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11 Oo-De-Lally Facts About Robin Hood

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Hollywood has come up with countless versions of Robin Hood and his Merry Men over the years, but only one of them stars a fox, a badger, and a wolf. If Disney's 1973 version of Robin Hood is one of your favorite adaptations (along with this one, of course), read on for a few fun facts.

1. Robin Hood was the result of another movie getting canned.

Disney had been considering making a movie about Reynard the Fox since at least the 1930s. Reynard was a lesser-known fable from the 1100s that told the tales of a scoundrel fox. The problem was, Reynard skewed more toward villain than antihero, which ended up being a challenge for the writers. Despite scripts and storyboards, the Reynard movie still hadn’t come to fruition more than two decades later. Animator Ken Anderson eventually blended the idea into the Robin Hood script, reasoning that Robin Hood’s outlaw status made him sort of Reynard-like.

2. Robin's voice, Brian Bedford, is a Shakespearean-Trained Actor.

The Tony Award-winning Brian Bedford is well known for his Shakespearean work, including acting and directing in the Stratford Festival.

3. “The Phony King of England” was likely based on a real song.

It has been said, but never confirmed, that author Rudyard Kipling penned the lyrics to the bawdy pub song “The Bastard King of England.” Whoever’s responsible, it’s likely that the much tamer “The Phony King of England” was inspired by the dirty version. Have a listen:

4. There's a notable fight song during a chase sequence.

The University of Wisconsin’s fight song, “On Wisconsin,” makes an appearance when Lady Kluck takes on the hippo guards.

5. Allan-a-Dale the Rooster may sound familiar to you.

Roger Miller was a respected singer-songwriter in Nashville long before Disney recruited him to voice and write songs for Allan-a-Dale. Miller worked with legends like Minnie Pearl, Chet Atkins, George Jones, and Ernest Tubb before writing his biggest hit, “King of the Road.”

6. A deleted scene shows another one of Prince John’s schemes.

In it, Prince John dictates a letter to Sir Hiss in which he pretends to be Maid Marian. It’s all part of luring Robin Hood into a trap, of course. You can see the storyboards with rough voiceover work here.

7. “Love” was nominated for an Oscar.

The ballad that plays while Robin and Marian make eyes at each other was written by Floyd Huddleston and George Bruns. Nancy Adams, Huddleston’s wife, provided Maid Marian’s singing voice for the song. Though "Love" was nominated at the 1974 Academy Awards, it lost to “The Way We Were” from the movie of the same name.

8. Robin Hood reuses pieces of other Disney movies.

The dance sequence that goes with “The Phony King of England” was made from a potpourri of dances from other Disney movies, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and The Aristocats. This was achieved by an animation technique called “rotoscoping,” where animators trace over the frames of old footage to use it in a different environment.

9. Friar Tuck was originally a pig.

Animator Ken Anderson first conceived Friar Tuck as a pig, but then decided that the church might take that particular depiction as a slight. He’s not the only character that switched animals: the Sheriff of Nottingham was supposed to be a goat, but changed to a wolf to seem more villainous.

10. Robin was wounded in an alternate ending.

Near the end of the movie, Robin is struck by an arrow and whisked off to the safety of a church. Prince John finds his hideout and is about to kill both Robin and Maid Marian when King Richard bursts in, back from the Crusades. From there on out, the ending is about the same: Prince John and his cohorts are banished to the rock pile, and Robin and Marian get married. Check out the storyboards:

11. It was Disney's biggest hit.

Despite mixed reviews from critics and fans alike, Robin Hood ended up doing very well at the box office, taking in $9.5 million. At the time, it was Disney’s biggest box office total to date.

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A Physicist Weighs In On Whether Scrooge McDuck Could Actually Swim in a Pool of Gold Coins
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Batman has the Batcave, Superman has his Fortress of Solitude, and Scrooge McDuck has his money bin. For 70 years, the maternal uncle of Disney’s Donald Duck has been portrayed as a thrifty—some might say miserly—presence in cartoons and comics, a waterfowl who has such deep affection for his fortune that he enjoys diving into his piles of gold and luxuriating in them.

