How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)


“The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop” by Studio Sarah Lou is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

You’re a mean one Mr. Grinch, I’m sure most of you have heard it on the radio a dozen times by now. The Grinch is a classic Christmas song, as well as a true staple of the holiday. While we had a live-action Grinch with Jim Carrey and an animated one in 2018, the version that still remains the best is the 1966 T.V. special. 

Older generations would have grown up watching it on T.V., but younger generations might only be familiar with the Jim Carrey film. The Jim Carrey version does have some impressive makeup work, especially with the Grinch himself. You can also point out how his version can be seen as a satire of American commercialism. But it does add some filler and features some pop-culture jokes, which wasn’t what Dr. Seuss was about. I always thought the best Dr. Seuss adaptations were the ones that were a little over an hour-long, and just stuck to the message of the story. 

This brings me to the 1966 T.V. special, which was directed by Chuck Jones. For those of you who don’t know, Chuck Jones is a famous animation director (most notably for Looney Tunes). Brings his signature style here, the animation here is very fluid and brings the characters to life. The colors of the film are great, with Whoville being filled with bright colors and creative imagery (mainly the toys they’re playing with) that just give it such a Dr. Seuss look and feel. Some of the most memorable parts are just when the Grinch is smiling, it’s a little haunting but it shows the mean nature of the character effectively. Also, that image is just burned into my head. The Grinch himself is Christmas colors, with him being green and wearing the red Santa Claus outfit. Which is fitting as it can be seen as him conforming to the spirit of the holiday!

For me personally, what this film does so well captures the holiday spirit. It has a great message that resonates with kids as well as adults. In that, the holiday season isn’t about the gifts, but rather the Christmas spirit. The Grinch believes that stealing all of the presents I’ll ruin Christmas for the Whos, but seeing them singing by the Christmas tree that morning makes him realize the true meaning of Christmas. It really is a great moment as after he steals all the gifts you would think there’d be sadness, but rather a feeling of joy from the Whos. It shows that friends and family are all you need to celebrate Christmas! 

Which is a message that can even stand strong today, as people can get wrapped up (no pun intended) in commercialism. Worrying about having the best decorations or the best gifts for their kids, completing forgetting about the true meaning of the holiday. The film is a great staple of Christmas as it shows what the holiday season is all about, for people young and old!