As a child, long before Peter Jackson got ahold of the franchise, I loved the Rankin & Bass versions of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. What I did not know until today, was that there was a version of the Hobbit 11 years older than Rankin & Bass – at least, sort of.

According to Open Culture, Producer William Snyder was the first to get the rights to Tolkien’s work. When he failed to get feature length films made, as he had originally intended he enlisted animator Gene Deitch to create this short:

Produced in 1966, the 12-minute animated short takes elements of the classic work of fantasy and adapts—or corrupts—them to fit a different story, one with a dragon, a hobbit, a wizard, and an Arkenstone, to be sure, but with a great many odd liberties taken with Tolkien’s world. Instead of the great Smaug, we have a dragon named “Slag.” Instead of pillaging The Lonely Mountain, he steals the treasure of the village of Dale. Instead of a troupe of dwarves, we have one General Oakenshield, a princess named “Mika,” and an unnamed watchman. Trolls and goblins become “Groans” and “Grablins,” and Gollum appears as “Goloom.””

So in the end, it was a butchery of the story and more than a bit dishonest but here’s a short, mostly forgotten chapter of Tolkien lore for you: