Born 107 years ago today in Springfield Mass., Theodor Seuss Geisel had an extraordinarily prolific career. Â Most people know him for the 44 books he wrote and illustrated under the name “Dr. Seuss.” Â But that’s only part of his career. Â He wrote another 13 books under the name “Theo. LeSieg,” one book as “Rosetta Stone,” and then there are books co-authored, books published posthumously, and books illustrated by others. Â And those are only the books. Â He did so much more!
So, in honor of his birthday, here are three other “thinks” that Seuss thought.
1. Gerald McBoing-Boing. Â Featuring Dr. Seuss’s verse and the animation skills of Bill MelendÃ©z (who would later work on the animated Peanuts specials), United Productions of America released Gerald McBoing-Boing in 1950. Â The film would win an Academy Award for Best Animated Short. Â The studio would go on to produce a few McBoing-Boing sequels and the Mr. Magoo cartoons.
2.Â The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. Seuss’s live-action musical, released in 1953, features notable performances by Tommy Rettig (later Jeff on TV’s Lassie) and Hans Conried. Â For more info., you might take a look at this earlier blog post. Â Below, a happily campy musical number featuring Mr. Conried as Dr. T.
3. Advertising, and lots of it. Before he was a children’s writer, Seuss was an ad-man. Â Even after he started writing for children (his first children’s book was published in 1937), he still made his living in advertising. Â The success of his 13th children’s book, The Cat in the Hat (1957), would change all that. Â After the publication of The Cat, he was able to devote himself to writing for children full-time. Â For more on Seuss’s ads, you might take a look at this earlier blog post.
And there are so many other areas we could explore – political cartoons, to name one example. Â His paintings and other illustration work, to name two more. Â But I’ll wrap things up in the next few sentences, and offer some suggestions where – in addition to the links throughout this post – you might go to learn more. Â Depending on your threshold for flashy web design, you could check out Random House’sÂ Seussville website: it features my biography of Seuss, along with abundant animation and sound effects (I suggest you mute your computer’s volume before clicking on either of the links in this sentence). Â For a more complete biography, though, do turn to the primary source for what I wrote for Random House: Judith and Neil Morgan’s Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel (1995). Indeed, if you read only one secondary source on Dr. Seuss, that’s the book to read.
Oh, and happy Read Across America Day!