The Cat in the Hat (TV special)
|The Cat in the Hat|
|Written by||Dr. Seuss|
|Directed by||Hawley Pratt|
|Voices of||Allan Sherman
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producer(s)||David H. DePatie
|Running time||25 mins.|
|Production company(s)||The Cat in The Hat Productions
|Original release||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. 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. 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 higher level than the book, though still in Seuss's trademark rhyme.
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 and quirky Cat in the Hat suddenly enters with a bump and fools around a bit. The family goldfish, named Mr. Karlos K. Krinklebein, demands that he 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 closest equivalent to the aforementioned ball sequence from the book). 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 gradunza" 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 gradunza using his method of "Calculatus Eliminatus," drawing random numbers and letters anywhere the gradunza 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 gradunza, 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 ("Who ever 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 gradunza." While the exact identity of the item is never revealed, this indicates that the gradunza 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.
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 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 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 the Boy
- Pamelyn Ferdin as the voice of Sally
- Gloria Camacho as the voice of Mother
- Thurl Ravenscroft as the voice of Thing One
- Lewis Morford as the voice of Thing Two
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 the 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 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.