The above link gives most of the necessary background on the show; it was produced by Krantz animation, the same company that gave us "The Amazing Spider-Man," "The Mighty Hercules," and those Incredible Hulk cartoons with the theme song about "Dr. Banner, belted by gamma rays..." Canadian kids who grew up with "Mighty Hercules" will recognize that "Rocket Robin Hood" uses the same narrator and some of the same other voices.
Before I saw an episode last night, I hadn't seen the show since childhood; I remembered the super-cheap animation and even worse editing (actions with no sound-effects, mismatched shots, and so on), but not a single plot from the show. So for those of you who remember "Rocket Robin Hood" but can't remember what, if anything, happened, here's a summary of the episode I saw last night:
In their hideout on Sherwood Asteroid, Rocket Robin Hood and his Merry Men practice space-jousting. Then they go to Camelot Asteroid, in disguise, to watch the games. To get Robin out of hiding, the evil Prince John announces that he has betrothed Maid Marian (who wears the usual space-underwear of women in sci-fi cartoon shows, but topped off with a feathered Sherwood Forest-y hat) to the equally evil Baron Barth, ruler of the frosty planet Pluto. To save Marian from this fate, Rocket Robin Hood agrees to fight the Baron's champion, who turns out to be a giant space robot: the Red Robot Knight. They face off in five contests:
- Toppling, where each competitor has an electro-quarterstaff, and first one pushed off the anti-gravity log is the winner.
- Space wrestling.
- Archery, with space-arrows. (Prince John: "Curses! I forgot about his boomerang arrow!")
- Tug-of-war while standing on anti-gravity saucers. (There's an anti-gravity everything here, in the good Kingdom of Nott.)
- Space jousting. (Robin's previous experience comes in handy. See kids? Practicing is good.)
Robin loses the first two contests but wins the last three. Prince John orders his men to take out Robin anyway, and a fight ensues, with various still frames of characters with fists being slowly moved toward them. The Robot Knight winds up scuffling with Robin on board a spaceship, and things look lost for Our Hero until Maid Marian manages to take the Robot Knight's gears apart, using her compact and all the other stuff in her space-purse. "But now I have no makeup left," she laments. Cue hearty laughter from all concerned.
This "episode," in three segments, actually only takes up about fifteen minutes of screen time. The rest of the show, like some of Krantz's other shows, was taken up with filler: not only the opening and closing titles, but various "introductions" for the characters, which were repeated in every show, and which promised all sorts of adventures that never actually happened in the episodes. (This practice was spoofed on the show Freakazoid!, where a character called "The Huntsman" had an incredibly long introduction followed by an "episode" where noting happened.) Here are some of the better ones, all done in the voice of that Mighty Hercules announcer-guy:
Rocket Robin Hood, the happy outlaw of outerplanetary space, is the
direct descendant of Robin Hood of old. He's fast, with a joyful laugh,
a ready jest, and a quiver full of futuristic arrows. Robin robs from
the cosmic rich to give to the astral poor. He's fun. He's fantastic.
Rocket Robin Hood, merriest of the Merry Men in the astounding year,
Arch-enemy of Rocket Robin Hood is the cruel space tyrant, Prince John,
despot ruler of the National Outer-Space Terrestrial Territories. With
the help of the wicked Sheriff of N.O.T.T., the black prince plans for
that terrible day when he will destroy and conquer the entire Solar
System. Well, he might, if it were not for-- Rocket Robin Hood. Rocket
Robin Hood, outlaw defender of right in the astounding years to come.
Well, you can't argue with that, can you?
Come to think of it, in its medieval space stories, "Rocket Robin Hood" may have been the true ancestor of "Star Wars" and other science fiction stories that took place "a long time ago in a galaxy far away." I don't know whether George Lucas saw "Rocket Robin Hood," but really, would you put it past him?