In celebration of Dr. Seuss Day, on the day of Theodor Seuss Geisel’s birth, (March 2nd, 1904, to be exact), here are 15 facts about him you might not have known, via thefw.com
1. He Was As Much a Doctor as Dr. Dre
History.comThis is one bit of trivia you may already know, but Seuss was not a doctor of anything and in fact did not have a doctorate until an honorary one was granted to him by his alma mater, Dartmouth, in 1956. He added the “Dr.” to his penname because his father had always wanted him to practice medicine.
2. He Was Not Always “Seuss”
United States Postal ServiceWhile the name Seuss (which is also his mother’s maiden name) was always his, between his first and last names, he didn’t use it until he was in college. He began using it as a penname when he was caught with gin in his dorm room and was asked to step down as editor of Dartmouth’s humor magazine. To continue working on the magazine, he used Seuss instead. The correct pronunciation of the name rhymed with “voice” rather than “goose,” but Seuss eventually gave in to the popular pronunciation.
3. He Was Not a Fan of Kids
Vince Bucci, Getty ImagesEven though kids are fans of his work, the king of children’s books didn’t think much of rugrats. He is reported to have once said, “You have ‘em, I’ll amuse ‘em.” His widow Audrey even went so far as to say Seuss was afraid of children. She said he was always thinking, “What might they do next? What might they ask next?” She added, “He couldn’t just sit down on the floor and play with them.”
4. His Books Were Not Initially a Success
Random House, Inc.Seuss’ first book ‘And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street,’ which was inspired by the rhythm of the ship’s engines on a return trip from Europe, was rejected by 27 publishers. He almost burned it, but finally found a publisher for it in 1937. The title comes from the name of the street on which his grandmother lived.
5. He Drew Advertising CartoonsTo support himself and his wife during the Great Depression, Seuss made money drawing cartoons for advertisements. He became a household name for his cartoons for an insecticide called Flit by coining the catchphrase “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” During his advertising career, Seuss drew cartoons for General Electric, NBC, Standard Oil, Narragansett Brewing Company and more. He also drew a short-lived Sunday comic strip called ‘Hejji.’
6. He Coined the Word “Nerd”
Random HouseDr. Seuss has an even bigger impact on pop culture than you might think. The first recorded instance of the word “nerd” is in Seuss’ ‘If I Ran the Zoo’ published in 1950.
7. He’s an Academy Award Winning FilmmakerNot only was Seuss a Pulitzer-prize winning author, he won two Academy Awards. He won his first Oscar for writing an animated short called ‘Gerald McBoing-Boing’ in 1951. He also won an Academy Award for a documentary called ‘Design for Death’ about Japanese culture.
8. He Created Propaganda Cartoons for the ArmyDuring WWII, Theodor Seuss Geisel joined the army. While serving during the war, he was commander of the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces. His job was to create war propaganda cartoons, as well as write promotional films for the troops and American citizens at home. He also created a series of training films for soldiers called ‘Private Snafu.’ Animated at Warner Bros. Studios, these films about a bumbling soldier used the voice talent of Mel Blanc and the musical talent of Carl Stalling. Seem familiar? They were some of the geniuses behind ‘Looney Tunes.’ Speaking of…
9. He Teamed Up With an Animation Legend for ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’Under the name Ted Geisel, Seuss teamed up with pal and ‘Looney Tunes’ legend Chuck Jones in 1966 for an animated adaptation of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas.’ A holiday classic now, the special wasn’t particularly well-received at the time of its debut. (Variety dubbed it a costly flop.) But annual TV showings have made it one of the most popular Christmas specials of all time. 10. ‘Horton Hears a Who’ Is About Japan During WWII, Theodor Seuss Geisel joined the army. While serving during the war, he was commander of the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces. His job was to create war propaganda cartoons, as well as write promotional films for the troops and American citizens at home. He also created a series of training films for soldiers called ‘Private Snafu.’ Animated at Warner Bros. Studios, these films about a bumbling soldier used the voice talent of Mel Blanc and the musical talent of Carl Stalling. Seem familiar? They were some of the geniuses behind ‘Looney Tunes.’ Speaking of… 11. He Wrote ‘Yertle the Turtle’ About Hitler
Random House, Inc.After some speculation, Seuss admitted that he did base the story of ‘Yertle the Turtle’ on Hitler. (The power-hungry turtle was a direct representation of the dictator. )But that wasn’t the big controversy of the book. What ended up being controversial was the burp a turtle lets out at the end. That had never happened in a children’s book before and the publisher argued for Seuss to take it out.