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Thursday, February 6, 2014

RIP Arthur Rankin Jr

Scene from The Hobbit (1977)

I just read that Arthur Rankin Jr passed away recently at the age of 89. His company, Rankin-Bass Productions (formed with Jules Bass), is best remembered for its numerous stop-motion specials like Rudolph, but it also produced animated features like The Hobbit (1977), The Return of the King (1980), The Last Unicorn (1982) and even the Thundercats series. The Hobbit was first shown on TV near Thanksgiving later in the same year (1977) as both Holmes Basic and Tolkien's Silmarillion were first published. Watching a re-run of The Hobbit was perhaps my first encounter with the fantasy genre, and I still love it.


  1. The animated Hobbit was also my introduction to the fantasy genre. My mother took me to a local library in 1977-78 to watch a 16mm projected screening of it. To this day I have a clear memory of sitting on the library's floor with about 20 other kids, utterly transported by what I was watching. I've never been the same since, and every few years I revisit the movie without disappointment. Two or three years later, the older brother of a friend introduced us to D&D, and it immediately tapped into that Hobbit euphoria I had felt earlier...