Doctor John Dolittle is the main protagonist of the 1967 film Doctor Dolittle who was portrayed by Rex Harrison. He is a physician who shuns human patients in favor of animals, with whom he can speak in their own languages. He later becomes a naturalist, using his abilities to speak with animals to better understand nature and the history of the world.
Doctor Dolittle first appeared in the author's illustrated letters to his children, written from the trenches during World War I when actual news, he later said, was either too horrible or too dull. The stories are set in early Victorian England, where Doctor John Dolittle lives in the fictional English village of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh in the West Country.
Doctor Dolittle has a few close human friends, including Tommy Stubbins and Matthew Mugg, the Cats'-Meat Man. The animal team includes Polynesia (a parrot), Gub-Gub (a pig), Jip (a dog), Dab-Dab (a goose), Chee-Chee (a monkey), Too-Too (an owl), the Pushmi-pullyu, and a white mouse later named simply "Whitey". Later on, in the 1925 novel Doctor Dolittle's Zoo, Whitey founds with the doctor's help the Rat and Mouse Club, whose membership eventually reaches some 5000 rats and mice.
Doctor Dolittle's household does not include a cat, and the animals associated with him express a strong anti-feline prejudice (especially since mice play an increasingly important role). Only late in the series, in the 1933 novel Doctor Dolittle's Return, is a very special kind of cat introduced - a Moon Cat, whose kind developed very different traits to Earth-bound cats and altogether stopped being predators. Even so, the cat initially gets an extremely hostile reception.
- The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle, full text
- (1928 cartoon)
- (1970–1972 cartoon)
- (1984 cartoon)
- Doctor Dolittle first editions listed with images – https://sites.google.com/site/hughloftingfirsteditionsuk/
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