The Cat in the Hat (TV special)
|The Cat in the Hat|
|Directed by||Hawley Pratt|
|Voices of||Allan Sherman
|Executive producer(s)||David H. DePatie
Dr. Seuss (characters)
|Production company(s)||DePatie-Freleng Enterprises
|Original airing||March 10, 1971|
|Followed by||The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!|
The Cat in the Hat is an 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.
The plot of the special differs significantly from the original book. The sequence in the book where the cat balances all sorts of objects on a ball, then crashes, is left out. 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 gradunza." The vocabulary used in the special is also of a much higher level than the book, though still in Seuss's trademark rhyme.
It's raining, and there's lightning, as well. It's too cold and wet to play outside, so the girl and the 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. They turn back to the window as she leaves. While their mother is out on a shopping errand, They watch the umbrella pass, and when that's done, they're left to wish for something to do.
After the Cat makes his entrance and fools around a bit, the Fish requests that he leave. The Cat plays a game which he calls "Up, Up, Up, With a Fish". The girl notices that he's making the house a little dirty, and the boy recalls their mother's projected return at 3:30. At this, the cat bows to the voice of the majority, and claims he's going to Siberia. Before he can do so, he comes back in, claiming that his "moss-covered three-handled family gradunza" has been stolen, and he accuses the Fish, who is given the name Karlos K. Krinkelbein in the special. The Cat sings a ballad about the loss of his treasured keepsake and then tries to describe it to the kids, even though they don't understand what he's talking about. The cat says they come in all-styles, from triple-G to minus aught.
The Cat then leads the kids on a search through the house, using his method of "Calculatus Eliminatus", which involves writing marks on every place they've already checked. It isn't on a painting, so he marks it X. It isn't on a lampshade, so he marks it Y. It's not under the apple, so it gets the marking HKI. It isn't in the keyhole, or on the girl's knee, so the former gets K300, while the knee gets 57B. The fireplace gets 842J, while the empty liqour cabinet gets F607 and the piano, 22,000.11. The icebox lacks it, and it's not on the TV. Icebox, 024 1/2, TV, 1,000,003. Now the windowshade gets 9-1-0, while another cabinet gets 8B-X and the fishbowl gets 42-0. This makes a mess of everything, and Mr. Krinkelbein wipes the 4-20 off his bowl. He demands that the Cat leave once again, but it only prompts the Cat to sing another song, this one about feeling pessimistic and having low self-esteem ("I'm a Punk, a Gratunkulous Shnunk!"). Then he proceeds to put the cynical fish to sleep by singing a lullaby. Once that's done, he brings out Thing One and Thing Two, singing to the kids that they can find "anything under the sun", all the while the Things play sports using Mr. Krinkelbein's fishbowl as the ball/puck. (According to them, every house they visit has a pessimist fish.) Mr. Krinkelbein then 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. This cues arguably the wackiest song in the special, where the Cat sings out his name in several languages ("Cat. Hat./In French, chat chapeau./In Spanish, el gato in a sombrero."). The song becomes so catchy that everyone, even Krinkelbein, joins in and contributes alternative translations for languages like 'Eskimo' and Russian (the languages used throughout the song include English, French, Spanish, German, pseudo-Eskimo, Russian, and during the sped-up portion of the song, Scotland, Switzerland, Irish Gaelic, Dutch, Boogoo-Boogoo, Paris and Foda-Foda). An interesting point to note, however, 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."
Just as they finish up the song, though, they hear the mother coming home. The Cat then proceeds to clean up the house, just like in the book, using a motorized vehicle. Just as he leaves, the mother returns, telling the kids that she just saw a Cat in a Hat "going down the street with a moss-covered three-handled family gradunza." This tends to suggest that the "gradunza" was the strange vehicle the Cat drove around the house as he cleaned it up; in any event, its exact nature remains a mystery to the viewer.
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. Bonus specials include Daisy-Head Mayzie and The Hoober-Bloob Highway.
The Cat in other TV specials
Although the original book's sequel 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 Allan 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 Cat in the Hat, 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. The Cat in the Hat appears as a guest in a 1996 video called Kids for Character. The following year, 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 cartoon series based on the Random House Library series, premiered in September 2010. The Cat is voiced by Martin Short.
- Allan Sherman as the voice of The Cat in the Hat
- Daws Butler as the voice of Karlos K. Krinklebein
- Tony Frazier as the voice of Conrad
- Pamelyn Ferdin as the voice of Sally
- Gloria Camacho as the voice of Joan
- Thurl Ravenscroft as the voice of Thing One
- Lewis Morford as the voice of Thing Two
- Music: Dean Elliott, Lyrics: Dr. Seuss
- Production Design: Maurice Noble
- Director: Hawley Pratt
- Producers: Chuck Jones and Dr. Suess
- Executive Producers:David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng
- Animation: Hal Ambro, Warren Batchelder, Manny Gould, George Nicholas, Manny Perez, 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
- Music Conductor: Eric Rogers
- Music Recording Engineer: Eric A. Thomlinson
- Storyboard: Chuck Jones
- Teleplay: Dr. Seuss
- A Cat in the Hat Presentation produced for the CBS Television Network by DePatie-Freleng Films
- This was the first Dr. Seuss television special produced by DePatie-Freleng Productions.
- Chuck Jones and his staff were included in the production of this cartoon. After The Cat in the Hat, Chuck Jones did not work on any other Dr. Seuss projects. Other staff members that have worked with Jones such as Dean Elliott and Maurice Noble eventually stopped working on Dr. Seuss cartoons also.
- David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng were credited together as executive producers. For the next three Dr. Seuss cartoons, Friz Freleng and Theodor Geisel were credited as producers, although separately. Chuck Jones did not return for the production of other Dr. Seuss cartoons.
- This is the first Dr. Seuss television special to use the 1971–1975 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 Allan Sherman, since they closely resemble his earlier song parodies, however only Dr. Seuss is credited.