Horton Hatches the Egg (1942)

Article 4703 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 12-8-2014
Directed by Robert Clampett
Featuring the voices of Sara Berner, Mel Blanc, Robert Clampett
Country: USA
What it is: Animated Seuss adaptation

A lazy bird asks an elephant to sit on her egg while she goes on a short vacation, and the elephant agrees. She stays away for a year while the elephant remains faithful to his task.

This is a bit of a rarity for the Warner Brothers cartoon department; they rarely did (straight) adaptations of books, and this version of the Dr. Seuss classic is fairly faithful to the source. It’s also fairly long for one of their cartoons, running just short of ten minutes. It does have several Warneresque touches, such as the fact that the lazy bird imitates Katherine Hepburn and a fish resembling Peter Lorre shows up at one point. It’s very well done, and if you’ve seen it as a kid, you will no doubt remember Horton’s rendition of “The Hut-Sut Song”. Dr. Seuss would go on and work with Warner’s animation department more extensively with the “Sgt. Snafu” cartoons for the military.

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