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The Daydreamer (1966)

 -  Animation | Family | Fantasy  -  June 1966 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 191 users  
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An anthology of fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen: "The Little Mermaid," "The Emperor's New Clothes," "Thumbelina" and "The Garden of Paradise."



(stories), (additional dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
The Sea Witch (voice)
Zenith (The Second Tailor) (voice)
Thumbelina (voice)
Papa Andersen
The Mole (voice)
Mrs. Klopplebobbler
Father Neptune (voice)
The Rat (voice)
Paul O'Keefe ...
Cyril Ritchard ...
The Sandman (voice)
Brig. Zachary Zilch (The First Tailor) (voice)
The Emperor (voice)
Robert Harter ...
Big Claus


A fictional account of a teen-aged Hans Christian Anderson. In this film, young Hans runs away from home and each time he falls asleep he experiences in his dreams the different characters he would later write about including The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina and The Ugly Duckling. Written by Brian Washington <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Before the Little Mermaid, there was...


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

June 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El soñador aventurero  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Was filmed on location at the site of the New York's World Fair, with LaGuardia Airport being so close it caused trouble with the filming because of noise from the planes. See more »


With the second set of opening credits, it is stated the actors' name are in alphabetical order. However, Sessue HaYakawa is placed before Margaret HaMilton. See more »


Music by Maury Laws
Lyrics by Jules Bass
Performed by Robert Goulet
See more »

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User Reviews

Human Actors More Wooden Than The Puppets
4 March 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Daydreamer" is a movie which I hadn't heard of before until I saw it in the children's section of a movie store. I usually like Rankin-Bass's other movies and TV specials, especially "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" and "The Little Drummer Boy". Sure, the animation is archaic compared to the 3D animation we know today, but most of their specials have stood the test of time because they're still entertaining to watch, and they tell great stories. Plus, stop-motion animation is considered more of an art form now than in was in the 1960's and 70's.

For those reasons, I really thought I was going to like "The Daydreamer". Not only that, but it also seemed like the first animated movie to feature celebrities as voices, rather than having mostly anonymous voice-over artists. Well, although "The Daydreamer" was made with the best of intentions, it didn't really work for me.

"The Daydreamer" is a movie that can be considered an even more fictionalized prequel to 1952's "Hans Christian Anderson", starring Danny Kaye. This movie tells the story of a young Anderson, known to his father and others as "Chris". Tired of his meager life with his father (there apparently is a mother in this movie as well, but she is mentioned, not shown), Chris is prompted by a Sandman (or a dream maker) to seek out a Magic Garden where all his troubles will be forgotten and he will live happily for the rest of his life. Chris sets out in the middle of the night, and through his journey dreams of encounters with The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, and the shady tailors who are going to make an Emperor's New Clothes. These journeys, however, exist only in Chris' dreams. The idea behind this movie is that a young Chris will be inspired by these dreams that he will grow up and write famous stories about his "experiences". His dreams are all in stop-motion animation, while the real-life segments are acted in real time.

Now here are my problems with the movie. First, the people in the live action parts didn't act very well, and were completely unbelievable. Although it was great to see Ray Bolger and Margaret Hamilton on screen (the Scarecrow and the Wicked Witch from 1939's "The Wizard of Oz", respectively.), the thrill was lost to me with the principle characters. The kid who played young Hans Christian Anderson looked and sounded awkward every moment he was on screen, and actually sounded worse when he was voicing his own character. Jack Gilford, who played Papa Anderson, delivered dialogue that almost seemed to insult the intelligence of the audience, no matter what the age.

Although the stop-motion animation wasn't bad, the story that went along with it was weak and sometimes very confusing. It's doubtful anyone watching the movie would actually care about Chris' quest to find this Garden of Eden by any other name. Plus, when he actually reaches this Garden he was searching for, the story took on a very dark, weird, and unnecessarily Biblical turn that really didn't sit well with me. It was almost as if the screenwriters tried to find a way to tie each Anderson story together, and didn't know where to go after they covered Thumbelina. It's also interesting how The Little Mermaid segment of the story didn't quite have an ending. Most children will probably be sad to know the end of this version of The Little Mermaid, made long before Disney got their hands on it. So rather than spilling the beans on the true ending to The Little Mermaid, this movie decided to cut the ending off altogether. Not a smart move at all.

This movie required the viewer to shed far more disbelief than necessary, especially in regards to the Thumbelina section of the story. In it, Chris meets Thumbelina and eventually they find their way to the home of a villainous rat, voiced by Boris Karloff. The rat does a poor job of seeming hospitable, yet both heroes fall for it. They also wander into a dark cave to visit a mole that is a walking, talking negative Asian stereotype. If I saw these creatures, I would run! I bet other kids would too. Why Chris sticks around is beyond me.

I thought when I picked up this DVD in stores that it would be an enjoyable classic that I would tell my friends was an underrated classic. I tell my friends about "The Adventures of Mark Twain", which was a very pleasant surprise of a movie. This movie was an unpleasant surprise, and probably bombed when it was released forty years ago. Looking back on it now, it really hasn't stood the test of time. Although the animation was close to stellar, the storytelling, acting, and over plausibility was weak. I can't recommend it.

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