Thursday, August 12, 2021

The Evolution Of The Robin Hood Legend

We all know a pretty familiar version of the story of Robin Hood. King Richard the Lionheart is off fighting in the Crusades. In his absence, the wicked Prince John oppresses the people, sending out his minion, the Sheriff of Nottingham, to over-tax the people, leaving them poor and destitute. Nobleman, Robin of  Locksley, returns from the Crudades, where he kindles romance with Maid Marion, and teams up with a group of woodsmen, the Merry Men, who organize raids on rich caravans, and give their spoils to the poor, earning Robin the nickname, Robin Hood. Robin, eventually defeats the Sheriff, King Richard returns, and Prince John is jailed. The end. 

Except, this story is a hodgepodge of elements that have been tacked on over the years. Many major tellings of the legend, have added new elements, that became canon elements of the story. Originally, the story didn't take place during the rein of Richard the Lionheart, or specifically any time period. Oral traditions of Robin Hood don't specifically mention any king. The earliest known ballads were actually created centuries later.

Robin Hood was not originally a Nobleman, nor was he named "of Locksley". He was a Yeoman, an autonomous working class, just above the Peasant class, which explains his proficiency with the bow, which was the realm of Yeoman, whereas Noblemen were raised to be proficient with the sword, but not typically the bow. Later, upper-class tellings are probably responsible for elevating Robin to the Noble class.

Robin Hood did not originally give to the poor. He was a thief who robbed from the rich. This made him a hero to the lower classes as a way of saying "down with the man". The "giving to the poor" aspect was tacked on later, as a way of morally justifying the heroism of a thief.

Original tellings didn't have a Prince John, or really mention any particular ruler. Robin Hood's main antagonist was the Sheriff. The Sheriff did, however, have a sidekick; his cousin, Guy of Gisbourne. In this aspect, the 1990's Kevin Costner Robin Hood, "Prince of Thieves", was more like the old legends, in that it left out the Prince John character, making the Sheriff of Nottingham and Guy of Gisbourne the primary antagonists. Also, early ballads had Robin Hood decapitating both, which is much grislier than the Robin Hood we expect, today. Other antagonists were corrupt priests and bishops.

Robin, Little John, and the Merry Men go back to the earliest ballads. But May Day celebrations of the 15th century plays introduce characters Friar Tuck, Maid Marian, and reposition Will Scarlett as Robin's brother.

In the 18th century, historians began to postulate that Robin Hood was based on a historical figure. Robert Ritson examined different versions of the legend, and placed him in the 1200s, during the time of Richard the Lionheart. He published a collection, outlining the complete story of Robin Hood, containing most of the elements known today.

In the 20th century, many movie and TV adaptations familiarized the well-known narrative in the minds of the general public.






 

Monday, June 28, 2021

A Smile On Your Face Makes The World A Better Place

 J-Dubb's Theatre Trivia

 Ten years ago, I uploaded a video called CGI - Get a Clue Hollywood. I would be surprised if anyone remembers this, but at the end, instead of signing off with "J-Dubb out", I said, "A smile on your face, makes the world a better place". Some people knew why I said that, but a lot of people didn't. I always wondered if people thought it was meant as a joke. If that's the case, however, they would be wrong.

This sign off  was a tribute to a YouTuber who went by the handle, BillyCTV. Billy was a very friendly YouTuber, who made videos featuring other YouTubers. It was a way of having the YouTube community support each other, after YouTube had become to big to support or feature YouTubers, who weren't amongst the big money-makers. Billy introduced me to several YouTube friends, including Cheeky Tam, and Lanevids. 

During Christmas time, Billy had YouTubers send Christmas cards, which he  read in a video. I sent him a 100th Birthday card, but crossed out the "100th Birthday" part, and wrote Merry Christmas. He sent us all Christmas cards in return. This was the first physical object I had ever received from a YouTuber, at the time. I had never been to a YouTube gathering, and all YouTube existed solely on my screen in virtual space. This sort of thing, and other YouTubers have reported similar experiences, was like proof that YouTubers actually lived in the same world as me, and not inside a screen. This card is now in a box along with every other physical YouTube related item I have, including VidCon badges, and the "Teleporting Wristband" from John Lovell.

