Walter Matthau as Cindy Lou Who?

by John Holbo on December 3, 2006

Shopping with a 5-year old on one arm, 2-year old on the other, saw a sale VCD of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”, snagged it (don’t ask with what appendage). When we got home I was surprised to discover it was a minimal 1992 production, with Walter Matthau narrating. Walter Matthau as Cindy Lou Who is a hoot. Animation-wise, it’s just barely. Mostly just shots of the original Seuss illustrations with eyes that roll and horns that toot and a cut-out grinch who creeps along to a snow-crunching sound. (But done tastefully and appreciatively, as cut-out grinches go.) It comes packaged with a similarly minimal “If I Ran The Zoo” narrated by some kid who does sound as though he gets Gerald McGrew’s motivation. I sort of like this style. Camera-crawls over a kid’s book, with good voice-over. There’s a lot to love in the plain old Seuss drawings. Of course, it’s a bit hard to keep Karloff out of the back of your head. But I think my scaredy 5-year old and 2-year old might not be quite ready for the classic 1966 version – superior though it unquestionably is. Walter Matthau completists can get this strange version from Amazon. (I mean if you are that sort of person, you’ve already watched A New Leaf to death and are ready to turn over a new leaf. If they’d gotten Elaine May to be Cindy, that would have been funny.)



David 12.03.06 at 9:46 am

There are a number of very low end (animation wise) Dr Seuss videos — the style is to just pan across the illustrations while a slightly manic odd voiceover covers the text. For a bit of action, the “animator” would sometime jerk the book a bit to simulate movement. My son loved them when he was 2 or 3.


John Holbo 12.03.06 at 10:05 am

My god, I just checked and “A New Leaf” has never even been released on DVD. Where’s the sense in that?

You’re right about the animation, david, but I still sort of like it. I like that sort of thing.


Eszter 12.03.06 at 12:49 pm

In the 1980s Hungarian television ran a Walter Matthau series. He’s been one of my all-time favorite actors ever since. (And I don’t mean because of movies like Grumpy Old Men.)

Few can do what he managed with changes in facial expression.


Russell Arben Fox 12.03.06 at 5:43 pm

“It comes packaged with a similarly minimal ‘If I Ran The Zoo’ narrated by some kid who does sound as though he gets Gerald McGrew’s motivation.”

You know, I might need to check this out for that alone. “If I Ran The Zoo” is my absolute favorite Seuss book; it was the one I liked best as a kid, and it’s still the one I get the greatest kick out of reading aloud to my kids today. Besides being a lot of fun, it’s the good doctor’s greatest and craziest work of rhyme, I think; it’s up there with Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll.


Scott Lemieux 12.03.06 at 11:52 pm

She’s 5? I’ve been blogging way too long…

I used to bug my parents about when the Grinch cartoon was showing in, like, June. One more reason I really hate Jim Carrey…

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