THE TIME TUNNEL
THE REVENGE OF ROBIN HOOD
This episode was originally called just ROBIN HOOD. A book on THE TIME TUNNEL called it this, giving away that the writer of this book used only the promotional storylines, and didn't bother to check the actual episodes. The same situation exists for THE DAY THE SKY FELL IN. Originally it was called THE DAY THE SKY FELL DOWN. But in the actual episode is THE DAY THE SKY FELL IN. Writers who only have a fleeting or passing interest in shows shouldn't write about them.
The narration tells us the same old thing as Doug and Tony fly in time toward a castle of some kind. They land, separated again. Tony lands first...in a shut dungeon cell. Doug rolls in and lands behind a throne curtain (not a thrown curtain but a throne--oh, heck, behind a throne of King John!). In the main throne room, the Earl of Huntington wants the King to sign the Magna Carta (so much for story suspense) which will limit the power of the king and establish more rights to common men. It only needs the King's signature and was made up by the Counsel of Barons. The king tells him no and it is treasonous. His men attack the Earl who fights them all rather bravely. For once, Doug doesn't involve himself but only listens; however during the fight, the curtain is torn down and Doug finds himself face to face with the bearded Earl. Doug and the Earl are held, captured. Now hold onto yourselves (as the little lady in POLTERGEIST said)--things get a bit confused here. The above paragraph is included in the cliffhanger tagged onto INVASION. The teaser to THE REVENGE OF ROBIN HOOD also contains it and then ends with the men holding and shoving Doug and the Earl. ACT ONE to THE REVENGE OF ROBIN HOOD starts with the titles over a freeze frame of Doug and the Earl beginning man handled by the men, then act one continues with...
The following paragraph is not in the cliffhanger--the men shove Doug, who is touted as his accomplice, and the Earl in front of the King John (aptly played by the always great John Crawford and in very good makeup--it's difficult to tell he is the same man in each and every role he is in--as a child, I never realized this was LOST IN SPACE'S THE TIME MERCHANT, VOYAGE'S Alpha in TIMELOCK, GIANT'S GRAVEYARD OF FOOLS aide, and various other characters in other TIME TUNNELs!) King John calls them traitors and his small, fox-like aide, Dubois, asks the King to spare their lives so that they may tell what they know. Doug claims he is not the Earl's servant. The King tosses the charter at them. The Earl remains steadfast: the Counsel of Barons will call out their armies. The King tells him, "You will hang. Take them to the dungeon. Make them beg for death."
Tony hides as the two are brought to the dungeon. (This paragraph was only in the first act (ACT ONE) of the actual episode THE REVENGE OF ROBIN HOOD. It was not in the cliffhanger but was in ACT ONE.
The following paragraph was in both ACT ONE and in the CLIFFHANGER from last week's INVASION episode. Doug and the Earl are chained to the wall of the stone dungeon, hands over their heads. There will be a search for more men. After asking Doug who he is, the Earl apologizes to Doug who tells him the Magna Carta will be signed. The Earl tells Doug, "At least you'll die for a good cause." Two men heat up iron rods in hot coals. Engelard, the sadist-sniveling coward-blame the one who told me to do it--is one of these men. This set will be used later in MERLIN THE MAGICIAN. Engelard tells the Earl and Doug they won't live to see the charter signed. He asks where the counsel of barons is and moves the iron rod at Doug's face! Doug obviously doesn't know where! THIS ENDS THE CLIFFHANGER SEQUENCE FROM LAST TIME. Whew!
ACT ONE continues on from here. The rod is waved to the other side of Doug's face. Then Engelard starts on the Earl. Doug bluffs that he knows in order to keep the torturer away from the Earl. Tony hits the soldier from behind and gets his sword, then fights Engelard as another guard tries to get inside the locked room. This man runs for help. Tony pushes Engelard back and is kicked. Tony throws a net (?) over the man who tosses it. Engelard tries to use a sword on Tony but hits the wall with it (and if you look close, the sword seems to go right into the wall--a movable prop or a flimsy wall?!?). Tony throws him into a wall as more soldiers try to break in with a log or something. Doug grabs Engelard with his legs and Tony punches him down. Most of this music sounds lifted from other sources, among these PRINCE VALIANT.
