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Film / In Search of Dr. Seuss

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"Come along with me, in search of Dr. Seuss!"

Open a book, open up your imagination.
—A Dr. Seuss quote written on the cover of the Portal Book
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A biographical film about Dr. Seuss, first aired on TNT in 1994, featuring newly-recorded live action segments and excerpts of previous animated films based on his books. It follows a reporter (Kathy Najimy) who befriends The Cat in the Hat after she barges into Dr. Seuss' house in an attempt to get a new angle for a story about the author. She then meets several of Dr. Seuss' characters, who involve her in their stories and deliver the biographical information.


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In Search of Dr. Seuss contains examples of:

  • Argument of Contradictions: "This is good. This is great. Yes! Very nice." "Not good. Not great. Not nice!"
  • Artistic License – History: Aside from the confusion over the "Hitler Lives" segment as detailed below, this film also clearly sidesteps over the cause of the death of Dr. Seuss' first wife, Helen, namely that she committed suicide, mostly due to her husband's affair with Audrey, who would become his second wife. The film also incorrectly states that he fell in love with Audrey after the death of Helen. This was altered, no doubt, due to the age of the target audience.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Cat in the photo of Dr. Seuss winks at the audience after Kathy leaves.
  • Credits Montage: The opening and end credits both feature clips from the documentary and cartoons.
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  • Go Look at the Distraction: Kathy pulls this on the Cat in order to enter Dr. Seuss' house.
  • Gospel Choirs Are Just Better: "Yertle the Turtle" has gospel singers portray most of the other turtles.
  • I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: Literally, as Kathy takes the role of the book's main character.
  • Instant Costume Change: The Cat and Kathy undergo this both before and after singing "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"
  • Intrepid Reporter: Lampshaded when the Cat describes Kathy's conning her way into the house as "Shameful, but exactly what I would've expected of a journalist."
  • Little Bit Beastly: The Cat looks perfectly human, aside from the cat prints he leaves behind on the Sneetches' beach.
  • Medium Blending: Kathy never seems to notice that Horton and the Sneetches are animated, whereas the Cat, Mr. Hunch, and the Who-Villian are live.
  • Nice Hat: Dr. Suess' office has several hats from his stories on display. The Cat tries some of them on (including one from The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T, which he wears when greeting Kathy) before putting back on his trademark red-and-white striped hat.
  • No Name Given: The Cat in the Hat, Mr. Hunch, Ad Man and Ad Woman, Father and Daughters, and the Who-Villian.
  • Portal Book: The "Open a Book, Open Up Your Imagination" book that allows Kathy to meet the characters aside from the Cat.
  • Redubbing: The original voices in the Horton Hatches the Egg segment were removed and replaced with new voices, all performed by Frank Welker.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Kathy Najimy's hand uses the animated door knocker in the opening song.
  • Take That!: The Cat and Kathy agree about Dick and Jane books providing a boring means of teaching children how to read.
  • Toon Transformation: The opening credits invert this when Kathy and Dr. Seuss' house change from animation to live-action.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: Mack raps to protest Yertle the Turtle stacking everyone.
  • Wrongfully Attributed: Kathy and The Voice of America state that Dr. Seuss wrote and Frank Capra directed the short documentary Hitler Lives. The reality is somewhat more complicated. "Hitler Lives" was a re-edited version of a Army training short called Your Job in Germany, which explained to US troops why they couldn't go home immediately and why they couldn't make friends with the frauleins. Your Job in Germany was written by Theodore (Dr. Seuss) Giesel, and directed by Frank Capra. The film was given a re-edit and repackage for the home front via Warner Brothers, and it was this film, Hitler Lives that is credited to Saul Ekins as the writer and Gordon Hollingshead as "Supervisor" (Don Siegel apparently directed the new sequences, but was left uncredited). Roughly half the short is still the work of Giesel and Capra, with the first 9 or so minutes having only light edits to Giesel's script to remove military-specific information and directives and one profanity that would have caused the short to be rejected due to the Hayes Code.

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