My favorite Christmas movie, without question, is How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (sorry Die Hard). The creative team, which included the likes of Chuck Jones, Boris Karloff, and Thurl Ravenscroft, but together an adventure with a gleefully evil villain but still managed to make it one of the most touching Christmas films ever conceived. So, naturally, I’m going to spend some time here picking it apart. Continue reading
Archive for Dr. Seuss
I read my son How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, because why the hell wouldn’t I?
One particular picture gave me pause:
I don’t generally cross-post here from my other blogs, but my recent post on BabyCenter dealing with a suggestion to ban the Dr. Seuss book Hop on Pop could easily have landed in the Fake Rants section of this site. The comments are what really puts the whole thing over the top for me, which is why this blog entry has earned a spot over here on the Screamsheet.
The Toronto Public Library recently received a request from a concerned patron asking that the Dr. Seuss book Hop on Pop be banned. The reason, according to Director of Collections Management Vickery Bowles, was that, “It was violent and encouraged children to be violent with their fathers.”
Ms. Bowles and the review committee ultimately decided to keep the book on shelves. Although the fight was lost, I for one want to salute the anonymous patron for fighting the good fight and lobbying for this book to be banned.
Growing up, there were two things my brothers and I always did every Christmas. First, we’d always listen to my dad read The Night Before Christmas and changing the words each time, much to our consternation. Second, we made it a point to catch How the Grinch Stole Christmas! on television. Since Sarah is getting me into a Christmasy mood, we cuddled up and watched that Christmas special last night.
To make things perfectly clear, I’m talking about the animated version of Dr. Seuss’ classic book. It’s among the best half-hours of television you’ll ever be able to find.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is as close to perfect as I can ever imagine a Christmas special being. Not only does it have great source material to build from, but it’s got some amazing talent behind the scenes. The narration is read by Boris Karloff, aka the horror movie master who played the Frankenstein monster in the first few Universal films. Karloff also does the voice of the Grinch, and he does remarkably well at switching from a guy you can imagine as a kindly old grandfather when he’s the narrator and a guy who can actually steal Christmas when he’s the Grinch. The animation is directed by Chuck Jones, who gave the Looney Tunes shorts their best years. And the theme (“You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” not “Welcome Christmas”) is so great that it’s considered a classic Christmas song even though it’s all about how awful a person the Grinch is. The theme song, by the way, was sung by Thurl Ravenscroft, the guy with one of the coolest names ever and whose singing career was unfortunately overshadowed by the fact that he played Tony the Tiger for years. Continue reading