Monday, August 24, 2009

The Phantom Tollbooth Movie

Just yesterday I finished the 1961 children's book The Phantom Tollbooth by author Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer. It's a great story about a boy named Milo who finds a magic tollbooth that takes him on a fantastic journey through the lands of words and numbers in search of two princesses who can restore the scism between the two lands. It features clever plays on words and strange characters, similar in vein to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

I was inspired to finally read this children's book (at the age of 34) because of my rememberance of a film version released in 1969, which I saw on TV back in the early 80s (possibly on my beloved channel WKBS Channel 48 in Philadelphia). Unfortunately, the film was only available on VHS once and has never been released on DVD. The last I saw any TV appearance was on cable channel Turner Classic Movies (after it finished airing, much to my dismay).

However, through the magic of YouTube, I can feature it here! As tough as some may find it to watch a full movie off of YouTube, please do yourself a favor, regardless of your age, and enjoy this delightful film version, a combination of live action and animation (the latter of which is directed by the legendary Chuck Jones). Thanks!

As an added bonus, here is another Chuck Jones project based on a book by Juster, a short cartoon called "The Dot and the Line". I've always loved this cartoon, but I had no idea it was based on a book by the same author as Tollbooth until today!


Todd Mason said...

Probably my first experience of Feiffer, back when. One advantage of being a parent is having an excellent reason to revisit or fill in the gaps of one's experience of art aimed at the young...

Jamie said...

We did a stage adaptation of this story when I was in junior college. This was the first time i'd heard of this story. We changed a few thing; the lead character, for example became a girl, because so few guys were in the class that put it on! A girl in the class had a copy of the movie on VHS and let the others in the class borrow it.


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