Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What Might've Been: When Things Were Rotten (1975)

Despite his success in movies, Mel Brooks felt he could still contribute something to television. It'd been 5 years since Get Smart, which Brooks created with Buck Henry, had ended, so Brooks decided to go in another direction with his satirical brand of humor.

When Things Were Rotten aired on Wednesdays during its only season on ABC in 1975, with a skewed view of Robin Hood in an unfortunately short-lived comedy-adventure series. Dick Gautier (ex-Get Smart) was cast as Robin, and Misty Rowe came over from Hee Haw to play Maid Marian. After Rotten ended, Rowe would return to Hee Haw and later star in a spinoff from that series, Hee Haw Honeys, some time later. There were a couple of other familiar names in the cast. Bernie Kopell, of course, had also been on Get Smart as the villainous Conrad Siegfried, and later moved over to That Girl to play one of Marlo Thomas' neighbors. Dick Van Patten would later rebound with Eight Is Enough, which, coincidentally, would occupy Rotten's timeslot and hang on to it for a few years in the 80's. Henry Polic II would move to the Saturday series, Monster Squad, the next year, then resurface on Webster and the game show, Double Talk, both in the 80's.

I remember sitting in front of the TV watching this and getting some yuks, and wishing it could've been renewed. Here's the theme song:

Years later, Brooks would revisit Sherwood Forest with the feature film, "Robin Hood: Men In Tights", which did decent business, but save for the above video, Rotten remains lost in the Paramount vaults.

Rating: A.

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