The Cat in the Hat (TV special)
|The Cat in the Hat|
|Written by||Dr. Seuss|
|Directed by||Hawley Pratt|
|Country of origin||United States|
David H. DePatie|
|Running time||25 mins.|
Cat in the Hat Productions|
|Original release||March 10, 1971|
The Cat in the Hat is an American animated musical television special first aired on CBS on March 10, 1971, based on the 1957 Dr. Seuss children's book of the same name, and produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises. With voices by Allan Sherman and prolific vocal performer Daws Butler, this half-hour special is a loose adaptation with added musical sequences.
As the story opens, it is too rainy and cold to play outside, so a girl and a boy sit bored and look out the window. Their mother announces her departure, tells them to have fun, and says she'll return at 3:30 sharp. While their mother is out on a shopping errand, they're left to wish for something to do.
The mysterious, quirky Cat in the Hat suddenly enters with a bump and fools around a bit. The family goldfish named "Karlos K. Krinklebine", demands that he must leave, but the Cat instead plays a game which he calls "Up, Up, Up, With a Fish", placing the fishbowl on top of a stack of bubbles. The girl notices that the Cat is making the house a little dirty, and the boy recalls their mother's projected return at 3:30. Noting their objections, the Cat bows to the voice of the majority and dejectedly states he's going to Siberia. Immediately after leaving, however, the Cat bursts back in claiming that his "moss-covered three-handled family gredunza" has been stolen. The Cat accuses Mr. Krinklebein of being the thief, and sings a ballad about the loss of his treasured keepsake.
The Cat then leads the kids on a search for the missing gredunza using his method of "Calculatus Eliminatus," drawing random numbers and letters anywhere the gredunza isn't to mark that they've already checked there. This makes a mess of everything, Mr. Krinkelbein once again demands that the Cat leave. Ostensibly to gain sympathy, the Cat sings a pessimistic song to convey his low self-esteem, then puts Mr. Krinklebein to sleep by singing a lullaby. Having made a miraculous recovery from his bout of depression, the Cat brings out Thing One and Thing Two to aid in the search for the gredunza, singing to the kids that they can find "anything under the sun." Instead of being productive, however, the Things play a variety of sports using Mr. Krinkelbein's fishbowl, noting that every house they visit has a pessimistic fish. Mr. Krinkelbein becomes angry and accuses the Cat of not being a real cat ("Whoever heard of a six foot cat?!"), and his hat of not being a real hat. The Cat is indignant, and asserts his legitimacy by singing his name in several languages, real and fictional. The song becomes so catchy that everyone, even Mr. Krinkelbein, joins in and contributes. (An interesting point to note is that in the Russian portion of the song, the Cat describes himself as a "chapka in a shlyapa", which translates to "Hat in a hat," not "Cat in a hat.")
As the song ends, Mr. Krinklebein spots the mother coming home. The Cat exits, leaving behind an extremely messy house. He quickly returns, however, using a motorized vehicle to tidy things up. He departs for good, hinting that he may return someday, and the mother returns. She asks the kids how their day was, and tells them that she just saw a cat in a hat "going down the street with a moss-covered three-handled family gredunza". While the exact identity of the item is never revealed, this indicates that the gredunza was never really lost, and the Cat simply wanted an excuse to have more fun. The boy and the girl look out the window much as they did at the beginning of the special, and watch as the Cat walks off to his next adventure.
Differences with the book
The plot of the special differs significantly from the original book. Among the many deviations, the sequence in the book where the Cat balances all sorts of objects while standing on a ball, only to overdo it and come crashing down, is left out. The closest equivalent is the fishbowl and bubbles sequences.
Also differing is the role of Thing 1 and Thing 2; in the original book, they were simply things the Cat brought along to demonstrate fun, but in this special, they are commissioned to help find the cat's "moss-covered three-handled family gredunza." The vocabulary used in the special is also of a higher level than the book, though still in Seuss' trademark rhyme.
Home video releases
The special was originally released as a VHS videocassette on the CBS/Fox Video label's Playhouse Video imprint in 1989. It was later released as part of the Dr. Seuss Sing-Along Classics release from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment with CBS Video and Fox Kids Video in the mid 90's. It was later released on DVD by Universal Studios Home Entertainment on October 7, 2003. Warner Home Video released the special on Blu-ray and DVD on August 7, 2012.
The Cat in other TV specials and series
Although the original book's sequel The Cat in the Hat Comes Back did not receive an animated adaptation, the character went on to appear in several more Dr. Seuss specials. In 1973, there came Dr. Seuss on the Loose, where Sherman reprised his role as The Cat in the Hat. Here, The Cat in the Hat appeared in bridging sequences where he introduced animated adaptations of three other Dr. Seuss stories: The Sneetches, The Zax and Green Eggs and Ham. In 1982's The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat, the character, now voiced by Mason Adams (Sherman had died shortly after Dr. Seuss on the Loose finished production), meets the title character of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and sets out to reform his new green adversary. In 1995, the Cat appeared again, this time with the voice of Henry Gibson, to narrate Daisy-Head Mayzie, a special based on a posthumously published Dr. Seuss book. In 1997, a puppet version of the Cat starred in The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, where he was voiced by Bruce Lanoil and Martin P. Robinson. The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, an educational animated series based on the Random House Library series, premiered in September 2010; the Cat is voiced by Martin Short.
- Allan Sherman as The Cat in the Hat
- Daws Butler as Karlos K. Krinklebein
- Tony Frazier as Conrad
- Pamelyn Ferdin as Sally
- Gloria Camacho as Mother
- Thurl Ravenscroft as Thing One
- Lewis Morford as Thing Two
- Animation: Hal Ambro, Warren Batchelder, Manny Gould, George Nicholas, Manny Perez, Bob Richardson, Phil Roman, Robert Taylor, Don Williams
- Layout: Robert Givens, Dick Ung
- Background: Richard H. Thomas
- Camera: John Burton, Jr., Ray Lee
- Film Editing: Lee Gunther, Roger Donley
- Production Supervision: Jim Foss
- Production Coordinator: Harry Love
- The Songs
- Lyrics by: Dr. Seuss
- Music by: Dean Elliott
- Music Conducted by: Eric Rogers
- Music Recording Engineer: Eric A. Thomlinson
- Storyboard by: Chuck Jones
- Teleplay by: Dr. Seuss
- Production Design: Maurice Noble
- Directed by: Hawley Pratt
- Produced by: Chuck Jones Ted Geisel
- Executive Producers: David H. DePatie Friz Freleng
The production began at Chuck Jones' MGM Animation Studio in the late 1960s after finishing on The Phantom Tollbooth and another Dr. Seuss special, Horton Hears a Who!. After MGM stopped animation production and closed down its animation department for good in 1970, production was moved to DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, which was run by Warner Bros. Cartoons alumni Friz Freleng and WB's last original production executive David DePatie.
This marks the first Dr. Seuss television special produced by DePatie-Freleng Productions. Chuck Jones and his staff were included in the production of the special. After The Cat in the Hat, Jones did not work on any other Seuss projects. Other staff members that have worked with Jones such as Dean Elliott and Maurice Noble eventually stopped working on Seuss projects also. DePatie and Freleng were credited together as executive producers. For the next three Dr. Seuss animations, Freleng and Seuss (under his actual name) were credited as producers, although separately. This is the first Seuss television special to use the 1971–75 Cat in the Hat Productions logo and it's extended with two parts in this special. The pace and rhyming sequences of several of the songs (particularly "Calculatus Eliminatus") led many to believe that they were composed by Sherman, since they closely resemble his earlier song parodies, however only Seuss is credited.