The Pied Piper of Hamelin is a filmed 1957 ninety-minute musical color television special originally shown by NBC on November 26, 1957, as their Thanksgiving Day offering for that year. Based on the famous poem by Robert Browning and using the music of Edvard Grieg with special lyrics by Hal Stanley and Irving Taylor, it starred Van Johnson, Claude Rains (in his only singing and dancing role), Lori Nelson, Jim Backus, and Kay Starr. It was directed by Broadway veteran Bretaigne Windust. The program was successful enough to be repeated the following year and then syndicated to many local stations, where it was rerun annually for many years, in the tradition of other holiday specials. The film was briefly released to movie theatres in 1966, where it did not fare nearly as well.