The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss is an American live-action/puppet television series based on characters created by Dr. Seuss, produced by The Jim Henson Company. It aired from October 13, 1996 to December 28, 1998 on Nickelodeon. It is notable since December 24, 2003 for its use of live puppets with digitally animated backgrounds, and in its first season, for refashioning characters and themes from the original Dr. Seuss books into new stories that often retained much of the flavor of Dr. Seuss' own works.
In many respects seasons one and two of the program are very different shows. The two seasons have completely different intro and outro credit sequences and songs reflecting their differing orientations. The virtual settings seen in this show are created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
Each episode is a self-contained story based on Dr. Seuss characters such as Yertle the Turtle and Horton the Elephant. The unifying element is that the stories are introduced and commented on by The Cat in the Hat(performed by Bruce Lanoil) who serves as host of the show. Occasionally The Cat in the Hat himself appears in the episode, reprising his role as a bit of a trickster, as in his original eponymous books (ex. episode 2.6: "The Simplifier").
Season one is notable for hewing closely to many of the themes of the original Dr. Seuss stories which often had a strong moral overtone. As a result, some episodes have distinctly dark or sinister elements which, like some Dr. Seuss books, may not be appropriate for younger children.
For season one the show was reworked along the lines of a more traditional children's program. The Cat in the Hat (then voiced by a much less gravelly sounding Martin P. Robinson) lives in a playhouse with his Little Cats A through Z and the often flustered Terrence McBird (performed by Anthony Asbury). Aside from the residents of the house there are usually visitors based on Dr. Seuss characters. Each episode revolves around a theme (such as family, health, art) and features one or two songs about the theme. The action shifts between The Cat in the Hat and what is going on in his playhouse and shorter related story interludes, which he shows to the audience by means of his "Wubbuloscope." These story vignettes take place in various locations like:
- Seussville - A contemporary city where Sarah Hall Small and her family lives.
- Jungle of Nool - A jungle that is home to Horton the Elephant, Morton the Elephant-Bird, Jane Kangaroo, Junior Kangaroo, Yertle the Turtle and the Sneels.
- Kingdom of Didd - A Rennasiance-like kingdom which is ruled by King Derwin.
- Mount Crumpitt - The Grinch lives here.
- The Cat in the Hat - (performed by Bruce Lanoil in Season 2, Martin P. Robinson in Season 1) - The main character of the series.
- Terrence McBird (performed by Anthony Asbury) - A bird that joins the main cast in Season 1.
- The Little Cats - They debuted in The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
- Little Cat A (performed by Kathryn Mullen in Season 2, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph in Season 1) - Seen as one of the Cat in the Hat's sidekicks.
- Little Cat B (performed by Stephanie D'Abruzzo) - Seen as one of the Cat in the Hat's sidekicks.
- Little Cat C (performed by John Kennedy) - Seen as one of the Cat in the Hat's sidekicks.
- Little Cat F (voiced by Stephanie D'Abruzzo) - Seen in Season 1 at the Cat in the Hat's playhouse.
- Little Cat G (voiced by Bob West) - Seen in Season 1 at the Cat in the Hat's playhouse.
- Little Cat N (voiced by Stephanie D'Abruzzo) - Seen in Season 1 at the Cat in the Hat's playhouse. He/She appears in 'The Cat in the Hat Cleans Up His Act', ending his/her sentences with 'sir'.
- Little Cat P (voiced by Tim Lagasse) - Seen in Season 1 at the Cat in the Hat's playhouse.
- Little Cat S (voiced by Stephanie D'Abruzzo) - Seen in Season 1 at the Cat in the Hat's playhouse.
- Little Cat Z (voiced by Anthony Asbury) - Seen in Season 1 at the Cat in the Hat's playhouse. He is the smallest of all, and possesses a hipster quality, muttering "Zip zap" and the like.
- The Grinch (voiced by Anthony Asbury) - He appeared from How the Grinch Stole Christmas! He likes to dampen other people's fun and pleasure.
- Max the Dog (performed by Kathryn Mullen in Season 2, Stephanie D'Abruzzo in Season 1) - He appeared from How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. Max is the Grinch's long suffering dog.
- Fox and Knox (performed by Bruce Lanoil in Season 2, Tim Lagasse in Season 1 and John Kennedy) - They appeared from Fox in Socks. Fox is lively and Knox is moody and easily annoyed.
- Yertle the Turtle (performed by Anthony Asbury) - Yertle is a turtle who tries to be king of anything. He is a dictator.
