Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / The Lorax (1972)

Go To

The Lorax is a 1972 Animated Adaptation of the 1971 Dr. Seuss book under the same name. De Patie Freleng Enterprises made the special, which originally aired on CBS, and it featured Bob Holt as the voices of the two main characters of the story.

The plot remains mostly identical to the book, with a young kid meeting a mysterious creature, known as the Once-ler, who tells about how his corruption lead to the destruction of a paradise. The Lorax, who speaks for the trees, tries to end the Once-ler's ways, but the Once-ler does not realize his error until it is too late.

While the special is mostly a copy of the book, there are some additional scenes and songs that do flesh out the narrative slightly. To avoid redundancy, all the tropes listed below are ones that are not found in the original book.

Not to be confused with the 2012 animated film The Lorax, which is a more drastic re-imagining of the original book.

Tropes specific to The Lorax (1972) include:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The TV special expands upon the story by showing how Once-ler's Thneed business not only resulted in a big factory, but also a thriving town named in the Once-ler's honor and various new ax-cutting machines. The special also has the Once-ler argue the benefits of his business to the economy as a result of including these details, making the story more grey than in the original book.
  • Adaptational Heroism: An added nuance is the Once-ler pointing out why he can't just shut down his factories in spite of being aware of the damage; doing so would put countless workers out of a job, atop of doing immense damage to the economy. The Lorax fully admits he is genuinely right, and that there is no easy answer on that front. In the original book, the Once-ler never once uses this argument, opting to flat out ignore the Lorax and talk about how he's biggering his business for his selfish needs.
  • All for Nothing: The Once-ler's justifications for refusing to close his factory are that he'd have to lay off all his workers and destroy the local economy. But once the last of the Truffula trees has been cut down, things collapse anyway: the factory shuts down and the area becomes a ghost town.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Unique to this version, the Once-ler justifies his actions twice: the first time he notes that somebody else would have done it, and the second time he notes that if he closed the factory, then many people would be out of jobs.
    Lorax: "I see your point, but I wouldn't know the answer."
  • Canon Foreigner: There are thousands of workers in the Once-ler's factory, while in the book (and later the movie), it was just him and his family.
  • Cigar Chomper: The Once-ler after becoming super rich.
  • Dark Reprise: A whole bunch of these for the songs appear as everyone leaves the land.
  • Determinator: The Lorax gives a speech that illustrates this well:
    I speak for the trees! Let 'em grow, let 'em grow!
    But nobody listens too much, don't you know?
    I speak for the trees, and I'll yell and I'll shout
    For the fine things on Earth that are on their way out!
    They say I'm old-fashioned, and live in the past,
    But sometimes I think progress is progressing too fast!
    They say I'm a fool to oppose things like these,
    But I'm going to continue to speak for the trees!
  • Egopolis: A town springs up around the Thneed factory, with everything named after the Once-ler ("Onceler Hills", "Onceler Burgers", etc.) There's an Our Founder statue labeled "To Our Beloved Once-ler", but it only consists of a giant hand holding a sign reading "Thneeds".
  • The Faceless: All of the Once-ler's workers are this in addition to him and his family.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Nearly happens following the Once-ler's second Ignored Epiphany. But then, it's averted, when the Once-ler's secretary informs him that the price of his company's stock had gone up more than $27. At that point, he goes into his tirade just before the final Truffla Tree gets cut down.
  • Ignored Epiphany: The Once-ler does this twice. Once when the Bar-ba-Loots are sent away, and again when the Swomee Swans and Humming Fish leave. The latter instance segues into his rant from the climax of the book. In the 1st case, he reasons that someone else would do what he's doing so it wouldn't matter either way. In the 2nd, it looks like he's finally gotten the message and is about to turn around. But his secretary had the bad timing of informing about his rise in stock, triggering his greed.
  • Informed Ability: The song "You Do Need a Thneed" lists a number of uses for the Thneeds, including a hammock, a toothbrush holder, a nest, an addition to soup, a grooming item, a dust cloth, a rust remover, a windshield wiper, a viper trap, a tobacco substitute, and a baby's diaper. We never see them used in any of these ways.
  • The Musical: The TV adaptation includes songs which were all not present in the original book.
  • Necessarily Evil: How the Once-ler justifies continuing his business despite knowing what he's doing is terrible for the environment and all its wildlife inhabitants. He claims that if he doesn't cut down the trees, someone else will and nothing would change anyways. And later, after his business becomes firmly entrenched in the town's economy, the Once-ler tells the Lorax he can't shut down his business without putting countless workers out of work and depriving of their livelihood.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Once-ler makes seemingly legitimate reasons as to why he can't simply stop his Thneed business, namely that people working in the factories would be out of the job and the town's economy would cater as a result. However, earlier in the story, the Once-ler first called upon his close relatives to work in his factory in order for his whole family to get super rich. The town and the additional workers were merely by-products of the Once-ler's bottomless greed and the growing long line of consumers clogging up the road.
  • "Pan Up to the Sky" Ending: During the end, as the little boy heads home with the last Truffula Seed, the camera pans up to the sky, where we see that the smog-covered sky has cleared slightly.
  • Villain Has a Point: The Once-ler does make a valid point when he says that closing his factory will mean laying off 100,000 workers and be detrimental to the economy. Even the Lorax concedes that this would be an extreme solution.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: While the Lorax remains pure and good as in the original book, the TV adaptation makes the Once-ler a more complex and humane individual, moved by the Lorax's words but unwilling to change in fear of destroying the economy his Thneed business created and someone else taking his place as the Truffla tree cutter. This creates a more grey scenario with no easy answers, a fact the Lorax acknowledges.


Video Example(s):



After capping off his story about the Lorax, the Once-ler gives the boy who listened to his tale the last of the Truffula seeds, telling him to grow a new forest, which will hopefully lead to the Lorax and his friends returning one day.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / RayOfHopeEnding

Media sources: