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Comedy about Robin Hood, who was a complete idiot, and his band o incompetents in Sherwood Forest. Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and their gang were even more incompetent. Maid Marion, Robin's girlfriend, was a played as a twit. The show lasted three months. Written by
J.E. McKillop <jack-mckillop_<>_worldnet.att.net>>>
"When Things Were Rotten" was the brainchild of comic genius Mel Brooks. He dared to ask, what if the Legend of Robin Hood was overblown hype, and that all of the people involved were nothing more than buffoons? The result was a uproariously funny and engaging program, in which the great legend of Sherwood Forest went slapstick.
The show was brilliantly cast, with each player an expert in comedy. Dick Gautier, who worked with Mel on NBC's "Get Smart" as Hymie The Robot, knew a great deal about timing and was perfect as the leader of this merry band. He was matched in nit-wit by Henry Polic II, who portrayed the equally dunderheaded Sheriff of Nottingham, and a young Ron Rifkin (eventually of "Alias") played the likewise dubious Prince John. Add in Dick Van Patten, Bernie Kopell (another "Smart" vet), and the former Hee-Haw Honey turned Maid Marian, Misty Rowe with her buxom talents and you had a well-rounded group.
The production values for the program were very high, with costumes and sets that looked lavish and the show was shot on film, making it appear as exquisite as any Errol Flynn feature. And the sight gags were hilarious, and should not be described here... they are "sight gags," after all! Years later, Brooks returned to the Robin Hood legend with his film "Men In Tights," but he avoided a lot of the stuff that was used in this production, and that was a disappointment. All he needed to do was to take all of the elements of the series and distill the various episodes into one great movie! What we got was a watered down version that couldn't come close to the laughs this program offered.
Perhaps the reason for the show's demise was either in the subject matter or the competition... Robin Hood might have sounded dull and uninteresting to some viewers and those that would have been willing to look possibly wanted an adventure series, not a schlocky comedy. Also, the program aired opposite NBC's powerhouse drama "Little House On The Prairie," and CBS's variety series "Tony Orlando & Dawn," so perhaps people didn't tune away from these programs to try it. They don't know what they missed.
I live in hope that some day the complete series will arrive on DVD.
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