Horton the Elephant

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Horton the Elephant from the cover of Horton Hears a Who!, 1954

Horton the elephant is a fictional character from the books Horton Hatches the Egg[1] and Horton Hears a Who![2], both by Dr. Seuss. Horton is a kind, sweet-natured elephant who cares about other animals or people. Though he goes through many hardships, whether trying to keep an egg warm through storms, rough travels, and humiliating shows, or tries to save a small planet from harm, he always triumphs; the egg hatches into an elephant-bird, while the planet is saved and respected by the others. He is very popular because of his big heart and respectful compassion, which makes him more humorous.

Horton is also a character on the TV series The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss.[3] Kent Rogers voiced the character in "Horton Hatches the Egg". He is also a principal character in Seussical the Musical, which uses most of the two Horton books as its primary plotline.

Horton is voiced by Jim Carrey in the computer-animated adaptation of Horton Hears A Who, where he is shown as being eccentric and imaginative, and sort of absent-minded.

Horton will appear in a new Dr. Seuss book, Horton and the Kwuggerbug, set to come out on September 9, 2014, the second Dr. Seuss book published after his death in 1991 (his first being Daisy-Head Mayzie in 1995).

Other characters[edit]

Horton Hatches the Egg[edit]

  • Mayzie: A lazy bird who convinces Horton to sit on the egg, while she takes a "short break" (which ends up being a permanent relocation to Palm Beach). When Horton and his egg (now part of a traveling circus) visit near Palm Beach, she demanded it back until it hatched into an elephant bird. Mayzie is then punished for her laziness by ending up with nothing, much to her anger. In the Broadway musical production Seussical, her full name is given as Mayzie La-Bird.
  • Elephant Bird: This was the result of what happens when Mayzie's egg was hatched by Horton. He had the parts of an elephant and a bird. Afterwards, the Elephant Bird was adopted by Horton. In "The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss," the Elephant Bird was named Morton, possibly a combination of "Mayzie" and "Horton".

Horton Hears A Who[edit]

  • The Sour Kangaroo: A cruel and obsessive kangaroo who does not believe that the Whos and Whoville exist. She also believes Horton knows they don't exist. She will do anything to get rid of Whoville, and even follows Horton over the mountains to carry out her nasty mission. However, when the existence of Whoville is finally proven, she reforms. In the animated special of Horton Hears a Who, her name is changed to Jane Kangaroo. Voiced by Carol Burnett in the film. Also, she appears more sinister than her book counterpart.
  • The Young Kangaroo: The sour kangaroo's young joey. he has the habit of repeating what his mother says, even if it's not a word, such as "Hmmph!". In the film, his name is changed to Rudy and he actually believes in the Whos. He's voiced by Josh Flitter in the film.
  • Mayor of Whoville: The mayor of the microscopic world of Whoville who cares very much for his city and its people. In the animated special of Horton Hears a Who, he is changed quite a bit: his name is Dr. Hoovey and he is a scientist who works on communicating with extraterrestrial life. Nobody in Whoville believes him about Horton until Whoville crashes when Vlad drops the flower and decides to help him save Whoville. In the film, the mayor is named "Ned McDodd" and is a very silly character and the latest of a long legacy of mayors. He has a huge family- 96 daughters and JoJo. Voiced by Steve Carell in the film.
  • The Wickersham Brothers: A group of vicious monkeys who steal the flower upon which Whoville rests. They have a very large family consisting of their uncles, cousins, and in-laws who help bind Horton. The major brother in the group, Yummo, is voiced by Dan Fogler in the film. Fogler also voices the "Chairman" in the film.
  • Vlad Vladikoff: A black eagle that takes the flower that Horton protects and drops it in a huge patch of flowers. In the animated special of Horton Hears a Who, his name is changed to Whizzer McWoff and he appears more like a vulture than an eagle. Voice by Will Arnett in the film adaptation. Also in that adaptation, he is a vulture.
  • JoJo: A little boy who is quiet by nature, but turns out to be very loud when he saved Whoville by shouting the made up word "YOPP". In Seussical, he plays a much larger role. He is portrayed as an over-imaginative boy who is misunderstood by everyone except for The Cat in the Hat and Horton. He ends up being the hero. In the film, he is portrayed very differently, as a bit of a rebel, older (14) and silent; he is the son of the mayor (just like in Seussical) and voiced by Jesse McCartney.

