The Daydreamer (film)

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This article is about the 1966 Rankin/Bass film. For the 1970 French comedy, see Le Distrait.
The Daydreamer
The Daydreamer DVD cover.jpg
Cover of the 2003 DVD release.
Directed by Jules Bass
Produced by Joseph E. Levine
Arthur Rankin, Jr.
Larry Roemer
Screenplay by Romeo Muller
Arthur Rankin, Jr.
Based on Hans Christian Andersen
Starring Tallulah Bankhead
Victor Borge
Patty Duke
Jack Gilford
Margaret Hamilton
Sessue Hayakawa
Burl Ives
Boris Karloff
Hayley Mills
Paul O'Keefe
Cyril Ritchard
Ed Wynn
Ray Bolger
Music by Maury Laws
Cinematography Daniel Cavelli
Tadahito Mochinaga
Distributed by Embassy Pictures
Release dates June 1, 1966 (USA)
Running time 101 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2 million[1]

The Daydreamer is a 1966 Rankin/Bass stop-motion puppet animation and live-action musical fantasy film. Directed by Jules Bass, it was written by Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Romeo Muller, based on the stories of Hans Christian Andersen. It features songs by Jules Bass and Maury Laws. The film's opening features the cast in puppet and live form plus characatures of the cast by Al Hirschfeld.


It is early in the 19th century. The thirteen-year-old Hans Christian Andersen (called "Chris" for short; portrayed and voiced by Paul O'Keefe) is know in his native village of Odense, Denmark, as an incurable daydreamer. Actually, the boy's reveries are an escape from the hardships of his family's life.

Chris' father, Papa Andersen (Jack Gilford), is a gentle but very poor shoemaker. He cannot even afford the delicious works of the Pieman (Ray Bolger), and he is forced to suffer the abuses of haughty customers, such as the ill-tempered Mrs. Klopplebobbler (Margaret Hamilton).

One night, having heard tales of a legendary Garden of Paradise from his father, Chris runs away, determined to find the fabled Garden. He begins his adventure at the river, where he is joined by the devoted friend of all daydreamers, the Sandman (voiced by Cyril Ritchard), who promises to help Chris make his wishes come true by spinning some daydreams . . .

. . . Suddenly, a fierce storm throws Chris into the center of a whirlpool, and he sinks, unconscious, to the Animagic world, beginning through the ocean floor. He is found by the Little Mermaid (voiced by Hayley Mills), who, against the advice of Father Neptune (voiced by Burl Ives), exchanges a vow with the Sea Witch (voiced by Tallulah Bankhead) for a potion with which to revive the boy. The vow demands that if Chris will not remain with her in the underwater world, the Little Mermaid will become an outcast, neither of the earth nor of the sea.

Chris is revived, but he decides to continue his search for the Garden of Paradise, leaving the Little Mermaid stranded forever on a rock. As she sadly watches him go, she sings Wishes and Teardrops.

Next, Chris meets two crafty Tailors (both voiced by Terry-Thomas and Victor Borge). They persuade him to serve as their apprentice and join them on a journey to an Emperor who is famous for his luxurious clothing.

They find the Emperor (voiced by Ed Wynn) in his castle singing Simply Wonderful, a song with which he expresses displeasure with some new royal robes. The fast-talking Tailors have gold lavished on them when they promise the Emperor a fabulous, invisible garment. They proclaim: "Anyone who can't see it is a fool!" Naturally, everyone pretends he can see it.

The next day, the Emperor dons his new "clothes" to appear in a Royal Parade, which is led by the Pieman singing Who Can Tell. When a small child exclaims, "The Emperor is naked!", everyone realizes he indeed has been a fool, and Chris and the Tailors are chased out of the city.

Back in the human world, Chris is arrested for poaching by a Game Warden (Robert Harter) and is taken to the village jail. He hopes for a turn in his fortune, singing Luck to Sell. When he is set to work cutting logs, he begins to dream of escape and discovers tiny Thumbelina (voiced by Patty Duke) sitting on a tulip petal.

His new friend gives him a magic seed to shrink him to her size, as she sings Happy Guy, and they sail off, back again to the Animagic world, in her walnut shell boat. They lose their way, but finally are given shelter by a sneaky Rat (voiced by Boris Karloff), who plots to sell Thumbelina as a bride to a miserly Mole (voiced by Sessue Hayakawa). That night, however, while the Mole joins three Bats in singing Isn't It Cozy, Chris and Thumbelina manage to flee.

Chris returns to his normal size and again meets the Sandman, who decides to lead him into the Garden of Paradise on the condition that Chris will not eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. If he does, he will be lost forever in the Valley of Nothingless. Chris romps in the magnificent Garden, but a mischievous boy named Puck teases him into trying the forbidden fruit. The world around him explodes and he is plunged into darkness . . .

. . . Chris, finally back in the human world as before, is coming to from a bad dream when Papa Andersen, who has followed his son down to the river, finds him and takes him home. The Sandman then makes a last appearance to remind the world that Chris "did finally find his Garden of Paradise. Not in the way he dreamed, but through his wonderful and ever-lasting fairy stories."

Source: liner notes from the soundtrack of the film.

Musical Numbers[edit]

  1. "Daydreamer" - Robert Goulet
  2. "Overture" - Maury Laws
  3. "Wishes and Teardrops" - The Little Mermaid
  4. "Simply Wonderful" - The Emperor and His Three Minstrels
  5. "Who Can Tell" - The Pieman of Odense and Big Claus
  6. "Luck to Sell" - Chris
  7. "Happy Guy" - Thumbelina, Chris, & Chorus
  8. "Isn't It Cozy?" - Three Bats and the Mole
  9. "Luck to Sell"- Chris
  10. "Finale (The Daydreamer)" - Chorus



A soundtrack album was issued by Columbia Records[2] featuring all of the songs and the partial score from the film. In 2006, the album was reissued on CD by Percepto Records in a limited edition release that included four bonus tracks.[3]


The Daydreamer has been released on DVD twice; in 2003 by Anchor Bay, and recently by Lionsgate in 2012 via as a MOD (Manufacture On Demand) disc.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stephen Jacobs, Boris Karloff: More Than a Monster, Tomohawk Press 2011 p 468
  2. ^ "The Daydreamer Soundtrack Castalbumcollector". Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  3. ^ "Percepto Records The Daydreamer". Retrieved 2009-12-02. 

External links[edit]