The Lorax (TV special)
|Based on||The Lorax
by Dr. Seuss
|Written by||Dr. Seuss|
|Directed by||Hawley Pratt|
|Voices of||Bob Holt
Thurl Ravenscroft (singing voice, uncredited)
|Narrated by||Introduced by:
Eddie Albert (opening only)
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producer(s)||David H. DePatie|
|Running time||24 mins.|
|Production company(s)||The Cat in The Hat Productions
|Original release||February 14, 1972 (Valentine's Day) (movie airing on CBS) – December 16, 2012 (movie airing on ABC)|
The Lorax is a 1972 animated musical television special produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises. It first aired on CBS on February 14, 1972 (Valentine's Day) based on the book of the same name by Dr. Seuss. It last aired on July 30, 2005, as the airing of ABC.
One night, a young boy living in a polluted, grim world wanders down 'the street of the lifted Lorax.' Along the dark street, he comes to the residence of a creature named The Once-ler, a dark green-colored being whose face is never seen. He takes up an audience with the boy, and begins to explain the tale regarding the Lorax.
The land once thrived with truffula trees when the Once-ler first came to the area in a horse-drawn cart. Living among the foliage are the brown Bar-ba-Loots, who eat truffula fruit from the local trees. In the nearby pond live the Humming Fish, and overhead fly the Swomee Swans. The trees amaze the Once-ler with their texture and scent, and he soon builds a small shop in the area. After cutting down a truffula tree, the Lorax pops out of its stump. The Lorax claims to speak for the trees, and demands to know what the Once-ler is doing. The Once-ler explains that he is using the truffula tree's tufts to make something called a Thneed... a fine thing that all people need. The multi-purpose item soon attracts the attention of many customers, and the Once-ler continues to cut down more truffula trees. When it seems that the business is growing too big for just one Once-ler, he calls his relatives to help him with his thriving business.
Soon the once beautiful area becomes choked with pollution and the Lorax sends the fauna away to find more hospitable habitats. (First, the Brown Bar-ba-loots, which fed on Truffula fruits, are nearing starvation. Then the "smogulous smoke" fills the Swomee Swans' throats with smog, preventing them from singing. Finally, the pond that was home to the Humming Fish is filled with toxic waste called "Gluppity-Glupp" and "Schloppity-Schlopp" that clogs their gills.) Confronted by the Lorax, the Once-ler appears to be ready to listen, until his secretary explains that the company's stock report has come in, and 'Thneeds, Inc' is doing exceptionally well. The Once-ler then scoffs at the Lorax, claiming that he will keep on making Thneeds, regardless of the consequences. As he finishes his taunt, the sound of an ax is heard, and the two are witness to the leveling of the last truffula tree. With no more trees, the factory shuts down, and the Once-ler's relatives pack up and leave. The Lorax sadly glances at the Once-ler, before lifting himself by the seat of his pants, and disappearing through a hole in the smog. On the spot where the Lorax last stood, sits a small pile of rocks, with a word carved into one: "Unless."
The tale then switches back to the Once-ler talking to the boy, who is given a truffula seed by the Once-ler, encouraging the boy to help revitalize the long-dead trees, with the possibility that the Lorax and his friends may then come back.
- Production Design: Maurice Noble
- Directed: Hawley Pratt
- Produced: Friz Freleng and Ted Geisel
- Executive Producer: David H. DePatie
- Animation: Warren Batchelder John Gibbs Manny Gould Bob Matz Bob Richardson Robert Taylor Dick Thompson Don Williams
- Backgrounds: Richard H. Thomas
- Camera: John Burton, Jr. Larry Hogan Ray Lee
- Film Editing: Lee Gunther Joe Siracusa Rick Steward
- Executive In Charge of Production: Stan Paperny
- Production Supervision: Harry Love
- The Songs
- Lyrics by: Dr. Seuss
- Music by: Dean Elliott
- Production Mixer: Steve Orr
- Teleplay by: Dr. Seuss
- Storyboard by: Irv Spector
- The Truffula Trees produce assorted colors of material. About halfway into the special, both the Truffula Trees and the Thneeds we see are pink.
- This is the first Dr. Seuss CBS television special to feature the short version of the 1971–1975 Cat in the Hat Productions logo with only the "Cat in the Hat doing tricks" sequence. The short version of the logo was also seen on Green Eggs and Ham, The Sneetches and The Hoober-Bloob Highway, thus ending the company. The Cat in the Hat uses the extended version of the 1971–1975 logo instead.
- This is also the first Dr. Seuss CBS television special to use the Cat in the Hat Productions logo at the end since Horton Hears a Who!. The Cat in the Hat does not use this logo at the end. It was last used as an animated closing variant at the end of The Hoober-Bloob Highway causing the last TV special produced by Cat in the Hat Productions.
- This is the last Dr. Seuss television special until Halloween Is Grinch Night to feature Thurl Ravenscroft.
- In honor to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the special and the release of film The Lorax, Warner Home Video released the special on a deluxe edition DVD and Blu-ray on February 14, 2012 (Valentine's Day).
Differences from the book
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- The kid does not have to pay the Once-ler for his time. In the book, he has to pay the Once-ler "15 cents, a nail, and the shell of a great, great, great grandfather snail." In the 2012 feature film, this bit of information was added back in.
- The Once-ler told the kid the story through a “whisper-maphone,” but this was not shown in the cartoon. It was used again however in the 2012 feature film.
- No mention is made of “the crummies,” a gastrointestinal disease with which starvation afflicted the Brown Bar-ba-loots, although there is a scene in the special where a Brown Bar-ba-loot has to be carried because he is too sick to walk.
- The Lorax sends the Brown Bar-ba-loots off to find a more hospitable habitat after the sky becomes smoggy. In the book, they leave while the sky is still clear.
- There is a more in-depth look at the problems. At one point, the Once-ler argues with himself about what he is doing, ultimately justifying his actions by claiming that someone else would do them if he did not, and he points out to the Lorax that shutting down his factory would put hundreds of people out of work, as it eventually does; the Lorax admits that the Once-ler does have a point, and also that he himself would not know the answer.
- The Once-ler shows remorse for the wildlife leaving, even going so far as to curse his own factory. Suddenly, his secretary informs him that stock in his company had seen a large gain on the stock market. This, not the constant chastisement from the Lorax, is what finally sets off his tirade at the Lorax.
- A brief snippet of the script of the special, no longer found in the book, mentions real-life Lake Erie, then notoriously polluted, as being even cleaner than the water in the area (the line was removed from the book after two research associates from the Ohio Sea Grant Program wrote to Seuss about the clean-up of Lake Erie in 1985).
- In the book the Once-ler mentions that his factory fell apart after being derelict for so long. In the special, it is not mentioned.
- In the book, after the kid asks the Once-ler what the "unless" message means, the Once-ler replies that he did not realize what it meant till the kid asked him about it—that unless someone cares, nothing will change or improve. It is as a reward for helping him realize this that the Once-ler gives the kid the last Truffula seed. In the special, the Once-ler appears to already know what the message meant, and his reasons for entrusting the seed to the boy are unclear.
- Lorax, The: Deluxe Edition DVD - Warner Bros.: WBshop.com - The Official Online Store of Warner Bros. Studios
- "Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel : a biography". Judith & Neil Morgan. Random House. 1995. ISBN 978-0-679-41686-9.