- Horton the Elephant (performed by John Kennedy) - He appeared from Horton Hears a Who! and Horton Hatches the Egg. He is steadfast.
- Morton the Elephant-Bird (performed by Kathryn Mullen in Season 2, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph in Season 1) - He appeared from Horton Hatches the Egg.
- Jane Kangaroo (performed by Stephanie D'Abruzzo) - She appeared from Horton Hears a Who!. She is very strict.
- Junior Kangaroo (performed by Kathryn Mullen in Season 2, Tim Lagasse in Season 1) - He appeared from Horton Hears a Who! and is the son of Jane Kangaroo. By season 2, he and Morton have become friends.
- Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose (performed by Anthony Asbury) - A moose who is still big-hearted. In this show, Thidwick is also the uncle of Morton the Elephant-Bird as seen in "The Birthday Moose."
- The Wickershams - A family of apes who come from Horton Hears a Who! They are often employed by Jane Kangaroo and/or Yertle the Turtle. They are bullies.
- Norval the Fish (performed by John Kennedy) - Norval would appear in different roles in the show. Around Season 2, Norval would work as an advisor to the King Derwin of the Kingdom of Didd.
- Sarah Hall Small (performed by Stephanie D'Abruzzo) - A girl who is a resident of Seussville.
- Matthew Katroom (performed by Anthony Asbury) - A boy who is a resident of Seussville and is good friends with Sarah Hall Small.
- Sam-I-Am (performed by John Kennedy) - He appeared from Green Eggs and Ham. He appeared in Season 2 where he would often lend a hand to the Cat in the Hat.
- Pam-I-Am (performed by Stephanie D'Abruzzo) - A female counterpart of Sam-I-Am and expert repair girl. The Cat in the Hat often uses the Pam Phone to call on her.
- Sally Spingel-Spungel-Sporn (performed by Camille Bonora in "The Muckster", Stephanie D'Abruzzo in "Max the Hero" and More) - She came from The Cat in the Hat Song Book.
- King Derwin (performed by Anthony Asbury) - The King of the Kingdom of Didd who came from The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.
- Princess Tizz (performed by Leslie Carrara-Rudolph) - The daughter of King Derwin.
- Milo (performed by John Kennedy) - A boy who resides in the Kingdom of Didd and serves as King Derwin's page.
- The Yapper-Nap (performed by Bob West) - A monster likes to takes nap in Seussville.
- Snark (performed by Fran Brill) - A pink bird that appears and lives in the Jungle of Nool. She is seen in Season 1. It is a recycled version of Youknow Bird from The Muppet Show.
- Sneels (performed by Kathryn Mullen and Stephanie D'Abruzzo) - The sneels are green and pink furry creatures that live in the Jungle of Nool. They were previously used as background cave creatures in Fraggle Rock, but had different eyes here.
- Mick Maputo Bird (performed by Anthony Asbury) - An Elvis Presley-themed bird that lives in the Jungle of Nool who is also seen in end of the season 1. He sings "Out in the Jungle" in the episode "The Cat in the Hat's Indoor Picnic."
- Whozits - Smaller counterparts to the Whos.
The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss episode list
- Anthony Asbury - Terrence McBird, Little Cat Z, The Grinch, Yertle the Turtle, Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, Matthew Katroom, King Derwin, Milo, Bald Eagle with Toupee, Bullfrog, Dad Tidbiddle, Footman, Gink, Grandpa Jacob Kangaroo, Little Guy in Machine, Morris Nooly, Morton's Purple Friend, Mick Maputo Bird, Mrs. Zabarelli, Onlooker #3, The Royal Herald, Singing Classmate in Play, Uncle Bocks, Uncle Schmeeze, Voice from Globe
- Leslie Carrara-Rudolph - Little Cat A (1996 - 2005), Morton the Elephant Bird (1996 - 2005), Princess Tizz
