|In 1977 Rankin/Bass produced an animated movie based on
J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Hobbit.
The movie can be rented on video tape,
and if you enjoy these images, then you may also enjoy the movie. The movie
is geared toward younger viewers, but Tolkien lovers will also find parts
they can appreciate.
The Hobbit movie is available as one of the "Warner Brothers Classic Tales."
The ISBN for the movie is 0-7907-2771-4. It can usually be rented through
Blockbuster Video stores, as well as others. Rankin/Bass also produced
another "Classic Tales" movie: The Return of the King,
which is based on the third book of the Trillogy. The Return of the King
is nowhere nearly as good as the R/B production of The Hobbit. It strays
badly from Tolkien's work, taking liberties with characters and the story
line. This is not true of The Hobbit, which is much closer to the original
text. Adults may be annoyed with "The Return of the King"; however, I own
a copy and do occasionally watch it. The ISBN number for The Return of the
King is 0-7907-2774-9, and it too can be found at Blockbuster Video.
Another Tolkien-related movie, and one I highly recommend, is Ralph Bakshi's
wonderful, if incomplete production of The Lord of the Rings.
LOTR movie ends at the battle of Helm's Deep. However, it is such a fine
production that it is worth owning and watching -- if you can find it.
Unfortunately, it is out of print. OK, maybe I'm biased. I've
heard other people say they didn't like it. I like it because the animation
is superb (what else would you expect from Bakshi?), and because it is
true to Tolkien's work, both textually and in the personalities of the
characters (unlike the R/B Return of the King). In my opinion,
the only problem with Bakshi's film is that it ends too soon. The ISBN
for Bakshi's LOTR is 0-7820-0195-5, and it is available through Blockbuster
Video as well. Bakshi also produced "Wizards", which, although it is unrelated
to Tolkien's works, is nonetheless a compelling work in the theme of
good vs. evil. I highly recommend it.
My Scans of the Rankin Bass Hobbit Booklet
All the "rbh" images in the series of pages which follow are copyrighted
by Rankin Bass, 1977.
I scanned these images from a special edition booklet which came with the
soundtrack album for the movie. Yes, a vinyl album, remember? Actually,
it was a two album set, and it included a page of four special iron-on
decals. I found the iron-on decals intact, and I have scanned them as well.
Many people ask me how they can obtain the soundtrack. I don't know where
the original one can be found. It is certainly a collectors item. If you
want to hear it, just rent the movie. I can attest to the fact that the
soundtrack I own is identical to the audio track of the movie. You could
dub the movie onto audio tape and that is equivalent to the soundtrack.
You do so at your own risk, however, since the movie is still copyrighted.
The booklet was large format (12" x 12"), and I was forced to scan portions
of pages and isolate the individual images. Sometimes there is text under or
next to a picture, and sometimes the text was physically separate from the
picture and I scanned it separately. All but a few of the images are their
original sizes. I have reduced the largest images to be only 6" wide so
they would be less than 200KB. All the images except one are less that 200K.
Even so, downloading the entire sequence will require about 6MB of data
transfer -- so people with slow modems should be able to read the book at
about the same pace as the images will be arriving. :-)
I hope you enjoy these scans. Please send any feedback to
The following pages of images are available. If you want to follow the
whole story from front to back, choose the first link below.
If you are interested in other images related to Tolkien's works, then
you should definietly check out my scans of the
Hildebrandt Brothers' fabulous artwork.
Honestly, the Rankin/Bass images you find above pale in
comparison to the
works of the brothers Hildebrandt. Many people (including me) believe
that the Hildebrandt Brothers artwork is the definitive
illustrations for Tolkiens' work and are just as precious in their own right.
The brothers have long since moved beyond Tolkien-related art; however,
they have left a legacy that will perhaps never be matched. You simply
must check these out if you love Tolkien's works.