The Christmas holiday just isn’t complete without viewing certain programs. Over in Sweden, the entire country sits down to watch a Disney Christmas special from the 50s every Christmas Eve. Here in America, we have a kind of Triple Crown of Christmas specials that are also required viewing. Those would be Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas and How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Can’t get enough Grinchy goodness? Here are some Grinch facts you need to know:
First Came The Book
Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss was coming off the success of The Cat In The Hat and was looking for inspiration for his next book. The year was 1957 and Dr. Seuss was 53. As for the inspiration, he need not look any further than his own bathroom mirror.
“I was brushing my teeth on the morning of the 26th of last December when I noticed a very Grinch-ish countenance in the mirror. It was Seuss!” Giesel told Rebook back in 1957. “So I wrote about my sour friend, the Grinch, to see if I could rediscover something about Christmas that obviously I’d lost.”
It only took the good doctor a few weeks to write the book. He even got to proof the final galleys while on vacation in Hawaii. Talk about the opposite of a Whoville winter! As with all of Dr. Seuss’ writings, How The Grinch Stole Christmas was an instant hit with the reviewers and the kid readers. The book would go on to become one of the Teachers Top 100 Books For Children according to the National Education Association.
Then Came The TV Special
The first airing of the animated How The Grinch Stole Christmas was on December 18th, 1966. The 26-minute carton was animated and produced by Chuck Jones who was responsible for a few other cartoon characters you might be aware of, namely Bugs, Tom and Jerry, Daffy, Elmer and Yosemite Sam. There would be no “golden age of Warner Brother’s cartoons without Chuck Jones.
For the voice of the Grinch and narrator, Chuck tapped infamous horror star Boris Karloff. At first, Dr. Seuss wasn’t on board with this idea. He thought that Boris would make things too scary. Turns out, Boris is the only voice that could have been the Grinch. On the spoken word album based on the series and the book, Boris won a Grammy. It would be the only award of recognition he received for this long career.
All the song lyrics for the show were written by Dr. Seuss. Sadly, Thurl Ravenscroft who sang the theme song wasn’t given credit in the original show’s credits. When Dr. Seuss found out about this, he sent personal letters to every major newspaper in the country making sure Thurl got his due. Incidentally, you might recognize Thurl’s distinct voice because he was the original voice of Tony the Tiger. That’s great!
Then Came The Classic Status
The Grinch has been on the air for over forty years without any sign of letting up. It has inspired a live action movie version starring Jim Carrey, numerous covers of the song, a stage musical and a new animated reboot. Simply put, when December rolls around, we just can’t get enough of the Grinch.