Saturday, May 24, 2014

Literary Toons: Mr. Magoo in Sherwood Forest (Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo, 1964)

The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo had at least two two-part episodes, but it required three episodes to tell the tale of Robin Hood.

Magoo (Jim Backus, Gilligan's Island) is the gluttonous Friar Tuck, right hand man to Robin (Dallas McKennon, Daniel Boone), who wages war against the greedy Sheriff of Nottingham (Marvin Miller) and Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Paul Frees), the latter of whom has been promised fair Maid Marian (Joan Gardner), the sheriff's ward. As we all know, Marian pines for Robin, who remains loyal to King Richard (Miller). But with Richard on a crusade, Prince John (McKennon) has usurped the throne, but if you know the story, you know how it ends. Miller, Frees, & McKennon also voice a few minor characters between them.

The VHS copy I have edited out the familiar opening sequence to Famous Adventures in favor of some relatively fresh material with a civilian Magoo, while Carl Brandt's swinging theme song plays in the background. MartinOldiesTapes, who uploaded this video, edited off the closing credits in a case of poor editing, but has the open we all know.

When Paramount obtained the rights to the series, in releasing a multi-volume VHS set, they re-edited this under the title, "Mr. Magoo in Sherwood Forest", which suggested a feature film re-release. Included in the video are promos, narrated by Miller, for additional Famous Adventures volumes, issued under the alternate umbrella titles, Mr. Magoo's Storybook & Mr. Magoo's Favorite Heroes, although the VHS box is under Mr. Magoo's Literary Classics. There's also a trailer for Uncle Sam Magoo, which we previously covered.

Speaking of trailers......

A pity NBC couldn't be persuaded to repurpose the series in the morning after it ended its primetime run, although it did make its way to daytime in syndication, as we've previously documented.

Rating: B-.


magicdog said...

Love Mr. Magoo's adventures!

Episodes like this one were a great way to bring literary classics to a younger audience. Of course the episode with Magoo as Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol" is probably the best known (outside of the Noah episode) as it was frequently shown at Christmas time independently. The fact the creators took the trouble to play this out to movie length means there was a lot of love for the Robin Hood legend! Most people forget the 1938 film wasn't the only version of the tale. So many ballads and stories covered the Robin Hood legend - including his death!

Interesting that Robin Hood here is not Robin of Loxley, but Fitzhue. Fun fact: If you ever see a "Fitz" as part of a surname, it has a reason. It was the prefix attached to those of illegitimate birth! Meaning if a noble surnamed, "Walter" were to father a child out of wedlock, that child's surname would have been "Fitzwalter".

hobbyfan said...

I thought initially it was spelled Fitzhugh, but maybe the producers couldn't get full rights, so they had to amend Robin's "real name" for the story.

I will remind again that Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol predates the Famous Adventures series by nearly 2 full years, but you're not the only one to mistakenly assume it was part of the series.