The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1979 film)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is an animated television program that was broadcast in two parts on CBS on April 1 and 2, 1979, based on the 1950 novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis.[1]

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
UK VHS cover
Written byDavid D. Connell (story adaptation)
C.S. Lewis (written by)
Bill Melendez (story adaptation)
Directed byBill Melendez
StarringRachel Warren
Simon Adams
Nicholas Barnes
Sheila Hancock
Arthur Lowe
Leo McKern
Don Parker
Leslie Phillips
Beth Porter
Liz Proud
Susan Sokol
Stephen Thorne
ComposerMichael J. Lewis
Country of originUnited Kingdom
United States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes2
Executive producerDavid D. Connell
ProducerSteven Cuitlahuac Melendez
EditorsMichael Crane
Mick Manning
José Pallejá
Running time95 minutes
Production companiesChildren's Television Workshop
Bill Melendez Productions
Episcopal Radio-TV Foundation
Original release
ReleaseApril 1, 1979 (1979-04-01)

Plot edit

When the Pevensie Children Lucy, Susan, Edmund and Peter go to Professor Kirke's mansion due to the air raids of World War 2, they stumble into an old wardrobe which transports them to a magical land called Narnia with talking animals, fauns, hags, the oppressive White Witch and the great lion Aslan. There they meet the friendly Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, who help them on their quest to find Aslan the great lion. Only he can help save Lucy's friend Mr. Tumnus (the faun) from the White Witch. They have a fun mysterious time there, and ultimately end up ruling as kings and queens, until they end up back home. The Professor tells the children that they will return to Narnia one day.

Production notes edit

The rights to produce the television program were given to the Episcopal Radio TV Foundation in the mid-1950s when C.S. Lewis was recording the Episcopal Series of the Protestant Hour radio programs. Dr. Ted Baehr was elected President of the Episcopal Radio TV Foundation as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was preparing to be broadcast by CBS, and he supervised the distribution of the subsequent video. The CBS program had 37 million viewers and won two Emmy Awards.[2]

Voices edit

Character UK Version US Version
Lucy Lisa Moss Rachel Warren
Edmund Nicholas Barnes Simon Adams
Peter Stephen Garlick Reg Williams
Susan Shelley Crowhurst Susan Sokol
Jadis (The White Witch) Sheila Hancock Beth Porter
Mr. Beaver Arthur Lowe Don Parker
Professor Leo McKern Dick Vosburgh
Mr. Tumnus Leslie Phillips Victor Spinetti
Mrs. Beaver June Whitfield Liz Proud
Dwarf Peter Hawkins Unknown
Aslan Stephen Thorne

The only actor to appear in both versions is Stephen Thorne (who voiced Aslan).

Differences between novel and animated film edit

  • The meeting with Father Christmas, as well as the season's arrival, is omitted (though he is mentioned by some Talking Animals). Instead, Aslan gives the children their weapons.
  • There is a point in which eventually all four of the children enter the wardrobe (albeit two are still skeptical of Narnia). In the novel, this is in order to escape a housekeeper whom they do not like, but in the cartoon there is no specified reason.
  • The novel, and other adaptations, clearly portray the children as evacuees staying at the home of the Professor during World War II. In this cartoon, no particular reason is stated for them staying there.
  • No mention is made of World War II, and the clothing style of the children suggests a 1960s setting.
  • Rather than ask Edmund what he would most like to eat (whereupon he chooses Turkish delight), as in the novel, The Witch simply offers him Turkish delight directly.
  • The wolf Captain of the White Witch's Secret Police is named "Fenris Ulf" (like in early American editions of the book) instead of "Maugrim".
  • Mrs. Macready, the Professor's housekeeper, was dropped from the film, and instead of the children being chased into the Wardrobe in the spare room, they all decided to try to get to Narnia all together after the Professor had discussed the truth about it with Peter and Susan.
  • The White Witch's dwarf was last seen before the battle and it is unknown what happened to him after the battle.
  • In the cartoon, the Minotaurs are on Aslan's side. In the novel, the Minotaurs work for the White Witch.

Releases edit

  • Released on VHS in 1985 and 1991 and 1998.
  • Released on DVD on Region 1 and 2 in 2006.

VHS UK history edit

References edit

  1. ^ Woolery, George W. (1989). Animated TV Specials: The Complete Directory to the First Twenty-Five Years, 1962-1987. Scarecrow Press. pp. 251–253. ISBN 0-8108-2198-2. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  2. ^ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - Awards. "31st Primetime Emmy Awards - September 9, 1979". The Emmys. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 30 March 2016.

External links edit