Once again I’m here to yank you back in time, inquisitive reader, so that you’ll be an informed member of the present. In 1977 Rankin and Bass created the animated television series The Hobbit, a 90-minute adaptation of the novel, also called The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I first watched the film as a very small child, and have ever since watched it time and time again. Trust me, it bears repeated viewing. The artistic style of the cartoon is based on the early 20th century English illustrator Arthur Rackham. Such romanticism places the cartoon firmly in the midst of the nostalgic longings that were ubiquitous during the 1970s. General artistic themes circulating throughout the decade included criticisms of industry and the concern many had about the alienation of modern man from his traditional, spiritual nature. A cartoon depicting the fantastic “ancient world” of Middle Earth fits right in. Now, combating the harsh realities of oil spills and global warming, the world is forced to confront these themes once again. Furthermore, devoted fans of the Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy await with great anticipation The Hobbit, a two-part film which he will be producing. So watch this classic cartoon and absorb its enchanting representation of ancient civilization. You’ll be peering into the culture of America a couple generations past, a period that presents growing relevance for the world of the 21st century.
For a general overview of 1970s culture:
Part 1 of the film: