John Huston

Before D&D there was The Hobbit. And if there is any one thing that set me on the course to being a fan of all things fantasy it was the Rankin & Bass animated version of The Hobbit narrated by John Huston.

To this day he IS the voice of Gandalf in my head when I read the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. I still think he was one of the greatest voice actors of all time.

Not long ago I bought the Rankin and Bass The Hobbit on DVD and I was not disappointing. It has held up surprisingly well. Some things in its favor are that it is based on the original drawings of JRR Tolkein himself, John Huston's voice acting, and the editing of the story is so well done. The scenes with Smaug are still some of the best ever put to film, and who can forget the riddles in the dark with Gollum!?

When I was a child and saw this for the first time it blew my mind. The next day I ran to the school library and asked for the book to read. The librarian said it was a "little old for me" and directed me to CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. Now, I loved Chronicles of Narnia and don't begrudge her misdirection, but I still wanted to read Tolkein's work. And eventually did, several times.

Smaug - one of the greatest characters of all time. All dragons pale in comparison to his magnificence.

"Adventures make one late for dinner."