The Walt Disney Company
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J.R.R. Tolkien about Disney
Throughout his life, J.R.R. Tolkien had a deep concern and strong opinions about adaptations of his legendarium. For Tolkien, the products of the Disney company were an especially prominent example of bad style.
In 1946, he rejected suggestions for illustrations by Horus Engels for the German edition of the Hobbit as "too Disnified",
- "Bilbo with a dribbling nose, and Gandalf as a figure of vulgar fun rather than the Odinic wanderer that I think of."
- ― The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, #107
Moreover, when certain producers became interested in movie adaptations of Tolkien's works, (he had sold the film, stage and merchandise rights of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1968), he forbade Disney should ever be involved:
- "It might be advisable [...] to let the Americans do what seems good to them — as long as it was possible [...] to veto anything from or influenced by the Disney studios (for all whose works I have a heartfelt loathing)."
- ― The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, #13
A remarkable critique of Walt Disney was given by Tolkien in a 1964 letter to a fan:
- "I recognize [Walt Disney's] talent, but it has always seemed to me hopelessly corrupted. Though in most of the 'pictures' proceeding from his studios there are admirable or charming passages, the effect of all of them to me is disgusting. Some have given me nausea"
- ― Letter to Miss J.L. Curry, of 15 July 1964
Nevertheless, Disney's Disneyland and Buena Vista record labels were to release six audio products based on the Rankin/Bass The Hobbit and two based on Rankin/Bass The Return of the King in the 1970's and 1980's.
- 1977: The Hobbit: The Complete Original Soundtrack
- 1977: The Hobbit (Disneyland Read-Along)
- 1977: The Hobbit (Disneyland Storyteller)
- 1980: The Return of the King: A Story of the Hobbits