If you love that big green guy who once stole Christmas – that is, Dr. Seuss’s famous character the Grinch – then the week of November 10-17 at Chapman University will be a very special one. Chapman’s Hilbert Museum of California Art will open the exhibition “How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Chuck Jones and the Making of an Animated Classic” on Saturday, Nov. 10, with a free Opening Reception at the museum from 6 to 8 p.m.

That opening kicks off a week of Grinch-y fun that will include Grinch-related music and antics at the university’s annual WinterFest and tree-lighting concert and ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 14, beginning at 5 p.m., and a free screening and expert panel discussion on the 1966 Chuck Jones animated version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” at Musco Center for the Arts on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Details of Grinch Week at Chapman University

Saturday, Nov. 10:  Exhibition: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: Chuck Jones and the Making of an Animated Classic,” Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University

  • Meet the Collectors:  3:30 to 5 p.m.
  • Opening Reception: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Regular museum hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • All free and open to the public.

The new exhibition “How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Chuck Jones and the Making of an Animated Classic” will open for regular museum hours, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibition, which will run through January 19, includes original animation cels and drawings as well as historical material from the Chuck Jones half-hour animated television special “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!,” based on Dr. Seuss’s beloved book, which debuted on CBS-TV in December 1966 and has been re-run every holiday season since on various networks.

“Generations of us have grown up with the Grinch special every Christmas season on TV, and he’s become a regular part of our holidays,” says Grinch collector Bill Heeter of Colorado Springs, Colo. The Hilbert exhibition is drawn from the Grinch collection assembled by Heeter and his wife, Kristi Correa, with invaluable assistance provided by Chuck Jones Center for Creativity of Costa Mesa, Calif.

Hilbert museum director Mary Platt adds, “Bill’s carefully assembled collection will delight every Grinch fan – and that’s all of us, really. You’ll also gain insight into how the 1966 TV special was made, and into the artistry of the great Chuck Jones, who gave his own look and spin to the well-known Dr. Seuss characters. In fact, many people have said Jones’s Grinch looks a little like Chuck Jones himself!”

Collectors Heeter and Correa will be at the Hilbert Museum from 3:30 to 5 p.m. to meet and chat with fellow Grinch fans and talk about collecting animation art. The museum’s Opening Reception for the Grinch exhibition will take place that evening, from 6 to 8 p.m., and is also free – with holiday “Who-treats” and hot chocolate available. The Hilbert Museum is located at 167 N. Atchison Street in Orange, across from Ruby’s Diner and the train station. There is limited free parking in front of the museum, and additional free parking at the top of the West Chapman parking structure at 230 N. Cypress St., located about one block north of the museum.

Wednesday, November 14: Chapman University WinterFest and Doy’s Holiday Tree-Lighting (With Extra Added Grinchiness)

  • Begins at 5 p.m. on Attallah Piazza in the center of campus
  • Free and open to the public

Chapman’s annual WinterFest includes live performances of holiday music by Chapman and Orange County School of the Arts ensembles, dramatic storytelling, the spectacular lighting of Doy’s Holiday Tree (named for Doy Henley, chairman emeritus of the Chapman Board of Trustees), the holiday forest, and Dee the Panther (named for the late Dee Henley), and a star appearance by Santa Claus (as well as photo opps with Santa). And – snow!

But wait – could there be a threat to Christmas from … the Grinch?? You’ll have to be there to find out – and it will be fun for the whole family!  Arrive early for best seating – but there’s plenty of standing room, too. Parking is free for the evening in the Lastinger Structure under the football stadium (enter off Walnut Avenue).

Saturday, November 17: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” Screening and Panel Discussion

  • 7:30 p.m. at Musco Center for the Arts, Chapman University
  • Free ticket required; obtain at www.muscocenter.org, or by calling 844-OC-MUSCO (844-626-8726) or at the Musco Center Box Office.

The Hilbert Museum of California Art, in association with Musco Center for the Arts, presents a screening of the 1966 half-hour television special “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” by legendary animator Chuck Jones, based on Dr. Seuss’s beloved book.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion on the history and making of the TV special, introduced by Hilbert Museum director Mary Platt and moderated by Professor Bill Kroyer, director of the Digital Arts Program at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.

Panelists will include:

  • Linda Jones Clough – Film producer (Doubtfire), daughter of Chuck Jones
  • Phil Roman – Lead animator of Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!; founder and chairman emeritus of Film Roman (produced all animation for The Simpsons and King of the Hill)
  • Chris Bailey – Animation director (Kim Possible TV series; Oscar nomination for Disney’s Runaway Brain) and animator (The Little Mermaid, The Lion King)

The Story Behind the Story of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”

Chuck Jones – later to become the legendary animator who created Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety and Sylvester and Elmer Fudd – and Theodore “Ted” Geisel – later to gain fame as children’s author and illustrator Dr. Seuss – first met during World War II, when Geisel commanded the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the U.S. Army Air Forces, which created documentaries and training films. Geisel and Jones partnered on an animated series of short films called “Private Snafu,” in which the title character was a bumbling goofball who comically exemplified all the “do nots” of being a soldier.

After the war, Geisel/Dr. Seuss’s inventive and unique children’s books – including If I Ran the Zoo (1950), Horton Hears a Who (1955), The Cat in the Hat (1957), How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1957) and Green Eggs and Ham (1960) – won him great acclaim and bestseller status.  However, he was discouraged by the many negative experiences he had with Hollywood along the way, including writing the 1953 fantasy film The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, which was a critical and financial failure.

So it was only because of his previous positive relationship with Chuck Jones during the war that Seuss trusted Jones – by then famed for his Loony Tunes characters – to bring his Grinch to life on the small screen. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, directed and co-produced by Jones, with a script drawn word-for-word from Seuss’s original book — padded to a half-hour by songs and an extended wordless sequence toward the end – debuted on CBS-TV on December 18, 1966.

All three major TV networks were broadcasting in full color by 1966, so Jones’s Grinch firmly established the character’s color as green (the book’s illustrations were in black-and-white). The TV special’s narration was by famed actor Boris Karloff, who also provided the voice of the Grinch. The song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” was performed by Thurl Ravenscroft, best-known as the voice of “Tony the Tiger” for Kellogg’s (and for years the announcer for Laguna Beach’s Pageant of the Masters). The great voice actor June Foray provided the voice of Cindy Lou Who.

Appearing in an era when many other still-beloved Christmas TV specials were being created – including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) and A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) – How the Grinch Stole Christmas! received good but not spectacular reviews on its premiere.

In the decades since, however, it has been recognized as a true classic, airing each year since 1966 on various networks, and continuing as a smash hit in the Nielsen ratings. Generations have now grown up watching the Grinch every holiday season. The special carries a 100 percent “fresh” rating on the ratings aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, which calls it “an adaptation that honors a classic holiday story – and has rightfully become a yuletide tradition of its own.”

Dr. Seuss characters, names, and all related indicia are trademarks of the 1984 Ted Geisel Trust and Turner Entertainment, Inc. © 2018.