The Lorax (1972 TV Short)
The Once-ler: Then, oh, baby, oh! How my business did grow! Now chopping trees one at a time was too slow! So I promptly invented my Super-Axe-Hacker, which whacked off four truffula trees in one smacker! We were making thneeds four times as fast as before! And my profits, incidentally, were soaring galore!
[as suburbs suddenly spring up around him]
The Lorax: They say I'm old-fashioned, and live in the past, but sometimes I think progress progresses too fast!
The Once-ler: 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!
The Lorax: Yes, I am the Lorax who speaks for the trees, which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please. But I'm also in charge of the brown Bar-ba-loots, who played in the shade in their Bar-ba-loot suits and happily lived eating truffula fruits. Now, thanks to your hacking my trees to the ground, there's not enough truffula fruit to go 'round!
The Once-ler: I see your point. Yes, I do see your point.
The Lorax: They loved living here. But I can't let them stay. They'll have to find food, and I hope that they may. Good luck, boys! Good luck!
The Lorax: Well, Mr. Once-ler?
The Once-ler: Hmm. First the poor Bar-ba-loots. Then the poor Swommee-Swans. Now the poor Humming Fish... oh, Mr. Lorax, Mr. Lorax... this cursed factory of mine! Now, at last, I understand.
Ms. Funce-ler: [over intercom] Mr. Once-ler! Mr. Once-ler!
The Once-ler: Hmm? Oh, yes, Ms. Funce-ler?
Ms. Funce-ler: Stock markets just closed, and Thneeds Inc. stock is up! Up 27 and 5/8 points!
The Once-ler: Wow. Wow! Rowdy-dow!
The Once-ler: Now, you listen to me, Pop, while I blow my top! Trees? Ha! You speak for the trees? Well I speak for men, and human opportunities! For your information, you Lorax, I'm figgering on biggering and biggering, and biggering, and BIGGERING, turning MORE truffula trees into thneeds! Which everyone, everyone, EVERYONE NEEDS!
[reacting to the Once-ler making a "thneed" from a tree he cut down]
The Lorax: 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 just one tree, I'm doing no harm. This thing is most useful! This thing is a "thneed." A theed, 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, for curtains! Or covers for bicycle seats!
The Lorax: Sir, you're crazy. You're crazy with greed. There's no one on earth who will 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?
Narrator: [sung] At the far end of town where the grickle grass grows/and the wind smells slow and sour when it blows/and no birds ever sing, excepting old crows/is the street of the lifted Lorax.
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 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.
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! In knew just what I'd do. I unloaded my cart... and in no time at all, I had built a small shop. Then, I chopped down a truffula tree with one chop!
The Lorax: Please! I object in the name of the trees!
The Once-ler: [nailing a box to a tree] All complaints will be filed in this box, if you please.
The Once-ler: Now I'd reached the stage where the potential was known - this job was too big for one Once-ler alone! So promptly I built me a radio phone. And I called my brothers and uncles and aunts and 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!'
The Lorax: I speak for the trees! Let them grow! Let them grow!
[machines clear the landscape of stumps and grass]
The Lorax: But nobody listens too much, don't you know.
The Lorax: Once-ler! You're making such smogulous smoke - my poor swomee swans, why they can't sing a note! No one can sing who has smog in his throat. And so -
The Lorax: please pardon my cough- they cannot live here, so I'm sending them off.
The Once-ler: Where will they go?
The Lorax: Where will they go? I don't hopefully know.
Swomee Swams: [singing] Will there be another dawn/ a sunrise for the swomee swan/ exit, exit swomee swan/ going, going, going, gone...
[they disappear into the distance]
The Once-ler: Well, what do you want? I should shut down my factory, fire a hundred-thousand workers? Is that good economics, is that sound for the country?
The Lorax: I see your point. But I wouldn't know the answer.
The Lorax: I'm sorry to yell, but my dander is up! let me say a few words about gluppity-glupp. Your machinery chugs on, day and night without stop, making gluppity-glupp, and also schloppity-schlopp! And what do you do with this left-over goo? I'll show you, you dirty old Once-ler man, you!
[watching industrial waste being dumped in the pond]
The Lorax: You're glumping the pond where the humming fish hummed! No more can they hum, for their gills are all gummed. So I'm sending them off! Oh, their future is dreary.
Humming Fish: I hear things are just as bad up in Lake Erie.
The Once-ler: And at that very moment, we heard a lound whack. From outside in the fields came the sickening smack of an axe on a tree. Then we saw the tree fall... the very last truffula tree of them all. No more trees. No more thneeds. No more work to be done. And in no time, my uncles and aunts, everyone, had all waved me goodbye and jumped into their cars, and drove away under the smoke-smothered stars.
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 never forget the grim look on his face when he hoisted himself and took leave of this place through a hole in the smog without leaving a trace!
The Once-ler: 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 far away word/just a far away thought...
Boy: A thought about what? About something I ought?
The Once-ler: [sung] Well... A thought about something that somebody ought/a thought about something... that somebody... ought.
The Once-ler: 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] Let's see now... where is it?
[to the boy]
The Once-ler: 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]