The Little Drummer Boy (film)

This article deals with the television special. For the song it was based on, see The Little Drummer Boy.
The Little Drummer Boy
Written by Romeo Muller
Directed by Jules Bass
Arthur Rankin Jr.
Starring Teddy Eccles
Jose Ferrer
Paul Frees
June Foray
Narrated by Greer Garson
Theme music composer Maury Laws
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Jules Bass
Arthur Rankin Jr.
Cinematography Takeo Nakamura (uncredited)
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Rankin/Bass Productions
Original network NBC (1968–1984)
CBS (1985–1988)
ABC (1989–2006)
Freeform (present)
Original release December 19, 1968
Followed by The Little Drummer Boy, Book II

The Little Drummer Boy is a Christmas stop motion animated television special produced by Rankin/Bass Productions, based on the song of the same name. It was first televised December 19, 1968 on NBC, and was followed by a sequel in 1976.


In the special, the narrator (Greer Garson) tells of a young boy named Aaron, who is a misanthropic orphan who only finds enjoyment from playing his drum for his friends, Samson the donkey, Joshua the camel, and Baba the lamb. Aaron was a happy child who lived with his parents who gave him a drum for his birthday. One night, bandits killed Aaron's parents and burned his house down, thus making him hate all humanity. Due to his playing causing the three animals to dance, Aaron is forced to join Ben Haramed's caravan with rather inept performers. When performing in Jerusalem, Aaron becomes infuriated by the townspeople's amusement and lashes out at them for being thieves and knaves.

Sometime later, they come upon the Magi's caravan who are following a bright star in the sky. Seizing his chance, Ben greedily attempts to perform for the Magi, but they are uninterested as they try to make haste to get to the star's destination. One of the caravan camels becomes too weak to continue traveling, so Ben bargains with them that they use Joshua in exchange for some of their gold. Later, Aaron and his animal companions later escape and joins up with the Magi as they journey toward Bethlehem. There, upon recognizing Joshua and trying to reunite with him, Baba is hit by a Roman chariot and Aaron takes the dying lamb to the Magi to be healed, but they can't do anything. One of the men insists that maybe the baby could be of help. Having no material possession to give to the baby, Aaron decides that his "gift" to him and his parents will be his playing his drum for them. As a sign of gratitude, Baba is healed and runs into Aaron's arms. Aaron feels kindness for the first time since the death of his parents.[1]

Voice cast



1976 sequel

In 1976, Rankin/Bass produced a sequel, titled The Little Drummer Boy, Book II, again sponsored by the American Gas Association. It premiered on December 13, 1976, also on NBC, and like its predecessor, has also aired on Freeform.[2] In this sequel, written by Jules Bass (under the pseudonym Julian P. Gardner), Aaron and his animal friends team up with Melchior, one of the Magi, to protect silver bells, made to ring for Christ's arrival, from a band of greedy Roman soldiers.[3] Warner Archive released The Little Drummer Boy Book II, in a collection called Rankin/Bass TV Holiday Favorites Collection.

Voice cast



External links

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