“All the Whos down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot,
But the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville, did not.
The Grinch hated Christmas-the whole Christmas season.
Oh, please don’t ask why, no one quite knows the reason.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
Or maybe his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
But I think that the best reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.”
Ask any random group of people what their favorite annual holiday television show is you will likely get substantial votes for How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Based on a children’s book of the same name, written in 1957 by Theodor Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss,) the characters were brought to life (in animated form) on television for the first time during the Christmas season of 1966 and over 40 years later, there are no signs of diminished popularity.
The star, of course, is the mean one, Mr. Grinch – a green-tinted curmudgeon with a sour disposition to match his complexion. And certainly not helping his mood any are the “termites in his smile and garlic in his soul.” But nothing makes the Grinch quite as cranky as the dreaded holiday season. Living high atop Whoville, on Mt. Crumpit, he is driven crazy by all of the cheerful noise emanating from the town as Christmas draws near.
The obvious solution to his misery is simply to ruin the holiday for the overly-pleasant townsfolk. Disguising himself up as Santa, complete with his dog decked out in a pair of fake antlers, the Grinch heads into Whoville and proceeds to steal all of the X-mas trees – as well as the presents that lay underneath, including those that are meant for poor Cindy Lou “who is no more than two.” The Grinch retreats to his home with his bounty, certain that he will now be able to enjoy some peace and quiet. He isn’t quite so lucky. The happy-go-lucky residents of Whoville are so filled with the holiday spirit that even the Grinch’s larcenous ways aren’t enough to spoil their good cheer. Even the littlest Whos sing joyfully despite their material losses. The Grinch can’t help but be moved by this display of perpetual spirit, and surprisingly, his heart grows three sizes – large enough to convince him of his mistake and persuade him to return all the gifts, and their beloved holiday.
The success and longevity of How The Grinch Stole Christmas is the result of the enormous talent involved in bringing what Suess considered the personal favorite of his 40-plus books to the television screen. First of all, the special was directed by legendary animator Chuck Jones of Warner Brothers fame. Narrating the film and providing the speaking voice of the Grinch was horror film-legend, Boris Karloff. And when it was time for the green guy to sing, his vocal pipes were provided by one of the purest baritones in the business, Thurl Ravenscroft, (who also provided the voice of iconic cereal mascot Tony the Tiger)
Although this short animated feature cost a hefty $350,000 to produce, the payback over the years has made that investment seem like chump change. Everyone seems to have time in their busy holiday schedule each year to take the 26-minutes out and watch the Grinch bah-humbug the hamlet of Whoville. And no holiday would be complete without that booming low voice singing the sinister, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”
If this holiday classic resides high atop your must-see shows each Christmas, share your thoughts and memories in our comments section, as we tip our hats to Dr. Seuss and his delightful story.