A Seussian smorgasborg for Sunday
March 26, 2017 12:26 PM   Subscribe

Here's a smattering of musical Seuss from the Seventies: The Hoober-Bloob Highway, an original story about a baby in space being given the option to pick their future, which picked up some elements from Seuss's books, and Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You?, another original story about a young fellow and his magical piano, with songs by Joe Raposo. Bonus Dr. Seuss short: "Я жду птенца" (I'm waiting for a chick), a stop-motion Russian animation interpretation of Horton Hatches the Egg from 1966.

Theodor Geisel first used the pen name of Dr. Seuss during his university studies at Dartmouth College and the University of Oxford, and some of his early Seussian illustrations were published in The Pocket Book of Boners in 1931. Eight years later, his first book that would appear to be pure Dr. Seuss to modern readers, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was inspired by the sounds of a boat engine as he crossed the Atlantic.

The next year, his next book, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, was his first illustrated story to be turned into an animated short, as part of The Big Fun Carnival, a collection of shorts for children's matinées. Although NYSA records list twelve 1957 features under the name The Big Fun Carnival, six of which bear the "episode name" Funzapoppin, no additional information has been found on the other films, and their release dates, if any, have not been determined.

During World War II, Theodor Geisel worked on Private SNAFU shorts with a non-Disney who's who of cartoons. After the war, Geisel as Dr. Seuss wrote for the breakthrough 1950s animation of Gerald McBoing Boing (previously). After The Big Fun Carnival, Seuss's first story to be turned into a cartoon was Horton Hatches the Egg, in 1966 by Союзмультфильм (Soyuzmultfilm), as linked above the break. Later that same year How the Grinch Stole Christmas! aired, an expensive production (Google news) for its time.

It would be another four years before Seuss's stories made their way to TV, and then it was almost an annual Spring tradition for CBS to air an animated Seuss short for the next three years: Horton Hears a Who! (March 19, 1970), The Cat in the Hat (March 10, 1971), and The Lorax (February 14, 1972). The next year, CBS went with an anthology of Dr. Seuss shorts, titled Dr. Seuss on the Loose (October 15, 1973).

CBS went in for an original Seuss story with The Hoober-Bloob Highway, originally aired on February 19, 1975, and ABC aired Halloween Is Grinch Night on October 29, 1977 (previously, twice), another original story that picked up some elements from other Dr. Seuss books. ABC also got the next short, Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You?, which was completed in 1979 and first aired on May 2, 1980, based in part on the book Oh, The Places You'll Go!.

We'll end with one final video, a crossover special of sorts titled The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat, which debuted on May 20, 1982 on ABC, and won two Emmys for animation.
posted by filthy light thief (8 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
This post was inspired from browsing Dr. Seuss's IMDb credits, thanks to overeducated_alligator's post on the musical clip of Hans Conried in The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, one of Dr. Seuss's rare live action credits. I started with the three films above the break because I wasn't familiar with those titles, and then it steamrolled from there.

If you want even more, bonus bonus video: the Biography episode "Dr. Seuss: Rhymes & Reasons," split into 9 parts.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:37 PM on March 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Wow, I thought I was fairly up on my Dr. Seuss, and am thrilled to learn that I was wrong! It will take me a while to watch everything presented here, but before I do, thanks filthy light thief!
posted by ejs at 1:05 PM on March 26, 2017

Having been raised on videos borrowed from the library in the 80s, these 70s and early-80s specials are some of the strongest feelings of nostalgia I can experience.
posted by msbrauer at 1:35 PM on March 26, 2017

The Dr. Seuss Museum opens soon!
posted by kinnakeet at 5:32 PM on March 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

Wonderful post, flt.

I loved Pontoffel Pock when I first watched it as a child and I sometimes think about getting a job in the pickle factory.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 5:34 PM on March 26, 2017

Thanks! And the Dr. Seuss Museum sounds fantastic!

A fellow MeFite pointed out that I have been mispronouncing and misspelling "smorgasbord" (or smörgåsbord if you want to get proper Swedish) for as long as I can remember. This is my public penance.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:28 PM on March 26, 2017

Until the museum opens, the sculpture garden in Springfield is still pretty great, with "life-sized" bronzes of many Suess characters. It's a treat to see kids thrilled to "meet" their favorite characters and see the author at work at his desk surrounded by his creations.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:58 PM on March 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Wow, I thought I was fairly up on my Dr. Seuss, and am thrilled to learn that I was wrong!

He also drew a lot of advertisements (notably for insect repellent Flit) and war propaganda cartoons (some of which are hilarious, some depressingly apropos of today's politics, and some just plain racist against Japanese people).
posted by WizardOfDocs at 10:08 AM on March 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

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