How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (TV special)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (TV special)

:" This article is about the animated special. You may be looking for either the book or the feature film."Infobox Film
name = How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

caption = Screenshot from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!"
director = Chuck Jones
Ben Washam
producer = Chuck Jones
Theodor Geisel
writer = Bob Ogle
Theodor Geisel
starring = Boris Karloff
June Foray
Chuck Jones
Thurl Ravenscroft (uncredited)
music = Albert Hague
distributor = MGM Television
CBS (original telecast)
MGM/UA Home Video
Turner Entertainment
Warner Bros. (DVD)
released = December 18, 1966
runtime = 26 min.
language = English
followed_by = "Halloween is Grinch Night"
imdb_id = 0060345

"How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" is a 1966 American animated television special directed by Chuck Jones. It is based on the popular 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 now considered by most to be a timeless classic. Horror film icon 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 short was originally telecast on CBS, which repeated it annually during the Christmas season for many years, but 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 plot is faithful to that of the original book, with almost all narrations made verbatim from the book, and the only notable additions being the adding of color (the original book was in dichromatic red and black, with the occasional pink) and the insertion of three songs, the Christmas carol "Fah Hoo Forres" (an apparent reference to June Foray, who also sang the song), the polka-styled "Trim Up the Tree" and the now famous "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," this last performed by an uncredited Thurl Ravenscroft. One major addition to the narration is a description of the noise-making Whos on Christmas morning; another is the substitution of mundane gifts such as bicycles and bubble gum as written with the book with nonsensical Seuss-like gifts such as "bizzle-binks." A protracted animation sequence, with no spoken parts, in which the Grinch and Max comically advance from the mountain to Whoville on Christmas Eve was also added, to extend the time length of the special.

It's Christmas Eve down in Whoville, and everyone's decorating for the big day tomorrow. Everyone, that is, but the Grinch (Boris Karloff), a depressed, wicked-tempered grouch who lives on Mt. Crumpit (just north of Whoville) with a sour attitude. He absolutely hates everything about Christmas because of the noise surrounding the entire town on Christmas Day. The Grinch tries to come up with a plan of "keeping Christmas from coming". Just then, he notices his dog, Max, 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 (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 this tree and he'll 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 the Whos owned, the Grinch and Max takes up the loot to Mt. Crumpit. Feeling joyous at the moment, the Grinch prepares for a sad cry from the Whos. Instead, the Whos are still happy and singing carols. Suddenly, the Grinch realizes the true meaning of Christmas. The Grinch barely retrieves the sled from falling over the edge of the mountain. He brings everything back to the Whos and is invited to participate in the holiday feast.


Critics at the time gave the cartoon mixed reviews, but it has since been recognized by them as a classic, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 100% "fresh" rating on its website.

Home video releases

"How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" was released to VHS in 1995.

The special was released to the DVD format in 2000. The DVD featured another Seuss-based special, "Horton Hears a Who", and contained an audio commentary by Phil Roman and June Foray, interviews with Albert Hague and Thurl Ravenscroft, and the "Special Edition" documentary which aired alongside the special on TNT in the 1990s. The DVD was well-received for these bonus features, but also criticized for its subpar picture quality (many critics pointed out that the Grinch looked yellow in this release).

The special was released on DVD again in 2006, labeled as a "50th Birthday Deluxe Edition". The "50th Birthday" inaccurately refers to the date of the book's publication - it was published in 1957, not 1956 as the cover would have buyers believe - and not to the date of the 1966 TV special. This DVD release presented the special in a better-quality digital transfer and contained all of the bonus features from the previous release, except for the audio commentary . The Grinch was restored back to his original green color. This DVD also featured a new retrospective featurette.


A television special called "Halloween is Grinch Night", created by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, aired on the ABC network in 1977, 11 years after the Christmas special. This special involved a tale of the Grinch coming down to scare the Whos every Halloween. It was less successful than its original. It was, however, given an Emmy.

pecial TV Edition

In 1994, a special edition of the original cartoon classic aired on TNT (Turner Network Television). Narrated by the late Phil Hartman, an extra 20 minutes was added for this special with several "behind-the-scenes" looks at the animation, the making of the cartoon, and special interviews, including Tim Burton. It also featured the late Thurl Ravenscroft, the non-credited singing voice behind "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." Ravenscroft explained that the oversight, caught after the film was presented to the studio for airing, left him off the closing credits of the original short cartoon. He is credited at the end of the special edition. The Bonus special was revived in 2006 on the ABC broadcast which was hosted and narrated by Tom Bergeron.

External links


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