JRR Tolkien is a name which became synonymous with 60s culture and for decades since, in the area of Fantasy Classics. His two novels; Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit were required reading for almost every high school student in America from 1967 onwards. The reason was simple – the worlds portrayed by JRR Tolkien became iconic for their LSD symbolism – and as much as Alice In Wonderland was thought to be a hallucinogenic masterpiece, The Hobbit was considered the magnum opus.
No doubt, it did wonders for Tolkien, whose work was long considered to be classics of the form – but this rediscovery by Hippy culture as the be-all/end-all literature staple for the counterculture was an accidental bonus and created a renewed wave of interest in the work of Tolkien.
This documentary, produced 2 years after his death in 1973, offers a glimpse into the life of the writer, sharing reminiscences with family members and providing clips of the author himself in interview.
The initial success of Tolkien’s work was accidental for him the first time around – he hadn’t expected this tale of other worlds and cultures to be the massive popular hit it had become in 1936 when it was first published – that it gained new life in the 1960s was an added surprise. And even over the last 20 years, with filmed versions of both novels becoming classics of Cinema, the work of JRR Tolkien has achieved a lasting and enduring quality he never anticipated in the beginning.
You are probably well familiar with the work of JRR Tolkien; not many people aren’t. But you may not familiar with his story or the sound of his voice. This one hour documentary, produced by NPR for their weekly Options series is an overview of the man and his work by family members and those who knew and worked with him.