On December 18, 1966, CBS aired an adaptation of an already classic ten-year-old book by children’s author Dr. Seuss. The 30-minute adaptation starred a former horror star who took his turn at perhaps the most lovable reformed butthead in the history of literature. Since it debuted, How the Grinch Stole Christmas has become an indelible part of the holiday season. It never gets old watching the misunderstood curmudgeon finally learn the true meaning of Christmas. It’s a moral tale that embodies the spirit of the season, without coming close to a Bible (ahem, Peanuts). It’s funny, it’s sweet, and it’s got one of the cutest cartoon dogs ever put on TV. What’s not to love?
1. Dr. Seuss Was Against the Casting of Boris Karloff in the Title Role
The iconic children’s author was worried that Karloff, who had risen to fame in the 1930s playing Universal Pictures’ Frankenstein’s Monster, would be too scary as the Grinch.
2. People Thought the Lyrics to ‘Fahoo Foraze’ Were Actually Written in Latin
They weren’t. It was gibberish.
3. Karloff’s Voice Was Digitally Altered For the Grinch
Though Karloff used his “Narrator” voice throughout shooting, sound techs went in and manually removed the highs from his voice to give the Grinch a gravelly tone.
4. Dr. Seuss Thought the TV Grinch Looked More Like Chuck Jones Than the Original Book
Chuck Jones, in case you’re unfamiliar, is the man credited with creating Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, Pepé Le Pew, and Marvin the Martian, among others.
5. That’s Ironic Considering that Chuck Jones Was the Person to Convince Seuss to Animate ‘The Grinch’ To Begin With
6. Thurl Ravenscroft Received No Credit For His Singing
7. Dr. Seuss Wrote All the Lyrics to All the Songs
The man who lent his voice to “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” received no onscreen credit for his performance. It was an error Dr. Seuss attempted to rectify by sending letters to every major columnist in America.
8. There Are Several Nods to the Sigma Kappa Sorority
Dr. Seuss was a big fan of his wife, a member of the sorority.
9. The Grinch’s Eyes Change Color By the End of the Film
It’s done deliberately to indicate the Grinch’s change of heart. At the beginning, the Grinch’s eyes are red, by the end of the story, they’re blue.
10. The Singing Voice of the Grinch Was Also Another Famous Icon
Thurl Ravenscroft — who also wins the award for coolest name ever — was also the voice of Tony the Tiger.
11. The Grinch’s Green Color is Thanks to Chuck Jones’ Rental Car Experience
The film’s director claimed that every time he rented a car in the Washington-Baltimore area, it was this exact shade of green.
12. Dr. Seuss and Chuck Jones Knew Each Other Because of ‘Private Snafu’
During World War II, the burgeoning creators were assigned to deliver a series of cartoon shorts designed to instruct service personnel in ways to avoid being a nuisance, and becoming dead.
13. ‘The Grinch’ Was So Popular the Show Was Aired on CBS For 21 Consecutive Years
Then, TNT picked it up and ran with it. From there, it branched out to TBS, the WB, NBC, and ABC.
14. ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ Almost Didn’t Happen
It only came together because Coca-Cola provided funding.
15. ‘The Grinch’ Cost a Freaking Fortune
About $300,000, or about $2.2 million “now” dollars. By comparison, A Charlie Brown Christmas cost about $96,000.
16. The Book Only Took 12 Minutes to Read Aloud
That meant Chuck Jones had to add a little bit of filler to complete a 26-minute runtime. For that he turned to Max, the Grinch’s only friend, and his unwilling compatriot.
17. The Grinch Was Censored For Several Years
The line “You’re a rotter, Mr. Grinch” was removed from Thurl Ravenscroft’s song, and a shot of the Grinch smiling menacingly before he descends on the beds of some young Whos, was edited out.
18. The Grinch Has Appeared Elsewhere On TV
Two specials were made in the following years: 1977’s Halloween is Grinch Night and 1982’s The Grinch Grinches The Cat in the Hat. Both episodes won Emmy Awards.
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