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 You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch!

You really are a heel!

You're as cuddly as a cactus!

You're as charming as an eel!

Mr. Griii-inch!


An animated special based upon the book of the same name. It was animated by Chuck Jones, with Boris Karloff providing the voice of both the eponymous grinch and the narrator. The special follows the plot of the original book closely. It was originally broadcast on CBS in December 18, 1966, and since then has been regarded as one of the classic TV Christmas specials.

Followed by Halloween Is Grinch Night.

Includes examples of:

  • Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: The Grinch turns his head around when the Narrator says it "wasn't screwed on just right".
  • Actor Allusion: Boris Karloff voices a green monster.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The special follows the book quite closely, but because it's a cartoon, a lot of cartoonish antics are thrown in that weren't present in the original book, such as the wacky sled ride down the mountain that has definite shades of a "coyote Acme invention" gone wrong, as well as the scene where the Grinch "gains the strength of ten Grinches plus two."
  • Ascended Extra: Max.
  • Aside Glance: Due to Chuck Jones being the director, Mr. Grinch does this several times. Though it could also be explained away by saying the Grinch is a tad insane.
  • Bad Santa: The Grinch disguises himself as one.
  • Buffy-Speak: A very early example in the song, You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch. The singer calls the Grinch "A Nasty Wasty skunk".
  • Canis Latinicus: The Whos' Christmas song, with its Latinish-sounding lyrics.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: The Grinch's face breaks into one of these when he first hits on his scheme to impersonate Santa, that it approaches a full-on Slasher Smile.
  • The Chew Toy: Something hilariously terrible is always happening to poor Max.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Grinch's only motivation for ruining the holiday is being disturbed by the noises of the Christmas celebration.
  • Edited for Syndication: For many years US network broadcasts deleted one of the "You're a Mean One" verses ("You're a rotter, Mr. Grinch...") as well as a genuinely disturbing moment in which the Grinch does his Slasher Smile while leering at a young Who in her bed (he's just grinning in anticipation of stealing the candy cane she's holding, but modern viewers see Unfortunate Implications).
  • Excited Show Title: Like the book, the title is How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, with the exclamation point.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Although the Grinch was depicted with the evil eyes a few more times after his Heel Face Turn. Colorists can be blamed for that mistake.
  • Grim Up North: The Grinch lives "just north of Whoville", and his lair is pretty icy (although that may just be because it's winter.)
  • The Grinch: Guess who.
  • Heel Face Turn: The Grinch has a you-really-are-a-heel-face turn at the end.
  • Informed Ability/Informed Trait: The narrator's claim that the Grinch was "so smart and so slick, that he thought up a lie and thought it up quick" (implying that he was a Consummate Liar) rings hollow in the animated special where the Grinch was pretty clearly panicking at his being potentially busted by Cindy-lou Who for trying to steal the tree (biting his fingers while sweating and apparently having his teeth chatter).
  • Matryoshka Object: One waiter serves another waiter, and so on, until Cindy Lou Who gets a strawberry.
  • Narrator: Boris Karloff, of course.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Max the Dog.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: This ugly cave creature puts on a red coat and Santa hat. Boom! He automatically looks "just like Saint Nick." The only person who actually sees him is a two-year-old girl.
  • Plummet Perspective: An ornament falls off the steep cliff.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Max, especially when next to the Grinch.
  • Saving Christmas: Inverted; in fact, the inversion of this trope is essentially the whole premise of the story. However, it's then played straight when the Grinch ends up Saving Christmas at the end.
  • Shrunken Organ: The Grinch's heart.
  • Sophisticated As Hell: The Villain song "You're A Mean One, Mr Grinch" is the epitome of this trope, especially with the line "Your soul is an appalling dump heap, overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable all mangled up in tangled up knots".
  • Up to Eleven: Inverted in the beginning as the Grinch's heart is two sizes smaller than what a normal one should be. Played straight By the end, as it's not only grown to a normal size, but one size farther!
  • Villain Protagonist: The Grinch, up until the end.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch".
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