The Hobbit (1977) The J.R.R. . Tolkien's classic book about the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins and his unexpected adventures came to life in this animated, televised adaptation by Rankin-Bass Productions. Directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr. Tolkien fantasy classic set in Middle-earth was adapted into this excellent 1978 animated feature first broadcast on television. Actors: Orson Bean: Bilbo Baggins Richard Boone: Smaug Hans Conried: Thorin John Huston: Gandalf the Grey Otto. Orson Bean, John Huston, Otto Preminger, Cyril Ritchard, Brother Theodore, Hans Conried. . Tolkiens literary classic by the same name.