When Things Were Rotten
Robin Hood and his Merry Men
Created byMel Brooks
Norman Stiles
John Boni
StarringDick Gautier
Dick Van Patten
Bernie Kopell
Richard Dimitri
Henry Polic II
Misty Rowe
David Sabin
Ron Rifkin
ComposerArtie Butler
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
ProducersMel Brooks
Stanley Jacob
Norman Steinberg
Running time30 minutes
Production companiesCrossbow Productions
Paramount Television
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 10 (1975-09-10) –
December 3, 1975 (1975-12-03)

When Things Were Rotten is an American sitcom television series created in 1975 by Mel Brooks and set in 1197 as a parody of the Robin Hood legend.[1] It aired for half a season on the ABC network.[2] The series starred Dick Gautier (who earlier had played Hymie the Robot in Brooks' Get Smart series) as the handsome and heroic Robin Hood.

The series received mostly critical acclaim,[3] though John Leonard wrote that watching it was "like being locked inside a package of bubblegum where the only card is Alvin Dark."[4] It failed to find an audience and was cancelled after 13 episodes. The Bionic Woman was its midseason replacement, and became a great success.[5] Eighteen years later, Brooks produced another Robin Hood parody, the feature film Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

The complete series was released on DVD in 2013 as a manufactured-on-demand item exclusively available on Amazon.com's CreateSpace.[6]



Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1"The Capture of Robin Hood"Jerry ParisMel Brooks, John Boni & Norman StilesSeptember 10, 1975 (1975-09-10)
2"The French Dis-connection"Coby RuskinS : Gene Wood and Jay Burton
T : Bo Kaprall and Pat Profit
September 17, 1975 (1975-09-17)
3"The House Band"Joshua ShelleyBarry E. Blitzer & Jack KaplanSeptember 24, 1975 (1975-09-24)
4"Those Wedding Bell Blues"Marty FeldmanJim MulliganOctober 1, 1975 (1975-10-01)
5"A Ransom for Richard"Peter H. HuntWilliam Raynor & Myles WilderOctober 8, 1975 (1975-10-08)
6"The Ultimate Weapon"Peter BonerzSteve ZachariasOctober 15, 1975 (1975-10-15)
7"Ding Dong, the Bell is Dead"Bruce BilsonLes RobertsOctober 22, 1975 (1975-10-22)
8"There Goes the Neighborhood"Cory RuskinTony Geiss and Thomas MeehanOctober 29, 1975 (1975-10-29)
9"Quarantine"Norman AbbottJohn Reiger & Garry MarkowitzNovember 12, 1975 (1975-11-12)
10"Birthday Blues"Peter H. HuntHarry Lee Scott and Robert SandNovember 19, 1975 (1975-11-19)
11"The Spy: Parts 1 and 2"Peter H. HuntLawrence H. SiegelNovember 26, 1975 (1975-11-26)
13"This Lance for Hire"Joshua ShelleyJack Amob & Bruce SelitzDecember 3, 1975 (1975-12-03)


  1. ^ John Clute and John Grant (1997). The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997). Orbit. ISBN 978-1-85723-368-1.
  2. ^ Frank DeCaro (19 July 2013). "Borscht Belt Sherwood Forest". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  3. ^ See, for example, "Review," by Cleveland Amory, "When Things Were Rotten," TV Guide, December 13, 1975, p. 18
  4. ^ Leonard, John. "The Worst Television Season Ever, Ever, Ever," The New York Times, Sunday, October 26, 1975. Retrieved September 30, 2021
  5. ^ "The Bionic Woman (1976): Season 1". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2014-09-03.
  6. ^ DVD release info Archived 2015-01-05 at the Wayback Machine at TVShowsOnDVD.com