The time tunnel watches all this. Kirk wants to try a transfer but the fix is not firm. It is June 1215. Ann wants to try the homing post but Kirk reminds her they've tried it before and failed. Ray and Ann feel they've improved its capabilities.
Tony and Doug use the hot coals and the manual blower to heat up the malleable iron bars on the window. The Earl states it won't work and they should be ready to fight (die?). They get the bars out and Doug shouts this out. He cleans the window sill of the hot ash with a shovel (did they have shovels then?). Tony jumps out but Engelard gets up and fights the Earl, who tells Doug to go next. Doug jumps out but then the other soldiers break in and recapture the Earl who is slapped by Engelard. Doug tells Tony, "They caught him." They figure this is King John's time and that the barons may be at Runymede.
We hear some of the pilot music. Techs put the homing post into the time tunnel and run out as the reading is 1 equal to 14 point 3-6 over 11 (huh?). If they can only touch this rod, both of them can be retrieved. It activates and the hum builds up and the rod vanishes. After they rebuild the power, they can restore the image.
Men remount the iron bars on the windows and the Earl is slapped some more. Daytime---men ride from the castle. HALT--this riding men fixation that this episodes has is really annoying. I wouldn't mind it if this was new footage or actually established something as the usual stock footage of THE TIME TUNNEL episodes almost always does in credible fashion. In THE REVENGE OF ROBIN HOOD, this is a total disaster as it is boring to see men whose faces we can't see ride to and fro in the forest, to the castle, from the castle, over hills, past rivers. While this sounds like a variation, it is not. I would swear the same riding scenes were used over and over again and again, making this the most boring episode. And it is confusing, being difficult to tell if it is Robin (who is the Earl by the way) and his men, Tony, Doug, or the King's men riding. This doesn't pertain as much to the fight sequences as to the riding ones. I can just see the gang at MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER panning the riding aspects of this--and rightly so. They once did a movie which starred Whit Bissel and John Hoyt as well as Ceaser Romero and the dad from LEAVE IT TO BEAVER---and there was too much footage in the move (the first THE LOST CONTINENT) of rock climbing over and over and the guys felt tortured by this. Well, I must say, I was tortured by the riding sequences in this episode in the same fashion--may be worse.
I digressed. I have to, to keep me interested. It isn't that THE REVENGE OF ROBIN is that bad...it's just boring. With all the depictions of ROBIN HOOD in the past in films and TV and all the depictions that came after THE TIME TUNNEL, the TIME TUNNEL version is the most boring and dull ever. They don't pick a light hearted slant, nor a more dark version. It isn't fun, nor serious, nor relevant. This episode, more than any other, was a definite ride, run, ride, jump, ride, fight, ride, captured, escape, show. It is the most difficult to stay awake for. I prefer the Micheal Praed-Jason Connery version ROBIN OF SHERWOOD which aptly used both legends of Robin (more on this later). There was also the Kevin Costner movie (PRINCE OF THIEVES) which was well made even if he was totally miscast. Now Turner Broadcasting has yet another ROBIN in the HERCULES mold of mixing darkness and light humor with modern phrases and lingo as well as historical inaccurate-ness---but all of this is more fun than THE REVENGE OF RH. Even HERCULES and XENA have presented a prince of thieves which is more fun than THE TIME TUNNEL version. As an aside, there was also a space age Robin Hood animated series called ROCKET ROBIN HOOD. Enough of this.
Doug and Tony, in the forest, hear birds. A large green bird comes out ready to catch them--or at least a large man dressed in green who claims he is a large bird. The bird sounds were signals to the hiding men. He comes out and says, "A large green bird ready to catch a couple of worms." More men surround the pair. The man says, "No English men would be buried in such clothes," commenting on Tony and Doug's apparel. Hey, those clothes lasted through 30 adventures and a few spinoffs! The tunnel must have some property that keeps them brand new--it used to pop the clothes back on them at the end of an adventure where they had to change clothes but not any more. Maybe the tunnel agrees with this large man. Tony grabs a large pole from this man's hands. He gets another from a pal and they fight. Win and go free. Lose and the man says he will skin both of them alive. He calls Tony a greenhorn. He and Tony fight, pushing each other via the poles. Tony is knocked down eventually after putting up a good fight. The man extends his hand to help him up--he's not such a bad chap, ay? He tells Tony he did well and introduces himself as Little John and the fat man dressed as a monk or something as Friar Tuck. Doug smiles--he thought Robin Hood was just a legend (judging from the Earl he never should have been a legend--he stinks as Robin Hood!). Little John calls Robin a living legend. He went in peace to the king. They only have some men left in the forest now. Doug and Tony are with them to try for a rescue. Tuck tells them not in those clothes, "We'll get some proper green for you both." At a camp they set up, they plot, Tony and Doug dressed in ridiculous clothes and hats. Friar Tuck and Little John disagree on how to help Robin. Soldiers attack. Tuck tells them to scatter and hide. A crossbow is fired in Little John's shoulder but close, it appears, to his heart. Tuck, Doug, and Tony help him away but soldiers appear to cut them off in the forest.
