Skip to comments.‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas!’ is 50 Years Old Today—And It’s Still Great
Posted on 12/25/2016 12:43:29 PM PST by nickcarraway
Chuck Jones animated adaptation of Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas! turns 50 years old today, having first premiered on CBS on December 18, 1966.
Though the MGM project was based on a popular childrens book by Dr. Seuss, it was Jones who led the push to make it happen. After convincing Dr. Seuss that he could create an animated adaptation, Jones created color presentation boards and shopped them around to corporate sponsors. Jones made over 20 presentations, including to companies like Kelloggs and Nestle, but wasnt able to convince anyone to fund the expensive project. Finally, an organization called the Foundation for Commercial Banks (of all people, Jones said) agreed to sponsor the special.
The generous budget resulted in fuller animation and higher production values than most other tv animation of the period. When How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was finished, CBS paid $315,000 for the rights to air it twice, in 1966 and 1967. It was a significant sum for the period. An article that ran in Variety in October 1966 was titled, The GrinchIt Not Only Stole Xmas But Picked CBS Pocket for $315,000, and the trade publication speculated it was one of the most expensive half-hours of television ever made. (By contrast, A Charlie Brown Christmas, which had come out the year before cost under $100,000 to make.)
The half-hour special, though well received by some critics, also generated a number of lukewarm reviews. The criticisms hardly matteredthe special garnered 38 million viewers in its debut showing, and went on to become a perennial network classic.
Below, Phil Roman, an animator on the special, talks about some of the elements that he feels made the special unique:
What follows is a selection of pre-production and production artwork from the film, followed by some stills from iconic moments.
Condolence letter that Chuck Jones wrote to the wife of Boris Karloff, narrator and voice of the Grinch, in 1969.
Where did he learn that?
My favorite Christmas animation.
A little bit more history:
The Grinch first appeared in book form and in an issue of Redbook magazine in 1957; both were published by Random House. Nearly a decade later the story was adapted into an animated television feature in 1966. Boris Karloff served as both the story’s narrator and the voice of the Grinch.
‘You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch’ was sung by Thurl Ravenscroft, who’s famous as the voice of Tony the Tiger in the Frosted Flakes commercials.
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