How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a 1966 American animated television special directed by Chuck Jones. It is based on the homonymous children's book by Dr. Seuss, the story of The Grinch trying to take away Christmas from the townsfolk below. The special, which is considered a short film as it runs less than an hour, is one of the very few Christmas specials from the 1960's to still be shown regularly on television. Boris Karloff narrates the film and also provides the speaking voice of The Grinch (the opening credits state, "The sounds of the Grinch are by Boris Karloff. And read by Boris Karloff, too!").
The 26-minute short was originally telecast on CBS on December 18, 1966. CBS repeated it annually during the Christmas season until 1987. It was eventually acquired by Turner Broadcasting System, which now shows it several times between November and January. It has since been broadcast on TNT, Cartoon Network, and The WB Television Network. Most recently, it has been shown on ABC, but with some scenes trimmed down because of time constraints (the show was made at a time when commercial breaks on television were shorter than they are now). In any event, as of the present time, it is the lead-off "classic" special (i.e. the first classic special) that airs on network television each Christmas season.
At the cartoon's original release, the program received mixed reviews (critic Rick Du Brow termed it merely "passable"), but it has since been recognized as a classic, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 100% "fresh" rating on its website.