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Trivia / The Cat in the Hat

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     The Book  

  • Banned in China:
    • For a brief time, it was banned from public schools in the United States for "promoting chaos."
    • Also in America, one teacher tried to get the book banned from her school because she assumed the cat was a Blackface stereotype.
  • Genre-Killer: Of Dick and Jane primers. This was very much intentional; Ted Geisel was dissatisfied with the state of children's literature at the time of writing this book, saying that Dick and Jane novels were excruciatingly boring and featured overly dry type of characters who were so well-behaved that they didn't resemble any kind of realistic child. He was challenged to write a book that first graders couldn't put down if he really was that opposed to them. This book is the result of that. And as it happens, it was Crazy Enough to Work; Dick and Jane primers are so utterly forgotten by now that some contemporary audiences may not fully realize how influential this book actually was. Seuss would later say that “killing Dick and Jane” was what he was most proud of in his career.
  • Technology Marches On: The idea that children would be sitting around with nothing to do because it's raining outside is rather quaint today.
  • Troubled Production: When Dr. Seuss accepted the challenge to create an alternative to Dick and Jane, one of his restrictions was that he could only use a specific vocabulary of less than 250 words. That proved a struggle until he coined the title, and then thus inspired, Seuss was off and running.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: In The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, the protagonist's father owns a pair of shoes that cost $10. Pricey in 1958 but these days you'd wonder why he'd have such cheap footwear.

