About Christmas TV History

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween is Grinch Night (1977)

from 1966's How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Dr. Seuss' character, The Grinch, for many TV viewers, is the heart of Christmas.   How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was first released as a book in 1957 and the animated TV special debuted in 1966.  It is a part of what is considered the golden age of Christmas TV programming.  (Rudolph was released in 1964, then A Charlie Brown Christmas in '65 followed by The Grinch in '66).

But how many of us remember the later animated holiday TV special Halloween is Grinch Night from 1977?

This Halloween story also includes the Grinch's best friend, his dog Max.  However, Cindy Lou is not at the center of this tale but another Who, a brave and curious little boy named Euchariah.  Much like most other holiday TV specials, Halloween is Grinch Night is a musical.  This animated story boasts seven original songs.

Euchariah claims he has a slight astigmatism--dig those glasses!
Watching this story reminds me once again how monstrous the Grinch is intended to be.  Sometimes I feel the repeated viewings of the Christmas story make the Grinch so familiar that I become dull to the meanness and nastiness of the character.  Here, we see the Grinch at Halloween and his frightening, threatening nature is apparent again as the story deals with confronting one's fears.

Is the Grinch scary enough for you?
 Fans of the imaginative world created by Dr. Seuss will love the inclusion of several fantastical creatures in this Halloween special--such as the wuzzy woozoo, the growling greegrumps and the hackencracks.  Another charming detail in this story is the Euphemism, a funny word substitution to refer to Euchariah's family outhouse.

The producer and director for the original 1966 TV special was Chuck Jones.  (Click here to read what I've previously written about Jones and Christmas.)  In this 1977 Halloween special, DePatie and Freleng are the executive producers.  Of course, DePatie and Freleng are also legends in the world of animation creating The Pink Panther cartoons, several other Dr. Seuss animated projects and The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas among others.

Hans Conried
Character actor Hans Conried provides the voice of the Grinch in Halloween is Grinch Night.  Conried's voice was used in many cartoons over the years but he also appeared in bit parts on many of the classic sitcoms of the 1960s including Gilligan's Island, Hogan's Heroes and The Monkees among others.  He not only has a familiar sounding voice but a familar looking face.

from the live action movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas from 2000

The character of the Grinch also appears in the 1982 animated TV special The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat.  Although, the story is not Christmas related, it has aired on ABC Family Channel in recent years as a part of their 25 days of Christmas marathon programming. Who could forget the 2000 live action feature length movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey as the title character?  

UPDATE 2021: In 2018, a theatrical release, feature-length animated movie entitled The Grinch was released, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of the Grinch. And in 2020, cameras captured the Broadway-style musical stage version of Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Musical Live! which aired on NBC.

Halloween is Grinch Night was released on DVD just this month on the Dr. Seuss' Holidays on the Loose! set.

released Oct. 2011
Do you watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas every year?  Do you like the 2000 live action movie version--or do you prefer the 1966 animated story?  What do you think of this Halloween special?


  1. Had I watched this every year as a kid, I would have a nostalgic place in my heart for this. But, I always think of the Grinch in relation to the Christmas special, so this comes off to me as jarring. He is evil! But, he, more Grinch is always good! I think over time I will come to love it more. :)

  2. We have the Halloween show on vhs and DVD. I have younger kids so we love to watch both animated shows every year. I can't say that I like the live action. It has never appealed to me. And I love just about any Christmas Show or movie. Cheers!

  3. ohhh you had to mention the Jim Carrey one?