The Cat in the Hat is an animated TV special based on the book of the same name.
When the story opens, it is too rainy and cold to play outside, so Conrad and his sister Sally sit bored and look out the window. Their mother announces her departure, tells them to have fun, and says she'll return at 3:30 sharp. While their mother is out at a job interview, they have no other choice but to wish they had something to do.
The mysterious, Cat in the Hat suddenly enters with a bump and fools around a bit. The family goldfish named "Carlos K. Krinklebine", demands that he must leave, but instead the Cat plays a game which he calls "Up, Up, Up, With a Fish", placing the fishbowl on top of a stack of bubbles. The girl notices that the Cat is making the house a little dirty, and the boy recalls their mother's return at 3:30. Noting their objections, the Cat bows to the voice of the majority and dejectedly states he's going to Siberia. Immediately after leaving, however, the Cat bursts back in claiming that his "moss-covered three-handled family gredunza" has been stolen. The Cat accuses Carlos of being the thief, and sings a ballad about the loss of his treasured keepsake.
The Cat then leads the kids on a search for the missing gredunza using his method of "Calculatus Eliminatus ", in which random numbers and letters are drawn anywhere the gredunza should be to mark that they have already checked there. This makes a mess of everything and Carlos once again demands that the Cat leave. Ostensibly to gain sympathy, the Cat sings a pessimistic song to convey his low self-esteem, then puts Carlos to sleep by singing a lullaby. Having made a miraculous recovery from his bout of depression, the Cat brings out Thing One and Thing Two to aid in the search for the gredunza, singing to the kids that they can find "anything under the sun". Instead of being productive, however, the things play a variety of sports using Mr. Krinkelbein's fishbowl, noting that every house they visit has a pessimistic fish. Carlos becomes angry and accuses the Cat of not being a real cat ("Whoever heard of a six foot cat?"), and his hat of not being a real hat. But the Cat indignantly asserts his legitimacy by singing his name in several languages, all of which are real and fictional. The song becomes so catchy that everyone, even Carlos, joins in and contributes, telling the Cat that in Russian he is a "chapka in a shlyapa" (An interesting point to note is that in the Russian portion of the song, the Cat describes himself as a "chapka in a shlyapa", which translates to "hat in a hat", in russian, the most common word for "cat" is "koschka").
As the song ends, Carlos spots the mother coming home. The Cat exits, leaving behind an extremely messy house. He quickly returns, however, using a motorized vehicle to tidy things up. He then departs for good, hinting that he may return someday. Just as he departs through the back door, the mother walks in through the front door; she asks the kids how their day was, and then tells them that she just saw a cat in a hat "going down the street with a moss-covered three-handled family gredunza". The exact identity of the object has never been revealed, but this indicates that the gredunza was never really lost, and the Cat simply wanted an excuse to have more fun. The kids look out the window much as they did at the beginning of the special, and watch as the Cat walks off to his next adventure.
- Allan Sherman - The Cat in the Hat/Narrator
- Tony Frazier - Conrad
- Pamelyn Ferdin - Sally
- Daws Butler - Karlos K. Krinklebine
- Thurl Ravenscroft and Lewis Morford - Thing One and Thing Two
- Gloria Camacho - Mother (voice only)
- Nothing to be Done
- Moss-Covered Three-Handled Family Gradunza
- Calculatus Eliminatus
- I'm a Punk
- Beautiful Kittenfish
- Anything Under the Sun
- Cat, Hat
- He's a Cat
- Sweep Up the Memories
Home video releases
The special was originally released as a VHS videocassette on the CBS/Fox Video label's Playhouse Video imprint in 1985, in a double feature along with Dr. Seuss on the Loose. Playhouse Video also reprinted the special individually on VHS in 1989. It was later released as part of the Dr. Seuss Sing-Along Classics release from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment with CBS Video and Fox Kids Video in the mid 90's. It was later released on DVD by Universal Studios Home Entertainment on October 7, 2003. Warner Home Video released the special on Blu-ray and DVD on August 7, 2012. Bonus specials include Daisy-Head Mayzie and The Hoober-Bloob Highway.