It’s a rather gross display of money worship, but is it practical? Can anyone, including an anthropomorphic Pekin duck, actually swim in their own money, or would diving headfirst into a pile of metal result only in catastrophic injury?

According to James Kakalios, Ph.D., a professor of physics at the University of Minnesota and author of the recently-released The Physics of Everyday Things as well as 2005’s The Physics of Superheroes, the question really isn’t whether someone could swim in a mass of gold. They could not. It’s more a matter of how badly they’ll be injured in the attempt.

Diving into a gold pile the Scrooge way—hands first, prayer-style, followed by your head—is the most efficient way to begin breaking bones. “Keeping his arms stiff and his elbows rigid, he’s definitely going to break his wrists,” Kakalios tells Mental Floss. “Gold is a granular material like sand, a macroscopic object. You can’t swim through sand or dive into it easily.” Launch yourself off a diving board from 3 or 4 feet up and you will meet a solid surface. Landing with your feet, a far better bet, is unlikely to result in injury—provided you try to bend your knees.

In that sense, diving into gold is not dissimilar from “diving” into a concrete floor. But with gold being granular, it might be possible to break the surface and “swim” if the friction were low enough. “A ball pit is a good example,” Kakalios says. “The balls are lightly packed and have low friction relative to one another. The key is to have objects in front of you move out of the way in order to advance.”

Despite being a fictional character, McDuck hasn’t totally ignored the impossible physics of his feat. His creator, Carl Barks, has written in repeated references over the years to the implausibility of using his money vault as a swimming pool and has depicted the villainous Beagle Boys trio as getting hurt when they tried to emulate the stunt. Scrooge smirked and said there was a “trick” to making the gold dive.

That’s led to one fan theory that McDuck has used his fortune to coat the gold coins in some kind of lubricant that would aid in reducing friction, allowing him to maneuver inside the vault. Ludicrous, yes. But is it possible? “You would need a massive amount of lube to slide your body past the coins with minimal effort,” Kakalios says. “The ball pit is easier because the weight of the elements is low. Gold is a very dense material.” Diving and swimming into it, even with lubricant, might be analogous to trying to shove your hand into a deep bowl of M&Ms, he says. “M&Ms have a low friction coating. Continuing to move is really the problem.”

Presuming McDuck could somehow maneuver himself deeper into the pile, his delicate duck bones would almost surely succumb to the crushing weight of the gold above him. By one estimate, diving under one of his 5-foot-tall gold piles would put 2492 pounds of pressure on his bill.

We'll see if he tips his top hat to any further gold-diving tricks—or if he's in a full-body cast—when Disney XD relaunches DuckTales this summer.

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There Will Be Plenty of Easter Eggs in DuckTales
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Call them duck eggs. In an interview with io9.com, producers of Disney XD's new DuckTales reboot have promised fans that the series—which continues the adventures of gold-hoarding Scrooge McDuck and his excitable nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie—will feature nods to previous incarnations of the characters.

“There’s so much even in what we’ve released already,” executive producer Matt Youngberg said. “There are so many Easter eggs and even some that people haven’t picked up on yet.”

Fans who study the available footage like the Zapruder film may have spotted paintings in the background that are beautifully reminiscent of Carl Barks, the celebrated illustrator who created Scrooge and drew many of his comic book adventures, as well as the eight-bit theme to the original Nintendo game. There will also be nods to the previous series, the games, and other DuckTales-related media. That, Youngberg said, is because not everyone has had quite the same DuckTales experience.

“A lot of people watched the cartoon,” he said. “There’s also the comics, the international comics, the video game, the old Disney duck cartoons. There’s so much to draw from. We want to try to put that all together in a version that speaks to everyone.”

Already, fans have been quacking (sorry) about the inclusion of Darkwing Duck, the cloaked lead of the 1990s series of the same name. The new DuckTales has a one-hour film premiering August 12, with the series debuting September 23.

[h/t io9]

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