Today’s Feature: TNT’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas Special Edition (1994) – Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
“If Santa could do it, then so could The Grinch.”
As a child, I thought that How the Grinch Stole Christmas was a feature length film. It was as complete a story as most of the features I had taken in to that point. This is a testament to how perfected the roughly twenty five minute special is. There is no dead weight and it effectively presents as much plot as most Hollywood blockbusters. As animation has continued to evolve, The Grinch has retained its relevance to a much greater degree than most of its contemporaries. A marvel in design and even music, a story about a creature never before heard of became as essential a Christmas yarn as any other. In the words of Little Steven, “Cool never dies.”
TNT’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas Special Edition is a short documentary on the creation of the feature that aired with the cartoon, creating a more easily commercialed (nope, not a word) hour long package for television. While I usually stay away from features targeted toward children, this one is quite special for a number of reasons. First is the talent present in the documentary. In addition to legendary director and animator Chuck Jones, composer Albert Hague and Dr. Seuss’ wife Audrey Geisel, the documentary features Danny Elfman and Tim Burton, fresh off their work on The Nightmare Before Christmas. While the pair don’t provide a ton of insight into either project, they emphatically make the point of how important The Grinch was to their work, as a film and musical. Perhaps the best part of this entire feature is its host, the late and sorely missed Phil Hartman. As I mentioned, this documentary is family viewing, but Hartman’s parody of fifties and sixties television personalities gives the adult audience a lot to laugh at. He also gets the opportunity to bring out one of his most famous impressions, a boy from Hoboken, New Jersey. Outside of content, the feature is also a nice bit of nineties nostalgia. We love period features here and the presentation of this one often borders on totally rad.
TNT’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas Special Edition is available on the Deluxe Edition DVD and Blu-Ray releases of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas. I have to recommend the Blu-Ray release, the remaster and transfer are great and well-worth the investment of a few more dollars. Oh, and on that release you’ll also get 2007’s From Whoville to Hollywood, a history of Dr. Seuss featuring the likes of Paul Dini, a group of children and a rapping narrator. I didn’t make that up.