So instead of selling my car using the Roto app on my phone, I posted an ad online.
Now it's non-stop phone calls and people at my door. I'm Larry. I'm here about the sedan. Not now, Larry. See, Roto will buy your car or even buy you out of a lease without the hassle. Hey, I'm not a hassle. Yes, you are, Larry. Use Roto to buy a new car or sell your existing car or lease in just minutes.
Download the Roto app or check out Roto.com now. With ever-longer ingredient lists on beauty products, it's hard to tell what you're really buying. That's why Sephora is committed to cutting through the clutter and confusion, helping to push the industry forward by showing what's really in their products. At Sephora, their clean standards mean products formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oils and more. So when you see the Clean at Sephora seal, you know you're getting a clean you can count on. Learn more about their clean standards and shop clean at Sephora Beauty at Sephora.com.
It's the people's chart here at Daymond John. Now, I'm going to give you a tip that I have never shared with anyone before. My tips are usually about business. This tip is about how to create the wow factor in your home. Nearly every person that comes into my home comments about how amazing it smells. It's all thanks to Aroma 360 scent diffusers. You see, my family and I, we feel like we live in a luxurious hotel every day.
I highly recommend that you go directly to Aroma360.com to get yours today. We're all familiar with the work of Dr. Seuss. But the story of how he actually became the author we know and love is far from short and simple. Brian J. Jones, author of Becoming Dr. Seuss, is here with the full story of the man behind his pen name. And we're telling this story because on this day in history, in 1904, Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, was born. Dr. Seuss was born Theodore Geisel.
Theodore Seuss Geisel, in fact, in Springfield, Massachusetts. He is the son of a very successful brewing family. They're German immigrants. His grandfather had come to the United States and set up a brewing company that was very successful. And so Seuss was around German brewers, loved listening to his German ancestors, his family members, talking German.
He would sit at the top of the stairs and listen to the conversation downstairs. He loved the sound of that language and how if you have a German word and you want to qualify something, you just keep adding on to the word and it gets longer and more interesting. At one point, he talks about going to school during World War I and having children chasing him and throwing coal at him, saying, kill the Kaiser.
They knew he was a German immigrant. That always sort of stayed with Seuss a lot of his life. I think that's where he gets sort of his, you know, love for the underdog and for the oppressed. And I think a book like The Sneetches is probably sort of born out of that sheer feeling of being the outsider, being the other that he experienced even as a child when people threw coal at him for being German. His mother is Henrietta Seuss or Seuss is actually the correct way of pronouncing the name. Seuss is his mother's maiden name. That's where he gets the name Seuss from. Seuss always said that, you know, it rhymed with Mother Goose or somebody pointed that out to him. So he was always OK with people pronouncing it Seuss. His mother, he often said, is the one who inspired his love of rhyme.
She had worked in a bakery and she would chant little poems on the flavors of pie they had available that day, which always cracked him up. So Seuss's father inherited the Brewing Company right about the time that Prohibition kicked in. And so Seuss's father never ended up running the company.
And in fact, they were in danger of losing everything. Seuss's father then, of course, ended up in a job as superintendent of parks for Springfield, which is a job he had most of his life after that. And Ted, as everybody always called Seuss as a kid, you know, grew up around the parks and going to the zoo there in Springfield. And he often joked about how, you know, his father would put him in the cages and let the animals chew on him and things like that.
None of which happened. You know, Seuss never lets the truth get in the way of a fantastic story. But Seuss, you know, had this sort of just this creative, regular kid's life in Massachusetts at the turn of the century.
It's really interesting. Springfield is a really interesting town. It's almost like this imaginative hub up there in that part of New England. You know, like Milton Bradley is from there and Naismith created basketball at the YMCA there in Springfield. I mean, it's like all these weird little, you know, American industries and icons came out of there.
I think I think Smith and Wesson came out of there. It's just, you know, there's all sorts of really fascinating people that were in and around Springfield. So Seuss comes out of Dartmouth University as a fairly mediocre student, but manages to get a scholarship to go to Oxford. He told his father, in fact, that he had applied for a scholarship and won it.
And that actually turned out to not be true. But his father had bragged all over town that his son was going to going to Oxford. So once he found out it wasn't true, he paid to send the son to Oxford anyway. So Seuss is going to Oxford on his father's dime at this point and quickly finds out he'd rather do anything but study English. He initially went to go be an English professor, quickly loses interest in it. But he meets a woman who would eventually become his wife, a woman named Helen, and she is sitting at home in class one day as he's doodling and says, you know, somebody who draws the way you do should do that for a living. And so Seuss, who ends up marrying Helen and they end up living together back in the United States, he sets up shop and this is in the sort of the gilded age of the United States, you know, the mid to late 20s. And he embarks on this very successful career.
