Original Production Animation Cels of Prince John, Sir Hiss, and The Sheriff from "Robin Hood," 1973
Original hand painted production animation cels Prince John & Sir Hiss and The Sheriff of Nottingham set on a lithographic background from "Robin Hood," 1973; Walt Disney seal lower right; Production numbers in ink lower cel edges; Size - Prince John, Sir Hiss, and The Sheriff of Nottingham: 7 1/4 x 10 1/4"; Image 8 3/4 x 15 1/2"; Unframed.
"Squeeze every last drop out of those insolent musical peasants." - Prince John
The history of Robin Hood is that he is a heroic outlaw from English folklore who, according to legend, was a highly skilled archer and swordsman. He is usually depicted dressed in green, leads a band of Merry Men, and his motto is "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor." Robin Hood has became a popular folk figure, with ballads dating back to as early as the 15th century.
"Robin Hood" was the twenty-first full length animated film released by Walt Disney Studios on November 8, 1973. Robin Hood is an anthropomorphic fox and the protagonist of the film. Although Robin Hood is often shown as an outlaw who chooses to rob from the rich to help the poor people, in this Disney animated version, he is shown mainly attacking Prince John and his agents (Sir Hiss and the Sheriff of Nottingham), who have impoverished Nottingham with high taxes. Robin Hood and Little John steal the tax caravans and give it back to the peasants while trying to avoid capture.
All the characters in Disney's version of "Robin Hood" were played by animals. Prince John was a lion, Sir Hiss (no surprise) was a snake, and the Sheriff of Nottingham was a wolf. Prince John is a spoiled King who will resort to any underhanded trick so that he can maintain the crown and throne of Nottingham; and was voiced by the great and deep voiced Peter Ustinov. Sir Hiss was voiced by Terry-Thomas (who's hissing speech was masterful), and both were animated by Ollie Johnston. The on-screen presence of the two together is just wonderful and Johnston's animation skills, at this point, are top notch! The personalities are different and distinct, as are the ways the two different characters move and interact. Kaa from a prior film "Jungle Book," 1967 must have been a nice starting point, in order to allow Sir Hiss to show more emotion and expression through the use of not only his face and head, but his tail.
The Sheriff of Nottingham was voiced by Pat Buttram and animated by Milt Kahl. Pat Buttram's voice was just so wonderful and he had an extraordinary career. He was Gene Autry's sidekick and I remember him as Mr. Haney in the television show "Green Acres." He voiced several characters for Disney Studios including Napoleon the hound dog in "The Aristocats" and the evil and cruel Sheriff of Nottingham.
In this cel set-up, Prince John is furious over the mocking song about him:
Sheriff of Nottingham: "But, but Sire, it's a big hit. The whole village is singing it."
Prince John: "Oh, they are, are they? Well, they'll be singing a different tune. Double the taxes! Triple the taxes!"
[grabs Sir Hiss by the neck]
Prince John: "Squeeze every last drop out of those insolent musical peasants."
A spectacular eyes and mouth open hand painted animation two cel setup of all three of the villains of the film, and a great addition to any animation art collection!
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