‘The Political Dr. Seuss’ Premieres on PBS October 26

in College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Humanities/Social Science, News Releases
October 20th, 2004

Contact: Tom Testa, 617/353-2240 | ttesta@bu.edu

(Boston) — Most people know Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, as the most influential children’s writer of our time, authoring the likes of “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Cat in the Hat.” What many Dr. Seuss admirers may not realize is that Geisel was a proponent for political and social change, with his most popular works reflecting his passion for fairness, democracy, and tolerance. In fact, his book “The Sneetches” was inspired by his opposition to anti-Semitism and “Horton Hears a Who!” was a political statement about democracy and isolationism.

Producer and Director Ron Lamothe brings this rarely discussed side of Dr. Seuss’ work to light in “The Political Dr. Seuss,” which airs nationally on the PBS series “Independent Lens,” Tuesday, October 26 at 10:30 p.m. and in the Boston area, Sunday, October 31 at 9 p.m. on WGBH channel 44. Lamothe, a graduate student and dean’s fellow at Boston University, traces Geisel’s life from his boyhood in Springfield, Mass., through his final days on Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, Calif. In-depth interviews with his widow Audrey, his biographers, his Random House publisher, enhanced with Geisel’s own words through voice-over, bring the man to life. The film also includes previously unseen material, such as illustration drafts, family photographs, and rare television appearances.

“The Political Dr. Seuss” explores how Geisel turned toward political cartoons at the beginning of World War II, producing more than 400 drawings in two years, including creating posters for the Treasury Department and the War Production Board. When he joined the Army in 1943, he was sent to Frank Capra’s Signal Corps Unit in Hollywood where he wrote propaganda films for the United States Armed Forces. A few of these films include: “Your Job in Germany,” a 1945 film about peace in Europe after World War II, and “Design for Death,” a study of Japanese culture that won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1948. Geisel’s work also include a series of army training movies.

Lamothe is a doctoral candidate in African History at Boston University. He previously worked as a researcher and associate producer for Florentine Films/Hott Productions. Lamothe’s company, Terra Incognita Films, is located in Cambridge, Mass., where he currently resides.

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