And it's hard to believe now that you can set up a career doing something like this. He has a very successful career trajectory as a cartoonist for the magazines. You know, it's like almost like today's New Yorker cartoons.
But there's, you know, he's doing cartoons for Liberty magazine and Judge magazine and all these magazines with these massive circulations and earnings living doing that. But he also manages to get an incredibly lucky, fortuitous moment where he does this cartoon that has a knight laying in bed. There's a dragon sticking its head through the window and the knight says, another dragon? And here I just had the entire castle sprayed with flit. Flit was a bug repellent, very popular in the air. Well, the woman who was married to the man who ran the ad campaign for flit, I mean, this is none of those crazy stories, saw that cartoon in the magazine, went to her husband and said, this is the greatest advertisement for flit you could ever ask for. You need to hire this young man to be your flit ad man. So Seuss ends up in advertising through this, and he's a very successful ad man. He's the Don Draper of, you know, of 1925. He ends up running the flit campaign for, I think, something like 17 years.
Just full page ads and color billboards. And it became sort of a running joke like, you know, where's the beef or something like that. You know, quick Henry the flit was the tagline and it was used in songs and it was in punch. Like comedians would say quick Henry the flit and everyone would laugh.
They all got the joke. So Seuss had this very successful career as an advertising man for years before he ever got into children's books. What finally happened was he had done some illustrations for a book that was sort of like kids say the darndest thing.
It was like this book of kids saying funny things that were true and then he would put the illustrations in it. And Seuss thought, you know, under my contract with flit, I have a non-compete clause so I can't draw for a book like this. But there was nothing in his contract that said he couldn't do children's books. So because there was a loophole in his contract, there was essentially money on the table still there for children's books. So Seuss decides to write a children's book purely basically because he had a clause in his contract that said he could or that didn't say that he couldn't. It wasn't any great calling, at least at that time, to provide great books for kids or because he felt some compelling urge to write them for kids. So he went ahead and started to write a children's book and that's where the book and to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street came from. His work on children's books for part of his career didn't pay his bills. Children's books was a side hustle for him for quite a long time. And we're listening to author Brian J. Jones, his book Becoming Dr. Seuss. When we return, the story of Dr. Seuss continues here on Our American Stories. Folks, if you love the stories we tell about this great country and especially the stories of America's rich past, know that all of our stories about American history, from war to innovation, culture and faith, are brought to us by the great folks at Hillsdale College. A place where students study all the things that are beautiful in life and all the things that are good in life. And if you can't get to Hillsdale, Hillsdale will come to you with their free and terrific online courses.
Go to hillsdale.edu to learn more. So instead of selling my car using the Roto app on my phone, I posted an ad online. Now it's nonstop phone calls and people at my door. I'm Larry. I'm here about the sedan. Not now, Larry. See, Roto will buy your car or even buy you out of a lease without the hassle. Hey, I'm not a hassle. Yes, you are, Larry. Use Roto to buy a new car or sell your existing car or lease in just minutes.
Download the Roto app or check out Roto.com now. Day three of my exclusively adult virgin voyage. Last night, as I dined on the truffle gnocchi from one of the Michelin star chef curated menus, I discovered something about myself. I do not miss the chicken nuggets in the back of our freezer.
I do not miss them at all. Book a virgin voyage by March 31st for 50% off your second sailor and up to $600 in free drinks. Ask your travel advisor or visit virginvoyages.com.
Now we're voyaging. With ever longer ingredient lists on beauty products, it's hard to tell what you're really buying. That's why Sephora is committed to cutting through the clutter and confusion, helping to push the industry forward by showing what's really in their products. At Sephora, their clean standards mean products formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oils and more. So when you see the clean at Sephora seal, you know you're getting a clean you can count on.
Learn more about their clean standards and shop clean at Sephora Beauty at Sephora.com. And we're back with our American stories and with Brian J. Jones sharing the story of how Theodore Geisel became Dr. Seuss. Let's pick up where we last left off. So the first book that Seuss publishes when he realizes that his contract, again with Flit, does not prohibit him from doing children's books, is he's on a cruise with his wife Helen. He's sitting in the bar and Seuss sits in bars a lot.
