Most of the moviegoers crowding the multiplex for The Lord of the Rings weren't around for the first Tolkien fad. TIME was, in an issue that featured Indonesia's GENERAL SUHARTO on the cover:
Holden Caulfield is a moldy fig; the Lord of the Flies has been swatted. This year, the unquestioned literary god on college campuses is a three-foot-high creature with long curly hair on his feet, a passion for six vast meals a day, and the improbable name of Frodo Baggins. And would you believe that Frodo is a hobbit? Hairy feet and all, Frodo Baggins is the reluctant hero of this year's "In" book--a three-volume fantasy called The Lord of the Rings...The hobbit habit seems to be almost as catching as LSD. On many U.S. campuses, buttons declaring FRODO LIVES and GO GO GANDALF--frequently written in Elvish script--are almost as common as football letters. Tolkien fans customarily greet each other with a hobbity kind of greeting ("May the hair on your toes grow ever longer"), toss fragments of hobbit language into their ordinary talk. One favorite word is mathom, meaning something one saves but doesn't need, as in "I've just got to get rid of all these mathoms." Permanently hooked Ringworms frequently memorize long passages from the trilogy and learn how to write Tengwar or Certar, two peculiar and ancient-looking scripts that Tolkien invented on behalf of his mythical creatures.
--TIME, July 15, 1966