The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T

1953 film by Roy Rowland

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T is a 1953 film about a boy and his piano teacher Dr. Terwilliker, who has a mad plan to force 500 young boys to practice at his magnificent piano 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Directed by Roy Rowland. Written by Dr. Seuss and Allan Scott.
The Wonder Musical of the Future!

Bart Collins

  • [singing "Because We're Kids"]
    Now just because we're kids
    Because we're sort of small
    Because we're closer to the ground
    And you are bigger pound by pound
    You have no right, you have no right
    To push and shove us little kids around...
    Now just because your throat has got a deeper voice
    And lots of wind to blow it out
    At little kids who dare not shout
    You have no right, you have no right
    To boss and beat us little kids about...
    Just because you've whiskers on your face to shave
    You treat us like a slave...
    So what? It's only hair.
    Just because you wear a wallet near your heart
    You think you're twice as smart.
    You know that isn't fair...
    But we'll grow up someday, and when we do I pray,
    We won't just grow in size and sound,
    And just be bigger pound by pound...
    I'd hate to grow, like some I know,
    Who push and shove us little kids around.

Dr. Terwilliker

  • This is my day! 5,000 little fingers, all playing together on my piano! Every finger obedient to the whim of me, the master! Every infinitesimal, microscopic piece of living tissue of those 5,000 little fingers, cringing and trembling and groveling before me! Before me, Dr. Terwilliker, as I raise my baton! We shall play... raise hands! We shall play the most beautiful piece ever written! I wrote it. Ten Happy Fingers! A one, and a two, and a three, and a play!
  • Bartholomew Collins! The years you spend with Dr. Terwilliker will be the happiest years of your life. But if you get homesick, don't try to escape. The barbed wire around the Terwilliker Institute... is ELECTRIFIED!

Mr. Zabladowski

  • I am no cog; I don't even like the sound of it. I am an independent contractor.


  • Elevator operator: [singing the Dungeon elevator song]
    First floor dungeon
    Assorted simple tortures
    Molten lead, chopping blocks and hot boiling oil
    Second floor dungeon
    Jewelry department
    Leg chains, ankle chains, neck chains, wrist chains, thumbscrews and nooses of the very finest rope
    Basement dungeon
  • Mrs. Collins: [answering the phone] Collins speaking. No madam, most definitely not, your son will not be allowed to bring his baseball. Dr. Terwilliker does not believe in baseballs, golf balls, basketballs or tennis balls, ping-pong balls, snowballs, croquet balls or hockey pucks. Dr. Terwilliker believes only in the piano!


Bart Collins: Well, that's my problem. Dr. Terwilliker's the only enemy I've got. I can't think of one nice thing to say about him, because there isn't any!
Mrs. Collins: [calling from the kitchen] Bart, darling!
Bart Collins: That's my mother. I like her. I try to be everything she wants me to be, particularly since my father died. But boy, she's as hipped on the piano as Dr. Terwilliker - watch!

Bart Collins: How much are you being paid overtime?
Mr. Zabladowski: Two thousand pastoolas.
Bart Collins: Two thousand WHAT?
Mr. Zabladowski: Two thousand pastoolas. Dr. Terwilliker doesn't pay me in American money - he keeps that for himself. He pays me in pastoolas.
Bart Collins: What are pastoolas?
Mr. Zabladowski: If you must know, the currency here is a little strange. First of all, in the small money comes the drakmids. At the regular, normal rate of exchange, there are 59 drakmids to one silver zlobeck.
Bart Collins: "Zlobeck"?
Mr. Zabladowski: Three silver zlobecks make one golden kratchmuk. A pastoola normally is, uh, 44,000 kratchmuks. But these, they tell me, are not normal times...
Bart Collins: Pastoolas, kratchmuks... How much do you get American?
Mr. Zabladowski: Precisely twenty bucks. Show me a better job, and I'll take it.

Dr. Terwilliker: [after hearing Bart practice] That's not bad. But not good! You're still not loud enough, still not fast enough! Rhythm still off, still misses the beats!
Bart Collins: What?
Dr. Terwilliker: Well, it takes time. It takes years! [smiles] Sometimes it actually does take forever.
Bart Collins: What?
Dr. Terwilliker: Well, my little watch tells me that's all we can hope to do today. Tomorrow however, oh tomorrow, what a day! At 6 AM sharp, all the others will arrive!
Bart Collins: What others?
Dr. Terwilliker: Well, I say, you don't think I built this great piano just for you! Have you no concept that I am on the eve of my greatest triumph? Tomorrow, I will fulfill the dream of my lifetime! Tomorrow, the Terwilliker Institute - my Happy Finger Institute! Tomorrow we will celebrate the official grand opening! Tomorrow, down below me, I will have five hundred little boys - five thousand little fingers! And they'll be mine, all mine! Practicing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!
Bart Collins: I- I don't believe it! This is crazy!
Dr. Terwilliker: And who are you to tell me what is crazy? Away! Go back your cell! And put on your official Terwilliker beanie!

