Show Notes – The Flight of Dragons

The Flight of Dragons (1982)- Episode 29

  • Loosely combines the speculative natural history book of the same name (1979) by Peter Dickinson with the novel The Dragon and the George (1976) by Gordon R. Dickson.
  • Released direct to video on August 17, 1982, it was aired as an ABC “Saturday Night Movie” on August 2, 1986, and released by Warner Brothers as a made-to-order DVD in the US on 17 November 2009 as part of the “Warner Archive Collection”.
  • Flight of Dragons book (1979)
    • Speculative evolution book on Dragons illustrated by Wayne Anderson
    • The big obstacle according to Dickinson in admitting the prior existence of dragons is the difficulty of powered flight by such a large organism
    • His explanation was a hot air balloon like structure where Hydrochloric acid would dissolve large amounts of rapidly growing bone which would react, and release massive amounts of hydrogen that would keep the dragon in the air.
    • The dragons wings are “modifications of the ribcage) and dragon fire was the expulsion of electrically ignited hydrogen as a means of excess gas removal.
  • The Dragon and the George (1976)
    • The first book in the “Dragon Knight” series {10 novels in the series}
    • Many of the characters in the book are also in the movie by name
      • Main character in the book series is named Jim Eckert, but the movie names him Peter Dickinson after the writer of the other book.


Directed & Produced by:


