In all of Arthurian legend, the most famous of the Knights of the Round Table is undoubtedly Sir Lancelot. This series, painstakingly researched by the History and Literature Departments of... See full summary »
In all of Arthurian legend, the most famous of the Knights of the Round Table is undoubtedly Sir Lancelot. This series, painstakingly researched by the History and Literature Departments of Oxford University, re-creates some of the notable exploits of the famous knight, as well as the deeds of the other members of King Arthur's court. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
Review of The Adventures of Sir Lancelot with William Russell
The legends this series is based on have had many interpretations in book and film. So I can forgive the anachronisms in clothing styles and liberty taken with story lines like the creative addition of Brian, which really made the show for me. I was enchanted by this TV series in 1956 when I was eight years old, and it enchanted me again when my husband gifted me the series on DVD for Christmas 2011. The pull of nostalgia on viewing the series from some fifty years distance is extremely compelling. My memories of the characters are sharper than my memories of other shows of this era. Even if other shows are considered better, this is the show struck a strong cord in my psyche. And why it did, I really don't know.
What I do know is I now see in the show, 1950's values overlaying a medieval scenario inhabited by charming characters with engaging humor. This show may well have partially sparked the humor I put in my own writing. Also, it may have been the start of my public service ethic (seriously) and the choice of my first real employment as a teenager swimming pool lifeguard, a protector role. It may be what underlies my twenty year service in the Coast Guard Auxiliary (civilian volunteer component of the Coast Guard) doing search and rescue on Lake Michigan.
You see, I bought the ethics of knighthood as an eight year old child despite the show's 1950's attitude that it was a men's club only and my role as a female was to be abducted and then rescued. I ignored the gender issue and identified with Brian and his dream of joining a group of people dedicated to do good in the world. Perhaps his overcoming his own humble background which almost locked him out of the "nobles only club", encouraged me to overcome my "gender handicap" as many girl children of the 1950's eventually did through the women's movement of the 1960's and 1970's.
Both Lancelot and Brian, for me, made this show. But they were well backed up with the silliness of Sir Kay whose buffoonery made me laugh, King Arthur who represented authority with dignity, and the Queen who represented how women should behave (except for me, of course). I realized on viewing the DVD episodes that I had accurately remembered the voice tones of both Brian and Lancelot over all these years: Lancelot's wavering laugh and Brian's soft and soothing voice.
As an 8 year old, I liked their looks, but as a 64 year old, I realize what eye candy they both really were. If I had been a teenager when I first saw the show, I might have done one of two things: laughed it off as silly and not watched again after the first episode, or I might have developed a crush on either or both of these male actors and avidly mooned over the show each week. But discovering them as an 8 year old I imprinted on them. That runs much deeper than a fleeting teenage obsession.
So I may try to introduce this series to my seven-year-old granddaughter. Perhaps she is of the wrong generation to be enchanted by them. But little does she know that Grandma who pays for and drives her to her taekwon-do lessons, and is proud of her green belt and her 3rd place in a tournament, might be pushing the martial arts because half a century ago an enchanting TV show inspired Grandma and kick-started her imagination.
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