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The Grinch continues to steal hearts at Christmas

Actor Boris Karloff is pictured in 1942. Associated Press file photo

In December 1966, the CBS special “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” premiered. At the time, it was “the most expensive half-hour ever put on TV” due to animation costs, music and narration.

It was inspired casting that Boris Karloff, star of 1931’s “Frankenstein,” would provide the voice of the Grinch. The artists may have also sketched features of Karloff’s face onto the Grinch’s face. There seems to be an odd resemblance.

What would the Grinch sound like? Boris Karloff, of course. A 1966 TV reviewer wrote: “Who is to doubt that a man so akin to the metaphysical world as Karloff knows what a Grinch’s voice is like?”

To the delight of fans, Karloff will forever be the face and voice of Dr. Frankenstein’s monster and Dr. Seuss’s Grinch. Karloff considered himself “lucky” that he had these roles.

For the last 57 years, the Grinch has continued to steal Christmas, to the delight of young and old. 

The Grinch returns for Christmas 2023!

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” tells the story of a mean green character with a tiny heart who does not want Christmas to arrive. He dresses as Santa and with a sled driven by his dog, steals Christmas presents and decorations from the Whos in Whoville. On Christmas morning, the Grinch marvels as the Whos still celebrate Christmas. It is a heart-changing experience for the Grinch. The program is a joyful annual holiday experience for all.

At the 1967 Grammy Awards, the Song and Record of the Year was “Up, Up, and Away” by the Fifth Dimension. The album of the year was “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Beatles. The Grammy for Best Recording for Children went to 78-year-old Boris Karloff for narrating “Dr. Seuss: How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” Karloff died in 1969.

Karloff’s daughter Sara told me that the Grammy was the only major award that her father won. I suspect that if kids and adult fans were allowed to vote in the Emmys or Academy Awards, they likely would have given both awards to Boris Karloff.

Karloff’s 1931 performance in “Frankenstein” made him internationally famous for the rest of his life. Halloween would not be the same without a screening of the film. Kids and adults wearing Frankenstein masks for Halloween is an American tradition. Karloff is with us every October.

In December, Karloff will also be with us as the Grinch. Christmas cards with images of the Grinch are popular with kids and adults. Sara Karloff said she has written “Merry Grinchmas” on innumerable holiday cards for kids and other lovers of her father’s Grammy Award-winning voice work. This Christmas will be no different, she said.

On a historical note, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” was a 1966 CBS TV Special. It was initially broadcast on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. Eastern. It pre-empted the popular audience favorite “Lassie.” The Grinch had fierce competition from ABC’s hourlong episode of underwater drama “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.” That evening’s episode, “The Brand of the Beast,” had a werewolf onboard the submarine.

James Patterson is an American author. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

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