The Hobbit is a 1977 animated musical television special created by Rankin/Bass and Topcraft. The film is an adaptation of the book of the same name by J. R. R. Tolkien and was first broadcast on NBC in the United States on Sunday, November 27, 1977, just three days after Thanksgiving.
According to Arthur Rankin, Jr., the visual style of the film took its basic cue from the early illustrations of Arthur Rackham. Rankin further hoped that, with this particular film, he would add nothing to the story that wasn't in the original.
The story's hero, Bilbo Baggins, was voiced by Orson Bean, backed up by John Huston as the voice of Gandalf. Otto Preminger was the voice of the Elvenking, Richard Boone grumbled and bellowed as the dragon Smaug, Cyril Ritchard spoke for Elrond, Hans Conried voiced Thorin Oakenshield, and the comedian and performance artist Brother Theodore was chosen for the voice of Gollum. Rankin-Bass icon Paul Frees co-starred as Bombur; Don Messick portrayed Balin and the Lord of the Eagles; John Stephenson did double voice duty, first as the charming and proud archer Bard; then as Dori, the third major member of Thorin's Company; in addition, they and Jack DeLeon supplied the voices of the eight other members of Thorin's Company as well as the goblins. Thurl Ravenscroft performed the singing voices of the goblins.