Will Scarlet, one of the Merry Men of Sherwood Forest closeup.
Back when I was a kid, the story of Robin Hood enthralled me. Steal from the rich, give to the poor; bows and arrows. Centuries old, the tale never loses its appeal even through re-tellings as different as the 1938 classic film starring Errol Flynn’s and Olivia de Haviland and Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
In 1929, a 19- or 20-year-old Carleton Richmond created a set of Robin Hood marionettes for his mother to show at a Boston Junior League presentation. Clearly an inventive lad, Carleton later became an architect, and uncle to an equally imaginative trio of sisters, who inherited the Merry Men. And Marian. They’re a remarkable group: fully articulated, with controls for feet, arms, torsos, heads—every part that might need moving. With their charmingly detailed costumes, their expressive faces in stage makeup, they cast a spell that implore me to photograph them!
They’ve survived over 90 years in a large suitcase complete with stage, script, protective decorative boxes for each character and are used to this day by Carleton’s nieces, who have, as expected, tinkered with the tale.
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