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Missing a few tricks - 40 years on

Coincidentally, over 40 years ago in September 1973, I had just resigned a secure, executive career in the Civil Service for a risky new role in Nottingham City Council's Publicity and Information Office and it was there that I first became aware of the extensive global interest in the Robin Hood legend!

Central Government had published the Baines Report, which was highly critical of local government's lack of communication with residents and the business community and so, as I began to look into how I might improve the City Council's inter-action with the Nottingham public I was somewhat surprised to find that Robin Hood already had a substantial impact on the daily correspondence and enquiries!

The daily post bag invariably contained requests for information on the City's legendary outlaw and at times even accounted for as much as 40% of the mail! The Council also produced a range of public information leaflets and the title that was by far and away in the most demand was Robin Hood! No surprise then that the first task I was given in my new communications role turned out to be to write a Robin Hood article for the Council's monthly Civic News magazine!

So now, some 4 decades later, I looked up a copy of that article, "So Many Strings To His Bow" and in re-reading its contents I was surprised to recall that, even 40 years ago, there were numerous examples of the global impact the Robin Hood legend had created and how extensively business and commerce had used the "brand" to their advantage.

The source of my research had been 3 filing boxes tucked away on a shelf in the Local Studies section of the Public Library and amongst items mentioned in my article were a programme for the performance of "Once Upon A Time – or A Midsummer Night's Dream in Merrie Sherwood" at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham on April 13th 1868: an advertisement from the early 1900's, where Robin was depicted as one of the famous Hoods who hopefully increased sales of "Hood's Sarsaparilla – the most approved alternative tonic and blood-purifying remedy of the vegetable kingdom": a bold illustration of Robin on a polythene bag from the 1950's, used by a local wholesaler to market selected washed potatoes (The versatility of our legendary hero is astounding!): a letter from RKO (Walt Disney) Productions concerning their preliminary visit to Nottingham regarding potential shooting of their Robin Hood movie starring Richard Todd as Robin and Peter Finch as the Sheriff: a 2" high cast figure of Robin Hood manufactured by a Nottingham engineering firm for a trade exhibition: a card announcing the re-decoration of the lounge of the Welbeck Hotel on Milton Street, that showed the various Robin Hood Murals that were to be painted on the walls and a political pamphlet issued in 1952 by the East Midlands Communist Party that left readers in no doubt as to Robin Hood's role as "the People's hero fighting their Class enemy."

Sadly, looking back, it appears that even 40 years ago, the local community were far more capable of exploiting the promotional benefits of Robin Hood than today's so-called "creative" marketers!
Now there's an indictment!!