Theremin played by
Bart's mother is going to marry his piano
teacher, Dr. Terwilliker (Dr. T). Bart hates practicing the piano, and just wants to go out and play baseball. Dr. T has a
mad plan to force 500 young boys to practice at his magnificent (and extremely large..!) piano 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Bart is the only hope to save these boys from enslavery. The surreal sets, screen - play, and even song lyrics were provided
by Dr. Suess. Includes the only piano academy known to ever be equipped with cells and surrounded by an electric fence.
The theremin is used to portray the evil Dr. T. and his magic, especially when he hypnotises the adults (Bart's
mother - Mrs. Collins, and August Zabladowski , the friendly plumber) into believing that his plans are for the general good.
However, his powers are useless upon Bart, who is the only one who understands what Dr. T. is trying to do.
Eventually the tyrannical Dr. T. is thwarted when Bart and Zabladowski manage to modify a bottle
of 'Air Fix' room deodoriser into 'Music Fix' - a room demusiciser (!). However, it works upon untested scientific
principles, and may even be atomic! At the concert of five thousand fingers, Bart unscrews the lid of the bottle, and
immediately, the music is absorbed, making a fool out of Dr. T. Eventually, the mixture becomes highly volatile, and the
bottle and academy explodes.
Bart awakes at his
piano, to find it was all a dream. But was it? Dr. T. is nowhere to be seen, and Bart's finger is cut.. didn't he do that
in the academy? Needless to say, they all live happily ever after...
Alternating between surrealism and utter farce,
this is the only original non-animated film from the fertile mind of Dr. Seuss. Despite the studio clamping down on the
budget (causing Seuss to walk out on the project for a time), it does a remarkable job of creating a live-action equivalent
of the worlds created on the pages of Seuss' books. Hans Conried (whose voice would crop up in several Seuss cartoons later)
has the best role of his career as the maniacal Dr. Terwilliker, and Tommy Rettig (from the "Lassie" TV series) gives a
sympathetic portrayal as put-upon young Bart. But the real stars of the film are the production designers and choreographer
Eugene Loring. The latter's contributions are especially impressive in the opening chase sequence and in the dungeon