Billy's ending tagline was "A smile on your face, makes the world a better place". He said this, because he believed in spreading positivity. Billy had health complications. About ten years ago, his health complications began worsening, and you could see it. He had to leave YouTube for this reason. I do not know what became of him. Several years ago, I heard that he had reappeared, and posted a video updating people that he was still kicking. But, he took this video down before I saw it. I have no idea what his  well-being is, today. Before he left YouTube, he asked people to sign off with, "A smile on your face, makes the world a better place. So I did.

 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Forgotten Dubbles

We all remember the J-Dubbles, my reoccurring costars of J-Dubb's Theatre videos. If a character's quirk made him recognizable enough as an individual, he would reappear in other videos, as one of the J-Dubbles. If a character, however, was not distinguishable as an individual, his role was simply to be  another person in that scene, and never make a repeat  appearance...   that we know of. Some of the most memorable Dubbles are Floyd, Jim, Roach, and Wilhelm Hendrickson. 

However, some characters were intended to make repeat appearances as Dubbles, but disappeared for various reasons, never to be seen again.

Sleazy Sunglasses Guy

 Last seen in 2007's J-Dubb Does LisaNova Does YouTube, in the first scene to ever show all the  Dubbles in one room together. He's never had a speaking part, or a name, which was used as a joke in that video. In fact, this blog post is the first time I've ever called him anything. His only other real appearance was one of the prank victims in The 1890s Crank Phonecall Guy, the first video to involve several Dubbles in one video, but not in the same room.  Prior to that, there were a couple of quazi-appearances. There was a similar character in a Spanish Channel Soap Opera parody in the video Plant, and there was a sleazy past version of myself in About J-Dubb, both of which kind of lead to this guy. As the list of  J-Dubbles grew, I just sort of stopped using him.

Professor James Snark

From the video How to Stir Gumbo, James Snark was a Harvard Professor in the Stirology Department. He would have been a recurring J-Dubble, but in post, I decided he was too creepy, in an unintentional way. I just didn't like him, or find him endearing enough to repeat. In fact, in the narration when I say "The creepy guy had me intrigued", that part was an ad-lib that I put in as I was editing, as if I felt I needed to communicate to the viewer "I am aware that this guy is creepy". Looking back at the character 14 years later, he's probably not as bad as I thought he was at the time. He also delivered  funny gags, such as holding up a spoon and a bowl, and saying, "Let's say that this is a spoon and this is a bowl," and demonstrating two different types of stirring which were exactly the same. Trivia: his glasses are actually gas mask inserts, for military personnel who wear glasses, to wear underneath a gas mask without breaking the gas mask seal.

The Annoying Microwave

The Annoying Microwave appeared in a video about appliances that come with features that you didn't intend on when you bought them. In this case, a microwave that keeps beeping at intervals, until you get the food out. I illustrated this using a microwave with a face that continually hounds you to get the food. I intended for the microwave  to recur after this. In the 4th anniversary series, which featured a  reunion of all the J-Dubbles, I actually filmed a scene with the microwave that was intended to appear at the end of the video, in which he exclaims "Hey J-Dubb! Hey J-Dubb! Somebody just broke into your house!" But this scene was cut, possibly for length, or maybe I just wasn't pleased with it, and the microwave never showed his face again.

Phill McAlbreicht

 There's not a whole lot to say. He was an announcer who appeared in The Telephone Banking Gameshow, and the 4th Anniversary series. He appeared twice, and for whatever reason I never used him again.

The Angel of Death

Death had a pretty good run, appearing in three different videos. He first appeared  in "Can You Really Sell Your Soul?" in which he buys the insole of a shoe. That video received a lot of  weird cultist comments. He reprised his role in the Halloween video "Fate" or "Crossroads", being the only recurring character, other than Count Dubbula, to appear in a Halloween video. He showed up again as The Ghost of Christmas Future, in the video Bah Humbug, in which we recognize each other from past videos. Shortly after Trump was elected, I filmed a video which involved  a cutscene, in which I'm in Middle Earth taking the one ring to Mount Doom. Death appears as a ring wraith to stop me, we recognize each other again, and when he finds out I'm trying to stop Trump, he lets me go. Unfortunately, this video didn't make the cut, and was never edited or uploaded to my channel. The reason I'm including him as a forgotten J-Dubble, is because, the last time I made a video involving all the  J-Dubbles, I forgot to include him, and so he was never seen in the line-up with the others.

