How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

US #3835 pictures Dr. Seuss with several of his characters, including the Grinch tugging at his tie.

On December 18, 1966, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! premiered on TV.

Dr. Seuss’ earliest story involving the Grinch was a 32-line poem called “The Hoobub and the Grinch,” which appeared in the May 1955 edition of Redbook magazine.  Two years later, Seuss began writing How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

US #3835 – Classic First Day Cover.

According to those who knew Seuss, it was the easiest book of his career to write, except that the ending took him a while to figure out.  He had the book mostly finished in just a few weeks.  The book was then released that December and received wide praise and positive reviews.

US #3835 – Fleetwood Plate Block First Day Cover.

During World War II, Dr. Seuss and director Chuck Jones had worked together on a series of training cartoons for Warner Brothers.  By the 1960s, Jones wanted to work with Seuss again and turn one of his books into a television special.  Seuss was initially reluctant to agree to the project, having had a bad experience making The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, but he eventually agreed. 

US #3835 – Mystic First Day Cover.

They received a budget of $315,000, more than four times what that allotted for A Charlie Brown Christmas the year before.  The animated special included all of the book’s original text.  In order to fill the 30-minute run time for TV, songs and animated segments without words were added in.  The animated special also established the Grinch’s color as green (in the book he had appeared white). 

US #3835 – Colorano Silk Cachet First Day Cover.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! debuted on CBS on December 18, 1966.  Famed horror actor Boris Karloff narrated the special and voiced the Grinch in the song, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”  He later received a Grammy Award for “Best Recording for Children” when the recording was released commercially.

Much like the book before it, the How the Grinch Stole Christmas! television special was released to wide acclaim.  In the years since its release, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! has become a holiday season favorite, along with other Christmas cartoons of the era such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas and Frosty the Snowman

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  1. Great as usual, but there is one correction that needs to be noted: It was Thurl Ravenscroft, the voice of Tony the Tiger and various Disney characters, that Sang “You’re A Mean One, Mr Grinch”, not Boris Karloff. His name was left off the original credits leading to the confusion.

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