How The Grinch Stole Christmas!
Alternate Title: Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole ChristmasHow The Grinch Stole Christmas! (Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas) (1966) Episode 7755- Chuck Jones Enterprises Cartoon Episode Guide by Dave Koch
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- Chuck Jones Enterprises, Cat in the Hat Productions, MGM (Television)
- Animated Characters: The Grinch, Max, Cindy Lou Who, The Whos.
- First Aired in 1966.
- Episode Number: 7755
- Running Time: 26 minutes.
Cartoon Production Information:
Theodor Seuss Geisel initially felt that Karloff's portrayal of the Grinch might be too scary, and wanted someone else to voice him. His voice was altered by removing the highs and resulting in the more gravely voice now in the film. This separated the Grinch's voice from the narrators, and Ted Geisel approved of the changes.
Boris Karloff was not only the voice actor for the Grinch, but his facial expressions were sketched by the artists to provide visual models for the Grinch's characterizations.
And he was right. As the children who saw this special as a kid (yours truly included) grow older, they are assaulted by the same commercialization that Charlie Brown complained about in his own Christmas special. Thus, it unfortunately becomes very easy to identify with this Grinch who plots to steal Christmas from an entire town and dump it off a nearby mountain 50,000 feet high.
Perhaps it's this very grim take on a beloved holiday that saves this special from the sugariness that sapped the life from future Dr. Seuss specials. Even though The Grinch's dog Max (a continuing victim in Grinch's plotting) and Cindy-Lou Who (to whom The Grinch, dressed as Santa Claus, blatantly lies) tread the border of treacliness, we never forget that that nasty old Grinch is the main character in this story.
Much of this is helped along by superb voice characterizations. Boris Karloff gives the perfect bite to The Grinch's voice, and he also narrates the story wonderfully. And Thurl Ravenscroft, best known as the voice of Tony the Tiger in Kellogg's TV commercials, immortalized the song "You're a Mean One, Mister Grinch" for a generation of cartoon-lovers. (If you ever get a chance, listen to the Whirling Dervishes' alternative take on this gem.)
Many of the Christmas specials we loved as kids, sadly, don't hold up so well for us in later years. (For me, the Rankin/Bass version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer sounds like it was recorded in a lavatory.) The Grinch, perhaps because he started out so old to start with, never seems dated.
Review By: Steve Bailey
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