VIDEO: Watch the Lost 1966 Adaptation of THE HOBBIT

You are probably well aware of the beloved / reviled 1977 Rankin Bass animated The Hobbit but did you know there is another earlier adaptation? Animation producer William Snyder had a lock on the rights to Tolkien's famous novel through the 1960s, having acquired them inexpensively prior to the big explosion of popularity that The Lord of Rings enjoyed after getting the thumbs up from the free love generation. Snyder had put a version of The Hobbit into active development with animator Gene Deitch that built up some steam but ultimately fell apart shortly before Snyder's rights were due to expire. To hang on to the rights (and possibly flip them for a big profit) Snyder commisioned Deitch to produce a one reel adaptation in full color ... in less than a month. Deitch delivered the 12 minute adaptation (embedded below) and screened it in New York, the rights were retained and the film was promptly lost to history. Thanks to the Peter Jackson bump the short was unearthed earlier this year and you can now enjoy all three screen versions of the story.

Check out the embed below and read the full story on Gene Deitch's blog.

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