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Horton Hatches the Egg (film) facts for kids

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Horton Hatches the Egg
Blue Ribbon reissue title card
Directed by Bob Clampett
Produced by Leon Schlesinger
Story by Michael Maltese
Rich Hogan (uncredited)
Narrated by Frank Graham (uncredited)
Starring Kent Rogers
Sara Berner
Frank Graham
Mel Blanc
Bob Clampett
(all uncredited)
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Editing by Treg Brown (uncredited)
Studio Leon Schlesinger Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) April 11, 1942 (1942-04-11)
Running time 9:50
Language English

Horton Hatches the Egg is a 1942 ten-minute animated short film based on the 1940 book of the same name by Dr. Seuss (and the first cartoon based on Dr. Seuss' work), by Leon Schlesinger Productions, released as part of Warner Bros.' Merrie Melodies series. The short, like with many cartoons at the time, and in contrast to the original children's book, was more adult-oriented and was directed by Bob Clampett. Kent Rogers voiced Horton as well as the Peter Lorre fish, Sara Berner voiced Mayzie and the elephant bird, Frank Graham narrated, and Mel Blanc performed most of the other voices.


In producing the cartoon, Clampett's unit did not use a storyboard, as was the customary practice; instead, they sketched and wrote additional ideas for the cartoon in Clampett's copy of Seuss' book. Several elements that do not appear in the original book were added to the cartoon, including;

  1. An introductory paragraph, starting with "Now once in a jungle . . ." and ending with " . . . up in her tree."
  2. Several areas of skipped or re-invented dialogue, such as when Mayzie claims to have bags under her eyes, or when Horton speaks, "Plain as day" to the hunters, except that they only have one gun, which is clearly not aimed at his heart.
  3. A fish caricature of Peter Lorre who shoots himself in the head after seeing Horton on the boat (This scene has been edited or removed from most television prints of the cartoon since the 1980s, due to being considered too violent and unsuitable for younger viewers with the exception of the home media releases and The Bob Clampett Show).
  4. A breathy Katharine Hepburn impersonation by Mayzie (featuring her signature lines)
  5. A popular nonsense tune of that era, "The Hut-Sut Song" first recorded by Horace Heidt – Words and music by Leo V. Killion, Ted McMichael and Jack Owens, sung by Horton and his son, with the words "and so on so on so forth" replacing some of the lyrics (Horton claims he can't get the words to that song).
  6. A mouse that was previously seen in "Farm Frolics" another cartoon directed by Clampet and another cartoon made by Warner Bros. Cartoons telling the other animals that Horton is sitting in a tree.


  • Kent Rogers as Horton the Elephant, Peter Lorre Fish, Giraffe
  • Sara Berner as Mayzie Bird, Elephant Bird, Audience Member
  • Frank Graham as Narrator, Hunter, Audience Member
  • Mel Blanc as Horton Sneezing, Small Hunter, Rosebud the Mouse, Audience Member
  • Bob Clampett as Third Hunter
  • The Sportsmen Quartet as Vocalists


  • Animation: Robert McKimson, Virgil Ross (uncredited), Sid Sutherland (uncredited), Rod Scribner (uncredited), Izzy Ellis (uncredited)
  • Effects Animation: A.C. Gamer (uncredited)
  • Layout: Nic Gibson (uncredited)
  • Background: Micheal Sasanoff (uncredited)
  • Film Editor: Treg Brown (uncredited)
  • Sound Editor: Treg Brown (uncredited)
  • Musical Director: Carl W. Stalling
  • Orchestrations: Milt Franklyn (uncredited)
  • Assistant Producer: Henry Binder (uncredited)

Home media

  • (1991) LaserDisc - The Golden Age of Looney Tunes, Vol. 1, Side 4: Bob Clampett
  • (1991) VHS - The Golden Age of Looney Tunes, Vol. 4: Bob Clampett
  • (1999) VHS - Looney Tunes: The Collectors Edition, Vol. 7: Welcome to Wackyland (USA 1995 Turner print)
  • (2000) VHS - The Best of Dr. Seuss (USA 1995 Turner print)
  • (2003) DVD - The Best of Dr. Seuss (USA 1995 Turner print)
  • (2008) DVD - Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 6, Disc 4
  • (2008) DVD - Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who Deluxe Edition
  • This is the only Looney Tunes or Merrie Melodies short based on a Dr. Seuss book.
  • This cartoon is the longest Looney Tunes or Merrie Melodies short ever made in the Golden Age of Animation, clocking in at 9 minutes and 48 seconds (in the Blue Ribbon version), edging out You Ought to Be in Pictures by 3 seconds.
  • The LaserDisc print changes the ending title to that of a 1949 or 1953–54 season ending Color Rings scheme plastered with the 1946–55 Looney Tunes music.
  • The Turner "dubbed version" print retains the 1941–55 MM end music (applies to both the USA and EU prints).
  • In the book from Dr. Seuss Horton's skin is gray, but in this Merrie Melodies short, his skin is pink.
  • The version of this cartoon shown on the TNT special In Search of Dr. Seuss re-edits the entire short, and also removes the opening and ending title cards from the Blue Ribbon reissue. The featured dialogue is dubbed by voice actor Frank Welker.
  • This is the first cartoon that Clampett directed in Tex Avery's unit that Tex Avery did not start.
  • Production on this cartoon began in August of 1941 just a few weeks after Avery's unit was turned to Clampett.
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