Timm Thaler (aka The Legend of Tim Tyler: The Boy Who Lost His Laugh) is a 1979 children’s television miniseries based on the 1962 children’s novel by German writer James Krüss.
The series originally aired in Germany as the first Christmas series on German national broadcaster ZDF. In 1988, the series was acquired for transmission in the United Kingdom by the BBC. The English version was produced by Angela Beeching, with script by Nel Romano, and retitled The Legend of Tim Tyler.
Thirteen-year-old Timm Thaler aka Tim Tyler (Tommi Ohrner) has an irresistible laugh and is thus very popular. The mysterious Baron Lefuet (Horst Frank), a grumpy and very wealthy businessman always wearing a black carnation in his buttonhole, tries unsuccessfully to buy Timm’s laugh. Timm’s father is a flight instructor and dies during a flight for the Baron. It is indicated that this is caused by the Baron. Timm, after having lost his beloved father, is vulnerable to the Baron.
To financially support his stepmother, Timm no longer resists the Baron and swaps his laugh for the ability to win any bet he makes, no matter how absurd it is. If one of them tells about this pact, he loses his rights from the contract. The Baron and his servant Anatol use this new gift for business success. Timm however grows increasingly unhappy. He decides to get his laugh back. He tries several tricks only to realize that it takes a bet to get his laugh back.