A snippet from “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.” (1953).
“The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.” (1953) was directed by Roy Rowland and was produced by veteran film producer Stanley Kramer. The screenplay was written by legendary children’s author Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel and veteran Hollywood screenwriter Allan Scott.
This will mark Sven’s second broadcast of “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.” (1953) on Me-TV. He previously showcased the Kramer-Rowland-Seuss Columbia musical production back in March 2018.
Who was in the 1953 Kramer-Rowland-Seuss/Geisel Columbia fantasy musical?
The players who appeared in “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.” (1953) were Hans Conried (as Dr. Terwilliker, Conreid was also known for his guest role of Uncle Tonoose in Danny Thomas’ “Make Room For Daddy”/”The Danny Thomas Show” from 1956-64 and the original voice of Snidley Whiplash in Jay Ward’s “Rocky and Bullwinkle”/”Dudley Do-Right” cartoons), Tommy Rettig (as Bartholomew Collins, Rettig later appeared in the role of Jeff), Mary Healy (as Heloise Collins), Peter Lind Hayes (as August Zabladowski, both Healy and Hayes were married in real life and had a successful Las Vegas comedic nightclub act), a young George Chakiris (as a dancer, he was credited in the film as “George Kerris;” Chakiris went onto bigger fame in the 1961 Jerome Robbins–Robert Wise film adaptation of “West Side Story”) Jack Heasley (as Uncle Whitney), Robert Heasley (as Uncle Judson), Noel Cravat (as Sgt. Lunk), and Henry Kulky (in an uncredited role as Stroogo, his final screen credit was his role Chief Curley Jones in Irwin Allen’s television adaptation of “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” from 1964 until Kulky’s death in Feb. 1965).
The inspiration for the characterization of Dr. T. (Dr. Terwilliker)
According to IMDB’s trivia section on “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.” (1953), Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel based the character of Dr. Terwilliker off of his real life piano teacher that he had during his childhood.
Before Hans Conried (for Dr. Terwilliker) and Peter Lind Hayes (for August Zabladowski)
Before Hans Conreid was cast in the role of Dr. Terwilliker, Stanley Kramer originally considered Danny Kaye for the Terwilliker role. He also considered Bing Crosby for the part of August Zabladowski before Peter Lind Hayes was chosen for the role. Both Kaye and Crosby passed on the role (according to additional details from IMDB).
Shortly before “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.,” another Seuss story was adapted for the silver screen (as an animated cartoon, which was released by Columbia)
According to Elenor Quinn’s article on “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.” (1953) for Turner Classic Movies, Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel was interested in the field of theatrical motion pictures after the success of the Columbia Pictures-United Productions America (UPA) short animated theatrical cartoon, “Gerald McBoing-Boing” (1950). Seuss/Geisel wrote the original story and was adapted for the animated short by Bill Scott (later of “Rocky and Bullwinkle” fame) and Phil Eastman.
The cartoon, which was directed by Robert Cannon won an Academy Award in 1951 for Best Cartoon Short Subject. That same year, Seuss submitted his original storyline for “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.”
Conflict between Stanley Kramer and Columbia’s Harry Cohn
The studio made plans to launch a major marketing/promotional campaign on “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.” The plans were scrapped due to budgetary-related conflicts between Columbia Pictures co-founder/studio boss Harry Cohn and producer Stanley Kramer, along with film’s short-lived premiere at the now-defunct Criterion Theatre in New York (according to additional information from IMDB).
The “Happy Fingers” hat was featured in another Columbia (Screen Gems) production
14 years after the original release of “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.,” one of the leftover “Happy Fingers” prop hats was featured in a hit TV show produced by Columbia Pictures’ television subsidiary, Screen Gems. The hat was worn by Monkee Davy Jones in an episode of “The Monkees,” “Captain Crocodile” (1967), which aired on the NBC television network on Feb. 27, 1967 (according to IMDB). Columbia/Screen Gems was also responsible for The Monkees’ hit recordings on the studio’s Colgems Records imprint (in conjunction with RCA, according to Discogs).
Be sure to watch (or record) Svengoolie and the return of “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.” (1953), this Sat. on Me-TV!
If you watched Sven’s March 2018 telecast of the Kramer-Rowland-Seuss/Geisel Columbia “Wonderama” musical oddity or if this will be your first time watching (or recording) “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.” (1953, a.k.a. “Crazy Music) on Sven’s big broadcast, be sure to sing and laugh along with all fellow SvenPals this Sat. on Me-TV (with Friedrich Hollaender and Morris Stoloff‘s Academy Award-nominated score)! A fun treat for the Labor Day holiday with Sven’s fun facts, Doug Graves’ parody song and Kerwyn’s mail call! Highly recommended to all fellow SvenPals!
In the Frederick, Maryland/Washington, D.C. area: WTTG-5.3/Cable 196/FiOS 489/Antietam Cable 194 (also on QAM digital 68.6 for Antietam cable subscribers)
In the Baltimore, Maryland area: WBAL-TV 11.2/Cable 208
In the Hanover/Gettysburg/York, Pennsylvania area: WGAL-TV 8.2/Cable 248
Live-tweet and have fun with all fellow #Svengoolie SvenPals via Twitter) during “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.” (1953) this Sat. on Me-TV!
For our fellow Berwyn/Chicago SvenPals and fellow SvenPals who will be traveling to the Berwyn/Chicago region:
Starrcast Convention (C2E2 Booth): According to Sven’s official Twitter page, Sven will be making an upcoming appearance at the C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo) booth during the 2018 Starrcast Convention this Sat., Sept. 1 at 1 p.m. (local time) at the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg, Chicago (1800 E. Golf Rd., Schaumburg, Illinois 60173)! Sven will be signing autographs and selling official Sven merchandise during the event! To all fellow Berwyn/Chicago SvenPals and fellow SvenPals who are traveling to Berwyn/Chicago/Schaumburg, enjoy Sven’s upcoming C2E2 Booth/Starrcast in-person appearance! -C.H.
Help out one of our fellow SvenPals’ friends (including fellow Chicago/Berwyn SvenPals): Fellow super SvenPal Jamie Lee recently announced on Twitter that her friend from the PM&L Players ensemble (and their upcoming stage production of Tim Firth’s “Calendar Girls”) has recently been going through additional medical-related issues. According to an update on the GoFundMe page, the family of Jamie’s friend has now initiated a $2,500 goal to help offset further medical treatment costs. Again, do your part by contributing whatever you can (more details can be found on the GoFundMe site). Do whatever you can to help Jamie’s friend! Any amount helps! -C.H.
Last chance to see “Batman” and “Star Trek” (TOS) on Me-TV’s Super Sat. Night (for now): According to Me-TV’s official website on Sat., Sept. 8, the 1965-68 “Lost in Space” series will move into the timeslot of the 1966-68 “Batman” series at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT (after Sven) and the 1979-81 “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” series will be premiering at 11 p.m. ET/10 p.m. CT into the timeslot of “Star Trek” (The Original Series).
The Me-TV finales of “Batman” (with “I’ll Be a Mummy’s Uncle” from 1968 and “The Joker’s Flying Saucer” from 1968) and “Star Trek” (“Requiem for Methuselah” from 1969) will occur on Sat., Sept. 1 (with “Batman” beginning at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT and “Star Trek”/TOS at 11 p.m. ET/10 p.m. CT on most Me-TV stations).
In relation to “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.” (1953):
“The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.” (1953) is also available on Blu-Ray disc from Mill Creek Entertainment (by arrangement with Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc./Sony Pictures Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment). The film is also on DVD and through select digital streaming services (via Sony).