Monday, November 14, 2005

The Hobbit from My Childhood

Long ago, when I was quite a young child, an auntie and uncle of mine gave my brother and I a marvellous gift: it was "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien on cassette tape.

We listened to it over and over--it was eight tapes in all. I have memories of lying in my bed, sick at home from school, listening to the adventures of Bilbo and Gandalf and Thorin Oakenshield for hours and hours.

It got so that my brother and I could quote great long passages from this story; we knew the poetry and the conversation, and even the riddles of Gollum by heart. We listened to it so much that eventually the tapes grew garbled...and eventually broke or were lost over time.

Since then I've searched for that Hobbit story on tape or CD. There are many versions and I did not know the name of the talented narrator (one man did all the voices). No other version would do.

Then this weekend a friend from Vancouver visited and brought his Laptop- Computer- Full -of -Wonders over so we could do a bit of file-sharing. He mentioned that somebody had shared the "The Hobbit" with him, and would I like it?

He started to play it and a familiar voice from my childhood began to speak: "...It was a Hobbit Hole..and that means Comfort..."

I could have cried with joy. Even after all these years I can still listen to it and know the words even before the narrator speaks them.

I think my brother will be happy too.

15 comments:

mysterious in blue said...

I love "The Hobbit". the narrator has such a soothing voice. memories :).

Connie and Rob said...

That is great. It is always nice when you can bring a good memory back from your childhood.
Connie

[Mat] said...

That's nice :)

Hope you have fun with that tape.
It's always fun to have those.

For me, it's childhood comics songs.

Have a good day!

angel, jr. said...

Who's voice was it?

blackcrag said...

I first read The Hobbit when I was seven or eight. The wife of my mother’s co-worker was looking after my sister and me as we kids had a professional day (non-school day) and we couldn’t go to her work place.

It as a picture book, one of those books with pages twice as long as they were high. The mix of poetry and story telling fascinated me. And I liked the easy manner of Tolkein’s writing, like I was sitting before a fireplace and he was talking to me directly. I was allowed to take the book home with me, to finish reading it. I gave the book back, but the magic of it has stayed with me ever since.

When I was 12 I found a paperback copy of The Hobbit (no pictures this time), and bought it instantly. This naturally lead me to The Lord of the Rings trilogy and a genre of reading I still enjoy today.

PBS said...

Oh that's wonderful that you've found it again! Your brother will love it, too.

sideshow bob said...

I like going to movies such as the LOTR trilogy or the Harry Potter ones, just for the simple pleasure of seeing how much I butchered the names of the characters in my internal narration of the books. Hermoine? I was way off...in my head I pronounced it like "heroine" with an 'm' in the middle...

NWJR said...

Soooo....

WHICH VERSION IS IT?

Thanks ;-)

RadioGuy said...

"The Hobbit" is one of my all-time favorite literary works, and listening to the "book on tape" makes enjoying the book all that much more... well.. enjoyable.

Are there any other Books on Tape that you have enjoyed?

Bill said...

I have never heard it on tape but it is a wonderful book.

Jack Lord said...

reminds me of a scene in the French film Amélie: Amélie finds an old box of childhood treasures and is determined to find the boy (now an adult) to return it to him

---------
the Hobbit: my first memories of that are from a 1970's TV movie-version that played here in the States - watched again last year on VHS and.... wow! what a medicore film! with cringe-worthy musical interludes!

Weary Hag said...

Just guessing here, but you probably enjoy revisiting your childhood almost as much as the story itself ...
That would do it for me!

Great post ...

Spider Girl said...

Alas, I STILL don't know what version it is, or the narrator's name...no information is on the copy, drat it all. But I'm just happy to have it.

the angry piper said...

The Mind's Eye Theatre puts out an excellent version of nboth The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with a full ensemble cast. Obviously, in an audio production of literary works so beloved as these, the voices pretty much make or break the project. The voices are (usually) spot on, particularly Gandalf and Frodo (Sam and Thorin, regrettably, aren't as cool).

The Mind's Eye did these productions for Radio 2000 back in the seventies. Both productions are available through Barnes and Noble online (or your local booksellers). They come in a cool wooden box and are available in both CD and cassette. The sets should run between 30 and 50 bucks each (American).

Highly recommended. I still listen to them from time to time.

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