The Oddest ‘Hobbit’ Moments in Pop Culture
J.R.R. Tolkien published ‘The Hobbit‘ in 1938 and for decades fans have obsessed over Middle-Earth. Here are just a few highlights of “Hobbit fever” throughout pop culture.
Led Zeppelin — ‘Ramble On’
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Robert Plant and Jimmy Page co-wrote the song and included more than a few references to ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ mentioning Gollum and Mordor by name. Page and Plant included more Tolkien references in the songs ‘Misty Mountain Hop’ and ‘The Battle of Evermore’ – and Robert Plant even named his dog Strider.
‘The Super Friends’ — ‘Lord of Middle Earth’
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‘The World’s Greatest Super Friends’ relied heavily on fantasy literature; the 1979 series saw the super-heroes visiting the planet of Oz and meeting the likes of Frankenstein’s monster. But one of the most memorable episodes was ‘The Lord of Middle Earth,’ wherein Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Batman and Robin are turned into Hobbit-like half-lings. Inside a mountain they encounter giant spiders, cave monsters and a fire-breathing dragon. To defeat an evil wizard they must use a magical ring. Thanks to the Tolkien estate’s lawyers, this episode won’t be coming to DVD anytime soon.
‘South Park’ — ‘Lemmiwinks’
At the beginning of the episode ‘The Death Camp of Tolerance,’ Mr. Garrison stuck a gerbil in Mr. Slave’s rectum. Lemminwinks the gerbil goes on a Tolkien-esque journey up the lower intestine accompanied by a song inspired by Glenn Yarbrough’s ‘The Greatest Adventure’ (from the 1977 ‘Hobbit’ cartoon). Matt Stone and Trey Parker would feature more Hobbit parodies in ‘South Park,’ including the episode ‘The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers,’ featuring a ‘Lord of the Rings’ porno.
‘Lord of the G-String: Femaleship of the String’
This 2003 adult movie features Throbbits instead of Hobbits. That’s just one of many kinky puns in this porn parody that’s everything you’d expect from the director of ‘PlayMate of the Apes’ and ‘The Sexy Sixth Sense.’
Harvard Lampoon – ‘Bored of the Rings’
A decidedly less sexy satire was published in 1969 and some of the jokes are dated (i.e. references to the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading School), while other gags are timeless (Bilbo is named Dildo). Regardless of how the humor holds up, the comic novel launched the careers of co-authors Henry Beard and Douglas Kenney. Kenney went on to co-write ‘National Lampoon’s Animal House’ and ‘Caddyshack,’ while Beard published dozens of humor books including ‘The Official Rules of Bad Golf’ and ‘Zen for Cats.’
The Hobbit Restaurant — Ocean City, Maryland
This bayfront eatery features some Middle-earth themed décor, but once inside you won’t get Lembas bread or even “second breakfast.” It’s just American food and fine dining served in the first floor of the Rivendell condominium.
Middle Earth Cook Book — ‘Recipes of the Third Age’
Chef Emerald Took offers a variety of dishes including Hisilome soup, Belfas Baran Shrimp, Cardolan Corn Chutney and 108 other recipes in this fantastical cook book.
PEZ — ‘Lord of the Rings’ set
Here’s a great gift idea for fans of Pez, fans of Tolkien and those impish fanboys who fall right in the middle of the Pez/Tolkien Venn diagram.
The Hobbit Board Game
1977’s ‘Star Wars‘ spawned hundreds of toys, games and action figures, but ‘The Hobbit’ animated movie from the same year yielded little consumer products. One of the more memorable examples is a Milton Bradley board game, which featured cardboard cutout Trolls, Goblins and even Gollum.
Paul Williams, Self-Proclaimed Hobbit
The diminutive songwriter jokes about his height. He never says he’s short, but calls himself a Hobbit. Williams never appeared in any of the LOTR adaptations, but he did play a little orangutan in ‘Battle for the Planet of the Apes.’
The Beatles’ Unproduced ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie
After making blockbusters out of their light musical romps ‘Help’ and ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ the Fab Four wanted to adapt a big-screen version of ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ Paul would play Frodo, Ringo would be Sam, George would play Gandalf and John was to be Gollum. (That’s sooo John!) The Lads from Liverpool asked Stanley Kubrick to direct, but Kubrick passed saying the novel was “un-filmable.” Ultimately, Tolkien refused to let the musicians have the rights to his trilogy.
Leonard Nimoy — ‘The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins’
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The ‘Star Trek’ actor’s second album ‘The Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy’ included science-fiction pop songs like ‘Highly Illogical’ and ‘Follow Your Star,’ but the second side of the record kicks off with a novelty tune chronicling the Hobbit Bilbo’s amazing adventures. The 1968 recording gained fame when a tongue-in-cheek music video appeared on the ABC series ‘Malibu-U’ and was introduced by Ricky Nelson.
Before there was “OBEY” graffiti of Andre the Giant, there were buttons, bumper stickers and T-shirts announcing that “Frodo Lives.” The message was popular in the late ’60s among bookish types who canonized the little Hobbit as a hero of the counterculture.