We know lots of little details about Steven Spielberg's E.T.'s (like the fact that E.T. the creature is neither male or female). But we never knew about the connection between E.T. and Dr. Seuss — until we got a glimpse of this vintage concept art.
Designer Ralph McQuarrie was responsible for creating the bulbous spaceship that we see E.T. cruising about in. At first, the ship was intended to be a traditional, flat flying-saucer-style UFO. But at the request of the director, the ship was styled after another inspiration entirely: the art of Dr. Seuss.
Over at DreamsandVisionsPress.com, McQuarrie was quoted explaining the transformation:
"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.I suggested that it take off with a sort blue flame as it lifted into the evening sky, that it be very quiet, then a sound of a jet in the distance would come in as it disappeared. They did all that I think."
And it kind of does look like a flying Seussian village, doesn't it? Concept art from Ralph McQuarrie (on Dreams And Visions Press). Discovered via FilmSketcher website.