The Grinch Turns 50 and Rare, Never-Before-Offered Chuck Jones Artwork is Available at Auction

DALLAS - Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas turns 50 this year, celebrating its Golden Anniversary as one the most beloved animated Christmas specials ever to grace the airwaves. To mark this momentous birthday, the family of legendary animator Chuck Jones is releasing the largest trove of original Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas animation art, to be auctioned by Heritage on June 11, 2016 in Dallas.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Chuck Jones Center of Creativity in Orange County, CA. 

“Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas has been on TV every holiday season since it was first released in 1966 and TV Guide ranked it #1 in its Top 10 list of holiday favorites,” said Jim Lentz, Director of Animation Art Auctions at Heritage Auctions. “This is an unprecedented offering and, more importantly than anything else, it comes directly from the Chuck Jones Personal Archives, chosen specifically by Jones’ daughter, Linda, and his grandson Craig Kausen.”

“The magic of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas television special, created 50 years ago, continues to enchant and entertain generation after generation,” said Kausen. “The amalgamation of Seuss and Jones, mixed with Karloff and the rest of the incredible talent on the special to produce an elixir so unique and satisfying it may never be matched again. We of the Chuck Jones family are delighted to share a few treasures from this film to help spread and foster creativity into the future.”

The trove of 27 original pieces all relating to the genesis and making of Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas features, of the utmost rarity, three Key Master Set-Ups from the landmark cartoon, original artwork by Chuck Jones and Maurice Noble used in the making of the cartoon and a plethora of key animation cels along with original Chuck Jones Grinch paintings featuring the characters of the Christmas classic.

While the entire offering is unprecedented, the centerpiece of the grouping is an exceptional hand-painted production cel of the Grinch looking into a hand mirror held in the mouth of his faithful pooch Max as he completes his Santa costume. Making the cel even more extraordinary is that the cel is on the Key Master Hand-Painted Production Background from the scene, of which there was only one made and used in the production. It is estimated at $25,000+.

“This is one of the very few Key Master set-ups from the cartoon that I’ve ever seen in more than 30 years in the business,” said Lentz. “It can be seen right at the nine-minute mark in the special and I can tell you, it’s just a spectacular offering.” 

Another highlight from the collection is one of the first concept drawings of the Grinch that ever flowed from the hand of Chuck Jones. If this artwork is not the very first drawing of the Grinch that Jones did, it is certainly the earliest ever seen at auction. Notably, it depicts the Grinch with a larger belly. The drawing is accompanied by one of the first hand painted cels of the Grinch. It is estimated at $10,000+.

A very rare storyboard of Cindy Lou Who, who makes her first appearance with the Grinch on screen at the 15:39 mark in the special, is featured in the auction and shows her very early character design development (estimate: $5,000+). An extremely rare Pan Hand-Painted Key Master background of the snow that leads the Grinch, along with the presents and decorations of all the Whoville residents, to the top of Mount Crumpet (estimate: $5,000+) features two sequenced production cels of the Grinch with his whip on top of the sled, making this a Key Master Set-Up from the special. Accompanying the two previous lots is a very rare 12 field director’s layout drawing, straight from the hand of Chuck Jones, of the Grinch trying to save the sleigh as it heads for disaster after he realizes the true meaning of Christmas (estimate: $5,000+).

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