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Old 09-15-2019, 02:27 AM   #8054
Agent Purple
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Join Date: Jun 2009
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Just realized you saw Plague of the Zombies, Space Cop. Damn good film.


Dr. Seuss's The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953)

"I don't think the piano is my instrument."

A young boy being forced to learn piano by a horrible teacher falls asleep (again) and dreams he is trapped in a bizarre world of terrible music. Story, sets, and music by Seuss himself.

I caught this thing playing on the TV in the dementia ward, and saw the channel icon pop up so I later checked their schedule and voila, this gem was discovered. My dad had never heard of it either.

The main character, Bart (Tommy Rettig), is a reluctant student of a prestigious piano teacher, Dr. Terwilliker (Hans Conried, who gave me the impression of Peter Cushing). Bart's mother (Mary Healy) disapproves of the plumber (Peter Lind Hayes) telling Bart that Dr. T is running a music racket and is a fraud. Rettig has a bad habit of nodding of, and when he does so a second time, he imagines being trapped in the Terwilliker Institute, where Dr. T is a power-crazed maniac who wants 100 boys to play his best song on a gigantic piano.

I can't even begin to describe this film. The set is like an Escher drawing, the songs come in every variety, there are dance fights, there are real-life twin roller skaters with a conjoined beard, there's a dungeon for non-piano players (which has an AMAZING musical performance), there are separate piano instruction books for both the left and right hands, and more. My dad thought the film was totally mental, and I agree, but holy shit was this a sight to behold. Hans Conried was the best performance in the film, absolutely hilarious, and it's a shame the producer Stanley Kramer reshot the beginning, because "Dr. T. was not Bart's personal piano teacher, he was simply the author of a musical instruction book. In that version, Bart doodles on the picture of Dr. T on the front of the book, which then comes to life and pulls him into a dream world. Hans Conried was vehemently opposed to the new scene, feeling Kramer was robbing the story of some of its fantasy element by making Dr. T. a real-world character." (IMDB)

Also, this hysterical bit of trivia: According to Dr. Seuss, the film's creator and co-writer, one of the 150 boys vomited on the piano while filming. This caused a chain reaction and they were left with 150 vomiting boys. Dr. Seuss said that the film's reviews were similar.

Oh, and the dungeon's second floor has a jewelry department.

Highly recommend.
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