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Cricket on the Hearth (1967)

A cricket seeks to rescue a poor toymaker and his blind daughter from an exploitative miser.


Charles Dickens (suggested by the story of Christmas by), Romeo Muller | 1 more credit »

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Credited cast:
Danny Thomas ... Himself / Caleb (voice)
Marlo Thomas ... Bertha (voice)
Hans Conried ... Tackleton (voice)
Paul Frees ... Messanger / Uriah / Captain / Toy Elephant (voice)
Roddy McDowall ... Cricket Crocket (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ed Ames ... Edward
Abbe Lane ... Moll
The Norman Luboff Choir The Norman Luboff Choir ... Themselves


A delightful, animated musical version of Charles Dickens' classic tale. A Cricket on the Hearth, tells the story of a poor toymaker and his daughter whom a helpful Cricket named Crocket befriends on Christmas morning. When tragedy strikes the family, it's Crocket who comes to the rescue and restores peace and happiness. Written by Ron LaPorte

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

18 December 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cricket on the Hearth See more »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


Real life father and daughter Danny Thomas and Marlo Thomas played father and daughter in this cartoon special. See more »


Cricket Crocket: Ooh, you - you - you - you nincompoop! Paying any attention to the words of a gushing female!
See more »


Referenced in Fred: Fred Meets Bertha (2008) See more »


Cricket on the Hearth
Music by Maury Laws
Lyrics by Jules Bass
Performed by Danny Thomas and The Norman Luboff Chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

Not The Best of the Rankin-Bass Specials,but its worth a look
30 December 2011 | by raysondSee all my reviews

Who would have thought that the father and daughter team of Danny Thomas and Marlo Thomas would starred together in this holiday special based on the Charles Dickens novel of the same title. Not only does Danny Thomas hosted this but also stars in this animated special that was produced by Rankin-Bass Productions,the same company that brings us each season joyous holiday specials like "Rudolph,The Red Nosed Reindeer","Frosty The Snowman","Santa Claus Is Coming To Town",and many,many more.

Based on the classic story by Charles Dickens,and produced by Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass and executive produced by Aaron Spelling and Danny Thomas under their production company Thomas-Spelling Productions,the holiday special "The Cricket On The Hearth" originally aired as a special presentation in color for ABC-TV on December 18,1967. This is the only animated special that Thomas and Spelling ever did,since their production company was known for there live-action shows.

This hour-long special,based on the Charles Dickens story which by the way is animated(with the storyline by Romeo Muller and Arthur Rankin,Jr.)concerns a cricket(voiced by Roddy McDowell)who decides to grace the home of Caleb(Danny Thomas),and his daughter Bertha(Marlo Thomas)at Christmas time. The good luck this cricket brings seems to have nothing but ill will to the happiness it brings. Then the elements kicked in when Celeb is suddenly blind and he and his daughter face bankruptcy and are forced to move to new surroundings. Along the way,Bertha almost ends up marrying Celeb ruthless and cunning not to mention creepy old miser,but she has her heart set on the man whom she loves,Edward whom she thought was lost at sea. The songs are really boring,and for a hour long special for its time in 1967 is very disturbing and quite depressing in all aspects,and about halfway through there are some scenes that may be too disturbing for children under the age of 12. There are some tender moments where Bertha finally finds out that Edward is alive and towards the end get married. As for the songs here,they're depressing with the singing talents of not only Danny Thomas but also from Ed Ames and Abbe Lane featuring The Norman Luboff Choir. With the additional talents of Hans Conreid,and former Rankin-Bass stockplayer Paul Frees.

"The Cricket On The Hearth" has been aired by ABC numerous times. The last time this special was seen on a major television network was back in 1972,when the network stop running this special. Reason? You won't see this among the regular Rankin and Bass specials that aired annually. ABC Family aired it during the late 1990's. The last time it was ever shown was when Public Television pick it up and basically did a restoration of this with some scenes that were deleted out during its original broadcast. Not the best of the Rankin-Bass specials,but it is worth taking a look at the ONLY animated production Danny Thomas and Aaron Spelling ever did.

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