Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Tom Ross' column appears Tuesdays and Saturdays in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4205 or tross@SteamboatToday.com.
Find more columns by Tom here.
Wah-hoo Doris! Welcome Christmas! Tonight is one of my favorite nights of the entire holiday season. Tonight is the night The Grinch returns to network TV (7 p.m. on ABC Channel 7).
Before we explore the wonders of the Dr. Seuss /Chuck Jones animated featured which turns 40 this holiday season, give me a moment to run through the requisite disclaimers.
First, I fully respect the fact that not "all of the Whos down in Steamboat" celebrate Christmas. Furthermore, I recognize (again, respectfully) that the story of Cindy-Lou Who and the Grinch, whose heart she melted, has nothing to do with the birth of Christ.
Also, the phrase "Wah-hoo Doris" isn't in the song "Welcome Christmas" the way I remember it. But, more about that later.
The original children's book, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" by Dr. Seuss, is nothing if not a morality play that puts things in perspective this time of year. The 1996 made-for-TV animated feature has come to symbolize "the true spirit" of a secular Christmas (I know, it's an oxymoron) for generations of people the world over. It's a story of how the innocence of children can overcome cynicism.
If you don't feel uplifted when all of the Whos come out of their empty homes on Christmas morning to sing "Welcome Christmas" (even though all of their Christmas cheer has been stolen and removed to the summit of Mount Crumpit) - if that doesn't warm your little heart - well then, my friend, you need to get in touch with your inner child.
I thought that I remembered the animated TV show from my early childhood, but it must be the 1957 book I recall, because I was 13 when the TV show debuted.
I'm not even going to summarize the plot of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," because I know you're all familiar with it.
But there may be some Grinch trivia you've lost track of.
None other than Boris Karloff, the original "Frankenstein," supplies the narration as well as the voice of the Grinch. However, it is not Karloff who sings "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," but a guy named Thurl Ravenscroft, who later supplied the voice of Tony the Tiger in commercials for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes (Theyyyyyyyyy-re GREAT!).
The voice of Cindy-Lou Who is supplied by June Foray, also the voice of Rocky the flying squirrel in "Rocky and Bullwinkle."
The TV special uses the original verse written by Theodor Seuss Geisel in the book. The author collaborated on an expanded script for the 26-minute animated feature.
The children's collection at the Bud Werner Memorial Library contains two brand new copies of the special edition DVD of the original TV show.
There are no nonsense song lyrics in the original book. The music was created for the TV show. I would have sworn the lyrics of Welcome Christmas began with the phrase, "Wah-hoo Doris." Instead, they go something more like this:
Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze!
Come this way!
Fah who rah-moose
Dah who dah-moose
Christmas day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp
There are alternatives to watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" for the 40th time tonight. Also at 7 p.m., a highly classified robotic vehicle kills a naval officer on "NCIS." Over on TBS, you can catch re-runs of "Everybody Loves Raymond." The Discovery Channel is airing the latest edition of "Dirty Jobs," featuring Vermont cheese-makers who get down with the curds, and SpongeBob SquarePants (or is that SquareBob Sponge Pants?) celebrates an underwater Christmas on Nick.
Of course, I recommend that you stick with the Grinch, partly because I feel compelled to watch one more time as Max and his boss make their wild sleigh-ride down from the 10,000-foot summit of Mount Crumpit.
As the Grinch found out, Christmas will arrive with or without expensive gifts and a fine roast beast.
Wahoo-Doris! Welcome Christmas!