 

Honorable mentions

There are some J-Dubbles who were never seen with the other Dubbles, but for various reasons, don't count as "forgotten" Dubbles.

Proffessor Glenn Robbins

Glenn Robbins is an awkward professor who appears in grainy educational videos, often making references to outdated technology. Glenn never appeared alongside the other J-Dubbles, but there is a reason for this. Glenn Robbins' videos are set in the 70s/80s. Therefore, as a rule, Glenn can't appear alongside the other Dubbles, unless as an older version of himself (or perhaps with the teleporting wristband). Instead, in the video J-Dubb Who?, I had Wilhelm Hendrickson refer to "a professor whose glasses kept falling apart". This way, Glenn could be referenced amongst the J-Dubbles without actually appearing alongside them. It makes for a nice Easter Egg in the video, as well.

Hater Dubb

Hater Dubb is usually seen on his laptop, watching the very video that he's appearing in, and criticizing it, much like Statler and Waldorf of the Muppets. Hater Dubb never appeared in the lineup of Dubbles. In fact, after uploading the video J-Dubb Who?, I regretted having missed the opportunity of ending with Hater Dubb watching the video and exclaiming "You Suck!" He was used too frequently and recently, however, to be considered "forgotten". In fact, he appeared in my second to last video. 

Lazy Dubb

Lazy Dubb is a hard working individual. He can be seen cleaning, and his planner is booked with activities, such as chopping wood, and giving commencement speeches. He's really called Lazy Dubb, because I was too lazy to change shirts to film him. The only video he appears in is 30 Minutes to Vlog. He was never seen again after that. The reason he doesn't count as a forgotten Dubble, is because he's not actually a J-Dubble. I never intended to have him recur in future videos, and there's nothing quirky enough about him to set him apart from myself. He only existed for that particular gag. In fact, J-Dubble's names don't typically end with the suffix "Dubb",  with the exception of Hater Dubb.

 

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Welcome To The Wasteland

 J-Dubb's Theatre Trivia

One thing I've been wanting to do with this blog, is a segment, where I talk about behind the scenes J-Dubb's Theatre trivia from the past. Today, what I want to talk about, deals with a video series I created in the beginning of the YouTube days, called, The Network. This was a two season series, that was intended to continue for more seasons, and is full of trivia that never actually made it to the YouTube channel. I guess you can say it was cancelled after the second season, although Belphegor, the Executive, made some cameo appearances in later videos.

 
 Belphegor in the video, El Pollito J-Dubb Here
 

The first season of The Network was actually the conclusion to a "YouTube Land" series, where I bump into people and events from other YouTube channels. In "The Network", the organization controlling the television networks considers the YouTube Community to be a threat. An entity named Belphegor, who works as a network executive, causes YouTubers to disappear, and replaces them with clones who say whatever the Network wants them to say. The second season deals with the return of Belphegor, and his attempt to take over YouTube and the Internet in order to create a new Network, which he controls, to rival the old Network. 

Originally, Belphegor was played by my friend Jon, but in the second season, in which Belphegor has taken on my likeness and is posing as me, I had the series explain that Belphegor's "Jon form" was merely an image pulled from my mind, in order to explain why Jon also exists in the series as himself.

 
Jon plays "The Executive", whose name, Belphegor, was not actually revealed until the second season
 

One of the major themes of The Network, is an ethereal forest in my mind, where Belphegor is able to pull me in and trap me. In the first season, I disappear, like the other YouTubers, and find myself in this forest, where I face down Belphegor. Belphegor has brought me there to send me into the void, but I end up pulling him in with me, causing everything he's done to be undone. In the second season, Belphegor has been trapped in the forest in my mind for over a year. He is able to manipulate me to a point of weakness, where he can draw me back into the forest and trap me there, while he takes over my body and does bad things in the real world.

