The tale of "Rob Hood," as featured in the eighth issue, begins with Rob Petrie coming home to his New Rochelle home after a
tiring day of fighting with his boss over new cuts to the show's budget in a mercenary attempt to maximize the show's profits. "Alan Brady is
the greediest man in the world," Rob says, then announces he's so exhausted he's going straight to bed. But Ritchie reminds his father of
something, "You promised to read me another chapter of Robin Hood this evening." Rob can't get out of it so he plops down on the sofa
and between yawns, reads to Ritchie. He gets about twenty words in before he dozes off and we find ourselves in a dream sequence with Rob clad
all in green as the dashing medieval hero, Rob Hood.
For the love of the fair Maid Laura, Rob Hood will liberate the kingdom from the tyranny of the greediest man in the world, King
Alan. Maid Laura, of course, looks like Laura (her chief handmaiden looks like Millie) and Alan Brady is King Alan, with Mel filling the role
of Sheriff of Cooleydom. From then on, it gets a little confusing. Buddy seems to be filling the role of Littlejohn (Rob Hood calls him
"Little Buddy") and Jerry Helper is Friar Tuck, who has given up being a friar to become a dentist. In a nice touch, Sally Rogers is also one
of Rob's "Merry Men" but she keeps reminding everyone that she's not a man and lamenting how hard it is to find a husband when they all go prancing
about the forest in green tights. For the most part, it's the story of Robin Hood with Rob robbing from the rich and giving to the poor,
except that instead of money, he's robbing jokes. The idea of dream sequences was a good one, and they did several very funny ones on the
TV show. But the cast of Robin Hood just didn't correspond closely enough to the cast of The Dick Van Dyke Show to make this one
Far better is the back-up story, "Late for Work," in which Rob wakes up one morning to find his alarm clock didn't go off and he's late
for work. In a panic, he sets a world's record for showering and dressing, and sprints out of the house so fast Laura can't say two words to
him. His train is late so he hitchhikes and gets picked up by what seems to be a nice guy. But the nice guy turns out to be a wanted bank
robber and when police spot his car, Rob finds himself the passenger in a high-speed chase. Other problems occur but Rob somehow manages to get
to work at 8:59 — one minute early — only to find the janitor in his office doing a major clean-up. The janitor tells him, "We always clean the place on Saturday when no one is here, Mr. Petrie." Oops!
The most interesting thing about this issue is the cover which features pictures of all the major cast members except Larry Matthews
and Carl Reiner. But though they were excluded, for some reason Edward G. Robinson can be seen in the green box right next to Dick Van Dyke's
hands. There is no known explanation for this. Edward G. Robinson was never on The Dick Van Dyke Show. What the hell was
Walter Zwart thinking?
UPDATE: Shortly after posting the listing for issue #8, I received a most welcome e-mail from the son of the late Walter Zwart,
who informs me he's been following this series and finally feels he has something to add...
I was only twelve when it occurred, but my mother (now deceased) later explained to me that she and my father separated about the
time he was fired from his previous job at J. Walter Thompson Advertising and joined the staff of Western Publishing Company. At J. Walter, he
had been involved in something of a scandal when he designed a series of print ads for Dash detergent. At the time, Dash had a campaign
involving a repairman and they had engaged a certain actor to portray the repairman in TV spots and print ads. My father for some reason
decided to "recast" the role in the print ads with his favorite actor, Edward G. Robinson. No one ever approached Mr. Robinson about this but
my father did several mock-up ads and one of them was accidentally sent to press and appeared in Ladies Home Journal and several other
Robinson sued and I believe it was quickly settled out of court but my father was fired. My mother said that it contributed to
the break-up of their marriage because my father accused her of not being supportive of him "like Laura Petrie is of Rob." He was a big fan of
The Dick Van Dyke Show and was always trying to get my mother to be more like Laura. He kept insisting she wear tight capri pants about
the house even though she weighed 235 pounds. After the ad incident, she told him he was a fool and he moved out. Thanks to a friend, he
landed the job designing covers for Western where he promptly stuck Edward G. Robinson on the cover of several comics he had nothing to do
with. Only one of these (The Dick Van Dyke Show) got to press. He also put Robinson on the cover of Daffy Duck but this was
caught in time.
He was summoned before the president of the company where he defended his actions by saying over and over, "Edward G. Robinson is a
damn good actor." The executives did not fully understand this but no harm was done apparently since Edward G. Robinson was not a big comic
book reader and never noticed. They made my father promise not to do it again and sent him back to work on the next covers. He did
nothing out of the ordinary on other comics but could not help himself when it came to the Van Dyke covers.
All very interesting. From the covers of subsequent issues, it was obvious to me that something was going on involving Laura
Petrie. I'll quote more from Elliott Zwart's informative message in the appropriate spots...
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