In fact, you can never take the brewer's kit completely out of the kit. He's sitting in a bar on a boat in the middle of the ocean in kind of a storm and he's listening to the engines turning over in this regular rhythm. And he starts trying to come up with words to fit that rhythm. It's essentially the rhythm of Twas the Night Before Christmas.
I think it's called something like Anapestic Tetrameter or something like that. But the engines are rolling in this very regular rhythm and Seuss starts trying to put together a poem, a really bouncing poem to fit that rhythm. And goes through several different iterations but that's the book that becomes and to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street following that rhythm of the boat engines. Seuss writes and illustrates this book and it's a very fitting first book for Seuss because it's about a little boy who sees a man with a horse and a cart on Mulberry Street and starts turning minnows into whales, as he says in the book, telling bigger and bigger tales of what's happening and spinning this gigantic story and bringing in all these characters. And then at the very end when his father finally asks him what he saw, he says, I just saw a horse and carriage on Mulberry Street. It goes back to the truth at that point. But it's a fantastic story.
It's a great debut. But it's one of those books that Seuss, when he gets done with it, can't find anybody who wants to publish it. But Seuss walked it all over New York City. This is still, he's doing his advertising work and he's hauling his manuscript around. And as he's walking down one of the streets of New York, he runs into a friend of his from Dartmouth who works for a publisher. And his friend says to him, what are you carrying around here, Ted? And Seuss says, well, I've got this kid's book that no one will publish.
I was going to take it home and burn it. And his friend says, you know, come inside with me and let me take you up to the editor in charge of children's books and let me see what we can do. And Seuss gets his book published through this connection with the Dartmouth friend of his.
Seuss always said later, had I been walking down the other side of the street, I might be in dry cleaning today. So it was a very fortuitous moment in his life when you have to be in the right place at the right time and met an old friend of his who shepherds that book into publication. That's the beginning of his publishing with children's books. But he's not doing them because he feels some great moral obligation to children to give them great books that they deserve. This happens later and Seuss talked about that. He almost has this epiphany at one point about it.
So Seuss had a brief career as an editorial cartoonist, you know, doing these cartoons of taking on America first and anti-Semitism, these really progressive cartoons. And he ends up enlisting in the army. He's I think he's 39 years old.
He's a little too old. He's not going to see any active active service. He's not going to be on the front lines or anything, but they station him out in California near where he lived. And he is in the Signal Corps and his division is run by commanding officer Frank Capra, the director. And Capra had recruited Seuss. They knew from his work that he was a smart guy because of his ad work.
They knew that he was great at message, that he could get a message through quickly and funny and succinctly and that he could draw well. And so they put Seuss in charge of doing military training films. A lot of the soldiers at that time couldn't read. So they really wanted to do some animated cartoons that would teach soldiers the basics. And I mean, when I talk basics, it's like how not to get killed, basically, you know. And it's like this is how you protect yourself from malaria by putting on your repellent and sleeping in your nets and lessons like that. So Seuss creates this character with Capra called Private Snafu and Snafu teaches soldiers how to be great soldiers by doing everything wrong.
So you get to see Snafu reap the consequences of his actions the entire time in a very funny way. But Capra does two things that are really important in Seuss's career. First, Capra, as a film director, sits down with Seuss and goes through his scripts and says, I'm going to underline in blue everything in this script that advances your story. And when I give this back to you, if there's no blue on your page, you have a problem because you don't have a lot of time in these cartoons.
You need to move. And so he taught Seuss conciseness, which, again, informs the way he worked later on making every single word count, making sure every beat matters. That's one of the big lessons that Capra teaches Seuss. The other thing he does is Capra. And again, this is a film director's perspective that Seuss grabbed hold of and ran with for the rest of his life.
Capra would storyboard everything and would show you how to storyboard. And he does something really brilliant in that for the private snafu cartoons, he recognizes a fellow crazy, somebody who fits Seuss like a glove in a young animator at that time named Chuck Jones, who's over at Warner Brothers. Now, Jones is not in the military. He's the civilian who's paired up with Seuss. And they create these private snafu cartoons together. And Chuck Jones, as we know, is the one who any Bugs Bunny cartoon that you know and love and remember, Chuck Jones was behind as either a writer or director.
You know, all the classics are Chuck Jones. So Chuck is working with Dr. Seuss, too, and he's showing him the art of storyboarding, of taking taking the story and breaking it down into basic components, pinning it up on the wall and staring at it and moving pages around to see where it works better. This is a practice that Seuss would use the rest of his life with his own books. He would put his pages up on the wall of his office and stare at them and realize this doesn't work here.