In the first season, Belphegor refers to this forest as the "In-between Worlds". Originally, he was supposed to say "Welcome to the Wasteland". I drove around the Portland area with Jon, looking for a good spot to film this scene. One place we considered, was right  next to a radio tower, which would have been perfect, except that it was surrounded by fencing that was locked, and  we couldn't get in. We couldn't really find anything that looked like a wasteland, without driving a considerable ways away. So we found this wooded area in the hills, with a wooden staircase, that we thought would work great. Jon, however, thought that maybe we should call it something other than "the Wasteland", since it didn't really look like a wasteland. So I changed his line to "Welcome to the In-Between Worlds".

 
 Jon as Belphegor, behind Portland Community College
 

When we went to film the second season, we had no idea where the original filming spot was, and figured that it probably had a neighborhood built over it, anyway. So we filmed in a wooded area behind Portland Community College's Rock Creak Campus. I interjected footage of the staircase from the previous season, in order to show that it was the same place. In this scene, I had Belphegor explain that the forest was a space that he had created in my mind.

 
J-Dubb has lost his mind. Filmed at Noble Woods Park
 

 All further scenes which showed me stuck in this forest were filmed at Noble Woods Park.


Friday, January 01, 2021

2010 - 2020

 2010 was the first year of my 30s. It was kind of a year of liberation.  For one thing, up to that point, age 30 had always been some proverbial deadline to who knows what. I guess, I was supposed to be in the midst of a lucrative career, and be raising a family, or something. Passing that deadline without having achieved those milestones sort of freed me from society's expectations, to really look at and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. It was also a liberating year, as I decided to focus on forgiveness, and let go of things like anger and grudges. This lead to a rather positive vibe for the year.

2010 was a fun year for J-Dubb's Theatre. Possibly my favorite. Actually, in the beginning, I didn't post any videos, and barely blogged, for the first three months. We had just passed the YouTube-pocalypse  of 2009, in which a lot of the changes Google had made weeded out a lot of old YouTubers. Those of us who made videos for the YouTube community were left wondering if there still was a community.

In March, I began watching videos of YouTubers from the old community, and became kind of nostalgic. I came to a decision that I could be the YouTube community, whether YouTube was willing to support the community, or not. I began posting videos again, and began reaching out to other YouTubers, where I found that there still was a YouTube community, after all.

That year, I had a very fun and active J-Dubb's Theatre viewer base. My subscribers, which hadn't even grown to 200 in the first three years, suddenly shot up several hundred, up to the 500s, in just that one  year. And, most of my YouTube friendships were made that year.

In 2020, I began my 40s married and in the midst of my career. I approached this age with a plan of action. 

The year began with a  lot of parallels to 2010. I decided to have an alien themed birthday, as a throwback to the 30th birthday my sister had thrown for me. I also started the year intending to focus on forgiveness and positivity, like I had in 2010. The parallels ended, for the most part, in March, when 2020 hit. 2010 was a relatively easy year to focus on forgiveness and positivity. 2020, posited much more of a challenge, as, in the middle of the year, I found a lot of angering situations occurring in the world. I had  to really learn to take time to focus on those things which are empowering, and disconnect from those things which only drain. I learned to look at my life with gratitude, and resolved myself to make a real difference with my life, rather than grumbling on social media.

As far as J-Dubb's Theatre goes, by the time 2020 began, I hadn't posted a video in two years, and hadn't been active on this blog for 8 years. J-Dubb's Theatre pretty much existed as a place to occasionally write nostalgic blog posts. Then, into the Summer, I posted and back-dated all of my old videos to this blog, going back 8 years, when I had ceased posting videos to this blog. During this time, I remembered the days when this blog had been active. I began posting actively to this blog again, resuming the old format, complete with Superstar of the Week, Nosferatu, and other old J-Dubb's Theatre blogging traditions. 

So, I suppose, in a sense, the big parallel between 2010 and 2020, is that they were both years that J-Dubb's Theatre picked up again after an absence. But more than that, whereas 2010 began a journey of self discovery, 2020 represents the culmination of that journey.