     The Film  

  • Acting for Two: Sean Hayes plays as Mr. Humberfloob and does the voice of the Fish.
  • Adored by the Network: For whatever reason, Cartoon Network loved this movie to pieces and (at one point?) aired it on the channel at least once or twice a week. It has stopped airing since about 2017/18.
  • Box Office Bomb: Budget, $109 million. Box office, $101,149,285 (domestic), $133,960,541 (worldwide). While it opened at No. 1 in its first weekend, numbers plummeted after poor word of mouth, resulting in it falling about $8 million short of its budget in the U.S.
  • Contractual Obligation Project: For Mike Myers and Bo Welch who worked on the movie after being threatened with a lawsuit due to Myers refusing to do Dieter's Day, a film adaptation of his Saturday Night Live sketch Sprockets.
  • Creator Backlash:
  • Creator Killer: The failure of this film ended Bo Welch's directorial career, although he still maintains a steady production designer career, as he later worked on Thor. He would eventually get a second chance at directing for the Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017).
  • Deleted Scene: More like deleted verse. It was removed to prevent scrutiny from the MPAA.
    "Kill the bug up her aaa..."
  • Disowned Adaptation: Audrey Geisel, the founder of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, seemed to agree with the general public's opinion that this film mocked her late husband's work, especially the decidedly child-unfriendly humor and the casting of Mike Myers. She thus vowed never to produce any future live-action adaptations of her husband's works for the rest of her life.
  • DVD Commentary: By Alec Baldwin and Bo Welch.
  • Executive Meddling: The film was supposed to be more in line with the book, retaining its family-friendly subject matter and sticking to the source material rather than adding things in. However, after How the Grinch Stole Christmas! became a hit, Universal and DreamWorks went all with the Parental Bonus humor and celebrity casting to repeat it's success.
  • Fandom Nod: The Cat and the kids briefly entering a rave where everyone is wearing the Cat's hat references the titular hat's popularity in late 90s/early 2000s rave culture.
  • Franchise Killer: The failure of this film as well as Audrey Geisel's thoughts on how it turned out both led to the shelving of any future Dr. Seuss live-action projects (including a sequel based on The Cat in the Hat Comes Back).
  • He Also Did: After this film, screenwriters Alec Berg, David Mandel and Jeff Schaffer would create a different, better-received film for DreamWorks, Euro Trip.
  • Hostility on the Set: In an interview for the AV Club's "Random Reviews" feature, Amy Hill said that Mike Myers was terrible to work with during filming, because he refused to talk to any of the cast and crew members aside from Bo Welch, and during filming breaks, he isolated himself from the cast and crew by hiding in his trailer. Hill also noted that the film ended up having long and pointless additional retakes of scenes because Myers overruled Welch on whether they were good or not. In addition, he always showed up on set late and there were scenes he would downright refuse to do unless he was given a chocolate bar, which led to one of the producers setting up a Tupperware full of chocolate bars.
  • Name's the Same: Pokémon Black and White introduces another town named Anville.
  • Orphaned Reference: The matador scene was the setup for a deleted verse which can be heard on the soundtrack CD and accessed on the "Deleted Scenes" feature on the DVD. It was removed and thus it's a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment.
  • Playing Against Type: The film's raunchier content makes a lot more sense when you notice that the film was written by Alec Berg, David Mandel and Jeff Schaffer, three of the staff writers for Seinfeld.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: Mike Myers and director Bo Welch were legally forced to do the movie after Myers was sued by Universal over a proposed Sprockets film adaptation. Part of the legal settlement was that they had to do a different movie, any movie, for the studio in its place. After Tim Allen dropped out of this movie, Myers ultimately stepped in just to get Universal out of his hair. This didn't sit well with Audrey Geisel in the long run.
  • Star-Derailing Role:
    • While not his last major live-action role, Mike Myers' career gradually began to decline in part because of his role as the titular Cat. This, plus his lack of faith in the Hollywood system and his increasingly uncooperative reputation among the directors he'd worked with, eventually convinced him to give up on the industry at the end of the decade, only getting involved in the Shrek franchise and otherwise moving into being a painter. Myers would eventually get involved in a reboot of The Gong Show in 2017.
    • The film likely also didn't help Kelly Preston's prospects for leading roles after the fact.
    • Alec Baldwin, because of his immense popularity, managed to dodge this bullet from destroying his career despite his character being ridiculed as one of the worst aspects of the movie. Even then, both this film and Thomas and the Magic Railroad convinced him to scale back his roles in family films to voiceover.
  • Stillborn Franchise: Mike Myers had been paged to reprise his role as the Cat in The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, which would've been a direct sequel to this film based on the book. However, this was not to be when Audrey Geisel turned down any further plans to adapt her husband's work into live-action films thanks to the inappropriate liberties taken with the source material, which forced Universal/DreamWorks to pull the plug on the sequel and let Myers out of his legal obligations.
  • Talking to Himself: Literally, thanks to split screen.
  • Technology Marches On: Sally's Establishing Character Moment has her making a check list for herself with a Palm PDA, illustrating how clinical and un-childlike she is. These days, she just looks like a kid playing on a smartphone (Palm itself was out of business for a while).
  • Troubled Production: The film started development in 1997, but production was shelved due to disagreements with the script, which was supposed to be more faithful to the book. After the 2000 adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was released to box office success, Universal ordered the script to be rewritten to a more cynical, edgy story in an attempt to connect with older audiences, hiring Alec Berg, David Mandel and Jeff Schaffer to do so whilst chipping away from the source material's family-friendly premise. Additionally, Tim Allen, who was to originally portray the title character, wanted to rewrite the script in order to fit the character into what he described as "the edge that scared me." This caused production to get delayed even further, and Allen was eventually let go and replaced by Mike Myers, who only signed on to fufill legal obligations to Universal. On top of that, just days before filming, several props that were to be used in the movie were stolen from the studio and later found vandalized in a mall parking lot, leading to an undisclosed write-down and increasing the film's already troublesome budget.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Tim Allen was originally selected to play the title role, but scheduling conflicts with The Santa Clause 2 forced him to leave. Myers stepped in to play the role just to fulfill legal obligations. Will Ferrell was considered, but he was busy filming Elf. Billy Bob Thornton was considered, but he was busy with Bad Santa.
    • Marc Shaiman was originally attached to write the score before David Newman was hired.
    • According to director Bo Welch, Dumb Schweitzer (the kid who cracked Cat in the crotch with the giant bat) was meant to have a bigger role in the movie instead of being a one-scene wonder. There's a Deleted Scene in which he's at Joan's party, playing with the flame of a candle and simply remarking in a deadpan voice, "Ow. Hot."
    • Originally, the Things were to distract Joan from reaching the Walden house by creating a flood. The methods of distraction included Thing One either drinking thousands of bottles of water and urinating it all out (the hell?), putting a "flood pill" in a bottle of water and shaking it until opening the cap, or simply blowing up a dam and releasing the water. All these deleted scenes can be found on the DVD release.
    • After the success of The Lorax, Illumination Entertainment announced plans to produce their own Animated Adaptation of The Cat in the Hat, with Universal intent to hold onto the film rights. Those plans were shelved due to the box office successes of the Despicable Me films and The Secret Life of Pets, and eventually Universal gave up on making another Cat in the Hat film entirely. Ironically, during production of Illumination's own adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, it was announced that Warner Bros. had negotiated with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to produce animated film adaptations of Seuss's work, with Cat being the first one.

  • This film won the one-off Golden Raspberry Award of "Worst Excuse For An Actual Movie (All Concept/No Content)".

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     The Video Game  

     The Animation  

  • Acting for Two: The Cat in the Hat and the narrator are both voiced by Allan Sherman.
  • Channel Hop:
    • The cartoon premiered on CBS, but at some point afterwards, the rights to re-air it went to Turner-owned channels, such as TNT, TBS, and Cartoon Network.
    • Like the other DFE Dr. Seuss specials, home video rights have shifted from CBS/Fox Video, to Universal Home Entertainmentnote , to Warner Home Videonote .
  • Self-Adaptation: Dr. Seuss wrote the teleplay from his own book as well as the lyrics.
  • What Could Have Been: The special was originally going to be made by Chuck Jones at his MGM cartoon studio, but after it closed in 1970, the production was finished by DePatie-Freleng.
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