Adventures of Robin Hood

by Harry on April 15, 2008

I know that last week was children’s television week at CT, but I thought I’d just note that the Richard Greene version of The Adventures of Robin Hood is finally out on DVD in the US (it’s been available for years in the UK, and a few episodes have been available on region 1 in dollar stores for a while, but not the whole first series), and is almost free at amazon. This was Lew Grade’s first real foray into making ambitious television, and was written, in large part, by blacklisted and self-exiled Hollywood writers (I met Norma Barzman several times when I lived in LA; I was somewhat in awe of her and am only glad that I didn’t know then that she wrote for Robin Hood, or I would have been an embarrassing wreck. Like most Europeans of my generation I’m intensely grateful to the blacklisters for sending all those talented and decent people to start up TV for us). Watching it today, it holds up amazingly well — the film quality is excellent, the scripts are wry and well-plotted, and the acting is excellent (for a kid’s show) with major future stars turning up in nearly every episode. It compares very favourably with Disney’s Davy Crockett, which I also watched with my girls. Robin is a socialist, of course (very much in the Bows Against the Barons mould) and never commits violence in excess of what is needed, whereas Davy Crockett is full of morally dubious bloodbaths, and scripted….lightly. Highly Recommended — whether you have kids or not, frankly.

Look, and be Amazed

by Belle Waring on April 15, 2008

Would you like to see a bunch of people argue that calling a black man in his 40s “boy” isn’t racist, and it’s cynical playing of the mythical “race card” to say that it is? Hie thee to the commenters at Matthew Yglesias’. I considered excerpting, but it was like cool-ranch-race-flavored Pringles: once I popped, I couldn’t stop. Just go scroll down in slack-jawed amazement. I used to think he and Ezra Klein were neck-and-neck in the competition for “liberal blogger whose comment section was made most useless by Al-bots and such,” but the tireless efforts of Steve Sailer and “Fred” have put Yggles over the top. Kudos!

UPDATE: Ezra Klein’s commenters have objected that they don’t actually suck. This objection has merit; those guys have reasonably substantive conversations about health policy nowadays. I was really thinking of Ezra’s pre-Prospect blog, which had an Al, the Fred who I think is now Yglesias’, and Captain Toke–it was horrible. So Ygelsias’ blog is more properly considered as being in the running with Kevin Drum’s site, but he nonetheless retains the olive branch.
ἄριστον μὲν ὕδωρ, ὁ δὲ χρυσὸς αἰθόμενον πῦρ
ἅτε διαπρέπει νυκτὶ μεγάνορος ἔξοχα πλούτου:
εἰ δ’ ἄεθλα γαρύεν
ἔλδεαι, φίλον ἦτορ,
μηκέθ’ ἁλίου σκόπει
ἄλλο θαλπνότερον ἐν ἁμέρᾳ φαεννὸν ἄστρον ἐρήμας δι’ αἰθέρος,
μηδ’ Ὀλυμπίας ἀγῶνα φέρτερον αὐδάσομεν…
(Translation here.)

The first parts of two rather mournful pieces on Radio 4 this week. A sad account of the last few years of Kenneth Williams (they all had it in for him, especially, apparently, Philip Larkin who, cruelly, managed to convince him out of his faith in God in his last years, an act which confirms the suspicion that his moral character was as bad as his poetry was good) presented by Rob Brydon. And a much kinder, so far, discussion of the SWP presented by Geoffrey Wall who says that, as an ex-member he can “ask the awkward questions” which, in part 1, he singularly refrains from doing. One can only presume that part 2, in which he asks how they managed to provoke the Euston Manifesto, things will get more exciting.

Oh, and if you want cheering up, and have reached a certain age (about 20 years older than my chronological age, which, culturally, is about where I belong), the Saturday Play was fabulous. David Jacobs got a promotion!