This is funnier over here. So these are the skills he learns from Capra and from Chuck Jones that then informed the way he would do his art for the rest of his life. Later on, of course, he would be paired up again with Chuck Jones to do How the Grinch Stole Christmas. And Jones was the perfect one to do that.
And Seuss was very skeptical about letting anybody adapt his work to the dream. But with Chuck Jones, he knew he had a good friend and an ally in that. So Jones comes back into his story later on.
But two really key relationships that Seuss gets into in World War II, Capra and Chuck Jones. In 1949, after he's come out of the Signal Corps, he's still making a career in ads, he's dabbled in Hollywood screen fixing and screenwriting. He doesn't like it. It's writing by committee.
He's a little bit miserable. But he still really wants to do children's books. And he's just successful enough at it as this sort of second job that he's actually asked to lead a writer's workshop on writing children's books for the University of Utah in 1949. And it is a pivotal moment in children's literature because Seuss sits down and writes down by hand on paper what he thinks makes great writing for children. And he's taking lessons that he's learned from Capra. You can clearly see him processing and talking about you've got to make the words count. You have to keep the action moving forward.
You will lose children. He was telling students in his class, you know, your biggest competitor right now is comic books. Whether you like comics or not, they are entertaining kids and they are fast paced and they are fun and they are colorful. That is your competition.
That is who you are up against. That's what you've got to remember when you're writing for kids. And so it's Seuss really putting down on paper what children need to have their interests sustained and how you don't want to write down to them and how you don't want to be deliberately saccharine.
You know, kids don't kids don't like being talked down to. Seuss inherently gets this. If you're trying to impress a kid or you're trying to write fancy for some kid, they will see right through. He would tell these students in his class that a child is the toughest audience you will ever write for because they will see you coming.
You cannot fool a kid, so don't try. It's Seuss sort of having this, I don't want to say Eureka moment necessarily, but he's sort of taken everything he's learned from having written children's books and having worked with Capra, with Chuck Jones. And what's funny and what makes things work and pacing of a book and understanding that that's the key to keeping a kid interested in reading. Again, it's a really, really important moment in not just Seuss's life, but in the history of writing for children. And you're listening to Brian J. Jones telling the story of Dr. Seuss, his book Becoming Dr. Seuss.
Well, you've got to pick it up. Go to Amazon or the usual suspects. That first book, well, he gets the idea of the rhythm of his poetry by the rhythm of the cruise ship's engine. And so much of what he does has to do with rhythm. And then, of course, he joins the army and by sheer happenstance, his boss is the great Frank Capra, who, by the way, won Oscars for the Why We Fight series. Messaging and message mattered in World War II.
We were continually selling the American public on our need to stay in this fight and win. He also came across Chuck Jones while he was there, too. And then he leaves the military and that seminar about writing children's books at the University of Utah changed everything for him. Don't talk down to kids. Keep the plot moving. And by the way, remember, children are the toughest audience you will ever write for.
And if you've ever performed for them, you know they're even tougher. When we come back, more of the remarkable story of Dr. Seuss here on Our American Story. The best part? Your new car is delivered right to your door. Download the Roto app today. That's R-O-D-O. Ready, set, Roto. Day four of my exclusively adult virgin voyage.
I've come to discover a new version of me, one that prefers relaxing on my private balcony hammock without a co-worker in sight. Instead of staring at them on a video call from home, much prefer. Book a virgin voyage by March 31st for 50% off your second sailor and up to $600 in free drinks. Ask your travel advisor or visit VirginVoyages.com.
Now we're voyaging. With ever longer ingredient lists on beauty products, it's hard to tell what you're really buying. That's why Sephora is committed to cutting through the clutter and confusion, helping to push the industry forward by showing what's really in their products. At Sephora, their clean standards mean products formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oils, and more. So when you see the Clean at Sephora seal, you know you're getting a clean you can count on.
Learn more about their clean standards and shop clean at Sephora Beauty at Sephora.com. And we return to Al American Stories and to Brian J. Jones, and he's sharing the story of how a man named Theodor Geisel became Dr. Seuss. Back to Brian with more of the story. So in 1954, in Life Magazine, the novelist John Hersey is writing a piece about doing what we tend to do as a society about every five years. We write these long agonized pieces about what's wrong with kids today. You know, why aren't they interested in reading? Why are they sassing their parents?
