Sunday, December 23, 2012

Danny & Marlo Thomas & Roddy McDowall in Cricket on the Hearth (1967)

When we think of Dickens and Christmas, we naturally think of A Christmas Carol. In truth, Dickens wrote five Christmas stories, including the one that this holiday special was based on. Though this animated story produced by holiday heavyweights Rankin & Bass bears little resemblance to the original novela, it has some charming musical numbers and a sweet story to warm your heart. Bertha (Marlo Thomas), the daughter of toy maker Caleb (Danny Thomas) is in love with handsome Edward. When Edward is lost at sea, Bertha suffers a case of hysterical blindness and the family falls on hard times. Will the luck of their cricket, Crocket (Roddy McDowall) see them through? Also in the cast is veteran character actor Hans Conried, Abby Lane and the Norman Luboff Choir.

This special is available on DVD, and can also be seen on YouTube. Part one is above, uploaded by starwarsmarveldc.

Obscurity factor: 8 (available on DVD & YouTube, largely forgotten)


  1. Well, I can see why this Rankin-Bass entry doesn't stand up to their other classics. I have never viewed this program, and I wonder if it played more than once. "Hysterical blindness" doesn't exactly ring in the holiday season. However, thanks for the link, or I would never have known that this existed.

  2. Yes, it's right up there with the bleak stop motion animation Little Drummer Boy special where the animals get killed by being run over by a cart.

  3. Rankin-Bass released that the next year, 1968. Maybe they were going through a "dark period." What amazes me, is that they were both initially first shown, within a week of Christmas. These days, they start these specials right after Thanksgiving...

  4. Yay! You're back!

    Do you remember "One Trick Pony" (1980) a semi-autobiographical film written and acted in by Paul Simon? It's on Youtube: