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It's time again for a FLASH...

Grey Havens

Jun 23 2008, 3:34am

Post #1 of 11 (1266 views)
It's time again for a FLASH... Can't Post

... back.

This week’s LOTR movie news is kinda sparse, so I thought I’d add in some Tolkien stuff. I tried to concentrate on mostly on things related to LOTR, with a smattering of some personal (but public) info on Tolkien & family.

July 14
2004 - The Two Towers Extended Edition wins three Home Entertainment DVD Technical Awards for Best Audio Presentation, Best Commentary, and Best Supplementary Material Presentation

June 15
1940 - Tolkien’s son, Michael, leaves Trinity College to train as an anti-aircraft gunner.
1954 - Tolkien’s letter to W.N. Beard of Allen & Unwin (#147) - feedback of an advanced copy of FOTR that Beard sent him with a proof of the revised dust-jacket printed on grey paper, along with proofs of the dust-jackets of TTT & ROTK. “It was a great moment yesterday when I received the advance copy of The Fellowship of the Ring. The book itself is very presentable indeed.” He does, however, feel that there is a need to differentiate between the three books, since “the same device, is, for economy, used throughout, they do look too much alike” and suggests that the larger letters vary in color: “Title and author in red?”

These were the final designs for all three volumes of LOTR...

He also points out two errors in the text on the lower jacket.
1967 - While recording Poems and Songs of Middle Earth (sic), Tolkien discovers an error in “The Sea-Bell” from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. (Note: only eight out of 16 poems of “Tom Bombadil” have so far been released.) Of the experience, Tolkien wrote to Donald Swann: “Personally, I rather enjoyed the recording as the two men, Blackler and the machine operator, were helpful and appreciate” (Marion E. Wade Center).

June 16
1958 - Letter to Rayner Unwin (HarperCollins archive) - returns a storyline written by Morton Grady Zimmerman for an animated film of LOTR, to be forwarded, along with a cover letter, to Forrest J. Ackerman. Although the storyline is riddled with scathing annotations by Tolkien, he states that he does not want to “kill the project, which I think promised well on the pictorial side; but there is a limit to one’s endurance. I fear that close study of “Z” (Zimmerman) cause me to think that he is probably not a person of sufficient competence in this line to do a tolerable job.”
1966 - After Tolkien is consulted about a request by Jack Beale of the BBC to broadcast a radio adaptation of The Hobbit in eight 30-min. episodes, Stanley Unwin signs a contract for the dramatization, to take place within a year’s time.
2000 -Sir Ian McKellen E-posts his answers to fans’ questions, such as his choice for Gandalf had he himself not been chosen (the late Paul Scofield), explains the tricks behind on-screen sword-fighting, and gets a wee bit ornery when asked about a rumor that a “spy” heard a woman screaming at the doors of Moria, suggesting that Arwen was accompanying the Fellowship (‘The "spy" is incompetent if he/she ever existed. There were no women at the doors of Moria and no screaming. And to put an end to it - Arwen does NOT accompany the Fellowship in the movie.’)
2002 - a TORn spy report about filming at Ruapehu shows the LOTR trying to melt the ice in a stream so that they can shoot a TT scene with Andy, Elijah and Sean A.

June 17
1957 - Rayner Unwin’s letter to Tolkien (HarperCollins archive) -informs Tolkien that Al Brodax, an American film-maker, has written him about the possibility of making an animated film of LOTR. Rayner’s opinion is that, although the movie would be “almost inevitably tasteless and a travesty of the book”, there could be “big money” involved. Tolkien’s reply two days later (Letter #198): “As far as I am concerned personally, I should welcome the idea of an animated motion picture, with all the risk of vulgarization; and that quite apart from the glint of money, though on the brink of retirement that is not an unpleasant possibility. I think I should find vulgarization less painful than the sillification achieved by the B.B.C.” (I wonder how he would have felt about the Bakshi and Rankin/Bass versions…). He expresses an interest in learning more about the project and even suggests that, if and/or when he goes to New York in August, he may be able to meet Brodax.
1966 - Allen & Unwin write to Houghton Mifflin, informing them that Tolkien is completing his revision of ROTK.
1967 - Tolkien falls at his home in Sandfield Road, injuring his leg, resulting in an operation and a month’s stay in hospital. Because of this, he is unable to participate in the move to his new home in Poole. He later describes the experience in a letter to his son, Michael: “I was picked up off the floor of the hall and transported to the Nuffield [Orthopaedic Center] as I was and never went back again - never saw my room, or my house again”.

June 18
1929 - The Tolkiens welcome their fourth child and only daughter into the family: Priscilla Mary Reuel Tolkien.

June 19
1965 - Tolkien’s letter to Joy Hill (HarperCollins archive) - encloses a “crude drawing (all I can find) of my attempt to catch a glimpse, beyond my skill of the death of Smaug….”

1967 - Rayner Unwin writes to Tolkien, informing him that he has received the proposed contract for the film rights to LOTR from H.N. Swanson, Allen & Unwin’s Hollywood agents and that the rights to the Hobbit have been sold also to United Artists by the previous owner.
2001 - Comic strip FOXTROT goes LOTR geeky.
1999 - Christopher Lloyd is seen around Auckland, sparking rumors that he may be joining the LOTR production.