Who's to blame for this? Well, you know, at that time, whether it was comic books at one point or today it's video games or, you know, the internet or whatever. In 1954, John Hersey said, well, one of the reasons kids don't read, it's not that they can't read, it's that they don't because books aimed at children are awful. Dick and Jane lead these lives of, you know, terrible desperation.
The art is uninspiring. It's a world that doesn't exist for kids. Couldn't they at least get Dr. Seuss or Walt Disney or somebody to at least illustrate Dick and Jane to make it more interesting? Well, somebody who knows Seuss reads this article and goes to Seuss and doesn't ask Seuss to illustrate Dick and Jane. What he does is he goes to Seuss and he says, I want you to write and draw me a children's book, a book that they can't put down.
But the catch with this, and this is what makes Seuss so important moving forward. The catch on this is because this is supposed to be a reading primer, as people say. It's a book that can be used in the classroom. That means it has to have an educator approved reading list behind it.
It has to have age appropriate words for reading level. And you cannot diverge from this list. If you want to make a word plural, for example, and it's not on the list as a plural, you can't use it. So it's putting a straight jacket on before you even start writing the book, at least as far as your vocabulary goes. So Seuss is given this list of vocabulary words.
I want to say it's something around 300 vocabulary words. And again, it says you cannot deviate from this list, but come up with a story using only these words. Well, Seuss looks at this list and stares at this list for a year at least and can't come up with a story. At one point, he says something like, what if I want to do a story about a queen tiger? Well, the word queen wasn't on the list and the word tiger isn't on the list. And I wanted to do something about scaling a mountain.
Well, the word mountain is not on the list and scaling is not on the list. And it was a real problem. And so Seuss always said later that he went through the list until he found words that rhymed. And two of the first words that rhymed were cat and hat. So Seuss knew he had something of a story or a character at least in a cat with a hat.
And he takes another year from there to actually finish the book and agonizes over every single page doing this. But if you go through cat and the hat, you can see him working with that word list. There's one page, for example, where the cat stands on a ball, which is where on the list, and starts juggling. And it's Seuss downloading everything on that list. He's juggling a cake, a rake, a plate, a man, you know, a boat, a car.
He's juggling. It's like Seuss taking everything on that list and trying to get it on the page there. So that book sells lights out. I mean, that is the moment that Seuss can be a children's writer full time because this book, teachers love it because it's got the educator approved word list. Parents love it because unlike most children's books, it's fun for adults to read. And kids love it because they don't even realize that they're learning their vocabulary words with it. It's a fun book to read. It rhymes.
The pictures are great. And it ain't Dick and Jean. This is the big moment in Seuss's career when he truly becomes Dr. Seuss. So cat and hat comes out in the spring of 1957. The Grinch comes out in the fall of 1957.
So you talk about hitting twice in one year. Now, The Grinch is not one of those books that's written with a word list. Seuss had what he called his big books that he was not inhibited by the word list. But The Grinch, I think, is such a fascinating book because Seuss often said throughout his life that his favorite character was The Grinch.
In fact, his car, the license plate of his car that he drove in California said Grinch on the license plate. What I love about The Grinch is that, you know, remember, part of the message behind The Grinch is that Christmas doesn't come from a store. And I love that this book was written by somebody who spent the first part of his career probably telling you that Christmas did come from a store.
I mean, the guy was in advertising and was very good at it. So I think I think there's a little bit of Seuss reckoning with himself in this story, which is one of the reasons why I think he took it so personally. It could really sympathize with The Grinch and The Grinch coming around. But it's a great example of Seuss really working on an ending.
Because Seuss didn't like his books to be overtly preachy or messagey. He often said, you know, again, consistent with what he said in the 1949 lectures, if you're trying to be preachy, again, kids are going to see you coming. They're going to recognize immediately what you're up to. They're going to fold up shop. They're going to walk away.
No kid wants to be preached to. So when he got to the end of The Grinch and was trying to figure out what happens after The Grinch has kind of redeemed himself, what do you end it with? He was trying to keep it from being a little too religious, if he could. And which is why it ultimately ends with sort of the Brotherhood of Man, where you see, you know, in the cartoon, they do it brilliantly when the star comes up.
But he's serving the roast beast at dinner. So it's more of a family type ending than a Christmassy ending, per se. But that was Seuss working really hard with an ending. One of my favorite stories about one of his later books is Green Eggs and Ham, because Green Eggs and Ham comes about as a result of a bet between Seuss and his editor at Random House, Bennett Cerf. And Bennett Cerf loves the cat in the hat.
