Saturday, February 18, 2012

Seussology: The Lorax (1972)

With a feature film adaptation of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax hitting theatres in about 2 weeks, I thought it might be a good idea to remind one and all that this will not be the first adaptation of the tale.

DePatie-Freleng, in conjunction with Dr. Seuss' own Cat In The Hat Productions, produced a half-hour musical adaptation for CBS in 1972, which has not seen the light of day much since its initial broadcast. Actor Eddie Albert (ex-Green Acres) narrates, while the rest of the voices are performed by Bob Holt, who spent the bulk of his career working for DFE during the 70's. I remember seeing this when it first aired nearly 40 years ago, fascinated by the plot, but too young to understand its message.

The 2012 version features the voices of Zak Efron ("High School Musical"), Betty White (Hot In Cleveland), Danny DeVito (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and country singer Taylor Swift. DeVito voices the Lorax, and the feature length format pads the story even further than DFE did in 1972.

Here, then, is the original cartoon version.

I think this is where we got the phrase, "tree-hugger" from, don't you?

Rating: A.


magicdog said...

It's been a lifetime since I've seen this! I know the basic story is supposed to be about pollution prevention, and appreciation of the environment, but seeing it again as an adult makes me think it's a bit anti-capitalist as well. After all, the neighborhoods we live in and the stores we shop in exist because some trees had to be cut down.

I remember a controversy a few years back when a schoolteacher who worked in a lumber community in the Pacific Northwest passed out the Lorax book (she may have shown the cartoon too, I'm not sure) and a bunch of lumberjacks' children went home telling their parents how bad they were to cut trees and risk driving the Lorax away! I don't think she's teaching there anymore.

hobbyfan said...

That particular teacher might've retired by now. The children might not have completely understood the context of the message in the story, and overreacted, as kids are prone to do, especially in a lumber-producing area.

As I've said, the movie pads out the story to put equal emphasis on the human characters voiced by Zak Efron & Taylor Swift, but no mention of the Onceler. Hmmmmm. I will check this out myself, and a review will be up when it happens.