Geisel, Theodor

Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on March 5, 2004

    Artist and author, vastly better known by his pen-name Dr. Seuss. The creator of dozens of memorable characters including the Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, and the Grinch. Geisel also had a career as an editorial cartoonist for the liberal New York daily PM in the 1940s.

    During the second world war, Geisel worked closely with members of the Schlesinger studio, particularly Chuck Jones, on a number of Private Snafu shorts. Geisel was responsible for writing some of the cartoons which had rhyming lyrics. Three cartoons Geisel is known to have collaborated on are Spies (Jones, 1943), Gripes (Freleng, 1943), and It’s Murder She Says (Jones, 1945). The last cartoon was written in conjunction with W. Munro Leaf, the author of the children’s book Ferdinand the Bull. Geisel also worked with P.D. Eastman, later a UPA animator, on the Snafu series.

    Geisel’s book Horton Hatches the Egg was adapted for the screen by Bob Clampett in 1942. The opinion seems fairly generally held that overall, Clampett did a fine job capturing the spirit and humor of the book, while tossing in a few Warner Brothers cartoon elements.

    Geisel also worked with Jones on the beloved adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas in the 1960s, and with the DePatie-Freleng studio on a number of other adaptations from his books.

    The author strongly suspects that Geisel worked in partnership with P.D. Eastman on the opening sequence of Plane Daffy (Tashlin, 1944), which relies on the same type of distinctive meter and clever rhyme for which Geisel was known. The style of the sequence certainly bears a remarkable resemblance to his work in Gripes and Spies.


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