The 1966 Freakish “Grinch” TV Special That Time May Forgot

How The Grinch Stole Christmas TV Special

Christmas is coming. This festival is annually celebrated to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, observed on December 25 as a religious and cultural holiday among billions of people all over the world.

During this festive season, children get gifts from family, friends, and Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas. Prior to Christmas, Christmas cards are also distributed or sent. For some people, Christmas is an exclusive family occasion, while it’s a potluck or buffet for others. Churches may have a crèche or a miniature Nativity scene, and they may hold special ceremonies.

Amid the family gathering, watching movies with Christmas themes might be one of the best activities. I present you with a TV special to watch in this exciting upcoming holiday. It is the 1966 “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.”

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Chuck Jones directed and co-produced the 1966 American animated television special titled How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (sometimes referred to as Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!). Based on Dr. Seuss‘s children’s book of the same name from 1957, it tells the tale of the Grinch, who attempts to ruin Christmas for the residents of Whoville, a village located below his mountain hideaway.

It became a yearly holiday special after being first shown on CBS on December 18, 1966, in the United States. Boris Karloff provides the voice of the Grinch and the narrator in the special.

This film loosely follows the book and TV Special but is more of a hermit who just wants peace and quiet. The film also introduces a reason to why he hates Christmas, giving him a tragic backstory.

About The Plot.

The Grinch, a grumpy, reclusive green creature with a “two sizes too small” heart, dwells alone in a cave on the summit of Mt. Crumpit, which sits above the Whoville settlement. He particularly despises Christmas and has never liked how the town celebrates the holiday.

One Christmas Eve, he makes the decision to take all the Christmas gifts, decorations, and symbols in order to prevent Christmas Day from arriving in Whoville. He disguises himself as Santa Claus and his dog Max as reindeer. He intends to dump the bags of stolen goods after loading them. He is otherwise undiscovered but is picked up by a girl named Cindy Lou Who.

The citizens of Whoville have gathered in the middle of town to sing as Christmas Day dawns, despite not having any presents or decorations, while the Grinch approaches the top of Mt. Crumpit prepared to dump the bags. The Grinch’s heart enlarges three sizes when he realizes that Christmas is about more than just financial stuff. He joins in the town’s Christmas party by carving the roast beast, and Max receives the first slice. He also saves the sleigh and returns the gifts and other things to the Whos.

How Did It Produce?

At Warner Bros. Cartoons during World War II, director Chuck Jones and children’s book author Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) collaborated on the Private Snafu training cartoons.

Jones approached Geisel to make “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” into a holiday-themed television special because he was interested in turning one of Geisel’s books into a show. Geisel eventually accepted, despite his initial reluctance owing to his horrible experiences making the movie “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.”

The Cat in the Hat Productions collaborated with the television and animation departments of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, where Jones was employed at the time, to develop “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.” After “A Charlie Brown Christmas”’ unexpected success the year prior, CBS gave Jones and MGM a $315,000 budget (equivalent to $2,465,000 in 2018), more than four times what Bill Melendez was given to produce “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Jones pondered how to make Christmas unique without using the customary components (orthodox religion, Santa, etc.). He provided a response, which Jones accepted “Write our new carols in Seussian Latin. After all, ‘Fahoofores, Dahoodores’ seems to have much authenticity as ‘Adeste fideles’ to those unauthored in Latin.” Albert Hague created the square-dance-inspired song “Trim Up the Tree.”

Jones redesigned Cindy Lou Who to look like the great-granddaughter of the Grinch because to her appealing, charming design, and was heartbroken when her role was limited.

According to the animation director, Max was shown as an onlooker and a victim, much like Porky Pig and Daffy Duck in Duck Dodgers or Robin Hood Daffy. Eleven to fourteen months were needed to complete the special, as well as 15,000 drawings and cels, 250 background layout drawings, 1,200 character layout drawings, and 60 musicians working eight-hour shifts.

The Foundation for Full Service Banks provided funding for the initial broadcast, but eventually edited its sponsor plugs out for subsequent airings. The whole book’s narrative was incorporated into the special, with a small amount of embellishment, and songs and animated scenes without words (the longest being a prolonged scene in which the Grinch and Max humorously enter Whoville) were added to make the show last the full 30 minutes.

