Sunday, July 8, 2007
Campbell Grant's 1960 illustration of "King John" (see previous post below) seems to have served as the inspiration for at least one of Ken Anderson's rough designs for the same character in Disney's 1973 ROBIN HOOD feature. Perhaps this is where the oversized crown gag came from too. Kudos to Peter Emslie for commenting in and guessing faster than I expected...
This isn't the only artist who influenced Ken Anderson's take on that film, I can post more references soon. I'm not trying to fault him, but I also want to show credit where its due for some of the ideas in the movie. Certainly some of it seems to have grown out of Marc Davis' concepts for the shelved CHANTICLEER project, which featured a fox villain and lots of barnyard creatures in classic settings. There was also an early UPA cartoon with the Fox and the Crow where the Fox played Robin Hood, looking remarkably like the early sketches of that character. Wether that was conciously or subconciously floating around in Mr. Anderson's mind is anybody's guess, but I have to assume he had seen that short at least once.
ROBIN HOOD has its fans, but I remember being disappointed by it even as a kid (okay, teeenager) and still can't find much to like about it, apart from Ollie Johnston's animation (and some of Milt Kahl's, although his contempt for the project seems to have taken the spark out of much of his work here IMO). Its a potentially good idea but when so much is being borrowed and cribbed from other sources, and recycled from other movies, maybe it was doomed from the start.