It wasn't long after my introduction to Boris Karloff through Tales of Mystery, the comic book which bore his name, that I made another astounding discovery.
Sitting in front of our floor-model black-and-white television one December evening, engrossed in the yearly presentation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, I noticed a familiar name pass by among the credits: Boris Karloff. The creepy comic book guy!
Apparently, he was narrating the story. And giving a voice to the Grinch. Well, that certainly explained it. No wonder this Grinch character seemed a little disturbing. No wonder I covered my eyes during the scene in which ". . . the Grinch had a wonderful, awful idea."
Years later, long after I was able to watch the entire cartoon without even once covering my eyes, Dr. Seuss's tale of Christmastime redemption became a favourite holiday bedtime story for my children. And each time I read the story aloud, I'd try to mimic Karloff's voice. The rhythm. The cadence. The intonations. With only limited success of course. Because his was the definitive Grinch. The perfect voice. The way the story should be told.
His voice and persona made him an ideal choice to narrate the story. Despite Dr. Seuss's fear that he would make the Grinch too scary. Instead, he helped make it a classic, which went on to win a Grammy when it was released as a spoken word recording.
I still watch it whenever I encounter it on television during the Christmas season. Even though I now own a copy. And if asked to list my favourite Boris Karloff performances, The Grinch would be a close second only to Frankenstein's monster.