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How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Approx. run time 26 min. Distributed by MGM Television for CBS (original telecast)
MGM/UA Home Video
Turner Entertainment
Warner Bros. (DVD) Written by Bob Ogle and Theodor Geisel Directed by Chuck Jones and Ben Washam Produced by Chuck Jones and Theodor Geisel Starring Boris Karloff (narrator and voice)
June Foray
Thurl Ravenscroft (uncredited) Music by Albert Hague Language English Release date December 18, 1966 Followed by Halloween Is Grinch Night IMDb

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a 1966 American animated television special directed by Chuck Jones. It is based on the children's book of the same title by Dr. Seuss, the story of The Grinch trying to take away Christmas from the townsfolk below. The special, which is considered a short film as it runs less than an hour, is one of the very few Christmas specials from the 1960's to still be shown regularly on television. Boris Karloff narrates the film and also provides the speaking voice of The Grinch (the opening credits state, "The sounds of the Grinch are by Boris Karloff. And read by Boris Karloff, too!").

The 26-minute short was originally telecast on CBS on December 18, 1966. CBS repeated it annually during the Christmas season until 1987. It was eventually acquired by Turner Broadcasting System, which now shows it several times between November and January. It has since been broadcast on TNT, Cartoon Network, and The WB Television Network. Most recently, it has been shown on ABC, but with some scenes trimmed down because of time constraints (the show was made at a time when commercial breaks on television were shorter than they are now). In any event, as of the present time, it is the lead-off "classic" special (i.e. the first classic special) that airs on network television each Christmas season.

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[edit] Plot

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The plot is faithful to that of the original book. The only notable additions being the addition of color (the original book was in dichromatic red and black, with the occasional pink), the early appearance of the Grinch's dog Max, and the insertion of three songs: the Christmas carol "Welcome Christmas" (sung by a studio chorus at the beginning and closing of the program), the polka-styled "Trim Up the Tree," and the now famous "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" (performed by an uncredited Thurl Ravenscroft). Almost all narrations are made verbatim from the book. The major additions to the narration are a description of the noise-making Whos on Christmas morning and the substitution of nonsensical Seuss-like gifts such as "bizzle-binks" instead of the mundane gifts such as bicycles and popcorn. A protracted animation sequence, with no spoken parts, in which the Grinch and Max advance from the mountain to Whoville with comical difficulty on Christmas Eve was also added, to extend the time length of the special.

It is Christmas Eve down in Whoville, and everyone's decorating for the big day tomorrow. Everyone, that is, but the Grinch (voiced by Boris Karloff), a depressed, wicked-tempered grouch with a sour attitude who lives in a mountain cave just north of Whoville. He absolutely hates everything about Christmas because of the noise surrounding the entire town on Christmas Day (though it seems that, despite his sour attitude, he is very patient seeing as it was said, by the Grinch, that ,"For fifty-six years I've put up with this, now!"). The Grinch tries to come up with a plan of "keeping Christmas from coming." Just then, he notices his dog, Max (voiced by Dallas McKennon), covered in snow in a Santa Claus-like way. The Grinch then gets the notion of disguising himself as Santa and stealing all of the Whos' presents, believing that that is enough to stop the holiday from coming.

First, he cuts out a coat and a hat and sews some fluff onto them. Next, he takes a reindeer horn and ties it to Max. Finally, the Grinch brings out a big stack of bags, loads it onto his ramshackle sleigh, and starts down on his journey to Whoville in a very comical way.

Down in Whoville, the Grinch starts to steal everything in the first house. Cindy Lou Who (voiced by June Foray) wakes up and asks him why he's taking the Christmas tree. The Grinch lies and tells her that something is wrong with a lightbulb on this tree and he will fix it up. After tucking Cindy Lou back in bed, the Grinch stuffs up the tree, takes the log for their fire, and goes up "the chimney himself, the old liar." He does the same thing for every house afterwards.

Loaded with everything related to Christmas that the Whos own, the Grinch and Max takes up the loot to Mt. Crumpit to send the whole load off the side of the mountain. Feeling joyous at the moment, the Grinch listens for a sad cry from the Whos. Instead, the Whos are still happy and are singing carols. The Grinch realizes he didn't prevent Christmas - "Somehow or other, it came just the same!" - and begins to understand the true meaning of Christmas. The Grinch barely retrieves the sled from falling over the edge of the mountain (thanks to his heart growing three sizes that day, giving him "the strength of ten Grinches plus two!"). He brings everything back to the Whos and is invited to participate in the holiday feast, where he carves the roast beast.

With the talents of Chuck Jones, Boris Karloff, and Dr. Seuss combined, there was almost no way this could be anything but an instant classic. Watched regularly every holiday season and beloved by children and cynical adults alike, this animated gem is just that and more. Boris Karloff narrates and stars as the odious Mr. Grinch, the sinister green monster who plots to steal all the Christmas presents in the town of Whoville. All goes well with his dastardly plan until little Cindy Loo Who (who was no more than two) gums up the works with her innocent Christmas spirit. Jones directed, with Karloff supplying the sweetly sinister narration and voice of the Grinch. The story is from the book by Dr. Seuss. Thurl Ravenscroft (of "Tony the Tiger" breakfast commercial fame) provides the memorable bass singing voice for the tune "You're a Mean One, Mister Grinch." Filled with close attention to comic detail, memorable characterizations, and delightful wordplay, this is essential holiday viewing for the whole fa...
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CastHans Conried, Boris Karloff, June Foray, Thurl Ravenscroft, Chuck Jones
DirectorChuck Jones
Genre:  Animation, Classics, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Release Date:  1966
MPAA Rating:  Unrated
Runtime:  26 minutes
Studio:  Warner Bros. Pictures
What's your opinion on Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christma...?
4 Ratings: +4.8
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review by . August 13, 2010
My favorite from childhood
I loved this Christmas film as a kid and I am Jewish!  Karloff's sonorous voice really did it for me.  It is too bad he got was cast in Hollywod for horror films; I understand in England he was quite the Shakespearean actor.  With his voice I believe it.    
Quick Tip by . July 25, 2010
This classic cartoon is a unusual yet fun depiction of a Christmas tale.
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