Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Doctor Syn Rides Again!

I just learned that tomorrow is the release date for Disney's new DVD release of "Doctor Syn, Alias the Scarecrow" which IMO is one of the best things the mouse has ever produced.

Doctor Syn is a favorite character of mine, an 18th century English clergyman who is the model of Christian love and charity by day. By night he dons a mask and dresses like a scarecrow to lead a band of smugglers. The two occupations aren't as different as they seem at first. The smuggling is to help the poor people of the marshlands of Kent who are being crushed by cruel taxes and victimized by press gangs who kidnap their young men to serve in the navy. Syn is appalled by this injustice and, as the Scarecrow, uses his wits rather than brute force to fight back.

It high adventure in the tradition of Zorro, but is much spookier. The Scarecrow costume is wonderfully creepy (hmm... I have a sudden inspiration for next Halloween!) and Patrick MacGoohan is perfect as both the gentle, intellectual parson, and the macabre Scarecrow.

This isn't just something I am a fan of. One of the extras tracks features an interview with MacGoohan, and I was lucky enough to suggest some of the questions used in the interview. I had written an article http://www.pjfarmer.com/woldnewton/Syn.htm a few years ago about the character as he was originally presented in the novels of Russell Thorndike (I've got a soft spot for masked avengers, and one who was a minister in his secret identity was irresistible)! As a result I became--maybe not an expert, but very familiar with the character. This led interviewer Larry Green (a very nice guy) to ask my opinion about a few things, and I leaped at the chance to help.

People think that knowing huge amounts of information about neat but obscure characters is a waste, but I am living proof that geekdom is good! :-)

1 comment:

Bastian Cuntrari said...

Dear Friend,
We are a group of Italian bloggers. After the racist declaration of Italian first minister (Silvio Berlusconi) concerning the skin colour of Mr. Barack Obama, U.S. Elected President, we decided to start a collective blog against this kind of racism. The name of the blog is: YES WE ARE DIFFERENT! There you can find our statement. We don’t share this kind of declaration and we would show and inform about it. Our target is to notify that many Italians are not racist. Actually we are still organize to find the right way to publish a page on foreign newspaper to mark our ideas. In the mean time we use the blog to get more supports. First of all: we don’t ask you any financial help! We only kindly ask you to help us, if you share our position would be nice to include a link on your site. This is not a commercial site or a spam. All cost will supported by our groups of bloggers, but is important for us to have more highlighting on the web. We confirm this is not a spam project and the only target is to fight against any kind of racism.
We thank you in advance for your help.