Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thurl Ravenscroft: You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch

TV Thursday during the week of Christmas features a song from a timeless TV Christmas special – “The Grinch who Stole Christmas.” Narrated by Boris Karloff, the actor famous for his roles in horror movies of a generation earlier is often mistakenly credited as singing the song “You’re Mean One Mr. Grinch.” This occurs because the actual singer was not credited on the TV special or on its soundtrack.

The correct performer was a man by the name of Thurl Ravenscroft. What a name. It is so unusual that I love it. Ravenscroft is an English name meaning field of ravens and the first name of Thurl is even rarer. Although conjuring up images of Scandinavia, the name is actually Irish for “strong fort.” The name Thurl has never been popular in America and has never broken the top 1000 forenames in the census from 1880 onwards.

Thurl’s father had a friend with that name and thought it went well with the surname Ravenscroft, so his unique identity was born. Although I like the name Thurl, I would never saddle a child with that appellation these days. You can imagine the teasing, “Here comes Thurl – I think I’ll hurl.” So don’t expect a boost in popularity of this name.

You know Thurl too. From 1953 until his death in 2005, Thurl was the voice of Tony the Tiger and his characteristic, “They’re great” slogan. He also has added his voice and singing talents to numerous children’s films. More recently, he was the voice of Kirby (the sweeper) in “The Brave Little Toaster” series of children’s animated films.

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