Friends, what better way to start your day off properly than going on an adventure with Bilbo Baggins as well as Thorin and Company – courtesy of The Hobbit. This is a Book and Record adaptation of the 1977 animated classic by Rankin and Bass… which will eventually be the subject of a future Pop Culture Retrorama podcast. Disneyland Records produced this particular 45rpm book and record adaptation – which was also released on cassette – interestingly enough it features the music composed by Maury Laws (The Flight of Dragons, Frosty the Snowman) but none of the original cast. Having said that though it still features some incredible voice actors – such as Bob Holt (The Lorax, Wizards), Corey Burton (The Transformers, G.I. Joe), and even Jymn Magon (A Goofy Movie) who is best know for being a Writer of animated series and films. In addition the book features some of the artwork, the character design illustrations provided by Lester Adams – who had in fact provided artwork for an excerpt of The Hobbit in an issue of Children’s Digest!
To be completely honest, while many fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit have some issues with the Rankin and Bass adaptation – I have always enjoyed it quite a bit. To say nothing of the fact that it also was my first introduction to the most fantastic Fantasy race – I am speaking of Dwarves of course!
One of those reasons I mentioned that some fans of The Hobbit take umbrage with the 1977 film is because of the changes in the source material. Although I would counter that Rankin and Bass did a fine job – getting the gist of the book within a running time of 77 minutes. Believe it or not this Disneyland Records adaptation manages to par down said running time to a little over 13 minutes long – but to be fair that is because two of the songs from the film are excised from this particular video. So take a few moments and journey along with Bilbo as he experiences the hospitality of Wood Elves and Goblins, plays a game of riddles with Gollum, and faces the dreaded Dragon known as Smaug!