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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Just Started Reading... the Dr Syn Series by Russell Thorndike

I’m not sure why I had a sudden a craving to read this. I saw the Disney TV series as a child(if you think you can get this on DVD, forget it! There was a limited edition which occasionally turns up on eBay and such), under the title of The Scarecrow Of Romney Marsh. The lead role, of a Batman-like hero who is a small-town vicar by day, was played by the gorgeous Patrick McGoohan(the novel, which I’ve just started, says he is an elderly gentleman who is very popular locally and sings crude sea chanties at the pub). One of his two sidekicks was young Aussie actor Sean Scully, who had also played the dual lead in The Prince And The Pauper. (I wonder what has happened to him? I recall him visiting my school once, as a young man, a long time ago, when I was a teenager still dreaming of a career on stage.)

Anyway, after playing and singing along to the theme song on YouTube: “Scarecrow! Scarecro-ow! The soldiers of the King/Feared his na-ame!” last night, I took a look in iBooks and found all the novels under one cover for 99c. And I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far. It’s not only adventure, it’s funny. The style is a bit like Baroness Orczy’s in The Scarlet Pimpernel, which came out a few years earlier. Dr Syn was first published in 1915.

The author, as I’ve discovered on Google, was not only a writer but an actor, on stage and in some silent movies. You’ll also see him in tiny roles in Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet and Richard III. His first love was writing, though. His sister was Dame Sybil Thorndike, who was a lot more famous than he was for acting, so probably just as well!

I’ve read an interesting post about the making of the Disney series here.  Apparently they filmed the series more or less where the novels were set. They chose a 12th century church for Dr Syn’s, and delighted the locals, by carrying out the renovations they need desperately, but couldn’t afford, in order to film there. I’ll leave you to wander over and take a look. A fascinating look at the series and what was behind it.

I’m off to read some more. 


AJ Blythe said...

The trouble with books written so long ago can be the language. The Thorndyke Mysteries by R. Austin Freeman (written in the early 1900s) are great, but I appreciate the dictionary on my kindle at times. Do you find the same with the Dr Syn series, Sue?

Sue Bursztynski said...

Not so far! I’m only on page 60 of about 2155. Mind you, I have been reading Victorian fiction since high school, so apart from the occasional word or two, I don’t have much looking up to do. My iBooks has a dictionary too. Very handy! The Thorndyke Myseries sounds interesting, must look them up.