Ben Haramed is the antagonist of the 1968 Rankin/Bass special The Little Drummer Boy. Ben is the overweight and money-obsessed owner of what is implied to be a fairly unsuccessful show caravan.
At the beginning of the movie, Ben Haramed appears to be milling around the desert with Ali, his dimwitted lackey and a juggler in his show caravan. The two suddenly spot Aaron, or as Ben refers to him, "the little drummer boy", from afar; he is playing his drum with his dancing animals in tow. Ben and Ali suddenly sneak out from behind some sand dunes; Ben seizes Aaron while Ali somehow manages to subdue all his animals. After the boy finally ceases struggling long enough to listen, Ben attempts to persuade the boy to join Ben's show caravan ("When The Goose Is Hanging High"). Aaron does, but reluctantly. During his first show with his troop in the city of Jerusalem, Ali and the other performers botch their respective acts. Ben, hoping that Aaron will save the show, sends the boy out with his drum to sing for the crowd ("Why Can't the Animals Smile?"). Things seem to be going smoothly throughout Aaron's performance until he suddenly has a meltdown and starts hollering at the crowd. Shortly thereafter, Ben, his caravan, and Aaron are chased out of Jerusalem by the highly offended spectators-turned-mob. Later that night, the misfit group is setting up camp in the desert, but before Ben can punish Aaron for ruining the show, Ali suddenly spots the caravan of three kings. Ben, of course, jumps at the opportunity to offer to perform for the presumably-wealthy royals, assuming he will be paid handsomely, and even promises to let Aaron go his way if he cooperates. But Ben is quickly rebuffed by the kings, "for [they] follow the star" and must be leaving. In a fit of desperation, when Ben learns the kings need another camel, he sells Aaron's camel, Joshua, to the kings, and is paid a hefty sum of money. Aaron is enraged that Ben has sold the beloved Joshua to the kings, and refuses the single coin the mean Ben offers him as his "share". Aaron starts to storm off into the night with his other animals to find Joshua. Ali tries to interfere, but Ben, reveling in his ill-gotten gold, tells his sidekick to let the boy go, and while the two laugh wildly and continue to count their coins, Aaron and his animals continue on their search.
It is unknown what happened to him, though it can be implied that his show business failed without Aaron.
- Ben Haramed is one of the few villains in the Rankin/Bass holiday specials not to get converted to the side of Good, and one of the even fewer who never seem to get any kind of comeuppance (other examples include Brutus and Burgermeister Meisterburger).
- He is somewhat similar to Stromboli from Pinocchio.
- Mr. Nezzer portrays him in VeggieTales: "The Little Drummer Boy", with his partner Ali being portrayed by Mr. Lunt. This character incarnation of Ben has a song similar to the one from the original and also during the scene when he and Ali let Aaron (Junior Asparagus) go as they are "done with him", is somewhat similar to the original special though Nezzer, as Haramed says "good riddance!" before he and Ali laugh maniacally as they let Aaron go.