Finally. I finally found it. It took almost six years, but I finally found my Little Match Girl.
In December of 2008 you published my original Name That Trauma involving my early 1970’s viewing of an animated version of The Little Match Girl that seriously wrecked my frail childhood psyche. With you published post I got a few helpful suggestions that, unfortunately, all came to dead ends. A few years of poking around the Internet proved fruitless. I was ready to give up the search.
I finally, FINALLY had a solid lead when someone uploaded an incomplete clip to YouTube that featured an animated The Little Match Girl with narration. The narrative sounded like it was another girl telling the tale, but at the end of the clip you see the narrator speaking… and it was a little boy. The clip abruptly ended there. I was floored! A boy! Could this be the version I had been seeking?!
I went back to Amazon.com and redid my movie search. Mercifully, I was able to find a DVD with the exact same boy narrator on the cover. The movie was The World of Hans Christian Andersen from 1971, which was a Japanese animated feature that had been dubbed and re-released here in the states. I ordered the DVD on the spot.
When it finally arrived I sat through the whole damn thing on the edge of my seat (though in truth the movie wound up being pretty terrible), then at the end of the movie came the telling of The Little Match Girl. It seems I had not gotten some of the details right; he’s actually telling the story to a cat and a crying child on the steps of an opera house (hey, I was a few years shy of ten when I originally saw this so give me some credit.) Still, this SEEMED like the version I saw. But I knew I could only be certain if the story ended with the reveal that the boy’s story had captured the attention of a huge crowd on the street.
The tale ended. It cut back to the boy telling the tale. But in this version it is thunderous applause that pulls the boy out of his reverie. And yes, YES YES that applause is revealed to be an enormous crowd on the street that had been listening. Like the intro to the tale I had gotten some of the minor details wrong about the tales conclusion, but I knew, then and there, that THIS was the version I saw as a child.
I actually exploded in tears. I had found it. At long last, I got to see it again.
Despite the fact the whole movie was pretty bad, they actually did a stellar job on The Little Match Girl story itself. It definitely holds up… turns out I also had good taste as a child. Who knew? Heh-heh! Anyway, I uploaded the whole clip to YouTube, which can be viewed HERE. See for yourself.
I wanted to thank Kindertrauma for getting me actively thinking about traumas from my childhood, which had made me more consciously aware of this formative moment from my youth. Even though The Little Match Girl seriously messed childhood self up, its message was so important and formative in making me the man I am today.