The Grinch Back Story

Jones Grinch_2collage.jpg
Jones Grinch_2collage.jpg

The Grinch Back Story

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The Grinch Backstory

My grandfather told me on numerous occasions that this was likely the greatest animation production he and his team created because of all of the elements coming together at the right time.  First, this team had worked together for the better part of 25 years at Warner Bros. making short films with the Looney Tunes characters.  The team consisted of Maurice Noble for Art Direction, Benny Washam as animator and co-director, Ken Harris and Lloyd Vaughn as lead animators and, of course, Chuck Jones himself directing his 251st film. 

Additionally, they were able to use the new Xerox process to translate the incredible production drawings hand-created by the animators and assistant animators onto the cels to preserve their original "sketchy" quality, which could never have been done prior to this process because everything had to be hand-inked.

They also had over a year to create the production and the largest budget ever mounted for a television half hour animated special. 

Other elements came together as well including Chuck's selection of Boris Karloff to narrate, Albert Hague to write the music and an old friend, Thurl Ravenscroft, to sing.

On multiple occasions, I would sit with him with some Grinch production drawings and he would identify specific drawings done by each animator and revel in the details of each work of art.  His personal enjoyment of the drawings definitely caught my attention.

Although most of the Warner Bros. production art was destroyed around this time (unbeknownst to Chuck or anyone else on the team), most of this production was kept by Chuck at MGM until he left there in the early 1970s to become the head of Children's programming at ABC. 

Because Chuck was so dedicated to educating the next generations of animators coming into the industry, he lent the production material to the UCLA animation school so that its brilliance could be studied one frame and one scene at a time.  Unfortunately, during the time the production material was at UCLA, a flood occurred in the vault that the material was kept in and much of the material was damaged or destroyed. (Sadly, we found out later that some of the material was stolen by students during this time as well.)

Although I never heard him or my mother, Linda, ever begrudge the decision to lend the materials to the school, they decided to retrieve the production in its new condition and attempt to preserve and protect what was left.

I believe that Chuck's admiration for what the entire team produced for this production along with the material's circuitous history, makes this a truly unique part of the Chuck Jones animation legacy.

~ Craig Kausen

Watch Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” in its entirety HERE

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