LA TIMES October 18, 2010 | 10:16 am
Los Angeles auction house Nate D. Sanders has acquired a lost Dr. Seuss manuscript from a former assistant of Theodore Geisel; the hand-drawn and hand-lettered pages are now up for auction.
The book, “All Sorts of Sports,” was abandoned in the 1960s. It has rhymes and rhythms like many of Geisel’s books: “What am I going to do today. Well, that’s a simple matter. Oh, that’s easy. We could play. There are so many sports games to play. We could swim. I could play baseball … golf … or catch. Or I could play a tennis match.”
But around Page 6, his sports ideas peter out, with the text turning into nonsense. “I could blumf. Or blumf blumf blumf blumf blumf. Or blumf. Or blumf blumf blumf blumf blumf.” After that, the remaining dozen pages are lettered by an assistant and include notes from Geisel.
The auction runs through Thursday; the bidding, currently at about $1,600, has not yet reached the reserve price.
The lot includes a 1983 letter from Geisel on “Cat in the Hat” stationery, in which he remembers the “All Sorts of Sports” manuscript but finds the story lacking. “When you picture these negative scenes in illustrations, you will find that negatives are always more memorable than positives. And I think the reader’s reaction will be, ‘What’s the matter with this dope?’ ”
Perhaps that understanding of what stuck with readers is what set Dr. Seuss apart. After all, who can forget “Green Eggs and Ham”?
— Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: Manuscript pages up for auction. Credit: Nate D. Sanders