He Was Grrreat!

Source: Wikipedia

You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch,

You really are a heeeeellll….

If you’ve seen the 1966 animated classic Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! you’re probably hearing that song in your head now, but do you know who sang it? Now, before you went to Google and looked it up did you know who sang it? The narration was done by Boris Karloff, but the song “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” was sung by Thurl Ravenscroft whose name was accidentally left out of the credits, which is extraordinary because I can’t imagine a copywriter passing up the chance to type out the name Thurl Ravenscroft. It’s not as though we’re talking about Howard Keel. How could you forget the name Thurl Ravenscroft? There may even be bloggers who write posts about the song just as an excuse to write out the name Thurl Ravenscroft, but that’s another story.

So, aside from the man with a fantastic name and a voice that registers on seismographs who was Thurl Ravenscroft? Born February 6th, 1922, he was a voice actor and singer who lent his voice to several animated productions, many of them Disney films beginning with 1941’s Dumbo. He was also a founding member of a singing quartet called The Mellomen who also recorded under the name Big John and The Buzzards, and sang backup for several singers, including Elvis Presley. A devout Christian he also recorded albums of hymns and wanted to be the voice of an audio version of the entire Bible but James Earl Jones was selected instead. Even though James Earl Jones is an excellent actor with a great voice, though, he doesn’t have a name like Thurl Ravenscroft. Thurl Ravenscroft did, however, provide the voice of Darth Vader for a Donny and Marie Osmond Star Wars sketch, although the less said about that the better.

For more than fifty years Thurl Ravenscroft also provided the voice of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes mascot Tony The Tiger. In a 2004 interview originally published in Hogan’s Alley: The Magazine Of The Cartoon Arts Ravenscroft mentioned that he’d been doing the voice of Tony for fifty-three years. It would be his last interview before his death in May 2005.

And now that you know you’re unlikely to forget Thurl Ravenscroft.

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  1. Ann Koplow

    You’re a great blogger, Mr. Waldrop

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Coming from a blogger as great as you that means a lot. Thank you.

  2. Chuck Baudelaire

    Love this. Also, who looks at a newborn infant and says, “I will name this sweet baby…Thurl”?

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I wondered the same thing and I hope that at some point Thurl Ravenscroft, Burl Ives, and Merle Haggard were all in a room together, and maybe even joined in singing “Joy To The World”. The Three Dog Night version, of course.

  3. mydangblog

    This was and always will be my favourite Christmas show. Thank you, Thurl Ravenscroft (and you too, Chris!)

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s my favorite too, and that’s saying something with It’s A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story also celebrating this time of year. Dr. Seuss is, with good reason, recognized as a genius, and Boris Karloff is well-known too. I thought it was about time Mr. Ravenscroft got some recognition too.

  4. Arionis

    It’s funny (to me anyhow) that you posted this. We just finished putting up our Christmas tree last Saturday and flipped the TV on to find that Frosty The Snowman was on. I made a comment that I always had a thing for Karen. My wife called me a dirty old man and I had to remind her that I first saw this show as a young kid and since it came out in 1969 I was sure that the voice actress was probably older than me.

    Of course I couldn’t let it go and had to hit the Google. Turns out Karen was voiced by June Foray who did many other voices (including Rocky The Flying Squirrel). She just died this year at the age of 99.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s so sad–I didn’t realize we lost June Foray, the voice of Rocky and so many other wonderful characters. She was also a very nice person, from what I understand.
      It’s kind of funny. I don’t remember the animated Frosty The Snowman very well. At most I might have only seen it a couple of times when I was a kid and it didn’t leave a lasting impression, but Rocky & Bullwinkle will always have a special place in my heart.


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