Grinch narrators

I assume everyone here has seen How the Grinch Stole Christmas (and if not what kind of godless commie are you, anyway?). The original narrator was Boris Karloff. However, I’ve seen a new re-issue of the video in which Walter Matthau is the narrator. Even more confusing, I just saw an apparently even newer issue of the video with the Karloff narration. So what gives? Why did whoever owns the video rights go to the time and expense of editing in a new narration?

Perhaps a dispute with the estate of Boris Karloff?

I assume Thurl Ravenscroft (who does the singing and is better known as the voice of Tony the Tiger) appears on both editions.

I don’t really know but I will speculate.

  1. The estate of Dr. Seuss has been doing some pretty heavy marketing and reworking of the classics these days. It’s possible that you were looking at a new Grinch adventure – like How The Grinch Stole Rosh Hashanah, or How The Grinch Stole Christmas (again).

  2. I encountered a series of Seuss videos from the early eighties that were narrated by celebrities like Dustin Hoffman. I never actually viewed one, but the writing on the box suggested that they were quasi-animated, narrated, video books. Perhaps, the reissued Grinch is an updated one of these i na brand spankig new box.

  3. Someone in Hollywood realized just how scary Walter Matthau could be – and how appropriate as an interpretor of the works of the good doctor. (Look for him in the live action remake of Green Eggs and Ham co-starring Jack Lemmon as “Sam I Am”)

I agree there is something horribly wrong with all of this and I would love to know the truth.

The IMDb lists two other Grinch specials other than 1966’s [i"]How the Grinch Stole Christmas*. There is [i"]The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat* and [i"]It’s Grinch Night*. Unfortunately, neither of these entries include voice credits.

BTW, apparently there is a Ron Howard directed big budget [i"]How the Grinch Stole Christmas* in the works that will star Jim Carrey in the title role. Generally, I like Jim Carrey; but this has “bad idea” written all over it.


Damn, I didn’t know you can’t combine UBB codes. Try these:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat
It’s Grinch Night
Ron Howard’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I haven’t watched the Matthau narrated Grinch but as far as I can tell it’s identical to the original except for the narration change. A search in Amazon and IMDB did not reveal any significant information except that while HTGSC was originally aired in 1966, the production year of the Matthau version is given as 1957. But I’m guessing this is a mistake not an indication of a earlier version. As for legal problems, the Karloff version was sold for years before the Matthau version and is still available, so it couldn’t have been anything too major. The only other thing I can think of is some PR man decided to “update” a classic with new narration. If so, I guess we should be happy he chose Matthau and not Chris Rock. lists both video as currently available. They don’t shed any light on why there are two versions, though it is interesting that the Karloff version is $11.99, and the Matthau version is only $7.98.

Boris Karloff version

Matthau version


“Believe those who seek the truth.
Doubt those who find it.” --Andre Gide

I haven’t seen the Grinch since it went to cable. If you ask me it wasn’t the Grinch it was Ted Turner that stole Christmas.

BTW whatever happened to the Heat/Snow Miser. They were way cool as well.

Heat and Snow Misers (The Year Without a Santa Claus) were on as recently as last Xmas on The Family Channel.

Loved the song-and-dance routines.

Apparently someone else did too–Snow Miser’s number is featured in the Batman movie with “Mr. Freeze.”

Oh, c’mon. Like this is a hard choice? Karloff opposed to MATTHAU? <snicker. Gimme the tall stud with the neck terminals ANY DAY.


"If you want to kiss the sky you’d better learn how to kneel "