Friday, June 20, 2008

Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You?

There are a couple of reasons I'm writing this post. One, when I was young, my dad taped all the Dr. Seuss specials and my sisters and I watched them all on a regular basis. Two, a while ago, maybe even a year by this point, I had a dream, a dream about the main character of one of the specials not specifically based on a book, Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You?, sometimes known as Pontoffel Pock and his Magic Piano. I no longer remember what exactly happened, but because of that dream, I rewatched the special on YouTube, and had the desire to write up something like this, even before I had a blog. It's taken this long for the DVD to work its way up to the top of my queue, but here it is now.

Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You - the Novelization

Actually, I don't want to do that anymore. But I do want to rebut a comment I read shortly after I watched the special on Youtube (I was too lazy to find the tape). But I have to explain the plot a little. The special details Pontoffel Pock's journey after he loses his job after a disastrous first day at the dill pickling factory. He wishes to get away from it all, and three fairies show up and grant his wish with a piano that can fly. His first trip is not good, but he gets a second chance and goes to an arabian land where he falls in love. But in his attempts to take his love and escape, he drops her and ends up lost, hence the "where are you" of the title. But in the end he finds his way back, although the piano does not survive. Still, the fairies take them back home and they both get jobs at the pickling factory. Happy ending!
Anyway, the comment was about how, since the special was coupled with The Lorax on the DVD, it had an ironic message or something. From what I remember, the poster commented on how the two specials had opposite messages, what with The Lorax being anti-commerce and Pontoffel being pro-. I guess it's because Pontoffel really wanted the job at the pickling factory. But I saw that more as wanting to join society than wanting to be a cog in a corporate scheme. After he loses his job, it's revealed that his family is all gone (dead or otherwise, it's not specified) and all he has is a run down house. That job was his last chance to connect with somebody, perhaps, and to at least move to a better house. In other words, the job wasn't really about a job, but about life.
One thing I don't really get... at the end, the master dill pickler tells Pontoffel, "For proving your worth, you deserve one more try." But how did he do that? Every place he went, he was less than spectacular, and why would a dill pickler believe in a flying piano anyway. He must really mean that Pontoffel managed to net a hot girlfriend, even though he's a self-proclaimed schnook.
Ho ho, the music is by Joe Raposo. No wonder I like it. I mean, rewatching it now I was thinking "I like this because it's more musical than most of the specials," but with Joe Raposo music, that just makes sense.
Also, the only thing I remember about my dream, and why I sought out the special right away on Youtube was that Pontoffel was a cutie. I watched the special, and sure enough, it was true.

As I said before, The Lorax is on the same DVD, so I rewatched that, too. I really think that the animated special improved on the book. In the original book, the Lorax just shows up from time to time to complain to the Once-ler, but in the special, he's constantly around, speaking for the trees, or trying to, anyway. A lot of the lines are improved, as well. I can't really remember too many examples, but one that stands out to me is how the line from the book, "You never can tell what some people will buy" was changed to "You telling me what the people will buy?" which better highlights the relationship the Once-ler will have with the Lorax, in my opinion. The special does feel a bit drawn out by the end of it, though.


Carole said...

As a lifelong Seuss collector, I am fairly certain that the book "Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You?" does not(and never did) exist. If you have any contrary evidence, I would like to see it.

caitlin said...

hey, I stumbled across this blog when I was looking for the Pontoffel Pock DVD. I was pretty sure it didn't exist but you mention having it in your blog. Do you know where I could get it? I want to get it for my niece's birthday since my sisters and I all loved it when we were kids.

The Zany Bishojo Evalana said...

The special has never been released on its own, but has been released as a bonus on other Seuss DVDs. The most recent release of the 1972 Lorax includes it, so that's probably your best bet for getting it.