There is another fight (yawn). Tuck uses his belly to knock a few down. Doug uses his famous pull the man behind me's leg so that he will trip under me (a silly fight move which cannot work the way they show it here). They use the sticks to beat the soldiers away. Doug tells Tuck not to pull the arrow out yet. Tuck suggests they go to Kirkly Hall where a Baroness Elmont used to give them refuge in their outlaw days (perhaps that was the depiction of an earlier Robin in ROBIN OF SHERWOOD and this TIME TUNNEL adventure is Robin in his middle age--oh, who cares?). King John and his aide Dubois confer and talk (yawn). The roads are guarded. If the Robin band escape, Engelard is told it will mean his head. DO IT, PLEASE! If Huntington's men live it will ruin their plan to crush the barons. The aide tells John a purse of gold and bribery is the best weapon they have. King John tells him to use it. Engelard bleeds the Earl, who tells him he will be among the first to be tried under the Magna Carta and that each man is responsible for his own actions. Tony and Doug are outside and the homing post appears in the dungeon, not near them. The tunnel watches the Earl. They try to locate Tony and Doug. Then they wonder if they can transfer the homing post to them. Soldiers ride all over the place. The Baroness lets Tony, Doug, Tuck, and Little John in. She wants to send a messenger to get help for Little John but they tell her no one else must know they are here. She tries several times (dah, givin away her true allegiances). Doug tells Tuck to sterilize a knife...and has to explain that means heat it. Tuck uses the fireplace. Doug asks for herbs that can stop the fever and the Baroness has a whole cabinet full. She suggests leeches but he thinks that won't work--it won't--he's lost enough blood. Doug finds chemicals of many kinds including sulfur and phosphorus, root powder from snake root and resurphin (?) which is a tranquilizer. Some of these so called remedies, Doug tells Tony can be used as explosives. Doug makes Little John drink an "evil brew" and he tells Doug it is horrid. It is for his own good. Doug pulls the arrow out (in the promo synopsis it is Tony who pulls the arrow out). The Baroness asks what kind of trouble they are in. Tony tells her about the Magna Carter, "He's going to have to sign it." It has rules that are fair to everyone. Doug calls what he is doing battlefield first aide (where did he learn it? From time travel experience or from before the first episode?). Baroness Elmont asks them to consider her opinion and again asks to send a messenger to Runymede when the others mention that is where the Council of Barons are in front of her. The time tunnel staff watch. Ann locks coordinates and images to the post, which begins to glow but doesn't move. Then their image vanishes. The fix on Tony and Doug lost. Men ride (arggghhhguh!). The Baroness goes to King John and his aide (now there's a surprise!) with two men in robes--Tony and Friar Tuck dressed as monks!
