It is just me, or does it seem like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is running in a continuous loop on TV?
Did you know it first aired on Dec. 18, 1966, as a special on CBS? And that it was almost never made?
The author of the children’s book of the same name was Theodor Geisel, under his pen name Dr. Seuss. Because of bad experiences with Hollywood, he was reluctant to sell the rights to the story. Mr. Geisel relented when he was approached by Warner Bros. veteran Chuck Jones. The pair had worked together before, in an Army filmmaking unit.
As recounted on the Mental Floss website, the expensive cartoon almost sunk for lack of an underwriting sponsor. Mr. Jones pitched every kid-oriented consumer products maker he could think of, finally selling it to the Foundation for Commercial Banks. (Did they misread the storyboards and think the Grinch was the hero?)
Which brings us to the today’s point, a Grinch mystery. The song that starts “You’re a sly one, Mr. Grinch” was sung by Thurl Ravenscroft, who was accidentally left out of the credits.
Thurl was in a group called the Mellomen, who sang backup to many famous acts in the Big Band era. He had a parallel career as a voiceover artist, mostly for Disney, and became even more famous as the distinctive, booming voice of Tony the Tiger for Kellogg’s, a gig that lasted five decades.
In an interview, Thurl told of strolling down a grocery aisle, speaking to his wife and having a kid come around the corner yelling “that’s Tony the Tiger.”
Tony lives on in the cereal section, and Lee Marshall became the voice after Thurl passed away in 2005 at the age of 91. Only a trained ear can tell the difference.
Bet you’ve heard this song plenty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFUcLZExzlA