The Grinch turns 50

Well, it’s official: I’m old. Did you know that this year marks the 50th anniversary of How the Grinch Stole Christmas? It’s true!

It seems to me that I remember when the TV special first came out. (Oh, wait—a quick check with IMDB tells me that even the television special was born before I was. Alrighty.) So maybe I’m not quite that old, but still. It’s been fifty years since Theodor Geisel wrote the original story, and over forty years since the television tradition began.

On the heels of my confusion over the holiday special my kids chose to watch, last night they sat down to watch the Grinch movie (which they had recorded earlier). Now, my kids have no idea that there’s a live-action version of the film out. So far as they’re concerned, the Grinch I grew up with is the only Grinch there is.

And that’s the way we like it.

I’m thinking I may have to get a copy of the special Random House anniversary edition of the book:

[The book] not only includes the original story, but also a 25-page retrospective by Dr. Charles D. Cohen, a Massachusetts dentist who has the largest private collection of Seuss-related items in the world.

The 50th-anniversary retrospective Cohen wrote traces the evolution of the drawings, describes Geisel’s collaboration with Chuck Jones on the successful TV cartoon that followed the book and surveys the sequels and foreign-language translations.

“Who knew that the Grinch is called ‘Trolli’ in Iceland and ‘Gorcs’ in Hungary?” says Cohen.

In his retrospective, he also looks at the way the story has become part of the culture, with references to it popping up in literature, television and everyday speech.

He’s a mean one, Mr. Grinch. (You’re welcome, for putting that song in your head for the rest of the day.) But I sort of love him. And so, it would seem, does the rest of the world. Happy birthday, Grinch! Have some roast beast.

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