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Happy 105th birthday, Dr. Seuss

Given that our friends at Google have made the great rhymer’s characters their logo for today, we felt we would be remiss if we did not comment on Theodore Seuss Geisel’s birthday. Therefore, consider it commented upon (what do you say that’s new and original to somebody after a hundred birthdays, anyway? “Happy birthday, Professor McOldyPants“?). And the BioRC lowdown on the good doctor:

  • 8 full-length, narrative biographies
  • 2 brief biographies
  • 1 Marquis Who’s Who biography
  • 7 variant names to look him up as: Dr. Seuss, Theodore LeSieg, Ted Geisel, Theodore Geisel, Theo. LeSieg, Doctor Seuss, Theo Le Sieg
  • 1 lovely picture of Dr. Seuss, which we are happy to report shows absolutely zero resemblance to the Lorax

And a nice peek into how those animated cartoons came to be:

After Mulberry Street and The 500 Hats the new firm of Random House published all of Dr. Seuss’s works, and its founder, Bennett Cerf, became a lifelong friend. Cerf, who called Geisel the only true genius among his authors, even went along with his dogged attempt at an adult cartoon book, The Seven Lady Godivas, which failed both in 1939 and when it was reissued fifty years later. (“When I tried to draw naked ladies they ended up looking ridiculous,” Geisel said.) He returned to children’s books until 1940, when war headlines from Europe provoked him into drawing savage political cartoons for the liberal New York tabloid PM. A lifelong Democrat, he skewered Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito as well as American isolationists, such as Charles Lindbergh. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Geisel, then forty years old, signed on as a U.S. Army captain and was assigned to director Frank Capra’s Signal Corps film unit in Hollywood. Throughout World War II he made propaganda documentaries and recruitment cartoons with a team that included composer Meredith Willson (“The Music Man”), historian Paul Horgan, and the pioneering animator Chuck Jones, with whom he later collaborated to bring How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and Horton Hears a Who! to television.

Happy birthday, Professor McOldyPants.

Source: “Dr. Seuss.” The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Volume 3: 1991-1993. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2001.

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Posted on: March 2, 2009, 6:54 pm Category: Factoids Tagged with: , , ,

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