The monks leave the throne room. The Baroness tells King John about Little John and the other outlaw at her place and about Runymede. King John sends her gold to be his informant. After the King leaves, the Baroness tells the aide about Tony and Tuck, claiming to have forgotten about their deception. Tuck fakes that he and Tony are to give Robin Hood his last rites and as Engelard taunts Robin--the Earl--they go in and lock the door. Tuck gets Robin off the hanging chains while Tony puts a knife to Engelard's throat. They make a guard come in by making him say, "Guard, I need your help." The Earl gets a sword. Engelard tells them, "I was only doing my duty to my king." The time tunnel staff activate the homing post. Tony sees it now but someone is coming. The three run out as Englard and guards are on the chains. King John and guards try to stop the trio. One guard grabs Tony but Tony and the Earl and Tuck manage to get the door closed. King John grabs the Earl through the bar windows on the cell door but the three move out. King John says, "Let them escape. I'll butcher everyone of them at Runymede." Tuck throws rope over the parapet with Tony. They climb down. The Baroness watches this. Lots of men on horses ride and ride and we hear the same music every time they do ride (see, I wasn't lying!). The men ride toward Doug and Little John! These must be the soldiers from King John. The horses ride through puddles. Doug and Little John are still at the Baroness's house. Doug warns Little John when he sees the King's men. He makes an explosive smoke, he and Little John using the window to breath clear air while using the smoke in the fireplace to knock out any who might dare enter. It is phospehn oxide. They take a deep breath of air, hold their breath as soldiers come running in and draw their swords!
The smoke bombs work and the soldiers fall. Little John calls it magic. Once the room clears, Doug claims they will come back and tie the soldiers up. The aide Dubios blames the Baroness (how and why did he?) and King John orders her put in the dungeon. "No, no, no!" She screams and this is something MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER would also have a field day with. King John orders his garrison to attack Runymede but first to go to Kirkly Hall. The Earl mentions Little John, calling Doug, "Douglas." There is no time to assemble more men. NOTE: Only Tuck and Little John are mentioned among Robin's men. There is no Will Scarlett, Much, or the rest. There are, however, nameless men who pop up from time to time (like now) and who help them. They use arrows and bows that were hidden (covered with grass and hay) to kill riding men (soldiers) and put us out of our misery to watch any more of their riding! Tony shoots some dead. They find the King's courier among the dead---King John found out where the council was meeting and about Kirkly Hall--the Baroness was a traitor. More men ride and this time it seems to be Robin and his men. At this point, the viewers are not Merry. Robin and his men, and Tony ride to Kirkly Hall to warn Doug and Little John. They find the soldiers tied up in the courtyard. While Little John calls Doug a great magician, Doug tells them it was only homemade nerve gas. When the Earl tells his plans, Doug says, "That's a tall order, storming a castle and deposing a king." He tells Tony they may want to sit this one out, even though the Earl did save their lives--they also have now saved his and Little John. Tony informs Doug of the homing post--with it they can travel right home! They must join the attack on the castle. Doug wonders if they should not scale the walls--they'll be seen. He suggests a smoke attack. Tony tells them, "It's an old Navy trick." They all take jars of the chemicals. Men ride; gallant music plays. Robin Hood and men hide in the forest and ambush the soldiers with a big battle following. This battle is somewhat better. At the castle, Dubois reports three couriers have reached three garrisons but not enough guards are left to defend the castle. King John tells him, "We're not defending...we're attacking!" He wants to crush the barons and make the power of the king absolute. In the forest, the Earl and his men go to the side of the castle and attack. Arrows kill the sentries on the wall. Some fire back but get killed later on. The Earl shoots a smoke arrow into the throne room. Engelard saw it and got down. One guard is arrowed off the parapet and falls to his death. The Earl throws the hook and rope up (shades of LAND OF THE GIANTS--oh, sorry) and climbs up. He fights King John, Doug joins them and fights a guard or Dubois, Tony fights Engelard who knocks Tony's sword out of his hand. Tuck hits Engelard (hey, how did Tuck climb up?) and hits the aide away from Doug. King John gets the goods on Robin and knocks him back and runs off. Tony karates Engelard away. Tuck and the Earl run after King John. Doug says, "Now's our chance to get to the homing post." They go to the dungeon and pick up the post. "We should be traveling within a few seconds." Nothing. King John comes in and attacks them both with his upraised sword.
John attacks them with his sword. They use the homing post to block it and he hits it, shattering a part of it into the room. The others come in and overpower King John, who insists he is still their king and must be released. The Earl of Huntington tells him he will be released after he signs the Magna Carter at Runymede. At Runymede in the daytime, King John signs it, "I King John do hereby impress my seal on this Magna Carta (said with disgust) but remember it is the king which gives you these rights." There are some extras standing around. He stamps the charter and we hear KING OF THE KHYBER PASS music. Tony and Doug, still wearing the Robin Hood band clothes, turn back for a second and then vanish into thin air.
