SUMMARY: In this rare Dr. Seuss adaptation, Horton the Elephant attempts to hatch an egg while the egg’s mother abandons it in favour of a good time.
WHY IT’S HERE: Every animation fan is well aware of Chuck Jones’s Christmas classic ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’, a seasonal staple based on the classic story by Dr. Seuss. However, fewer people are aware of Bob Clampett’s adaptation of a Seuss story, ‘Horton Hatches the Egg’, which predates Jones’s effort by a couple of decades. Out of all the Warner Bros. directors, Clampett is arguably the most obvious choice as the ideal person to adapt Seuss’s surreal tales and he more than proves himself with ‘Horton Hatches the Egg’. Both the genius of Clampett and of Seuss shine through as Clampett deftly weaves his own edgy, grotesque humour into Seuss’s friendlier tomfoolery. Exceptional wordplay (rhyming “it doesn’t make sense” with “I’m so immense” is merely the tip of the iceberg) and brightly coloured characters and settings collide with Hollywood caricatures, indelible images and off-colour jokes about backsides, sea-sickness and characters shooting themselves in the head! Clocking in at just under ten minutes, ‘Horton Hatches the Egg’ is longer than the average Merrie Melodie but if anything it leaves the viewer begging for even more. It’s truly a shame that there were no further Clampett/Seuss collaborations as it is clearly a match made in heaven. ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ may be the recognised classic but ‘Horton Hatches the Egg’ deserves to be as widely celebrated and its egg-based narrative makes it ideal for the Easter schedules. If only these gorgeous cartoons weren’t so rapidly disappearing from our screens, perhaps ‘Horton Hatches the Egg’ (along with hundreds of other classics) might be rediscovered by a whole new generation.