I mean, the cat in the hat is printing money, just doing great. And Cerf, who adores Seuss, Bennett Cerf often talked about how there was only one real genius who worked for him at Random House, and he says that was Dr. Seuss. A high praise because he was publishing Faulkner at the time, too. Bennett Cerf says to Dr. Seuss, OK, smart guy, cat in the hat used about 200 unique words from your word list. I'll bet you 50 bucks you can't write a book that uses less than 50 of those words.
And Seuss says, you're on. And that book becomes Green Eggs and Ham. And look at the way Green Eggs and Ham is put together. It is repetition.
You don't even realize that the vocabulary is so limited because you are just constantly seeing the same words over and over again in different orders. I am Sam, Sam I am. Do you like Green Eggs and Ham? Would you like them with a fox? Would you like them in a box? I would not like them with a fox.
I would not like them in a box. It's repetition using those same words over and over in a really interesting way. Seuss gets it in under the wire. I think he's got 48 unique words in that book ultimately when he does it.
And he later on said that Bennett Cerf didn't pay him his 50 bucks either. But Green Eggs and Ham is written on a bet to really hamstring Seuss with a very narrow educator approved word list. And Seuss tills it with Green Eggs and Ham, which is still to this day the best selling Dr. Seuss book of all time.
And why not? It's punchy. It's fun. Again, educator approved word list. But you don't even realize that you're only seeing less than 50 unique words because what Seuss does with so little in that is brilliant. Keeps that book moving. Again, that's Seuss worrying about the plot propelling things forward. It's tormenting this poor guy into eating Green Eggs and Ham.
That is what's driving that plot forward. And as a student, as a reader, as a kid, you can't turn those pages fast enough to see if they're going to get him to try Green Eggs and Ham, which he ultimately does. It is everything Seuss does well compressed down into that one single book. And what a story you're hearing. He's first challenged to write a book kids can't put down, but limited to 300 educator approved words. And from that constriction came creativity. That happens all the time, folks.
The less we have to choose from, sometimes the better we choose. And of course, he finds these two words cat and hat. He's looking for a rhyme. And the rest is history. Then comes the Grinch and then comes the biggest challenge of all. His pal at his publishing company says, let's see if he can do it in 50 words rather than 300. And of course, the bestseller of all time, Green Eggs and Ham. Well, it was conceived as a result of a bet.
When we come back, more of this remarkable story of how Theodore Geisel became Dr. Seuss here on Our American Stories. Excuse me. Did you know that when you use the Roto app to buy a car, Roto actually finds all the secret available rebates and discounts specific to you? So the price I see is my unique price? That's right.
The lowest and best. Does Roto do this for every customer or just customers named Catherine? Well, that depends.
Wait, how do you spell Catherine? K A T H Just kidding. It's for every customer. Get every rebate and discount available and save big on your next car with Roto. Download the Roto app or check out Roto.com Day two of my exclusively adult Virgin voyage. I've come to discover an amazing new use for my phone, shaking it to have champagne delivered to me anywhere on board. Tomorrow, it's bubbly in the bubbles. That's a nautical term for champagne in the hot tub. Book a Virgin voyage by March 31st for 50% off your second sailor and up to $600 in free drinks.
Ask your travel advisor or visit Virgin voyages dot com. Now we're voyaging with ever longer ingredient lists on beauty products. It's hard to tell what you're really buying. That's why Sephora is committed to cutting through the clutter and confusion, helping to push the industry forward by showing what's really in their products. At Sephora, their clean standards mean products formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oils and more. So when you see the clean at Sephora seal, you know you're getting a clean you can count on.
Learn more about their clean standards and shop clean at Sephora beauty at Sephora dot com. And we're back with our American stories and with Brian J. Jones sharing the story of Theodore Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss.
Back to Brian with a final part of this story. So Seuss is one of these creatives who took his work very seriously. There's a great quote from his wife, Helen, that I think every writer can relate to or anybody who does anything creative.
I think everybody do. And she often said he's miserable when he's writing a book and even more miserable when he's not. There's nothing casual in a Seuss book. Seuss would often start books, realize they were going nowhere and then throw them at what he called his bone pile. But Seuss had this really tough work ethic, sat down at the desk every single morning and sat there all day, whether anything happened or not. Some days, you know, the ideas came in the workflow.
