Grinchy Trivia

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Compare the holiday movie, TV, and Dr. Seuss creations

by Holly Hartman

How The Grinches Measure Up

version year length
book 1957 about 12 minutes
TV movie 1966 26 minutes
live-action movie 2000 102 minutes

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The Silver-Screen Grinch

  • The live-action movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas features more than 52,000 Christmas lights, about 8,200 Christmas ornaments, and nearly 2,000 candy canes.
  • Jim Carrey's Grinch suit is covered in yak hairs, which were dyed green and sewn one by one onto a spandex suit.
  • Costume designer Rita Ryack went for a 1950s look for the film, getting ideas from pictures in old cookbooks and decorating the Who costumes with vintage buttons.
  • The movie, which celebrates the joys of simple living, cost more than $115 million.
  • No movie has featured so many characters in heavy makeup since 1939's Wizard of Oz.

The Television Grinch

  • The original Grinch was not green—like everything else in the book, he was black and white with some red and pink splotches.
  • The TV movie director Chuck Jones decided to make the Grinch green, a color inspired by several ugly rental cars he had driven.
  • Boris Karloff, the original movie Frankenstein, was the voice of the Grinch and the narrator.
  • Although the character of Max the dog was minor in the book, Jones made him a major character, in part because "he represented the audience, including me…. He was the one you wanted to rescue."
  • Jones and Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) had been friends since 1943 and worked together closely on the TV movie. Dr. Seuss wrote some of the song lyrics, including "Welcome Christmas."
  • June Foray, the voice of Cindy Lou Who, was also the voice of Rocky the flying squirrel and Natasha Fatale in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons.
  • Thurl Ravenscroft, who sang such numbers as "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," was also the voice of Tony the Tiger.
  • For many years the line "You're a rotter, Mr. Grinch" was censored because it was considered too vulgar for television.
  • The Literary Grinch

    • The original Grinch was not green—like everything else in the book, he was black and white with some red and pink splotches.
    • The story was first published, in slightly different form, in the Ottawa Chronicle.
    • In the book, the furry Whos live in structures that look like haystacks, and spend their days naked. They don't even have shoes, though the lady Whos have high-heeled feet.
    • It has been said that the conflict between the Whos and the Grinch was inspired by how German immigrants in Dr. Seuss's native Springfield, Massachusetts, were mistreated by the owners of the factories where they worked.
    • The Grinch has been translated into dozens of languages, including Latin, as Quomodo Invidiosulus Nomine Grinchus Christi Natalem Abrogaverit.
    • At the time the book was written Dr. Seuss was 53, the same age as the Grinch.

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