The Grinch’s color, which was white in the two-tone illustrations of the original book, was established as green in the 1966 television special because all the major networks had switched to full-color schedules by that point. This convention was carried over to the 2000 live-action and 2018 3D animated film adaptations.

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The First Debut.

The first American broadcast of the 30-minute (with commercials) short took place on CBS on December 18, 1966. Up until 1988, CBS broadcast it once a year during the Christmas season.

Following repeated yearly appearances on Turner-owned properties (first TNT, then TBS, and finally Cartoon Network), The WB brought it back to broadcast television in 2001 by introducing its own annual showing. The special is still broadcast on TBS, TNT, NBC, and twice a year on TNT throughout the holiday season.

After The WB shut down in 2006, ABC took over the special. The 2015 purchase of the rights by NBC allowed for two broadcasts per season, which are currently scheduled for the night of Christmas and the night after Thanksgiving. The 2000 movie with the same name was later broadcast after the Christmas Eve program.

Home Media Of The TV Special.

In the 1980s, MGM/UA Home Video released and repeatedly republished “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” on VHS, Betamax, CED, and Laserdisc. Warner Home Video, which in the late 1990s purchased Turner Entertainment, acquired the rights to the MGM collection, and released the special on VHS and DVD in 1999 and 2000.

It was first made available on DVD by MGM in 1997. Another Dr. Seuss-based special, “Horton Hears a Who!”, was included in the 1997 DVD release.

The 2000 DVD also included the “Special Edition” documentary that aired with the special on TNT in 1994, as well as audio commentary from main animator Phil Roman and June Foray. The added features on the DVD were favorably appreciated, but it also garnered criticism for the poor visual quality; many reviewers noted that the Grinch appeared yellow rather than green in this edition.

In 2006, the program was redistributed on DVD under the title “50th Birthday Deluxe Edition.” That labeling relates to the 1957 publishing date of the book rather than the 1966 release date of the TV special.

All the special features from the prior version were included on this DVD, except for the audio commentary, and the Grinch was changed back to his natural green color. It also included a brand-new retrospective featurette.

This release is also included in the four-disc box collection known as Classic Christmas Favorites. The “Horton Hears a Who!” additional feature was replaced with Phil Roman’s and June Foray’s audio commentary when the special was once more made available on DVD.

The title of the special was changed to Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” when it was released on high-definition Blu-ray Disc in 2009. Except for “Horton Hears a Who!,” it included every bonus feature from the 2000 DVD in addition to a DVD of the special and a digital copy. “The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat,” “Halloween Is Grinch Night,” and “Dr. Seuss: Holidays On The Loose!” DVD set included It on September 23, 2012.

Soundtracks In The TV Special.

The special featured “Welcome Christmas,” “Trim up the Tree,” and “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” three songs with lyrics each. Thurl Ravenscroft performed the final of these; a choir that represented the voices of the Whos did the first two. At the time, none of the vocalists received credit.

As a companion to the television special, MGM published a soundtrack LP on December 18, 1966. CD releases include albums created by Mercury Records and Island (1995). Boris Karloff performs all the voices, including Cindy Lou Who’s, in the recorded version.

The Grinch’s detestable personality is humorously described in the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” which includes all the verses with their original rhyming lyrics. The individual song tracks have varied durations because they were re-recorded.

In addition to the “Horton Hears a Who!” album, Rhino Entertainment also published a new CD soundtrack on October 5, 1999. Both narrative compilations include chosen lines of dialogue and musical compositions.

The “isolated music tracks” in this edition were not re-recorded from earlier versions; instead, they were taken directly from the television soundtrack. The dialogue is performed by Hans Conried for “Horton” and Boris Karloff for “Grinch.”

Thurl Ravenscroft’s performance of the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” was not acknowledged in the 1966 television special’s closing credits, hence it is occasionally mistakenly credited to Boris Karloff. When he realized this lapse, Seuss personally apologized to Ravenscroft over the phone and later informed columnists all over the country in letters that it was Ravenscroft who provided the vocals for the musical portion.

Ravenscroft would end up playing recurring roles in several of Dr. Seuss’s later television specials, including a factory worker in The Lorax and one of the Wickersham Brothers in “Horton Hears a Who!.” For the album, Karloff won a Grammy Award in the Spoken Word category, making it the only significant performance honor of his career.

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4 thoughts on “The 1966 Freakish “Grinch” TV Special That Time May Forgot

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