|(puppet animation, part live action)
Using Rankin/Bass’ stop-motion “Animagic” (the process used for TV’s Christmas perennial Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer), The Daydreamer brought to life five Hans Christian Andersen stories. The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Thumbelina and The Garden of Paradise were woven together through the daydreams and real-life adventures of a young boy named Chris.
The son of a simple shoemaker, Chris can’t even afford a treat from the Pieman. His Papa tells him of the Garden of Paradise, a land where the flowers are the candy of knowledge. That night, the Sandman takes Chris on a series of adventures through the world of dreams.
The boy visits the undersea world of the Little Mermaid, wakes to find a live-action Ugly Duckling, daydreams into the world of The Emperor’s New Clothes, into Thumbelina’s tiny kingdom and finally into the Garden of Paradise, which may not be such a wonderful place to live after all.
The Daydreamer stayed true to the spirit of Andersen’s tales, where endings weren’t necessarily happy, but lessons were always learned. The print ads for the film boasted “a galaxy of stars,” most of whom gave voice to the “Animagic” versions of Andersen’s creations. Jules Bass (the Bass half of Rankin/Bass) also wrote the lyrics to the show’s several songs, including “Wishes and Teardrops,” “Simply Wonderful” and the Robert Goulet-sung title tune.