When Things Were Rotten

This 1975 series was the brainchild of Mel Brooks, considered by some to be a precursor to Men In Tights. Dick Gautier ("Hymie" of Get Smart) starred as Robin Hood, and Bernie Kopell played the wisecracking Alan-A-Dale. Dick Van Patten — The Love Boat's original "Doc" — also co-stars in this series, as Friar Tuck. Though praised by critics, this series didn't stay on the air for long, because it failed to capture a sizeable audience. It was, however, released on home video in 1986.

Thanks to a better VCR, I was able to do better video captures from this tape. So I grabbed several more images, and each episode will now have its own page, to reduce loading time. These images are from "The French Dis-Connection".


Each of Robin's merry men is dispatched to the castle, to prevent the Prince from signing a treaty with France. Alan-A-Dale poses as a magician entertaining the visitors. Looking at the wig and the hat, one wonders if this might be where Slash (of Guns 'n' Roses) might have gotten the inspiration for his look...!



Maid Marian (Misty Rowe), who's in on the plot, feigns shyness when Alan picks her out from the audience, as a volunteer. "I just couldn't," she says, "but I'll try." (Sitting beside her is the Marquis de la Salle, played by veteran comic Sid Caesar.)



She walks behind a screen, then immediately emerges on the other side, fully dressed in a new, revealing costume that makes the Marquis' jaw drop.



Alan-A-Dale asks for another volunteer from the audience, knowing full well that the lecherous Frenchman will take the bait.



"How about the guy from out of town," the Marquis says, grabbing the Prince's arm so that he can't raise his hand.



Once the volunteers are inside the box, Marian makes her escape...and, just out of sight of the audience, Alan lights the fuse on what's about to become an explosive situation...!



Needless to say, the Frenchman is not amused.



Neither is the Sheriff of Nottingham, who finally recognizes Alan-A-Dale, and orders his men to arrest him.



By now, all of Robin Hood's men have been arrested. Banging their tin cups on the bars, they start a noisy chant of "Let us out!", which only serves to annoy the sheriff. (Alan is in the lower left of the picture, and Friar Tuck — Dick Van Patten — is on the upper right.)



When they refuse to tell the Sheriff anything about their scheme, he warns that he has ways of making them talk. Alan is the first hapless victim chosen to have a confession flogged out of him. His buddies, jailed and powerless to prevent the beating, do what little they can by cheering him on: "Hang loose, Alan!"



The jailer tears Alan's shirt apart...but before he can begin the flogging, a mysterious masked man calling himself "The Lone Lasher" emerges, and volunteers to do the job.



When the Lasher shows his expertise with the whip, Alan cringes and anxiously says, "Stay tuned for pain...."



But he need not have worried, for the Lasher is none other than Robin Hood himself, who has come to save Alan's hide — literally! Robin uses his whip to disarm the guards, throw the keys to his jailed comrades, and generally create bedlam as they make their escape!