|Dr. Seuss character|
The Grinch (right) with his dog Max
|First appearance||"The Hoobub and the Grinch" (1955)|
|Created by||Dr. Seuss|
|Portrayed by||Jim Carrey (live-action film adaptation)|
The Grinch is a fictional character created by Dr. Seuss. He is best known as the main character of the children's book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1957). He has been played by many different actors, including: Boris Karloff, Hans Conried, Jim Carrey and Benedict Cumberbatch.
The Grinch is depicted as a hairy, pot-bellied, pear-shaped, snub-nosed creature with a cat-like face and cynical personality. In full-color adaptations, he is typically colored avocado green. He has spent the past 53 years living in seclusion on a cliff overlooking the town of Whoville.
In contrast to the cheerful Whos, the Grinch is misanthropic and mean-tempered, with a heart that is "two sizes too small". He especially hates the Christmas season, making particular note of how disturbing the various noises of Christmastime are to him, including the singing of Christmas carols. Unable to stand the holiday any longer, he decides to destroy it once and for all.
Aided by his pet dog, Max, he disguises himself as Santa Claus and breaks into the Whos' homes to steal everything they own and dump it off a nearby mountain. Although he pulls off the theft successfully, on Christmas morning, he is shocked to hear the Whos still singing cheerfully, happy simply to have each other. He then realizes that the holiday has a deeper meaning that he never considered. Inspired, he stops the Whos' belongings from falling off the edge of the mountain, and in the process his heart grows three sizes. He returns all the gifts he stole and gladly takes part in the Whos' Christmas celebration.
The Grinch is still portrayed as a bitter and ill-tempered character in artwork or other media. In both the animated TV special and the 2000 live-action film, he is shown to have superhuman strength when he stops an entire sleigh loaded with presents from going over a cliff and lifts it over his head, and he is also described as "[finding] the strength of ten Grinches plus two" (a phrase lifted from the original book) during that moment of crisis.
With the character's anti-Christmas spirit followed by the transformation on Christmas morning, scholars have noted similarity to Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens' 1843 novella A Christmas Carol. Cardiologist David Kass suggested that the rapid growth of the Grinch's heart at the end of the story indicates that the Grinch has the physiology of a Burmese python.
The Grinch first appeared in the May 1955 issue of Redbook in a 32-line poem called "The Hoobub and the Grinch," but made his book debut in the 1957 story How the Grinch Stole Christmas, written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss, published as both a Random House book and in an issue of Redbook magazine. In 1966, the story was adapted into an animated television featurette of the same name, which was directed by Chuck Jones and included the song "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch". Boris Karloff serves as both the story's narrator and the voice of the Grinch, but the aforementioned song was sung by Thurl Ravenscroft, as Karloff could not sing.
In 1977, Seuss responded to the fan request for more Grinch tales by writing Halloween Is Grinch Night, that serves as a prequel to the 1966 film. This was followed in 1982, when Marvel green-lit The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat a TV film starring The Cat in the Hat, also produced by Dr. Seuss (though under his real name, Ted Geisel). Although not as successful as the original, the two films both received Emmy Awards. Several episodes of the 1996 Nick Jr. television show The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss featured the Grinch, this time in puppet form, a rare screen appearance for the character without being animated or illustrated.
A 2000 live-action feature comedy film based on the story, directed by Ron Howard and starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch, was a major financial success, although it received mixed reviews and holds a 53% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. A video game based on the film, simply entitled The Grinch, was released on several consoles and PC in the same year. It was followed in 2007 with the release of a Nintendo DS version that went under the full title of the movie.
The Grinch was portrayed on the stage when the story was turned into a musical by the Children's Theater Company out of Minneapolis. The show made it to Broadway by way of a limited run in 2006, with Julia Leuchtenberg playing the Grinch. Icelandic actor Stefan Karl Stefansson portrayed the Grinch in the touring production of the musical from 2008 to 2015. The Grinch is also a minor character in Seussical, which is a crossover between various Dr. Seuss stories.
Popularity within American culture
The Grinch has since become an icon of Christmas and the winter holidays, despite the character's hatred of the season. Over the years he has appeared on various forms of memorabilia such as Christmas ornaments, plush dolls, and various clothing items. The grumpy, anti-holiday spirit of the character has led to the term "Grinch" coming to refer to a person opposed to Christmas time celebrations or to someone with a coarse, greedy attitude. In 2002, TV Guide ranked The Grinch number 5 on its "50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time" list.
- Nel, Philip (2003). Dr. Seuss: American Icon. New York City: Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 130. ISBN 978-0826417084.
- Held, Jacob M. (2011). Dr. Seuss and Philosophy: Oh, the Thinks You Can Think. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 147. ISBN 978-1442203112.
- Hamilton, Jon (December 22, 2017). "Heart 2 Sizes Too Small? Mr. Grinch, See Your Cardiologist". NPR. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
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- "The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss." The Jim Henson Company. 22 December 2017.
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- "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". Rotten Tomatoes. Beverly Hills, California: Fandango Media. Retrieved July 7, 2007.
- Fee, Christopher R.; Webb, Jeffrey B., eds. (2016). "Santa Claus". American Myths, Legends, and Tall Tales: An Encyclopedia of American Folklore. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 848. ISBN 9781610695688. Retrieved December 22, 2017 – via Google Books.
- Franich, Darren (April 13, 2016). "Benedict Cumberbatch is the new Grinch". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
- TV Guide Book of Lists. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Running Press. 2007. p. 158. ISBN 0-7624-3007-9.
- Schlesinger, Jill (December 17, 2009). "Citigroup Suspends Foreclosures: Grinch's Heart Grows Three Sizes!". CBS News. New York City: CBS Studios International. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- Curtis, Henry Pierson (March 31, 2012). "Orlando Grinch? Former Osceola County courts supervisor faces trial". Palm Beach Post. Palm Beach, Florida: GateHouse Media. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
- Felps, Bruce (November 9, 2010). "Grinch Grabs Salvation Army Kettle". NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. Dallas, Texas: NBCUniversal. Retrieved July 7, 2012.