Other days, nothing happened. But he was going to sit in that office every single day of his life. And Seuss would do the rough sketches of his of his page and he would type out the rhymes and the narrative and glue it to the page and put it up on the wall. And then he would stand back and stare at it. And people told me who knew him would tell these great stories about how he always had a cigarette burning and he would put his hands in his back pockets with his palms in. And he would lean way forward with that cigarette in his mouth and just stare at the pages on the wall.
He would step back and then he would walk over and he would move a page and he wouldn't even say anything. Seuss would sweat the way everything rhymed to make sure it scanned perfectly. And you didn't have to read a word weird like you didn't have to put the stress. If you had a three syllable word, you didn't have to put the stress in the wrong place to make the rhyme scheme work that he didn't want you taking a word like refrigerator and having to say refrigerator to make the rhyme work. He wanted it to be, you know, you would say the word refrigerator and it would it would still scan properly. So Seuss was very fussy about the way the words themselves worked. Now, having said that, even if the rhymes scanned perfectly, if Seuss stepped back and one of those lines on the page was significantly longer than the other, Seuss just didn't like the way that looked.
So he would start over. He would rewrite the page. But that's the way he worked on these books. And sometimes it could take months and sometimes years to get it until he was perfectly happy with the book. So Seuss's artistic style is definitely unique. Seuss often said that that was him trying to draw realistically and it all came out wrong.
I mean, he basically says he's doing the best he can with what he's got and that's what comes out of the other end. Now, of course, that's him being modest, I think. But it's definitely an inimitable style. And it is one of those styles that when you see it, you immediately know Seuss. You immediately know Seuss work. You know, it's very subtle. But, you know, you notice a lot of Seuss's characters have eyelashes, for example. It's one of these weird little touches you see that makes it look Seussian.
So his artistic style is him, as he always said, just doing the best he could with the way he knew how to draw. But that love of language and that real fun sense of wordplay, again, I think a lot of that came from listening to his German relatives talking and just listening to the way those German words came tumbling out and how funny they could be. And again, if you wanted to make a German word, make it explain something even more. You didn't add words to a sentence.
You just added more letters to a word and you got these long, drawn out, ridiculous looking words. I think Seuss really got a kick out of that. You know, Seuss is so funny and a little frustrating when throughout his life people would ask him, you know, where do you come up with, you know, where do you come up with something like the Lorax, for example, is a perfect example. He said, well, I drew him and he was clearly a Lorax.
The most unhelpful answer possible. But, you know, Seuss didn't really have a hard time coming up with these crazy words. His made up names sound organic. They sound like they're real words.
They don't sound like he's trying too hard. I don't know where he gets that ability from. Again, it could come from that love of language and listening to German words qualifying themselves over and over again. But Seuss is really, really great at just coming up with a word like Grinch or Sneetch or Lorax or something that sounds like it already existed before Seuss made it up. Seuss's wife, Helen, is one of the most important people in his story, sort of the unsung heroes, although he in his lifetime, in her lifetime, he sung her praises, gave her plenty of credit on it. She was a brilliant editor, a brilliant writer in her own right. She was one of the few people who could read his work in its rough form and walk back to him and just hold it in his face and say, this doesn't work. Which is a tough place for a spouse to be in at times. But Helen was the one person who could be absolutely blunt with him, who didn't bother sitting around and saying, yes, you're brilliant.
Everything you do is wonderful. She's the one who there's a great moment in one of the magazine interview that he does, for example, where the journalist actually reports the moment when he's sitting by the pool and Helen walks out and hands him pages from, I think, the Grinch and says, you're making the Whos look like bugs. And Seuss says something like, well, they are bugs.
And she says, no, the Whos are people. She's just not going to have it with him. And so he might complain about it, but he goes back and fixes it. So she was the one, you know, his first and best reader. She was the one who would go through it and, you know, help him keep on course and tell him if things didn't work and tell him that she thought a rhyme was not quite right or a drawing looked weird. And he took her word seriously.
Whatever she said, he took to heart. So she was one of his really important, you know, in his career, one of his really important first editors. And Helen, again, like Seuss, was a great recruiter, was great at going out identifying talent, great at finding great writers and, you know, who could turn in these amazing manuscripts that she helped edit.
So she was really, really important to his story in that regard on the professional side. On the personal side, Helen couldn't have children. So Dr. Seuss and Helen never had any kids of their own. And as Seuss always said throughout his life, you have them, I'll entertain them. It's rare when an artist gets to say goodbye to their readers on their own terms.
