“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” Storyboard Drawing
It’s been over 50 years since this Christmas classic aired but the Grinch just never gets old! This is an ink and marker storyboard image drawn on a 6 ½ by 5 ¾ MGM Studio Storyboard sheet. What really makes this piece special is it’s signed by director and animation legend Chuck Jones!
In a career spanning over 60 years, Jones made more than 300 animated films, winning three Oscars as director and in 1996 an honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement. During the Golden Age of animation Jones helped bring to life many of Warner Bros. most famous characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig. The list of characters he created himself includes Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Marvin Martian, Pepe le Pew, Michigan J. Frog and many others. Director Peter Bogdanovich once explained the enduring appeal of Jones’ work: “It remains,
like all good fables and only the best art, both timeless and universal.”
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” was an adaptation of Dr. Suess’s book of the same title. Born Theodor Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts on March 2, 1904, Dr. Suess attended Dartmouth College and Oxford University. His books, most published under the pen name Dr. Seuss, were valued not only for their unique brand of humor but also for their contribution to the education of children. On a tight deadline Geisel wrote “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in two months and it was published in 1957. Jones, a friend of Giesel’s from their days in WWII repeatedly tried to get him to agree to bring his creations to television, but Geisel resisted as he felt it would be too much effort to animate. Eventually Jones convinced Geisel, promising to remain faithful to the book. He was not wrong about the animation, while the usual television cartoon used about 2,000 drawings, the half hour special of the Grinch required 27,000. They also made a unique casting choice, Boris Karloff, known for portraying monsters in horror films such as Frankenstein, as the voice of the Grinch. CBS was doubtful of its potential, as it was not a traditional Christmas program and the usual sponsors like candy and toy companies would not touch it. Eventually, a bank agreed to pay for sponsorship and it moved forward airing on CBS December 18, 1966. Jones and Geisel produced, with Jones as the director and Geisel wrote the teleplay and lyrics. Jones recreated the look and feel of the original book, bringing the characters to life like only he could have. “The Grinch” was immediately met with rave reviews and public admiration turning it into a holiday favorite that has been broadcast every Holiday season since.
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