Thursday, December 18, 2014

They Wouldn't Touch You With... a Thirty-Nine-and-a-Half Foot Pole

On this day in 1966, CBS first aired How The Grinch Stole Christmas, an animated version of the classic Dr. Seuss book. Its road to the airwaves was not necessarily smooth.

First Chuck Jones, the guru of Warner Bros. animation, had to convince the doctor himself, and Theodor Geisel was hesitant. But even once Jones got the creator on board, the studio didn't really want to produce the special and it took 20 tries to find a financial backer.

Of course Grinch has become a perennial hit, surviving even a stupidly message-heavy live-action version with Jim Carrey at his shamelessly muggiest. And it proves that whatever CBS executives in the mid-60s did know, they knew exactly nada about animated cartoons which explored the true themes of Christmas, as the Grinning Green One aired a little more than a year after the previous special the execs tried to thwart and revise, A Charlie Brown Christmas.

So enjoy Thurl Ravenscroft explaining to us the character of the Grinch, pre-heart enlargement:

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