Dr. Seuss Gets Sinister

His Technicolor fantasy tale features the tyrannical Dr. Terwilliker.


Every child’s worst fear comes to life in The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, a surreal dreamscape fantasy from the fertile mind of Theodor Seuss Geisel, best known as Dr. Seuss.

The whimsical funster who created the Cat in the Hat, The Lorax, and The Sneetches was no stranger to the darker side of childhood, plumbing his own deep-seated fear of the tyrannical piano teacher who terrorized him in his own youth to create the tale of Bart (Tommy Rettig), a 9-year-old boy who retreats into fantasy to escape the constant harangues of Dr. Terwilliker (played by the classic villain’s villain Hans Conried).

In fantastic daydreams, Bart must defeat Dr. T’s sinister plan to destroy all non-piano instruments, free an army of child slaves conscripted into forced piano recitals and overcome a pair of roller-skating Siamese twins connected at the beard (It doesn’t have to make sense; it’s Dr. Seuss.), all to free his poor mother from Dr. T’s sinister mind control and set her up with a heroic plumber. Saturday, April 21, 4 p.m., $11-$13, BAMPFA, 2155 Center St., Berkeley, BAMPFA.org.