How The Grinch Didn’t
Bother Stealing Christmas
December 18, 2014
In1957,through rhymed verse with illustration, Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel (1904-1991) brought “The Grinch” to life in the classic children's’ book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Nine years later animated film director Chuck Jones (1912-2002) turned the Grinch into a holiday icon in a television special by the same name. William Henry Pratt (better known by his stage name Boris Karloff ) (1887-1969), in one of his final roles, narrated the film and also provided the speaking voice of The Grinch. We have to pause a moment here and point out that Karloff did not sing the lyrics of the films featured song, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” That credit goes to the uncredited American voice actor Thurl Arthur Ravenscroft (1914 -2005), best known as the deep voice behind Tony the Tiger’s “They’re Grrreat!” in Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes television commercials. When it was discovered that Ravenscroft had not been noted in the credits, Dr. Seuss himself issued an apology for the oversight.
Gee Mr. Chainsaw, thanks for the cartoon history lesson that reads off like an obituary. Well, better to acknowledge the dead than give false praise to the living. Specifically Ron Howard and Jim Carrey who exploited the beloved Christmas tale in the 2000 live action version. Some things are better left alone and don’t need to be spiced up with CGI, heavy make-up or Jim Carrey. The film’s misplaced comedy and attempts at humor take away from the story’s original message. Which might better be explained like this...
‘Twas a week before Christmas and back at my place, I sat chillaxing and smoking—a smile on my face. The stockings were hung the shopping was done, now to await some good holiday fun! When unexpectedly there was a knock at the door; of course unexpected (that’s what knocking is for). When the door opened in came a foul stench, of course, no surprise, it was the Grinch. He was dressed in green fur from his head to his toe, well not actually dressed—he’s naked you know. A rare opportunity I didn’t wanna miss this, and so I asked him politely, “How did you steal Christmas?”
The Grinch rolled his eyes from ceiling to floor, I’m guessing he’d heard that joke a hundred times before. Then he spoke his voice was deep (borderline scary), more akin to Karloff thank gawd and not Carrey. He said “Seriously? C’mon man get real. How can one steal Christmas when there’s nothing to steal?” I was offended and taken back quite a bit, cause here in my house there was a lot of cool s***.
He saw my distress and waved it off with a grin, so I exercised manners and invited him in. We sat in the kitchen where I offered coffee, he took his with sugar and creamer flavored like toffee. When he’d finish he sat his cup down by the drain, “Now about stealing Christmas, let me explain. When I was created it was my thing, to go and steal Christmas and then the Whos sing.”
I stopped him there cause I’d seen the movie, a pre-70’s classic when toons were still groovy. He said, “Then you understand, you get it, you see. Christmas is already stolen and it wasn’t by me.” To be honest I didn’t and was slightly confused, The Grinch simply grinned, rather amused. Then he continued “You see Christmas is...can we just stop the rhyming thing? I’m trying to make a point here and it’s hard enough without the lyrical trapeze act?”
I told the him that was fine. He went onto explain how the lesson of the Grinch was that Christmas isn’t about decorations, lights, trees and presents. Nor was it about what you have or what you wanted. It wasn’t something you could buy or have all your own. Rather it was something you shared. A feeling of hope and joy that came from deep inside. People were hungry for that feeling and commercialism exploited it, rammed it down their throats till they choked on it. Now Christmas is a hollow shell of its former glory. The true meaning lost amidst brightly wrapped packages and credit card receipts.
There was nothing to argue because he was absolutely right. His point made he nodded and headed for the door. Pausing for but a moment he said with a hint of profound sadness in his voice, ”Now if you’ll excuse me I need to be getting back home. There’s no need to steal Christmas, it’s already gone.”
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