The plague has come to Nottingham and both Robin's and the Sheriff of Nottingham's men are stuck together in quarantine in the throne room of the palace until the disease runs its course. What will ...
Comedy in the Mel Brooks style about Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men, along with Maid Marion. Set in Sherwood Forest, they struggle against Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham.Written by
The theme song was written by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse, who wrote the famous opening theme for "All in the Family," as well as musicals such as "Annie" and "Bye Bye Birdie" (which is mentioned in one of the early chapters). See more »
"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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