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A staple and delight, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” reaffirms the reason for the holiday season. Interestingly, Dr. Seuss, the author of the children’s story, lost his zest for Christmas, which inspired him to create the beloved character — the Grinch.
It would be remiss to mention Santa Claus, Scrooge, and not the Grinch during the times of holiday cheer.
Three Adaptions of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”
There have been three adaptations of the 1955 classic initially titled, “The Hoobub and the Grinch.” It first appeared as a 32-lined poem in Redbook, a women’s magazine.
The poem later became a published book. The children’s story focuses on several themes of Christmas and life in general. Which version is the best is a matter of personal preference.
The first adaptation was in 1966. Boris Karloff lent his voice to the succinct animated story in the Chuck Jones cartoon, that kept close to the original book. Karloff is remembered for playing the Monster in the film “Frankenstein.”
He was also the voice of Tony the Tiger from the breakfast cereal Frosted Flakes. “They’re grrreeeeat!” became the iconic call of Tony the Tiger, and in 1968 it won him his only Grammy for Best Recording for Children.
Benedict Cumberbatch, in 2018, played the Grinch in an animated version of the story. Pharrell Williams lent his friendly voice as narrator — an obvious intonation change from versions in the past.
In 2000, director Ron Howard retold the story as a live-action movie starring Jim Carey. This version gave the Grinch a back story. Sir Anthony Hopkins narrated the film.
Carey’s flexibility and facial expressions brought the Grinch to life on screen. Hopkins rightfully complimented Carey as he navigated the story with his warm and commanding voice.
The character of Cindy Lou Who was given a broader role in Howard’s version. Her point of view was critical in observing how the town of Whoville perceived Christmas.
Other Delightful Book to Film Stories from Dr. Suess
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is not the only book turned into a film for the children’s author. Four of his books made it to the big screen with star-studded casts bringing the characters to life — grossing between $133.96 and $348.84 million worldwide.
“Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat” (2003), “Horton Hears a Who!” (2008), “The Lorax” (2012) are the other three best-selling books that made it to the big screen.
Mike Meyers, Alec Baldwin, Dakota Fanning, Carol Burnett, Seth Rogen, Will Arnett, Danny Devito, Talyor Swift, and Betty White were among other legendary actors will be forever tied to the beloved author and his classic stories.
The Reason For The Season
No matter which version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” a person delights in — the message is the same. Love is the reason for the season.
Cindy Lou Who represents the innocence of Christmas. A bit naive, but her believer’s heart does not disappoint as viewers are compelled to look inside themselves, hoping to rediscover a time when failure was simply not an option. Her innocence is reflective of the truth, which is the guiding light behind her bravery.
The Grinch also forces an inward examination of a person’s heart. Letting go of old baggage, forgiving others, and fellowshipping in the community are other themes that compliment the overall message of love.
Despite Whoville’s widely commercialized holiday traditions, love is the foundation that holds it all together. The Grinch set out to unveil the Whos’s materialistic and greed filled ways, only to find that although those traits existed, once they were stolen, the Whos’s were grateful for what mattered most — each other’s love.
A theme that rings true in society and has resonated more than ever in 2020. Plagued with a pandemic, crippling economic forecasts, and racial and political division — beneath it all — love evolved and has been the glue holding the world together this year.
As the holiday season is officially underway, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is more than a colorful display of bombastic characters and clever rhymes. Peppered in all of the grandeur are teachable moments that can last a lifetime.
Written by Sheree Bynum
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Vintage News: The mean-spirited Grinch who stole Christmas was actually inspired by Dr. Seuss himself “on a bad day”; E.L. Hamilton
Big Picture Film Club: WHO DID IT BETTER?: HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS
The Hollywood Reporter: Remembering Dr. Seuss: 4 Book-to-Film Adaptations, Ranked; Meena Jang
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Loren Javier’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Insert Image Courtesy of Timothy K Hamilton’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Image Courtesy of ayoub.reem’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License