3 user 1 critic

Babes in Toyland (1954)

A special, live, television adaptation of Victor Herbert's operetta.


Max Liebman


Billy Friedberg (as William Friedberg), Glen MacDonough (play) | 2 more credits »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?



Credited cast:
Rod Alexander Rod Alexander ... Dancer
The Baird Puppets The Baird Puppets ... Themselves
Bil Baird Bil Baird ... Clyde (voice)
Cora Baird Cora Baird ... Self
Ellen Barrie ... Joan
Lee Bowman ... Self - Host
Edward Brian Edward Brian ... Peter Piper
Wally Cox ... Toymaker Grumio
Dennis Day ... Tommy Tucker
Dave Garroway ... Santa Claus
Jack E. Leonard ... Silas Barnaby
Bambi Linn Bambi Linn ... Dancer
Mary Mace Mary Mace ... Widow Piper
Don Pardo ... Self - Announcer
Jo Sullivan ... Jane Piper
Learn more

More Like This 

Babes in Toyland (TV Movie 1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young girl becomes lost in a department store during the Christmas shopping rush. The frightened child is comforted by a department store Santa Claus who tells her a tale of storybook ... See full summary »

Director: Max Liebman
Stars: Dave Garroway, Dennis Day, Barbara Cook
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In the summer of 1942, two young boys are sent to stay with their stern grandmother and their childlike aunt in Yonkers, New York.

Director: Martha Coolidge
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Mercedes Ruehl, Irene Worth
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

After being dumped by her live-in boyfriend, an unemployed dancer and her 10-year-old daughter are reluctantly forced to live with a struggling off-Broadway actor.

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Marsha Mason, Quinn Cummings
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Two friends try sharing an apartment, but their ideas of housekeeping and lifestyles are as different as night and day.

Director: Gene Saks
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, John Fiedler
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A look at the group of people who built the Biosphere 2, a giant replica of the earth's ecosystem, in 1991.

Director: Matt Wolf
Stars: John Allen, Abigail Alling, Margret Augustine
Jarhead (2005)
Action | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A psychological study of operations desert shield and desert storm during the gulf war; through the eyes of a U.S marine sniper who struggles to cope with the possibility his girlfriend may be cheating on him back home.

Director: Sam Mendes
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx, Lucas Black


A young girl becomes lost in a department store during the Christmas shopping rush. The frightened child is comforted by a department store Santa Claus who tells her a tale of storybook characters brought to life - of Tommy Tucker's love for the lovely Jane Piper and the cold-hearted villainy of evil Silas Barnaby. Through the girl's dreams, the viewer is transported to Toyland. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Did You Know?


This version of "Babes in Toyland" was so popular that it was restaged the next year (these were the days of live television), with Barbara Cook replacing Jo Sullivan. See more »


Remade as Babes in Toyland (1955) See more »


Kathleen Mavourneen
Music by Frederick Nicholls Crouch
Lyrics by Mrs. Marion Crawford
Performed by Dennis Day
See more »

User Reviews

The triumph of kitsch!
1 September 2009 | by catuusSee all my reviews

The year is 1954. Oldsmobile has decided to sponsor a Yule-season special. The subject: Victor Herbert's saccharine musical, "Babes in Toyland". The production starred some very well-known names of the time – names that today are largely (and undeservedly) unknown. TV in those days was of course all-live, no retakes.

The production starred the inimitable Dennis Day as Tommy Tucker. Day, the quintessential Irish tenor, was in the early part of his primary career (1950-1965) as one of Jack Benny's constant on-air foils. Playing a department store Santa Claus, who tells the story to a lost girl, is Dave Garroway. The iconic Garroway made a career as a successful night show host, panelist, special guest, and so on – in other words, an actor who was primarily famous for playing himself. Wally Cox appears as Toymaker Grumio. Cox, mostly famous as "Mister Peepers" was a character actor credited with many appearances on TV … although his range was limited by his short stature and fairly high voice. The also-iconic Jack E. Leonard appears as the villain, Silas Barnaby. Leonard was a comic whose insulting shtick was much more abrasive than that of Don Rickles (nowadays better known). Interestingly, his hallmark nastiness doesn't show through very much in his portrayal of Barnaby.

Don't expect to see much of Herbert's original musical here. Two main numbers remain: "Toyland" and "March of the Toy Soldiers". No production of "Babes" is without them. Also a little of Herbert's other music appears here and there. A very bare-bones version of the plot is used as a structural support for a number of very cutesy song-and/or-dance numbers. The result will be a real challenge to your gag reflex.

The greatest fun can be had in watching this somewhat silly effort by watching for mistakes and gaffes. Amazingly, detectable ones are rare.

On the whole this production is overly cute and overly precious, kitschy in the extreme. I can't imagine it went over that well, even in an era that was overall fairly kitschy (pink was then the "new black"). Even the notorious Leonard's performance was less villainous and more "oooooh! I'm soooo baaaad!" I'll wager even the iconically kitschy Sarah Palin would have trouble making it through this steady diet of treacle.

The print is clearer than one might expect, although the black-to-white contrast seems muted. It looks very much like a color film reduced to black/white. And sure enough, at the end of the production, there's an announcement that it's been made by a "color compatible" process. I grew up in that era, and if memory serves, that means that the color can be picked up by your non-color TV as black/white.

So maybe, somewhere, there's a color version of this production? I wonder how much pink would be in it.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

18 December 1954 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Black and White (surviving kinescope prints)| Color (original broadcast)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed