Sunday, November 29, 2009
Bedknobs, Broomsticks And The Borrowers
Tonight, November 29, 2009, the Hallmark Hall of Fame broadcasts its 237th presentation, "A Dog Named Christmas." This venerable television instituation of course has an annual December (or in the case of tonight's installment, late November) presentation to promote its excellent line of Christmas cards (including licensed Disney and Peanuts greetings and other creations), so in the spirit of the Spirit of Christmas Past, let's take a look back at a Yuletide Hall of Fame broadcast from December 14, 1973 (at which point the Hallmark Hall of Fame had already been on TV for 22 years), The Borrowers, featuring a typically stellar and eclectic cast, including Eddie Albert, Tammy Grimes, Beatrice Straight, Barnard Hughes, and Dame Judith Anderson. Nominated for a slew of Emmy Awards, The Borrowers took home the Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Children's Programming for Art Direction and Set Decoration. The interiors were filmed on location in a one-hundred-year-old Victorian mansion—an elegant setting for the special effects-laden story of the tiny people who "borrow" items from the giant world around them to construct a world of their own underneath the floorboards of an eccentric old woman's house. Interestingly, the program was produced by two of Charles Schulz's Peanuts associates—Walt DeFaria and Warren Lockhart (Warren was president of Charles M. Schulz Creative Development, a role in which we can well imagine he dealt with Hallmark Cards)—but most notably here at Tulgey Wood, The Borrowers was based on the book by British author Mary Norton, who also wrote The Magic Bedknob and Bonfires and Broomsticks, which were combined into Bed-knob and Broomstick, upon which Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) was based. You can still read my online article about Bedknobs and Broomsticks at the D23 website. Check it out here.