The Cat in other TV specials
Although the original book's sequel did not receive an animated adaptation, the character went on to appear in several more Dr. Seuss specials. In 1973, there came Dr. Seuss on the Loose, where Allan Sherman reprised his role as The Cat in the Hat. Here, The Cat in the Hat appeared in bridging sequences where he introduced animated adaptations of three other Dr. Seuss stories: The Sneetches, The Zax and Green Eggs and Ham. In 1982's The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat, the Cat in the Hat, now voiced by Mason Adams (Sherman had died shortly after Dr. Seuss on the Loose finished production), meets the title character of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and sets out to reform his new green adversary. In 1995, the Cat appeared again, this time with the voice of Henry Gibson, to narrate Daisy-Head Mayzie, a special based on a posthumously published Dr. Seuss book. The Cat in the Hat appears as a guest in a 1996 video called Kids for Character. The following year, a puppet version of the Cat starred in The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, where he was voiced by Bruce Lanoil and Steve Whitmire. The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, an educational cartoon series based on the Random House Library series, premiered in September 2010. The Cat is voiced by Martin Short.
- This is the first Dr. Seuss special to use a style that is much more accurate to the style from the books. Originally, any Dr. Seuss book adaption from 1942-1970, especially How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, were not accurate to the traditional style of Dr. Seuss's books.
- The book was short and did not have enough plot to fill out a 24-minute cartoon special, so the subplot about the lost Moss-Covered Three-Handled Family Gradunza and the musical number about The Cat's multiple nationalities were added in to fill out the run time, making the plot of the special differ significantly from the original book.
- The unnamed Fish from the book is given the name Carlos K. Krinklebine in this cartoon.
- Allan Sherman reprised the role of The Cat in "Dr. Seuss on the Loose" shortly before his death.
- When the original mastertape of the special deteriorated over the years, the opening credits' dark blue background became brown, and the "Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat" title card's dark blue background is barely able to be seen. The 2012 remaster restored the blue backgrounds on the opening credits.
- When the special was remastered in high definition for its 2012 deluxe edition re-release, a still of the A Cat in the Hat Presentation title card appears just before the closing credits roll starts at the end of the special. This was not meant to be in the final ready-for-broadcast edit of the special, seeming that this special was remastered from its raw mastertape in this case.
- The high definition remaster of the special oddly has a split-second jumpy framerate glitch when the two Things do a somersault just before the Fish attempts to dial the FBI. This may be due to a minor glitch with the digitizing machine Warner Bros. used.
Differences from the Book
- The vocabulary used in the special is also of a much higher level than the book, though still in Seuss's trademark rhyme.
- In the cartoon, the floor is covered with toys, but in the book there were only balls and bicycles.
- In the book, an action word "BUMP!" appears when the Cat runs into the front door. In the cartoon, it doesn't appear and instead the fish is seen resting for a bit until the table his bowl is on wobbles around from the door bumping.
- The Cat in the Hat skates and puts the mat on the fish in the cartoon. He doesn't do this in the book.
- The sequence in the book where The Cat balances all sorts of objects on a ball, then crashes, is left out and replaced with having him place the fish on a stack of bubbles he puts together one by one directly from the bubbles the fish blows.
- The Cat in the Hat did go away for a moment, but in the book, he didn't not go anywhere.
- In the cartoon, the box was pink, but in the book the box was red.
- In the book, Thing One and Thing Two were simply things the cat brought along to demonstrate fun, but in the cartoon, they are commissioned to help find the cat's "moss-covered three-handled family gradunza", despite still intentionally making a mess in the house and tormenting the fish.
- Thing One and Thing Two lift the fish with a stick. This does not happen in the book.
- The Fish tried to call the FBI, which he didn't do in the book.
- The Mother did not see the Cat in the Hat in the book, but in the cartoon she mentioned that she saw him leaving the place in his Gradunza.
- The Fish wasn't in the pot in the cartoon.
- This was the first Dr. Seuss television special produced by DePatie-Freleng Productions, due to MGM shutting down its animation studio in 1970.
- Chuck Jones and his staff were included in the production of this cartoon. After The Cat in the Hat, Chuck Jones did not work on any other Dr. Seuss projects. Other staff members that have worked with Jones such as Dean Elliott and Maurice Noble eventually stopped working on Dr. Seuss cartoons also.
- David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng were credited together as executive producers. For the next three Dr. Seuss cartoons, Friz Freleng and Theodore Geisel were credited as producers, although separately. Chuck Jones did not return for the production of other Dr. Seuss cartoons.
- This is the first Dr. Seuss television special to use the 1971–1975 Cat in the Hat Productions logo and it's extended with two parts in this special. This version of the logo was animated by DePatie-Freleng, although the previous two specials however used a different kind of Cat in the Hat logo animated by MGM that says "A Cat in the Hat Presentation", only having the Cat in the Hat squinting his eyes twice.
- The pace and rhyming sequences of several of the songs (particularly "Calculatus Eliminatus") led many to believe that they were composed by Allan Sherman, since they closely resemble his earlier song parodies, however only Dr. Seuss is credited.