Dr. Terwilliker: I'm sure you'll find this a most fascinating dungeon. That lovely rumbling sound you hear is one of my favorite prisoners! He was a bass drummer in an orchestra I once conducted, had a very bad habit. You know that part in Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, where the drummer is supposed to go 'A-boom-boom-boom-boom?' Well, this stupid lout always went 'A-boom-boom-boom-boom... A-boom!' One extra boom, you know. He'll be here forever.
[they see a man beating an enormous drum repeatedly]
Mr. Zabladowski: You mean he has to keep beating that drum forever?
Dr. Terwilliker: Oh, that isn't the man I'm punishing! My man is inside the drum!

Bart Collins: I don't think the piano is my instrument.
Dr. Terwilliker: What other instruments are there, pray tell? Scratchy violins, screechy piccolos, nauseating trumpets, et cetera, et cetera?

Bart Collins: See? Now do you believe me?
Mr. Zabladowski: We should always believe children. We should even believe their lies.

Bart Collins: Say, I've gotta get out of here.
Mr. Zabladowski: Relax, don't take these little things so seriously. After all, seeing as how your mother's here...
Bart Collins: My mother's here?
Mr. Zabladowski: That's a silly question. You know perfectly well she's in the Number 2 spot.
Bart Collins: The Number 2 spot?
Mr. Zabladowski: Second in charge of the whole Happy Finger racket.
Bart Collins: My mom couldn't be mixed up in any racket!
Mr. Zabladowski: Look, partner: I hate to speak badly about mothers, after all, motherhood is the noblest institution in our land. But the fact remains that your ma is in the Number 2 spot. At headquarters right now.
Bart Collins: She wouldn't keep me in a place like this! I gotta see her!
Mr. Zabladowski: I wouldn't advise it. You'll never make it.
Bart Collins: I can try!
Mr. Zabladowski: I wouldn't try.
Bart Collins: I know. All you'd ever try for is time and a half for overtime.

Stroogo: Now I don't recollect your features, do I?
Bart Collins: No...
Stroogo: [looks in his book] You a piccolo player?
Bart Collins: No.
Stroogo: Trombone player?
Bart Collins: No.
Stroogo: Violin player?
Bart Collins: No, a... piano player.
Stroogo: [shuts his book] Then you have no right in this particular dungeon! This is reserved exclusive for non-piano players!
Bart Collins: Non-piano players?
Stroogo: For them what play all other instruments! One by one, Dr. Terwilliker catches them, brings them down here and locks them up! Pretty soon there'll be no musicians left in this world, except for them what play the piano! I'm taking you back to Dr. Terwilliker!

Dr. Terwilliker: Mrs. Collins! Why are you standing there with that null and void expression on your face? No, don't tell me- I know the workings of your mind, Mrs. Collins! You've been thinking of your son again! How many times must I tell you to burn that picture? You've room in your life but for one picture, my picture Mrs. Collins! Your future husband! Have I not graciously condescended to take your hand in marriage tomorrow immediately following the official grand opening?
[an alarm rings. Sergeant Lunk appears on a screen]
Sgt. Lunk: Sergeant Lunk reporting to headquarters. Cell number one - the boy's not in it!
Dr. Terwilliker: The boy's not in it? Well search for him, find him!
Sgt. Lunk: Yes sir, Dr. Terwilliker, sir!
Dr. Terwilliker: Your son! And you said he could be trusted! Tonight of all nights, Mrs. Collins, the very night before my institute opens, and your son dares to flaunt my authority! So, he doesn't like the neat, clean comfortable cell which I've given him, eh? Very well! From now on, he doesn't have to sleep there! From now on, Mrs. Collins, your boy sleeps in the DUNGEONS!

Bart Collins: [crawling out of an air vent] Jeepers, am I glad to see you!
Mr. Zabladowski: Will you get out of there, you scared the daylights out of me Bart! What are you doing? Simmer down, will you what's up?
Bart Collins: They're after me!
Mr. Zabladowski: Who?
Bart Collins: Practically everybody!
Mr. Zabladowski: [chuckles] I'm not.
Bart Collins: I'm in terrible trouble!
Mr. Zabladowski: So, everyone gets into trouble. Everyone in the world, the king of Persia sometimes even gets into trouble. But the king of Persia, does he come crawling out of my air vent? Not at all! The king of Persia - he stays in Persia.


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