  • Animated by Topcraft–
  • Animation coordinator: Toru Hara
  • Storyboard and Animation directors: Katsuhisa Yamada & Fumihiko Takayama
  • Topcraft was a Japanese anime studio established in 1971 by former Toei Animation producer Toru Hara.
  • It was famous for doing animation for hand-drawn animation titles by Rankin/Bass and for the production of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Macross: Do You Remember Love?.
    • The studio went bankrupt and dissolved in June 15, 1985 essentially splitting the studio in half, Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki and Isao Takahata bought the studio when laying off most of its animation staff and changed its name to Studio Ghibli.
    • Topcraft’s animators later formed another studio called Pacific Animation Corporation to continue to work with Rankin/Bass on shows like ThunderCats and Silverhawks
  • But eventually joined Ghibli once the studio was bought out by Disney and became Walt Disney Animation Japan. Some animators like Tsuguyuki Kubo went to work for other anime studios such as Studio Pierrot working on Naruto and Bleach for them, in the end the buy out of Topcraft made the studio into the birth of Studio Ghibli.
    • Topcraft’s founder Toru Hara became Studio Ghibli’s first manager
    • The Hobbit (1977)
    • The Last Unicorn (1982)
    • Magazine the Bee (1975-76)
    • The Wizard of Oz (1982) partnered with Toho
Written by:
  • Romeo Muller (Screenplay) {1928-1992 age 64}
  • Wrote for comedian Jack Benny
  • Wrote for the show Studio One (radio-television drama series)–ran for 467 epsiodes
  • Worked on
    • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
    • Frosty the Snowman (1969)
    • Jack Frost (1979)
    • Puff the Magic Dragon (1978)
    • The Hobbit (1977)
      The Return of the King (1980)
    • ThunderCats
  • Peter Dickinson (Novel) {1927-2015}
  • Won the Carnegie Medal for his books Tulku (1979) children’s historical novel about the boxer rebellion & again for City of Gold(1980) a collection of 33 Old Testament bible stories presented for children
  • One of only 7 writers ever to win 2 Carnegies
  • Published 50 books
  • Gordon R. Dickson (Novel) {1923-2001}
  • Served in the US Army from 1943-1946
  • Famous for writing 3 novel series: Dragon Knight Series, The Childe Cycle series (sometimes called the Dorsai series), & the Hoka series
  • Winner of 3 Hugo awards, 1 Nebula award & inducted into the Science Fiction & Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2000
  • Also wrote the Secret Under the Sea children’s series which I read as a little kid and are basically impossible to find now
Music by:
  • Maury Laws: Born 1923
  • Originally put his musical career on hold to go fight in WW2
  • In 1964 he was hired as musical director for Videocraft ( now known as Rankin/Bass) and held the job for 20 years
  • Conducted and scored music for The Hobbit, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, Flight of Dragons, and Frosty the Snowman, Mad Monster Party, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • Don McLean: (Born 1945)
  • Folk artist Best known for the 1971 Album American Pie with song of the same name
  • His involvement involved a bit of a rabbit hole to confirm (only briefly mentioned at the bottom list of his discography under “rarities”
  • The title Song performed by McLean called “The Flight of Dragons” was co written by Maury Laws and Jules Bass
  • The movie never had an official soundtrack released but a couple years ago they were working on a live action adaption that got cancelled and a few of the songs from the original movie were re-recorded and released online:
Characters/ voice actors
  • Peter Dickinson: John Ritter
    • Jack from 3’s Company (won an emmy and golden globe in 84 for it
    • Problem Child 1& 2 in 90’ & 91’ (he later married his on screen wife from these movies)
    • Sling Blade & Bad Santa
    • Stephen King’s It
    • North hahahaha
    • Clifford the Big Red Dog TV series- voice of Clifford
  • Carolinus: Harry Morgan (1915-2011)
    • Officer Gannon on Dragnet, & Col Potter in M*A*S*H*
    • Recurring character on 3rd rock from the sun
  • Princess Milisande: Alexandra Stoddart
  • Pawnbroker: Larry Storch (born 1923)
    • F-Troop, and tons of voice work
  • Ommadon (uncredited): James Earl Jones
    • Pre med at U of Michigan
    • Joined ROTC and loved it
    • Quit pre med and switched to drama
    • Was commissioned in the US Army in 53’- later completing Ranger School and receiving his Ranger Tab
    • Was with a cold weather training battalion in Colorado and eventually discharged as a 1st Lt.
    • Worked as a Janitor to pay for Theatre School in NY later earning 2 Tony’s
    • Oscar Nom for 1970s Great White Hope
    • Was Thulsa Doom in 1982’s Conan the Barbarian
    • Mufasa……Oh and some guy named Darth Vader?
  • Antiquity & Solaris (uncredited): Paul Frees (1920-1986)
    • “The man of  Thousand Voices”
    • Part of the Golden Age of Animation
    • Voices:
      • Boris Badenov-rocky and Bullwinkle show
      • Ludwig Von Drake-Disney’s World of Color
      • Voice of the “Ghost Host” on Haunted Mansion and the Auctioneer Pirate on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride (also the voice of “dead man tell no tale”)
      • Also known for his Orson welles impersonations
    • OG voice of Pillsbury Doughboy
  • Lo Tae Zhao & Giles of the Treetops: Don Messick (1926-1997)
    • Astro from the Jetsons
    • Original voice of Scooby Doo
    • Boo-Boo Bear and Ranger Smith in Yogi Bear
    • Papa Smurf and Azrael on the Smurfs
  • Gorbash the Dragon & Sir Orrin Neville-Smythe: Bob McFadden (1923-2000)
    • Served with the US Navy in WW2
    • Voice of Snarf from ThunderCats
  • Bryagh the Dragon & Smrgol the Dragon: James Gregory (1911-2002)
    • Served 3 years with the Marine Corps during WW2
    • Frank Luger in Barney Miller
    • The Manchurian Candidate
  • Aragh the Wolf: Victor Buono (1938-1982) ONLY 43 @ Death
    • Played the villian King Tut on the 1960s Batman series
    • Was a big dude, but also a playboy openly gay even in the 1960s
  • Danielle: Nellie Bellflower (Born 1946)
    • The last Unicorn, Thundarr the Barbarian & The Return of the King (animated)
    • Later became a producer and was nominated for an Oscar as Producer for Best Picture
  • ???: Jack Lester???


Check out our podcast episode on The Flight of Dragons here.


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