CLIFFHANGER: Doug Phillips and Tony Newman fly through time and as they land, as always we see the time crystal-like particles fading, almost as if Tony and Doug came through some kind of hole or opening in the vortex. We see some of the lights as always as they land. There is a large island they head at and land in a dense jungle. Tony thinks his ankle may be broken, Doug hopes it is just a pulled tendon. We hear the jungle sounds used in DOCTOR DOLITTLE and later in the first few LAND OF THE GIANTS episodes. Doug helps Tony up but they hear hammering and some cries. Doug moves ahead to see a beach below the land they are on. Japanese forces withdrawing. Tony figures maybe they are in the South Pacific, WWII. Bombs go off and they get down. They are in line with the target of whoever is shooting. Tony tells Doug to go on without him but Doug's answer is, "Nothing doing!" They move out but more bombs hit. Tony implores Doug to go on alone but he says, "Are you kidding?" They go to a safer area and see a hut of some kind. Doug tells Tony to stay down, he will check it out. Tony tells him, "Watch it. It may be booby trapped." Doug hides at the side of the hut and looks into a window. Hearing a rustling sound, he turns. A Japanese soldier is coming from behind small bushes and aims a rifle at him and fires! (The cliffhanger ended here.)
NOTES: Yuck, ROBIN HOOD (as originally titled) a boring episode. It happens. There are many tales of Robin Hood which span such a range that it is impossible to reconcile them to a seamless, perfect whole. There are many variations on Robin, Maid Marion, Tuck, Little John, King (or Prince) John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and the whole Merry band. ROBIN OF SHERWOOD gave us two Robins. After the first--the commoner's son died, a second came to be--this was the Earl of Huntington. Both were in line with the stories, the commoner (of Locksley) being the early version stories and the nobleman just after. The year this all started was supposed to be 1190 but even that varies.
There is much in common with the King Arthur myth but many differences, too. THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING by TH White mentions the Merry Men briefly. Scotland shares some of the legends with England and Gaelic Ireland, thus Arthur and Robin's myths are told there. Maid Marion was not added to the legend until much later (1601).
While in the early King Arthur tales, Arthur was supposedly a pagan, Robin in the early tales was not a pagan as in the TV show ROBIN OF SHERWOOD, nor was he a champion of the English peasantry against a Norman aristocracy. He was a Christian even though he fought those who used their positions to oppress honest men. At the beginning he was not anti authority, must anti corruption. In the early ballad about his death, The Prioress of Kirkless (the Baroness of the REVENGE OF ROBIN HOOD--?) left Robin to bleed to death after he fell sick. Her motive was not explained. He had just enough strength to summon his men on his horn. Little John wanted to burn down the nunnery but Robin wouldn't hear of killing women. He shot an arrow and asked to be buried where it fell.
The site of his grave has long been shown at Kirkless Hall. Whether Robin Hood was a historical person or an idealization of the outlaw figure is a disputed question but legends often grow up about real people than about types (see MERLIN THE MAGICIAN for a study in the Arthur legend and the real person he may be based on). Modern writers tend to date him somewhere in the period from about 1265 to 1325, but in the 16th century he was generally believed to have lived from about 1160 to 1247, which put him in his prime in the reigns of King Richard the I and King John. He was said to come from a place called Locksley in Yorkshire or Nottinghamshire and to have been outlawed for debt. He was also said to be of noble birth and the rightful Earl of Huntingdon but in the earlier stories he is not an aristocrat but a yeoman, somewhat lower down the social ladder. The earliest reference to the outlaw dates to 1377 where he is mentioned in passing. Friar of Fountains Abbey, Tuck was not named at first but fought Robin in the River Skrell. A King Edward was mentioned in one of the early tales but we are not told which one.
Historians have found a half a dozen or so men named Robert Hood. One lived back in the 1200s, and even seemed to steal from the rich to give to the poor "for the benefit of many." In the original the mythic Robin of the ballads didn't live in Sherwood Forest but in Barnesdale Forest. The real Robin was not a very nice nor merry man--he cut off people's arms when stealing or just because he didn't like them. He also did cruel things to the clergy.
Sean Connery played an aging Robin Hood in ROBIN AND MARION and in PRINCE OF THIEVES, played Marion's father. His son was the second Robin Hood in ROBIN OF SHERWOOD, a fantastic series.