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Horton Hears a Who! (TV special) facts for kids

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Horton Hears a Who!
Genre Animation
Created by Dr. Seuss
Based on Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss
Directed by Chuck Jones
Ben Washam
Voices of
Narrated by Hans Conried
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Chuck Jones
Ted Geisel
Running time 26 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor MGM Television
Original network CBS
Original release March 19, 1970 (1970-03-19)

Horton Hears a Who! is a 1970 animated television special based on the 1954 Dr. Seuss book of the same name, Horton Hears a Who! It was produced and directed by Chuck Jones who previously produced the Seuss special How the Grinch Stole Christmas! for MGM Television and first broadcast March 19, 1970 on CBS. The special contains songs with lyrics by Seuss and music by Eugene Poddany, who previously wrote songs for Seuss' book, The Cat in the Hat Song Book.


In the Jungle of Nool, Horton the Elephant bathes in the watering hole, when he sees a small dust speck floating by. He hears a call for help coming from the dust speck and, thinking someone is living on it, saves it from going over a waterfall. Setting it on top of a clover, he discovers it is home to a tiny town called Whoville, home to the microscopic Whos. One of the Whos, scientist Dr. H. Hoovey (replacing the Mayor), communicates with Horton through a device he built to see other worlds outside of the speck. The other Whos, however, only laugh at him, thinking nothing exists beyond their world. Horton promises to protect Whoville from harm, feeling that "a person's a person, no matter how small." The other animals in the jungle — particularly the cynical Jane Kangaroo — think he is crazy, and do not believe in the existence of the Whos.

Thinking Horton's behavior is a problem, Jane sends the Wickersham Brothers to take the clover with the speck from him. They give the clover to the black-bottomed eagle Whizzer McWoff, who flies away with it. Horton pursues McWoff across the mountains below, but the eagle drops the clover into a large field of clovers and leaves Horton to find it. Horton searches frantically through the field, eventually finding his clover, and learns from Dr. Hoovey that Whoville was badly damaged when the clover was dropped. The other Whos, seeing the destruction as proof that Dr. Hoovey was right, rally behind him.

Jane finds Horton with the clover and, with help from the Wickersham Brothers (and their relatives), plans to end Horton's "problem" once and for all and they tie Horton up and pulls him into a cage, intending to boil the dust speck in beezle-nut oil. Horton urges the Whos to make noise to prove their existence, but even with the Whos' shouting and loud instruments, the other animals still hear nothing. Dr. Hoovey searches through town and finds a small Who named JoJo, who is bouncing a yo-yo instead of making noise. He takes JoJo to the top of his tower, where JoJo utters a "Yopp", which breaks through the dust speck and allows the animals to finally hear the Whos and they release Horton and allow him to keep it. The special ends with Dr. Hoovey relaxing in his chair when he sees a small dust speck and hears a call for help coming from it, much to his dismay.

Home media

The special was frequently included on VHS, CED, LaserDisc and DVD releases of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, and was released on its own DVD on March 4, 2008. Bonus features include a songs-only version, the cartoons Horton Hatches the Egg, The Butter Battle Book, and Daisy-Head Mayzie, and the 1994 documentary In Search of Dr. Seuss. It was also made available in high definition Blu-ray Disc on October 6, 2009 with all the bonus features except Horton Hatches the Egg, a DVD of the special, and a Digital Copy.


  • Hans Conried as Horton / Dr. H. Hoovey / Narrator
  • Chuck Jones as Junior Kangaroo / Vlad Vladikoff (renamed "Whizzer McKwoff")/ JoJo / a few male Whos
  • June Foray as Jane Kangaroo / the Birds / a few female Whos
  • The Mellomen as the Wickersham Brothers
  • The MGM Chorus as the Citizens of Whoville
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