Friday, 22 July 2016

An Apple for an Archer

They missed a trick when they were naming the characters for this episode of The Adventures of Robin Hood - the 1950s version starring Richard Greene. I would have called them all after apple varieties.
As it is, the young hero is Timothy Cox, who grows apples but can't shoot a bow - and he needs to win an archery contest in order to marry the girl he loves. He's played by a young Kenneth Cope, who went on to become Marty Hopkirk in Randall and Hopkirk Deceased, who glares moodily at Paul Eddington, a regular guest actor, who started his Robin Hood career as Second Peasant and worked his way up to be villain of the week. In this episode he is Pierre of Bordeaux, a Frenchman who can shoot with the longbow but prefers to lounge around playing the gittern (a sort of early guitar). He doesn't expect poor Timothy to make a good show of things at the archery contest planned for the hand of Mary Quartermaine - who is also a pretty good shot.
So Timothy goes off into the greenwood, where Robin Hood teaches him how to shoot - and in doing so gives a lot of information about how bows are made, the correct stance for shooting, and the different arrowheads.
When I was re-enacting regularly, members of our group (including me) used to do "the arrow talk", with a variety of different arrow heads, and all sorts of interesting information about the making of the bows and the linen bow strings, and fletching the arrows - and the scenes where Timothy is learning about bows and arrows is practically the prototype of that re-enactor talk!
He wins the contest, of course.

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