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Western Animation / The Cat in the Hat

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"Whoever heard of a six-foot cat!?"
Mr. Krinklebine

The Cat in the Hat is a DePatie-Freleng 1971 animated adaptation of the famed Dr. Seuss book of the same name. It was the first Dr. Seuss special not to be directed by Chuck Jones, whose studio shut down during its production (Jones is still credited for storyboarding). It stars Allan Sherman as the titular Cat.

The special, written by Seuss himself, expands upon and drastically changes the storyline from a Random Events Plot to the Cat enlisting the help of two children to help him find his missing "Moss-Covered Three-Handled Family Gradunza." As with the book, the children join in the cat's chaos at the behest of their finicky fish here named Carlos K. Krinklebine (voiced by Daws Butler), and the cat cleans up on his way out before their mother comes home to find them out.

This version of the Cat appeared in two other Seuss specials, Dr Seuss On the Loose (where he introduced adaptations of The Sneetches, The Zax, and Green Eggs and Ham) and The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat (in which the Cat matches wits with Seuss's second most popular character).

The animation provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Consent: Non-sexual example. In the original, the Things had to be netted in order to return to the box. Here, they do so of their own volition as soon as they hear the kids' mother returning home.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The only parts of the original book present in the special are the Cat playing "Up Up Up With A Fish," the characters of Thing 1 and Thing 2 and the Cat cleaning up after himself. The rest is a completely new story about the cat looking for his MacGuffin. Justified, in that the original book didn't really have a plot to begin with.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: In "Cat, Hat", the Cat gives accurate translations of his name in French, Spanish, German and Russian. But in the same breath he says that he's "a gwunka in a bunka-kwunk in Eskimo". No Inuit language has words remotely like this; this being 40 years before Google Translate, it seems Dr. Seuss just made up some gibberish to complete the rhyme scheme. Interestingly, you could still make a rhyme out of an accurate translation - in the Yup'ik dialect, for example, you could call him a kuuskaq in a nacarpiaq.
  • Big Little Sister: Sally appears to be at least as tall as her brother, although she is supposed to be younger than him.
  • Canis Latinicus: "Calculatus Eliminatus."
  • Disney Acid Sequence: "I'm a Punk" and "Cat, Hat" both devolve into this.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: After the mom notices how a cat passed by with a "moss-covered, three-handled family gradunza", you realize that The Cat made the entire ploy off the top of his head to give the kids some fun.
  • Follow the Bouncing Ball: Interestingly, The Cat in the Hat seems to have received the sing-along treatment more times than Dr. Seuss' other cartoons have; in addition to the Dr. Seuss' Sing-Along Classics VHS released in the '90s, the 2012 Deluxe Edition DVD and Blu-raynote  include an upgraded sing-along option.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: A lyric in "Calculus Eliminatus" is "don't go to pot," which at the time was simply meant to mean "don't get worked up." The lyric in and of itself sounds a bit funny today, but as it happens a few seconds later one of the kids writes down "42-0" on the fishbowl!
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: "Cat, Hat" goes through several of them in rapid succession with his "I Am" Song. The chorus alone goes through Spanish, French, German and Eskimo.
  • "I Am" Song: In which the Cat lists the many ways to say his name in other languages, including with a Schnitzelbank-style ditty for German.
  • Informed Ability: According to the Cat, Thing 2 and Thing 1 can "find anything, anything under the sun." They spend most of their number playing with the fishbowl, and most of the next number acting as backup dancers.
  • Irony: The kids are bored, but the first song that's played highlights all of the toys that are littered in the house that they aren't playing with!
  • It Was with You All Along: Invoked. The special item the Cat wanted was his umbrella, thus with him always. But the kids didn't know that till the mom told them so.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Near the end of "Cat, Hat", the fish finally "gets it", then chips in with his own contribution by saying what the Cat would be called in Russian. The Cat is impressed on both counts.
  • MacGuffin: The one he is searching for is his "moss-covered, three-handled family gradunza"... whatever that means.
    Fish: Just what is a family gradunza?
    Cat: Oh, they come in all sizes, from tripe-G to minus-aught.
    Dick: Is it bigger than a—
    Cat: Occasionally, but on most occasions, not.
    Sally: Is it smaller than a—
    Cat: They no longer make that kind, but one family gradunza is always smaller than another.
    • When the mother returns, she notes that the Cat in the Hat had said MacGuffin in his hands. It's assumed that the item was actually his moss-green colored umbrella. Which would explain the expression of the kids when they hear it.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The Fish, unnamed in the book, is named Carlos K. Krinklebein here.
  • Not So Above It All: The Fish spends most of the special angrily demanding that the Cat leave, only to happily join in midway through the "Cat, Hat" number.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: The lyrics were written by Dr. Seuss, so of course. In a moment of dejection, the Cat sings that he is "a cretunkulous shnunk," and continues:
    I agree, I'm a grifulous grofulous grue.
    I'm a shmoozler! A smankler!
    And a poopoobler too!
  • Shout-Out: The "Cat, Hat" number features quotations of The Cancan Song, Schnitzelbank, and Ach du Lieber Augustine.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: The mother knows what a moss-covered, three-handled family gradunza is.
  • Those Two Guys: The kids are only given 1 scene apart from each other, and their personalities are essentially interchangeable.