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The Daydreamer is a 1966 stop motion animated-live action musical fantasy film produced by Videocraft International.[2] Directed by Jules Bass, it was written by Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Romeo Muller, based on the stories of Hans Christian Andersen. It features songs by Jules Bass and Maury Laws. The film's opening features the cast in puppet and live form plus caricatures of the cast by Al Hirschfeld.


It is early in the 19th century. The thirteen-year-old Hans Christian Andersen (called "Chris" for short; portrayed and voiced by Paul O'Keefe) is known in his native village of Odense, Denmark, as an incurable daydreamer. Actually, the boy's reveries are an escape from the hardships of his family's life.

Chris's father, Papa Andersen (Jack Gilford), who is separated from his wife who lives in Copenhagen, is a gentle, humorous, absent-minded, and stern but very poor shoemaker. He cannot even afford the delicious works of the Pieman (Ray Bolger), and he is forced to suffer the abuses of haughty customers, such as the ill-tempered Mrs. Klopplebobbler (Margaret Hamilton).

One night, having heard tales of a legendary Garden of Paradise from his father, Chris runs away, determined to find the fabled Garden. He begins his adventure at the river, where he is joined by the devoted friend of all daydreamers, the Sandman (voiced by Cyril Ritchard), who promises to help Chris make his wishes come true by spinning some daydreams. Chris falls asleep in the boat and thus begins his first daydream. He goes sailing through a river, and out into the ocean.

Suddenly, a fierce storm throws Chris into the centre of a whirlpool, and he sinks, unconscious, to the Animagic world, beginning through the ocean floor. He is found by the Little Mermaid (voiced by Hayley Mills), who, against the advice of Father Neptune (voiced by Burl Ives), exchanges a vow with the Sea Witch (voiced by Tallulah Bankhead) for a potion with which to revive the boy. The vow demands that if Chris will not remain with her in the underwater world, the Little Mermaid will become an outcast, neither of the earth nor of the sea.

Chris is revived, but he decides to continue his search for the Garden of Paradise, leaving the Little Mermaid heartbroken on a rock. As she sadly watches him go, she sings "Wishes and Teardrops."

When Chris's father sees the note that his son wrote, he immediately rushes out to search for him.

Meanwhile, Chris sees a baby duckling that is neglected by its family, and adopts it. This will become the basis for his fairy tale "The Ugly Duckling". Next, Chris meets two crafty Tailors (voiced by Terry-Thomas and Victor Borge). They persuade him to serve as their apprentice and join them on a journey to an Emperor who is famous for his luxurious clothing. They find the Emperor (voiced by Ed Wynn) in his castle, while his suitors are singing the song "Simply Wonderful," a song with which he expresses displeasure with some new royal robes. The fast-talking Tailors have gold lavished on them when they promise the Emperor a fabulous, invisible garment. They proclaim: "Anyone who can't see it is a fool!". Naturally, everyone pretends he can see it.

The next day, the Emperor dons his new "clothes" to appear in a Royal Parade, which is led by the Pieman singing "Who Can Tell." When a small child exclaims, "The Emperor is naked!", everyone realizes he indeed has been a fool, and Chris and the Tailors are chased out of the city, where he comes separated from the Tailors, and trips over a log, where his second daydream ends.

Back in the human world, Chris is arrested on false charges of poaching by a Game Warden, known in a future fairy tale as "Big Claus" (Robert Harter), and is taken to the village jail. He hopes for a turn in his fortunes, singing "Luck to Sell." When he is set to work cutting logs, he begins to dream of escape and discovers tiny Thumbelina (voiced by Patty Duke) sitting on a tulip petal.

Meanwhile, Chris's father, who has lost his boat after landing on an island, soon sees Chris's boat. He paddles clumsily on the river until he lands up in the river with a long pole. When he reaches the island, he too is immediately arrested by the same Game Warden (Big Claus) on the false charge of fishing in prohibited waters ("No Fishing") and is taken prisoner.

Chris's new friend gives him a magic seed to shrink him to her size, as she sings "Happy Guy," and they sail off, back again to the Animagic world, in her walnut-shell boat. They lose their way and have a scary encounter with a big bullfrog, who tries to go after the two of them, but finally are given shelter by a sneaky Rat (voiced by Boris Karloff), who plots to sell Thumbelina as a bride to a miserly Mole (voiced by Sessue Hayakawa). Before Chris and Thumbelina encounter the mole, they come across an unconscious sparrow that Thumbelina thinks is dead. When they encounter the Mole in order to receive the medicine for the Rat, the Mole joins three Bats in singing "Isn't It Cozy," with a bunch of spiders and insects. After the two of them leave the Mole, they come across the same sparrow, and discover that her heart is beating and she has a chance to live. That evening, Thumbelina states that the sparrow, when she is well, has promised to transport her to a "Garden of Paradise." However, when she states that it's for the "Little People," Chris is turned off, because he does not want to be identified as "Little". That evening, while Thumbelina is asleep, Chris breaks out alone and takes the walnut-shell boat upstream. He encounters the same scary bullfrog, which causes the boat to collapse.