- Stephanie D'Abruzzo - Little Cat B, Little Cat F, Little Cat N, Little Cat S, Jane Kangaroo, Max the Dog, Pam-I-Am, Sarah Hall Small, Admiral Abigail Breeze, Annie DeLoo, Backup Singer, Bunny, The Cheese, Civil Servant #4, Daisy-Head Mayzie, Dolores Nooly, Elise, Eskimo Kid, Fiona Phish, Goofy Gargaloof, Green-Tufted Sneel, Happy Announcer, Heather Tidbiddle, Iguana from Xanadu, Lady Fretibula, Lady from "Up With Folks", Lulu, Ma Blozzit, Mandy, Megan Mullally, Mom Jalloo, Morton's Yellow Friend, Mrs. Dorfman, Nola Nicola Raphaella Miraldo, Poodle That Doodles, Sally Spingel-Spungel-Sporn (in "Max the Hero), Space Creature, Sue Snue, Tallullah, The Travel Poohbah
- John Kennedy - Little Cat C, Horton the Elephant, Mr. Knox, Norval the Fish, Sam-I-Am, Felix Finkledooper, Alvin, Announcer, Armand, Backup Singer, The Birthday Bird, Celli, Downer Than Down Whozit, Earl, Flitzpizzle, Hairy, Herbie Tidbiddle, Horace P. Riddley, Irish Setter, Julian Jeremy Jaroo Jalloo, King Lindy of Lime, Little Wimpy Guy (voice), Man from "Up With Folks", McZuff, Money Whozit, Mr. Dorfman, Muckster, Narrator, Nervous Whozit, Raffle Ticket-Selling Whozit, Rock Singer, Singing Lion, Spaceman, Uncle Docks, Uncle Dutter (assistant), Uncle Norton the Elephant
- Tim Lagasse - Little Cat P, Fox in Socks (1996 - 2005), Junior Kangaroo (1996 - 2005), Annoying Greebles, Bunky Balaban, The Clam, Eskimo Kid, Mr. Moriarty Seagoin Eccles, Old Man Time, Scotty, Sid Spider, The Speaker
- Bruce Lanoil - The Cat in the Hat (1998; 2006 - Present), Fox in Socks (1998; 2006 - Present), Alonzo, Announcer, Aunt May, Barney Balaban, Big Nosed Whozit, Big-Bottomed Rumpit, Bob, First Mate, Grandpa Mullally, Green-Tufted Sneel (in "Yertle the King"), Haji, The Hum-Bleeper, King of the Wickershams, King Noogle of Nug, Larry Nooly, Little Wimpy Guy (puppetry only), Mayor's Servant, Money Whozit, Morton's Pink Friend, Mr. Webley, Newsboy, Onlooker #2, Pa Blozzit, Ronald Q. Clark, Singing Classmate in Play, Subscription-Selling Whozit, Tiger, Uncle Dutter, Unhappy Man, Zander, Zauber
- Kathryn Mullen - Little Cat A (1998; 2006 - Present), Junior Kangaroo (1998; 2006 - Present), Max the Dog (in "The Guest"), Morton the Elephant Bird (1998; 2006 - Present), Aunt Mertle, Babs Balaban, Backup Singer, Civil Servant #3, Daisy's Mom, Disgusted Guest, Down Whozit, Eliza Jane Dorfman, Finnegan, Gertrude, Hopwood, Mayor Stovepipe, Molly Livingood, Mom Tidbiddle, Money Whozit, Mrs. Orissa Buttons, Onlooker #1, Pink-Tufted Sneel, Princess Mindy, Queen Regina of Ka-Larry, The Sandwich, Singing Classmate in Play, Squirrel, The Teacher, Tubby Tarbaloot, Verma
- Martin P. Robinson - The Cat in the Hat (1996 - 2005), Civil Servant #1, Civil Servant #2, Civil Servant #5, Civil Servant #6, The Milk, The Old Man
- Bob West - Little Cat G, The Yapper-Nap
- Pam Arciero - Lulu's Dog
- Bill Barretta - Uncle Berklummer
- Camille Bonora - Sally Spingel-Spungel-Sporn (in "The Muckster - Pilchard in the Pickle")
- Kevin Clash - Little Cat Fleep
- Jim Kroupa - Annoying Greebles, Dad Jalloo, Doily-Cart, Mr. Wimpletwerp, Space Creature, Zippedy Quick
- Joey Mazzarino - Elwood the Jester, Lester McBird
- Brian Muehl - Binkham Tamino McDoyal the Third
- Jerry Nelson - Snoozer
- John Tartaglia - Bird, Delivery Man
Home Video releases
The series was never systematically issued to home video on either VHS or DVD. Current DVD releases contain three episodes per disk and are a mix of episodes from the first and second seasons. These releases were distributed under Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (some of the releases were under the name Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment).
In 2015, the whole of the series was released on DVD from Shock Entertainment.
- The puppet used for Annie DeLoo was later used for Billy in episode 17 of Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony and later used in Puppet Up! alongside the Flitzpizzle and another Whatnot from this show.
- Each of the Whozits have appeared as different characters in Mopatop's Shop.
- The puppet used for one of the Wickershams used for Nascount Greasemonkey in Season 35 of Sesame Street in 2004.
- The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss is currently airing reruns on Semillitas