Yesterday, my youngest daughter was glued to the TV watching, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." It is probably my third favorite Christmas show (behind Charlie Brown and whichever one has the Land of Misfit Toys in it, I think that is "Santa Claus is coming to town." In any event I digress.
So the Grinch is on and I could not help but the "When I was your age" talk. In this era of on-demand, digital shows, you can see just about anything, anytime. Not so in my day. How many of us born in the Johnson/Nixon administrations recall with pain and sadness realizes that our favorite Christmas show was half-way over when we turned it on. NNNOOOOO!!!!!!!! Too bad, next year. Sometime in the late 80s, there came liberation from the tyranny of the network executives, we could buy the VHS copy of our favorite shows. Then came the DVD and well, now it's all on line. I think the Grinch has been on several times in the last 24 hours in our house.
The Grinch features of course a legend of horror films, Boris Karloff. Boris was born William Henry Pratt and changed it to Boris Karloff. (source- http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_boris_karloffs_real_name.) Not a bad career move if you think about it. The name Pratt does not conjure fear (unless Mr. Pratt is a geometry teacher and it's the final exam) but Boris Karloff, now that gets your attention.
I did a search (albeit not a detailed one, after all the Packers game is on in an hour) to find out how Karloff got the job. As nothing came up, I imagine the executives sitting around a conference room in LA, with all the "Man Men" life props of overflowing ashtrays, bottles of rye and bourbon, bleary-eyed and frustrated middle-aged men not particularly pleased at doing some "(expletive-deleted) kiddie show." Then someone flies into the room. They reel back from the wall of smoke and cough. They announce: "He'll do it."
Some other suit, "Who will do it?"
First guy- "Karloff."
Yet some other suit, "Who?!?"
First guy- "Karloff, you know, Dracula!"
All the other suits in unison- "Perfect, he's (expletive-deleted) perfect! Now, let's finish these drinks and go to happy hour!"
Ah, how I love a happy ending.
Actually, all kidding aside, Karloff is perfect as the Grinch. He gives a voice to the green and mean Grinch. He is, in fact, "...A mean one, Mr. Grinch." And yet, when he realizes that Christmas is not about presents but the celebration, his heart, "...grew three sizes that day," (or words to that effect.) Without question, my favorite part is when the Grinch comes riding down the hill, blowing the horn, bringing back the gifts. The Whos, instead of being angry or initiating court action, welcome him and all is well. Trite and predictable, sure. But then again, IT'S A CARTOON! (As I mentioned, I love a happy ending.) As I watched the show, I smiled, thinking of old Boris, reciting the lines of the Grinch and narrating the story. The suits were right, he was perfect for this part.
The Grinch has the "Welcome Christmas" song and here are the lyrics:
"Da hoo dorais fa hoo dores
Welcome Christmas christmas day
da hoo dorai fa hoo dores
Welcome Christmas, Christmas day
Welcome, welcome fahoo ramus
Welcome, welcome dahoo damus
Christmas day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp
Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome Christmas bring your cheer
Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome all Whos far and near."
"Christmas day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp." So true.
I wish everyone who observes the Christmas holiday a wonderful and most Merry Christmas. For those of you who are not Christian but will be partaking in a celebration, to enjoy it as well. For some of us, we'll spend either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day in a church. Not surprising, it will be more full than (ahem) other days. I recall last year when our Monsignor quipped at the end of Mass;
"Now please be sure to check out our new fellowship hall that just opened. Or, you can see it next Sunday when you are all here." (Or words to that effect.) There was a burst of uncontrolled laughter. The point was made: "Glad you're here, see some of you at Easter." Oh well.
We have all experienced a collective punch in the gut of recent days. I have no doubt we will all, in our own way, remember those who are grieving this Christmas. Yes, let us remember and if inclined pray for them. But let us also be of good cheer. Revel in our families, laugh at stories told for the umpteeth time that get grander by the year, be awakened at zero-dark-thirty by kids who fly down the stairs, hurdle the dog and set a NFL-combine record to get to the stockings, bulging with gifts from Santa. Good times. Of course, there are those that are far from home who will eat a dinner on a plastic tray. When they finish that meal, they will sling a rifle over their shoulder and head back to a dangerous job serving our nation. Please keep them in your thoughts. May they ALL come home safe and soon.
Be well my friends. I'll close with the words of Tiny Tim from "A Christmas Carol:"
"God bless us, every one!"