Dr. Seuss (1970)

In celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, born on this day in 1904, I present to you Horton Hears a Who!

Horton Hears a Who! is a 1970 animated television special based on the 1954 Dr. Seuss book Horton Hears a Who! It was produced and directed by Chuck Jones and was first broadcast on March 19, 1970. The special contains songs with lyrics by Seuss and music by Eugene Poddany, who previously wrote songs for Seuss’ book, The Cat in the Hat Song Book.

Directed by Chuck Jones and Ben Washam

Voiced by Hans Conried, Chuck Jones, and June Foray

Narrated by Hans Conried

Music by Eugene Poddany

Horton Hears a Who! is a children’s book written and illustrated by Theodor Seuss Geisel under the pen name Dr. Seuss. It was published in 1954 by Random House. This book tells the story of Horton the Elephant and his adventures saving Whoville, a tiny planet located on a speck of dust, from the animals who mock him. These animals attempt to steal and burn the speck of dust, so Horton goes to great lengths to save Whoville from being incinerated.

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Horton the Elephant

The above quote is the most popular line from Horton Hears a Who! and also serves as the major moral theme that Dr. Seuss conveys to his audience. Horton endures harassment to care for and ensure the safety of the Whos, who represent the insignificant. Horton Hears a Who! has been well-received in libraries, schools, and homes across the world. Much of the plot has been incorporated into the Broadway musical production Seussical.

Creator and fancier of fanciful beasts, your affinity for flying elephants and man-eating mosquitoes makes us rejoice you were not around to be Director of Admissions on Mr. Noah’s ark. But our rejoicing in your career is far more positive: as author and artist you singlehandedly have stood as St. George between a generation of exhausted parents and the demon dragon of unexhausted children on a rainy day. There was an inimitable wriggle in your work long before you became a producer of motion pictures and animated cartoons and, as always with the best of humor, behind the fun there has been intelligence, kindness, and a feel for humankind. An Academy Award winner and holder of the Legion of Merit for war film work, you have stood these many years in the academic shadow of your learned friend Dr. Seuss; and because we are sure the time has come when the good doctor would want you to walk by his side as a full equal and because your College delights to acknowledge the distinction of a loyal son, Dartmouth confers on you her Doctorate of Humane Letters.

You’re wrong as the deuce
And you shouldn’t rejoice
If you’re calling him Seuss.
He pronounces it Soice.

Chuck Jones (1947)

Scent-imental Over You is a 1947 Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoon directed by Chuck Jones.
The short was released on March 8, 1947, and stars Pepé Le Pew.

Jealous of the other dogs who have fur coats, a hairless Mexican pooch decides to borrow a fur coat and enter the dog show. Unfortunately, she borrows a skunk pelt by accident, which soon frightens the other dogs and attracts the unwanted attention of the amorous PepĂ© Le Pew. Pepe continues chasing her until she finally reveals that she is a dog, much to his surprise. Pepe then takes off his fur like a zippered jacket to reveal that he is a dog, capturing the misled pooch’s swoon, only to reveal once more that it was just him in a dog costume. He says to the audience, “I am stupid, no?”, as the cartoon ends, implying that PepĂ© is indeed a skunk who doesn’t care that his love interest is a dog.

Starring Pepé Le Pew (as Stinky Skunk), in his first official short.

Directed by Chuck Jones

Story by Michael Maltese and Tedd Pierce

Animated by Phil Monroe, Ben Washam, Ken Harris, Lloyd Vaughan, and Abe Levitow

Layouts by Robert Gribbroek

Backgrounds by Peter Alvarado

Voiced by Mel Blanc

Musical direction by Carl Stalling

Chuck Jones (1946)

Hair-Raising Hare is a Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon, released in 1946. It was directed by Chuck Jones and written by Tedd Pierce. It stars Bugs Bunny and features the first appearance of Chuck Jones’ imposing orange monster character, unnamed here, but in later cartoons named “Rudolph” and then “Gossamer”.

Animation director J. J. Sedelmaier writes, “It’s interesting to see how different Bugs’ character is in this film, from, say, the cool and calm Bugs in Rabbit Seasoning (1952). He’s much more the Groucho Marx type in this short; in fact, I doubt you’ll find another cartoon in which he does the Groucho walk more than here. The other unique aspect that has always grabbed me about this particular cartoon is the design of the monster. Where do his hands and arms go when we don’t see them? Why the sneakers? It’s this sort of stuff that reminds me why I love good cartoons: You don’t care about this stuff. You just enjoy it.”

Story by Tedd Pierce

Music by Carl Stalling

Animated by Ben Washam, Ken Harris, Basil Davidovich, and Lloyd Vaughan

Backgroungs by Robert Bribbroek

Starring Mel Blanc

Technicolor