We all know the Grinch as the lead character in the 1957 children’s book How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Since then, there have been three movies of the said book. The first animated film featured the song You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch, but did you ever wonder who wrote it?
The author of the book and co-producer of the classic cartoon “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” Dr. Seuss himself, wrote the lyrics for the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”
What is the Best Version of the Story?
Most people would assume that the best version of the Grinch’s story would be the iconic children’s book. But the reality is the animated feature, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, is superior to the classic literary form. (Souce: Slate)
Chuck Jones, the genius behind Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, directed the animation alongside Ben Washam. Though the book may have been the basis for the cartoon, Irv Spector and Bob Ogle also contributed to the additional plot and storyline of the film. (Source: IMDB)
Character Design and Dr. Seuss’ Signature Style
In the book, the Grinch was white with red scleras. Jones, the veteran animator, decided to redesign the character into a more vibrant hue. The Grinch was colored green and was befitting the archvillain. Everyone else in the animation stayed close to their form in the book. (Souce: Slate)
The Song About the Mean Grinch
One of the highlights of the animated film was the song. You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch. It was profound strange but easily one of the funniest Christmas songs ever to be composed. The tune starts by describing the depths of the Grinch’s cruelty. Dr. Suess himself wrote the lyrics to the song. This was highly evident in the whimsical play of words.
Your brain is full of spides, you have garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch. I wouldn’t touch you with a 39-and-a-half foot pole! You’re a crooked jerky jocky, and you drive crooked hoss, Mr. Grinch. You’re a three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwhich – with arsenic sauce!
As the song progresses, the description of the Grinch seems to get more and more graphic. The song easily explains the Grinch’s sinister character and evil plot. The piece wouldn’t be complete without the genius work of Albert Hague, who paired the lyrics with a catchy tune. It was also essential to select the perfect person to sing the song.
Seuss picked Thurl Ravenscroft. He was the ideal person for the job with his skills and experience in the business. Ravenscroft also voiced Tony the Tiger. (Souce: Slate)
How Well Did the First Animation Do?
Compared to all three movies released, the 1966 animation did the best. It was released just in time for the Holidays on December 18, 1966. It was released as a special in the midst of a wave of animated holiday films like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Frosty the Snowman.
The cartoon was well received and became a yuletide tradition of its own. And even there were remakes of the said animation, and nothing can truly beat the classic. (Source: IMDB)