June 20
1967 - Rayner Unwin writes to the Dramatic Publishing Company giving permission for the publication of an adaptation of The Hobbit for amateur stage, after alterations have been made, noting: “Neither Professor Tolkien nor I are concerned about the process of dramatization so long as it is a dramatization of the book in question and that intrusions from elsewhere conform to the spirit and style of the original.” (University of Reading archive). Joy Hill sends Tolkien a copy of a letter from the Performing Rights Society about “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” (a ‘60s song later performed by Leonard “Mr. Spock” Nimoy), which Tolkien had asked to be investigated as to whether or not it infringes on any rights (Ms. Hill and Mr. Unwin believe that it does not).
1969 -Tolkien writes a letter voicing his opinion on the proposed film: ‘No film nor any “version” in another medium could appear satisfactory to any devoted and attentive reader. On the other hand some of the greater pictorial and dramatic scenes could, with modern resources, be a moving experience. All possible precautions have been taken that the story should be presented without serious mutilation and without alteration or alterations’ (Carandaith 2, no.1 (January 1970).
2000 - Cinescape provides TORn with a LOTR licensing ad.
2001 - John Rhys-Davies reveals that Gimli will try to destroy the ring, and Xoanan deduces that it will happen at the Council of Elrond and rumor has it that they will be doing pick-up shots from the Council the following week; another comic strip character succumbs to LOTR geekiness
2002 - A map of Middle-earth, drawn by Tolkien, sells for £4000 at Bonham’s in London


That's if for this week, folks... I'm tired of banging my head on the desk so much from fighting to post this sucker because TORn kept refusing to accept my post.

*grumble grumble*stupid computer*grumble grumble*

(Sources are theonering.net, tolkienbooks.net, J.R.R. Tolkien Companion & Guide: Chronology by Christina Scull & Wayne G. Hammond, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, and various news sites.)



Jun 23 2008, 7:40am

Post #2 of 11 (595 views)
Tolkien's comments... [In reply to] Can't Post

... in those days about a possible movie really make me wonder again what he would have thought about PJ's movies...

Peredhil lover

Jun 23 2008, 10:36am

Post #3 of 11 (568 views)
I was going to say the same [In reply to] Can't Post

He was obviously not completely against trying, and that he thought LotR unfilmable was understandable, considering the technical possibilities back then. I vaguely remember reading his comments on a film script and think it was the Ackermann one - it was truly terrible. The PJ changes were nothing in comparison.
I always think the Professor may have had issues with some changes (like one or two others Wink), but he would have appreciated the many details in props, costumes and the like, and that the movies brought more people to his world.

Anyway, that was an interesting read. Thank you so much, diedye, for all your work in finding these tidbits!

I do not suffer from LotR obsession - I enjoy every minute of it.


Jun 23 2008, 7:24pm

Post #4 of 11 (569 views)
Thank you [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for taking the time to write up all that info.Very interesting.Hope your head is`nt too sore,lol. Crazy

Forth, Eorlingas!

Forum Admin / Moderator

Jun 23 2008, 8:44pm

Post #5 of 11 (545 views)
The blast from the past returns! [In reply to] Can't Post

You do your research quite well - there's a nice variety of real and rumor here!

Thanks for the grins and giggles!

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915


Jun 24 2008, 1:37am

Post #6 of 11 (550 views)
I'm lost in these post... [In reply to] Can't Post

meaning that I'm so enthralled, it takes me forever to work through them! I'm in awe of your dedication and research for these. I'm so thrilled to have what feels like a journey through the evolution of Tolkien's story walking hand-in-hand with the films and TORn.

Thank you for this, diedye. I'm staggered!


"Barney Snow was here." ~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

TORn's Observations Lists


Jun 24 2008, 3:11pm

Post #7 of 11 (545 views)
Me too! [In reply to] Can't Post

Excellent work, and a very interesting read! I forgot to mention that in my first reply...

But if I can give just a tiny hint of advice; maybe it is an idea to list events by year first, and then by date? I think it would make reading it just a bit easier, especially in big posts like this one.. If you know what I mean...

But it is just advice, proceed as you will, I'll read even if it is in hyroglyphs (or however you spell that...)! :-)


Jun 24 2008, 3:37pm

Post #8 of 11 (528 views)
Thank you for that. [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, when I read this, it made me dislike Christopher a little bit more. He claims that he wants to stop more films based on his father's works, trying to imply that Tolkien would not approve, but the passage from 1969 contradicts that. It makes it clear that JRR Tolkien was open to his books being made into film, but felt they could not be done well enough to satisfy alot of readers (see: Purists). It makes me wonder if Christopher is really thinking of his father's legacy, or if this lawsuit is more or less about his own bank account.

...The crownless again shall be King!


Jun 24 2008, 8:10pm

Post #9 of 11 (541 views)
A million thanks for your headache. [In reply to] Can't Post

So sorry for your difficulties, but I can't thank you enough for going to all this effort. These are brilliant! Fun, informative, and moving.
JRR Tolkien's life's work (and his history) is now a part of our lives. It is really affecting to understand that we here at tORn (and fans all over the world) are still involved in the long and fascinating history of that remarkable man's remarkable work.
These posts are the best thing we've had around here in a while, diedye, and I just can't thank you enough for doing them.

You are wonderful!

Check out
Movie Discussions

(former nick: "HobbitLoveR*M-e" among several others)

Tol Eressea

Jun 24 2008, 8:47pm

Post #10 of 11 (528 views)
Thanks for that! [In reply to] Can't Post

That drawing of the death of Smaug has made my day, what a great treat!

*Jazminatar the Brown*

Grey Havens

Jun 25 2008, 2:45am

Post #11 of 11 (518 views)
I actually started doing it like that... [In reply to] Can't Post

... but since this was to be more of a THIS DAY IN HISTORY thing but posted once a week instead of daily, I thought this was the way to go (especially since I didn't want to appear to be copying Hammond & Scull's format)... but I guess I'll have to rethink that.


(This post was edited by diedye on Jun 25 2008, 2:50am)


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