Rocket Robin Hood was a (barely) animated series focusing on the (somewhat) futuristic adventures of Robin Hood and his Merry Men and their battles again the evil Prince John and the inept Sheriff of N.O.T.T. (National Outer-space Terrestrial Territories).

Despite the fact that it was set on New Sherwood Forest Asteroid, “that futuristic headquarters of that swashbuckling, cosmic highwayman of the 30th Century”, the show’s sci-fi elements were often perfunctory or at odds with its medieval dwellings and dress.

On the one hand, you had the anachronistic medieval castles; but on the other hand you had Robin and his crew flying around with jet-packs, using ray guns and quarterstaffs. Sorry. “Electro-quarterstaffs”.

Three seven-minute segments comprised each half hour episode, ending in a cliffhanger and then resuming with a brief Previously On in case you arrived late or had fallen asleep. Further padding the runtime were brief interstitial segments profiling our crew.

For some reason, each segment of every episode contained its own title and title card. Some of the more inspired entries included: “Monkey Business on the Planet Lucifer”, Planet – Planet- Who’s Got the Planet?”, and “Say Ah…Or Hot Tonsils”.

The show ran for three seasons, from 1966 to 1969. 52 episodes were produced for a rock-bottom price of 18k/episode. But following the show’s first season, animator Ralph Bakshi was brought on board and he trimmed the cost per episode down to 14k.

The second season saw a vast improvement over the first as Bakshi brought in seasoned comic book artists like Gray Morrow, Jim Steranko, and Wally Wood to create layouts for the show. While the show was produced in Toronto, Canada…

A falling out between producers Shamus Culhane and Steve Krantz resulted in Bakshi making a mad dash for the border with some of the show’s production materials, including model sheets.  As a result, the show’s third season was produced in New York.

The show’s third season was notable for some of its more psychedelic episodes. According to rumor, LSD trips may have provided inspiration for some of the artists.

These out-there episodes saw Robin and co. encounter the sun-snuffing “Lord of Shadows”, a living planet, and a dimension where thoughts became real.

Krantz recycled animation “From Menace to Menace” and “Dementia Five” for the episodes “Phantom from the Depths of Time” and “Revolt in the Fifth Dimension” of his 1967 Spider-Man series.

They basically just substituted Rocket Robin Hood with Spider-Man on the animated cels and used the same dialogue.

According to legend, the show’s cultural impact is still felt to this day as a suburb outside Toronto boasts streets named after the show’s characters: Robin Hood Drive, Friar Tuck Court, and Maid Marian Place.

Or they could simply be references to the non-space-themed originals, but that’s not as charming.


7 thoughts on “Rocket Robin Hood – A Brief History

  1. I vaguely recall this series; I was growing out of Saturday-morning animation about then. Central NJ, between NYC and Philadelphia, had a good range of over-air channel choices for the ‘60s.

  2. Now do The Mighty Hercules!

    I just now remembered he BLEW UP THE SUN in the intro. That is some supervillain shit, right there.

  3. Soooo… what’s your point? Are you going to update and remake this? Maybe into a TV series, Is this one of the projects you are working on? I could go for that.

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