How the Grinch Stole the Credits

Last night, ABC ran my all-time favorite animated Christmas special, “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” The cartoon was based on characters which Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) created in the book, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, a Random House publication released in 1957.

In December 1966, “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” aired for the first time. Animator Chuck Jones, who created arguably some of the greatest cartoons of all time, directed this feature.

We all know the plot behind “Grinch.” The Grinch, who lives just north of Whoville where the Whos live, hates Christmas and the merriment the Whos experience every year during the Christmas season. He hatches a plan to steal all their food and presents on Christmas Eve while they sleep. However, after going through with this nefarious act (with a great deal of assistance from his canine sidekick, Max), the Grinch finds out that it is the meaning of the Christmas season, not the food and presents, that the Whos cherish so much. In the end, the Grinch’s heart grows in size and he reforms, returning all of the items he stole.

To get to the point of my post, the opening credits for “Grinch” list only one voice artist– who was not primarily known for lending his vocal talents to cartoons–while leaving out two other voice artists, both of whom were well known for their work in animation. Boris Karloff was best known as a star of horror movies, so being the narrator of an animated feature and the voice of the title character in this special were new experiences for him.

The uncredited voice artists who performed in “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” were Thurl Ravenscroft and the legendary June Foray. Ravenscroft, who sang the song, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”. was best known as the voice of breakfast cereal spokestiger Tony the Tiger. June Foray’s reputation as a cartoon voice artist speaks for itself (no pun intended). In this annual classic, she was the voice of Little Cindy Lou Who, whom The Grinch encountered when he was in the midst of stealing a Christmas tree from the Whos.

I’ve attached a clip from YouTube from “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Sources of information for this post are biographical information from the pbs.org web site on Chuck Jones, and a page from the “A History of Horror” web site, which includes biographical information on Boris Karloff.


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