Chris asks why things went wrong with his journey, and again meets the Sandman, who decides to lead him into the Garden of Paradise on the condition that Chris will not eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. If he does, he will be lost forever in the Valley of Nothingness. Chris romps in the magnificent Garden, but a mischievous boy named Puck teases him into trying the forbidden fruit. The world around him explodes and he is plunged into darkness.

Chris, finally back in the human world as before, is awoken by the Game Warden and is scolded for not working. Papa Andersen finds him, and explains to Chris about his arrest. The only way to release the two prisoners is if the father pays for the bail, but the father has no money, and the Warden forewarns them that they will be prisoners for a long time. However, the father remembers the wedding ring that was given to him by Chris's mother, stating that it is just a piece of metal. The Warden accepts the ring, releasing both the father and son from their labor, and the father takes his son home. Once they return home, Chris is being taught basic mathematics ("Doing the Table") when the Sandman makes a last appearance to remind the world that Chris "did finally find his Garden of Paradise. Not in the way he dreamed, but through his wonderful and ever-lasting fairy stories."

Musical numbers[]

  1. "Daydreamer" – Robert Goulet
  2. "Overture" – Maury Laws
  3. "Wishes and Teardrops" – The Little Mermaid
  4. "Simply Wonderful" – The Emperor and His Three Minstrels
  5. "Who Can Tell" – The Pieman of Odense
  6. "Luck to Sell" – Chris
  7. "Happy Guy" – Thumbelina, Chris and Chorus
  8. "Isn't It Cozy?" – Three Bats and the Mole
  9. "Finale (The Daydreamer)" – Chorus


  • Paul O'Keefe as "Chris" (Hans Christian Andersen)
  • Jack Gilford as Papa Andersen
  • Margaret Hamilton as Mrs. Klopplebobbler
  • Sessue Hayakawa as The Mole
  • Patty Duke as Thumbelina
  • Boris Karloff as The Rat
  • Hayley Mills as The Little Mermaid
  • Burl Ives as Father Neptune
  • Tallulah Bankhead as The Sea Witch
  • Victor Borge as The Second Tailor
  • Ed Wynn as The Emperor
  • Ray Bolger as The Pieman
  • Cyril Ritchard as The Sandman
  • Terry-Thomas as The First Tailor
  • Robert Harter as Big Claus the game warden

Additional voices[]


  • Director: Jules Bass
  • Writer/Producer: Arthur Rankin, Jr.
  • Executive Producer: Joseph E. Levine
  • Associate Producer: Larry Roemer
  • Adaptation from the Stories and Characters: Hans Christian Andersen
  • Music and Lyrics: Maury Laws and Jules Bass
  • Live Action Sequence Stager: Ezra Stone
  • Animagic Sequence Stager: Don Duga
  • Additional Dialogue: Romeo Muller
  • Recording Supervisor: Bernard Cowan
  • Assistant Director: Kizo Nagashima
  • Live Action Cinematography: Daniel Cavelli
  • Animagic Technician: Tadahito Mochinaga
  • Puppet Makers: Ichiro Komuro, Kyoko Kita (both uncredited)
  • Animation: Fumiko Magari, Hiroshi Tabata (both uncredited)
  • Emperor's Clothes: Oleg Cassini
  • Set Design: Maurice Gordon
  • Makeup: Phyllis Grens
  • Mobilux Effects: John Hoppe
  • Optical Effects: Coastal Films, Inc.
  • Production Manager: Sal Scoppa, Jr.
  • Choreography: Tony Mordente
  • Music Composer and Director: Maury Laws
  • Title Song Orchestration: Don Costa
  • Sound Recorders: Alan Mirchin, Eric Tomlinson, Peter Rage, Richard Gramaglia


A soundtrack album was issued by Columbia Records[3] featuring all of the songs and the partial score from the film. In 2006, the album was reissued on CD by Percepto Records in a limited edition release that included four bonus tracks.[4]

Main article: The Daydreamer (soundtrack)

Tales referenced[]

  • "Ole Lukøje" (1842)
  • "The Garden of Paradise" (1839)
  • "The Little Mermaid" (1837)
  • "The Ugly Duckling" (1843)
  • "Thumbelina" (1835)
  • "The Emperor's New Clothes" (1837)
  • "Little Claus and Big Claus" (1835)


The Daydreamer has been released on DVD thrice: on March 4, 2003 and May 13, 2008 by Anchor Bay, and recently by Lionsgate in March 10, 2012 via as a MOD (Manufacture On Demand) disc.

See also[]


  1. Stephen Jacobs, Boris Karloff: More Than a Monster, Tomohawk Press 2011 p 468
  2. (1999) The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved on 6 June 2020. 
  3. The Daydreamer Soundtrack Castalbumcollector. Retrieved on 2009-12-02.
  4. Percepto Records The Daydreamer. Retrieved on 2009-12-02.

External links[]