Seussical[edit]

  • Gertrude McFuzz: While in only one other media (Her original Seuss story, which did not feature Horton at all) Gertrude is a very prominent character throughout Seussical. In this play, Gertrude, a shy yet incredibly sweet bluebird is Horton's next door neighbor with a not so well hidden secret, she is very much in love with Horton. The only problem, Gertrude is unimpressed with her one feather of a tail and tries to grow it in order to get him to notice her, it fails. He does end up noticing her however when she saves him from the circus and gives him the lost clover with the speck on top. In the end, the two become a couple and decide to team together in order to give the elephant bird a proper upbringing.

Stories[edit]

Horton Hatches the Egg: A very lazy, rude, and snobby mother bird named Mayzie lays an egg but wants nothing more than to spend a vacation elsewhere. Horton passes by and Mayzie asks him to help by keeping her egg warm as she goes on vacation. Horton tries to decline but gladly agrees after another appeal; Mayzie leaves and to make the tree strong he holds it up with two separate large trees and spends days, and months sitting on it. Even through extreme weather including a snowstorm, Horton keeps his promise: "I meant what I said and I said what I meant...an elephant's faithful 100%." Meanwhile, as Horton spends months performing his job, Mayzie is far off in Palm Beach, Florida having so much fun that she secretly decides to relocate her life to the beach and then claim it is a vacation that she "deserves". Eventually when the weather turns back to sunny Horton's friends mock him, and soon hunters come to shoot him. Despite the hunters loading the rifles at him Horton keeps his promise and dares them to shoot him refusing to leave the nest. However the hunters, realising they have found a rare attraction - an elephant sitting on a nest - decide not to shoot him, but to sell him for profit. The hunters dig up the tree, load him in their wagon and take him on an arduous, bumpy journey overland, followed by a seasickful boat trip to New York City. They sell him to a circus where Horton is toured around the USA, a figure of fun for audiences as city officials take the profits resulting from Horton's appearances for themselves. Eventually Mayzie sees commercials about Horton and so when the circus arrives to Palm Beach Mayzie goes to Horton demanding the return of her egg without thanking or offering any payment to Horton; however when the egg hatches it is revealed to be an Elephant-Bird. As a result of this new species the people have to return him to Africa to Horton's habitat; Horton adopts the elephant bird as a reward for his work while an infuriated Mayzie ends up with nothing.

Horton Hears A Who!: Horton is bathing in a pond when he sees a speck of dust fly at him; he hears cries of help from it and after investigating he realizes the speck of dust is the planet of a very small world named Whoville inhabited by a microscopic species called Whos. Horton befriends the mayor of Whoville and protects the small men by putting the planet on a red clover. However when he talks to the Whos, Horton's neighbor, the Sour Kangaroo, leads his friends in a mocking daily basis. The Kangaroo and her son do not believe that the Whos exist and brand Horton as insane to the entire animal kingdom. Horton refuses to accept the jeering and when he continues to provide for the Whos, a trio of monkey brothers, known as the Wickersham Brothers, steals the clover with the planet, from Horton and asks a rude and snobby vulture to "get rid of this thing." Despite the pleas of Horton, the Vulture sides with the animal kingdom and throws the clover in a meadow with millions of exact copies of clones. After one day of investigating every clover and after looking at 3 million flowers he finds the clover with Whoville. When he stands by his promise to protect them, Mother Kangaroo arrives with an army of monkeys; she reveals that she knew that Horton would have tried to search for the clover for "men that do not exist" and therefore she says that they will imprison him and get rid of the clover once and for all by boiling it in a hot stew. Horton asks for one last chance to prove the Whos' existence and when the Whos perform their loudest cry the Kangaroo and her son say they hear nothing but wind. The monkeys attack Horton, restrain him, and haul him into a cage. Horton struggles and shouts at the Whos to prove themselves before they are burnt; the Whos use mechanics, but none of it works. A shy little boy named Jojo shouts the word, "YOPP!", breaking the sound barrier and all of Whoville is heard by the monkeys and the Sour Kangaroo. The monkeys, animal kingdom and Kangaroo apologize to Horton and promise to protect the Whos with Horton ending with a line frequently said in the story: "A person's a person no matter how small."

Other media[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Seuss, Dr. (1968). Horton hatches the egg. Random House. ISBN 978-0-394-80077-6. 
  2. ^ Seuss, Dr. (1982). Horton hears a Who!. 2, reissue, illustrated. Random House. ISBN 978-0-394-80078-3. 
  3. ^ "The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss". IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 2011-05-10.