Horton Hatches the Egg (1942 film)

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Horton Hatches the Egg
Merrie Melodies series
Blue Ribbon reissue title card
Directed by Bob Clampett
Produced by Leon Schlesinger
Story by Michael Maltese (screen adaptation)
Dr. Seuss (original story)
Voices by Kent Rogers
Sara Berner
Robert C. Bruce
Mel Blanc
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Robert McKimson
Studio Warner Bros. Cartoons
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
RKO Radio Pictures
Release date(s) April 11, 1942 (USA)
Color process Technicolor
Running time 10min
Language English

Horton Hatches the Egg is a ten-minute animated short film based on the book by Dr. Seuss, by Leon Schlesinger Productions in 1942, released as part of Warner Bros.' Merrie Melodies series. The short, which in contrast to the original children's book, was more adult-oriented, was directed by Bob Clampett. Horton was voiced by Kent Rogers along with the Peter Lorre fish, Sara Berner voiced Mayzie and the elephant bird, Robert C. Bruce narrated, and Mel Blanc performed most of the other voices.

In producing the cartoon, Clampett's unit did not use a storyboard, as was the customary practice; instead, they sketched and wrote additional ideas for the cartoon in Clampett's copy of Seuss' book. Several elements that do not appear in the original book were added to the cartoon, including;

  1. An introductory paragraph, starting with "Now once in a jungle . . ." and ending with " . . . up in her tree."
  2. A scene where Mayzie uses sex appeal, including (unsuccessfully) shifting her physique to make it appear as if she has large breasts, to lure Horton.
  3. Several areas of skipped or re-invented dialogue, such as when Mayzie claims to have bags under her eyes, or when Horton speaks, "Plain as day" to the hunters, except that they only have one gun, which is clearly not aimed at his heart.
  4. A fish caricature of Peter Lorre who shoots himself in the head after seeing Horton on the boat (This scene is often edited from most televised prints),
  5. A breathy Katharine Hepburn impersonation by Mayzie, and
  6. A popular nonsense tune of that era, "The Hut-Sut Song" by Horace Heidt - Words and music by Leo V. Killion, Ted McMichael & Jack Owens, sung by Horton and his son, with the words "and so on so on so forth" replacing some of the lyrics.


When this cartoon aired on the Turner-owned channels (Cartoon Network, Boomerang, TBS, TNT) and the now-defunct The WB channel a fish version of Peter Lorre sees Horton the elephant on the boat and says, "Well, now I've seen everything!" and shoots himself in the head, was edited out of this cartoon.

DVD release[edit]

The short has been released on DVD twice. First, on The Best of Dr. Seuss, released in 2003 and also featuring The Butter Battle Book and Daisy-Head Mayzie. It was later included on Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 6 in 2008.

External links[edit]