And Seuss does that with, oh, the places you'll go. Seuss knew this was likely his last one. His health had been declining. Seuss was a smoker his entire life. And it gave him cancer of the tongue and then his jaw. And he was in constant pain.
His teeth were coming loose at times. So Seuss, by the time he's working on other places you go, knows that this is likely his last one. And it's an opportunity for him to say goodbye to his readers, which again, not every artist gets that opportunity. You can see Seuss putting everything he's got into that book. There are pages, there are big spreads inside that book where you've got characters that look like they stepped out of Judge magazine from 1925. There's men with bowler hats off who look out of time and out of place.
They look like something from the 1920s. He's got little black cats that used to show up in his cartoons in there. Before he ever created the Cat in the Hat, he would have little cats reacting in some of his books. You know, there's little homages to some of his other books going on in some of these other pages.
There's a lot going on, a lot of what people today would call Easter eggs, clues or little hat tips to some of his earlier work. And it's Seuss sort of putting everything into this book as he's telling his reader, you're amazing, you're going to succeed in life. But it's him saying goodbye. It sells every graduation. Twice a year for spring graduation and fall graduation, that book's constantly selling.
Everybody gets promoted, they get that book. But it was his valedictory message. It was him telling everyone goodbye.
You're great, you're brilliant, go have fun. And that was him turning the lights out as he said that. Not every artist gets to do that. I mean, what a great way for Seuss to go out on a book that, again, became that big and is really that beautiful.
Really a fantastic piece of Susean work. So I think part of the reason Seuss is timeless is because all of his really great books sort of speak to something eternal in all of us and something we can all relate to. I mean, every one of us in our life at some point has been sitting inside on a rainy day with nothing to do and just wishing something interesting would happen. And that's where the cat in the hat comes from.
He comes in on a rainy day and causes chaos, which he cleans up, as Seuss always points out. There's something eternal about that. There's something eternal about scratching your head and wondering about the holiday and what is this all about.
This is about more than just giving people things. I mean, that's an eternal question. There's so much in Seuss that just touches something inside all of us, no matter where we are, where we're sitting, what part of the world we're in. Seuss's books don't look like anything else.
They don't look like they're taking place in a certain time period. Even something like the cat in the hat that was written in the 50s and actually has, you know, human children in it. There's something about the way it's drawn that doesn't look like it's 1957.
You know, I mean, there's something still timeless in that artistic style that he's got. Seuss's books are fun. Seuss just feels like he's existing on his own plane the entire time. It's like the Seussian universe, you know.
It's got its own rules that you seem to get inherently when you visit it. And a terrific job on the production and editing by Madison Derricotte. And a special thanks to Brian J. Jones, author of Becoming Dr. Seuss, Theodore Geisel, and the Making of an American Imagination. Go to Amazon or the usual suspects and buy this book. We learned that his bride was a real unsung hero, a brilliant editor and writer, and one of the few people who could be blunt with her husband.
This doesn't work, she would say. She was Seuss's first and best reader. We learned from Helen that he's miserable when he's writing, but more miserable when he's not. And then that story about, oh, the places you will go.
I never knew this. I never knew it was his farewell book. And he did it in classic Seussian style. Go have fun, kids. You're wonderful. Goodbye.
So simple. Was it the German language and his love of it? His love of rhythm? His love of drawing? Was it Frank Capra? Was it Chuck Jones? Was it all of the above? And of course, that God-given talent, that imagination. Well, you be the judge.
The story of Theodor Geisel, known as Dr. Seuss, born on this day in history in 1904, here on Our American Stories. Download the Roto app or check out Roto.com when you're not playing a sport. The easiest way to buy or sell a car right from your phone.
It's the people shark here, Damon John. Now, I'm going to give you a tip that I have never shared with anyone before. My tips are usually about business. This tip is about how to create the wow factor in your home. Nearly every person that comes into my home comments about how amazing it smells. It's all thanks to Aroma 360 scent diffusers. You see, my family and I, we feel like we live in a luxurious hotel every day.
I highly recommend that you go directly to Aroma360.com to get yours today. This is Kevin Costner. And if you're an avid traveler like me, you've got to download my new app, Auteo. That's audio with a T. A-U-T-I-O. Enjoy a new way of traveling with stories activated by your location. So when you're driving through a new town, discovering a national park or just curious about the origin of your city's name, you can listen to a quick three to five minute story covering our history from the first peoples to famous places and insights only locals would know.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-03 04:13:41 / 2023-03-03 04:33:01 / 19