The Lorax
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Credit: Universal/Illumination

California tree that allegedly inspired Dr. Seuss's The Lorax collapses

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Jun 17, 2019

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According to Fox 5, a local news affiliate in San Diego, a Monterey Cypress tree in La Jolla, California that is said to have inspired Dr. Seuss to write 1971's The Lorax has toppled over. At this time, the cause of the collapse is unknown, but the tree was thought to be between 80-100 years old.

"The plan is to salvage the large trunk section in hopes of repurposing it," Tim Graham, a spokesperson for San Diego's Parks and Recreation Department, told Fox 5. The city will also be looking into planting a replacement tree nearby. 

Per the Smithsonian website, the rare Monterey Cypress in Scripps Park was visible from Seuss's "observation tower." The tree, which is native to the California coast, does indeed resemble the fictional and wispy Truffula trees depicted in the author's story.

The Lorax

Credit: Random House

While aimed at children, The Lorax is an environmentally-friendly tale for readers of all ages. When a faceless tycoon by the name of the Once-ler begins cutting down Truffula trees and turning them into "Thneeds" for money, a mustachioed being (the one who gives the book its name) shows up to protest against the rise of deforestation and pollution. Only once all the trees are gone and the local fauna forced to leave, does the Once-ler realize his grave mistake. Years later, he bequeaths the last-ever Truffula seed to a young boy, encouraging him to bring back the plant and, hopefully, The Lorax.

Universal's Illumination Entertainment adapted the book for the big screen in 2012. The animated comedy featured the voices of Ed Helms and Danny DeVito as the Once-ler and Lorax respectively. Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle, Jenny Slate, Betty White, Nasim Pedrad, and Stephen Tobolowsky also lent their voices to the project.

Despite so-so reviews from critics (it holds a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes), the film version took in more than $348 million at the global box office.


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