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8 mean, green facts about 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas!'

The classic Christmas special has roots in World War II.

Image: MGM Television

It's a tradition for many families across the country to gather around the television during the holiday season and watch popular specials from yesteryear. Children who watched programs like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in the 1960s watched it again with their kids as they grew older — and perhaps even watch them now with their grandchildren. 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! That means we've had five decades of Dr. Seuss' green monster shaking up Christmas.

When you watch the special this year with your families, impress them with these eight facts. You can even share with your friends!

1

Theodor Geisel and Chuck Jones worked together before.

Geisel first worked with Jones during WWII. The children's author joined the U.S. Air Force and created pro-war propaganda films, creating an instructional cartoon called Private Snafu with the man who would eventually direct How the Grinch Stole Christmas. 

Image: Associated Press

2

It had a massive budget.

The half hour program had a budget that was almost unheard of at the time. It cost $300,000 to make How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, or about $2.2 million if it were made today. To compare, A Charlie Brown Christmas cost $96,000. 

Image: MGM Television

3

Boris Karloff is the narrator.

One of horror's most respected actors voiced the children's special. Originally, Geisel didn't like Karloff's casting because he feared it would make the program too scary. 

Image: Associated Press

4

The Grinch wasn't supposed to be green.

When Geisel's famous book was published in 1956, the Grinch was black and white. Rumor has it Jones was inspired to make the evil character green in the special after he rented a car painted in an ugly shade of the color.

Image: MGM Television

5

A famous cereal mascot sang "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."

Thurl Ravenscroft's voice may have sounded familiar to audiences watching in 1966. He also lent his voice to Frosted Flakes' mascot Tony the Tiger for five decades before his death in 2005. 

Image: Found in Mom's Basement

6

It was hard to fill a half hour.

Reading the children's book only takes about 12 minutes. Because of that, the special's director, Chuck Jones, created sequences that weren't in the book. 

Image: MGM Television

7

There were sequels.

While most of us only remember the original special, its success spawned multiple sequels. Halloween is Grinch Night aired in October 1977, while The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat aired in 1982. The latter was — you guessed it — a crossover special.

Image: MGM Television

8

A new movie is coming — again!

One Grinch movie wasn't enough. A decade and a half after comedian Jim Carrey morphed into the devious monster, Illumination Entertainment announced it's making an animated version of the book, similar to their previous works like Horton Hears a Who and The Lorax, slated for November 2018

Image: Illumination/Universal

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