Alex Wright

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.

August 4, 2007

Seussical, Shmeussical.

Last week I enjoyed a rare opportunity to see a screening of
The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T., the 1953 live action musical fantasy penned by a young Dr. Seuss (the only full-length movie he ever wrote). It's a kind of gonzo Wizard of Oz, in which a young boy dreams his way into the sadistic underworld of an evil piano teacher (the eponymous Dr. T.), whose nefarious plan involves enslaving 500 boys and forcing them to play a gigantic piano while wearing funny-looking beanies on their heads. Along the way, the boy gets chased by tubby henchmen in rubber suits, gets lost in a dungeon of shirtless men playing oversized musical instruments (doing their best Sneech impressions), and tries to convince his brainwashed mother to marry a plumber. It's every bit as twisted as it sounds.

The movie flopped when it came out, but over the years it's gathered a cult following that apparently includes Matt Groening. Dr. T. stands for Dr. Terwilliker (cf. Sideshow Bob Terwilliger); and the movie's protagonist is a boy named - you guessed it - Bart.

File under: Movies

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