Dr. Seuss Inspired Part Of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. (Plus, A Lovely Seuss/Jurassic Park Mashup)

By David Wharton | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old

Dr. Seuss and E.T.. E.T. and Dr. Seuss. Both beloved staples of many a wide-eyed child’s upbringing. Both are bursting with imagination and creativity. Both have been known to make me cry, but that’s only because I was once hit in the eye by a carelessly thrown copy of Bartholomew and the Oobleck. All true, but there’s a more direct connection, one which most of us probably never knew about. It all comes down to that nifty, onion-shaped spacecraft that transports the lovable extraterrestrial back to wherever the hell it is he came from in the first place.


Artist Ralph McQuarrie is justifiably a legend among both film fanatics and lovers of science fiction. His art and design work helped shape the worlds of Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Cocoon, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. He also worked briefly on Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Specifically, he was responsible for designing the mothership seen in the movie’s final scenes. The vessel definitely doesn’t look like your average flying saucer. Speaking on the website DreamsAndVisionsPress.com, the late McQuarrie described the job, and its connection to one Theodor Geisel — better known as Dr. Seuss.

Steven (Spielberg) had a requirement for a space ship for E.T.. He was at ILM one day and I talked with him for about five minutes — he said he would like to have ET’s space ship to look like Dr. [Seuss] designed it. I thought that was kind of interesting, very off the wall.

I made about five or six sketches of space ships for it. He looked at them and picked one out and I made a painting of it. They built the model at ILM and looked almost exactly like the painting with all the features and the retractable lights, it was amazing. They did a beautiful job.

McQuarrie’s E.T. mothership design

Sure enough, there is a definite Seuss-y quality to the E.T. mothership. It’s not so overt that you’d notice it if McQuarrie hadn’t specifically pointed it out, but I have no trouble believing the ship’s galley might be serving green eggs and ham every now and again. Climb aboard — oh, the places you’ll go!

But why stop at E.T.? What if Dr. Seuss’ unmistakable visual style were in a head-on collision with another Spielberg classic? Say, for instance, Jurassic Park. No, there isn’t a secret Dr. Seuss connection hidden within Spielberg’s dinosaur adventure. (Wayne Knight is half-Lorax, but that isn’t why he was cast.) But you can nonetheless get a look at what such a mash-up might look at courtesy of the custom action figures below. Welcome…to Seusstastic Park!


Sadly, you won’t be able to take home your very own copy of those frankly amazing Grinch-Rexes. The Seussed-up dinos were created by action figure customizer Sillof specifically at the request of the owners of a Best Western in Denver. It was all part of remodeling their hotel into a dino-themed wonderland. How did they get from “dinosaur hotel” to “make me some Dr. Seuss dinosaurs?” Shh. Don’t ask questions like that. Just look at the pictures below and drink it all in.