The Lorax (TV special)

1972 short film directed by Hawley Pratt

The Lorax is a 1972 animated musical television special produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises. It first aired on CBS on February 14, 1972 (Valentine's Day) based on the book of the same name by Dr. Seuss.

The Lorax

  • I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.
  • [as suburbs suddenly spring up around him]
    They say I'm old-fashioned, and live in the past. But sometimes I think progress progresses too fast!

The Once-ler

  • Those trees! Those trees! Those Truffula trees! All my life I'd been searching for trees such as these! The touch of their tufts was much softer than silk, and they had the sweet smell of fresh butterfly milk. I felt a great leaping of love in my heart! I knew just what I'd do. I unloaded my cart. In no time at all, I had built a small shop. Then, I chopped down a Truffula tree with one chop!
  • Now I'd reached the stage where the potential was known. This business was too big for one Once-ler alone, so, promptly, I built me a Radio-Phone. I called my brothers and uncles and aunts and I said, "Listen here! Here's a wonderful chance for the whole Once-ler family to get mighty rich! Get over here fast. Take the road to North Nitch, turn left at Weehawken, sharp right at South Stitch!"
  • Every once in a while, I sit down with myself asking: "Once-ler, why are you a Once-ler?" And I cringe, I don't smile, as I sit there on trial asking: "Aren't you ashamed, you old Once-ler? You ought to be locked in a hoosegow, you should! The things that you do are completely un-good!" Yeah? But if I didn't do them, then someone else WOULD! "That's a very good point, Mr. Once-ler." Progress is progress, and progress must grow!


Narrator: What was the Lorax? And why was it there? And why was it lifted and taken somewhere from the far end of town where the Grickle-grass grows? The old Once-ler still lives here. Ask him. He knows. You won't see the Once-ler. Don't knock at his door. He lurks in his Lerkim on top of his store. And on grickly midnights in August, he peeks out of the shutters, and sometimes he speaks, and tells how the Lorax was lifted away.
The Once-ler: [to the boy] It all started way back; such a long, long time back... Way back in the days when the grass was still green, and the pond was still wet, and the clouds were still clean, and the song of the Swomee-Swans rang out in space. One morning, I came to this glorious place. Then I saw the trees! The Truffula trees! The bright-colored tufts of the Truffula trees, mile after mile in the fresh morning breeze. And under the trees, I saw Brown Bar-ba-loots, frisking about in their Bar-ba-loot suits.

The Once-ler: What you doing in my tree stump, buddy?
The Lorax: Your tree stump? YOUR TREE STUMP?! Mister, I am the Lorax! I speak for the--
The Once-ler: Forget it, hmph. I don't really need the stump. You can have it, little fellow.
[The Lorax gathers the Truffula tree tufts as he walks to the Once-ler's store, then the latter snatches them]
The Once-ler: Aha! Just enough to finish the cuffs. [beat] A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Now, um, uh, who'd you say you were, little fella?
The Lorax: Mister, I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues. And I'm asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs — that thing! That horrible thing that I see! What's that thing you've made out of my Truffula tree?
The Once-ler: Look, Lorax, calm down. There's no cause for alarm. I chopped down just one tree, I'm doing no harm. Ha, this thing is most useful! This thing is a "Thneed." A Thneed, a fine something-that-all-people-need! It's a shirt. It's a sock. It's a glove! It's a hat! But it has other uses, yes, far beyond that. You can use it for carpets, for pillows, for sheets, or curtains! Or covers for bicycle seats!
The Lorax: Sir, you're crazy. You're crazy with greed. Why, there's no one on Earth who would buy that fool Thneed!
[a man drives by, buys the Thneed and pays the Once-ler]
The Once-ler: The birth of an industry, you poor, stupid guy! You telling me what the public will buy?!

The Lorax: I speak for the trees! Let 'em grow! Let 'em grow! [moments later, machines with electric shavers shave away the stumps and grass, including the one he's standing on] But nobody listens too much, dont'cha know? I speak for the trees, and I'll yell and I'll shout for the fine things on Earth that are on their way out! [as the Lorax broods, a city slowly develops around him] They say I'm old-fashioned, and live in the past. But sometimes I think progress progresses too fast! [he runs through several hotels and when he finally gets out onto the street, several pieces of trash fall on him from above] They say I'm a fool to oppose things like these, but I'm going to continue to speak for the trees! [as he shouts, a machine scoops him up with a Truffula tree and dumps him into a van bound for the Thneed Factory] I'm going to continue to speak for the trees! [while the van drives closer to the Thneed factory] I'M GOING TO CONTINUE TO SPEAK FOR THE TREES!

The Once-ler: And at that very moment, we heard a loud whack! [A chopping sound is heard] From outside in the fields came the sickening smack of an axe on a tree! [The tree suddenly shakes and falls down] Then we saw the tree fall. The very last Truffula tree of them all! No more trees. [Inside the factory, the Thneed-making machinery slows to a stop] No more Thneeds. No more work to be done. And in no time, my uncles and aunts, everyone, all waved me goodbye. They jumped into their cars and drove away... under smoke-smuggered stars.
Once-lers: [sung] For he's a jolly good Once-ler,
Aren't we all?
For he's a jolly good Once-ler,
Aren't... we... all.
The Once-ler: Now all that was left 'neath the bad-smelling sky was my big empty factory... the Lorax... and I. The Lorax said nothing. Just gave me a glance. Just gave me a very sad, sad backward glance... as he lifted himself by the seat of his pants, and I'll-- I'll never forget the grim look on his face when he heisted himself and took leave of this place, through a hole in the smog without leaving a trace! And all that the Lorax left here in this mess was a small pile of rocks, with one word.
Boy: [reading it] "UNLESS?"
The Once-ler: Yes. "UNLESS."
Boy: What's an UNLESS?
The Once-ler: [sung] Just a faraway word,
Just a faraway thought...
Boy: A thought... about what? About something I ought?
The Once-ler: Well... [sung] A thought about something that somebody ought,
A thought about something... that somebody... ought.
[spoken] "UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better. It's not."
[the boy starts to walk away after hearing the Once-ler's story]
The Once-ler: [to himself] Hold on a minute... where is it, now? [to the boy] Don't go! Don't go! I've got something for you!
[the boy stops]
The Once-ler: Ah, here it is! It's a Truffula seed. It's the last one of all. Catch it, don't muff!
[he drops the seed, and the boy catches it]
The Once-ler: You're in charge of the last of the Truffula seeds. And Truffula trees are what everyone needs. Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care. Give it clean water, and feed it fresh air. Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack. Then the Lorax and all of his friends may... come back. [he closes the shutters. The boy walks off with the seed in his hands]


  • Eddie Albert - Narrator
  • Bob Holt - The Lorax / The Once-ler
  • Athena Lorde - Miss O'Schmunsler
  • Harlen Carraher - Boy

See also

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