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The Green Parrot Cafe, according to the cover of its menu, was "a private club" in Salt Lake City, Utah, open seven days a week for the benefit of "members and their guests." Early in the morning of May 17, 1992, a few visitors entered who did not fit that description. A foursome known as the "Preppie Bandits"—so named because of their clean-cut attire and penchant for coffee shops—was menacing the city, and the Green Parrot was, as police would later charge, next on the list. According to the allegations, some mix of the quartet decided to knock off the cafe, but something went wrong and a cook named Merritt Riordan was shot and killed during the attempted heist. Two members of the group, brothers Adam and Aaron Galli, were charged with the robbery and murder. But Adam Galli didn’t stick around. He skipped bail and fled Utah before he could be brought to trial.
Galli was captured two years later in Minnesota, thanks in part to a television show called America’s Most Wanted. The popular program featured cases of people wanted for serious crimes, and it asked the public for tips or clues as to the whereabouts of the fugitive. Each 60-minute episode featured the re-enactment of at least one crime. Adam Galli’s story was featured on America’s Most Wanted a few times during his two years on the run, and on July 29, 1995, Galli was arrested after a tipster who had seen his story on AMW called the show’s hotline.
But, Galli's debut on AMW occurred in March of 1993, nearly a year after the robbery and murder. The entire staff and many patrons of the Green Parrot tuned in to watch the episode. After AMW showed their Galli segment and moved on to the next case, many people went on their way, and some televisions were switched over to a local basketball game. But a few people hung around to watch the rest of the AMW episode.
Those who watched the rest of the show started calling the police shortly thereafter.
The second re-enactment AMW aired that evening described the crimes allegedly perpetrated by a guy named Kenneth Lovci, a former Texas police officer. Lovci, AMW explained, had a warrant out for his arrest for molesting a child in Rollingwood, Texas, a 20-hour drive southeast from Salt Lake City. America’s Most Wanted and the police had no idea where Lovci was. But patrons and staff at the Green Parrot did: He was in the kitchen, flipping burgers. Kenneth Lovci had recently taken a job as a cook at the same cafe where Merritt Riordan had been murdered just a few months prior.
After we watched the segment on the Galli boys, we turned a couple of the sets to the U. game and left the other on "America’s Most Wanted." When Lovci’s segment came on, we joked around and said, "That looks like our cook in back." After a few minutes, we said, "Wait a minute, that is him."
The bartender called the police while management made excuses to keep Lovci at the cafe (his shift was ending) until the authorities could arrive. Lovci was arrested and extradited to Texas where he was convicted and served seven years in prison. So, though it would take another two years to dole out justice in the Green Parrot Cafe murder, the restaurant was able to serve up one America's Most Wanted fugitive that night.
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Each year, millions of Americans welcome the holiday season by tuning into their favorite TV specials. For most people, this includes at least one viewing of the 1966 animated classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Adapted from Dr. Seuss’s equally famous children’s book by legendary animator Chuck Jones, How the Grinch Stole Christmas first aired more than 50 years ago, on December 18, 1966. Here are 12 facts about the TV special that will surely make your heart grow three sizes this holiday season.
1. Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel And Chuck Jones previously worked together on Army training videos.
During World War II, Geisel joined the United States Army Air Forces and served as commander of the Animation Department for the First Motion Picture Unit, a unit tasked with creating various training and pro-war propaganda films. It was here that Geisel soon found himself working closely with Chuck Jones on an instructional cartoon called Private Snafu. Originally classified as for-military-personnel-only, Private Snafu featured a bumbling protagonist who helped illustrate the dos and don’ts of Army safety and security protocols.
2. It was because of their previous working relationship that Ted Geisel agreed to hand over the rights to The Grinch to Chuck Jones.
After several unpleasant encounters in relation to his previous film work—including the removal of his name from credits and instances of pirated redistribution—Geisel became notoriously “anti-Hollywood.” Because of this, he was reluctant to sell the rights to How the Grinch Stole Christmas. However, when Jones personally approached him about making an adaptation, Geisel relented, knowing he could trust Jones and his vision.
3. Even with Ted Geisel’s approval, the special almost didn’t happen.
Whereas today’s studios and production companies provide funding for projects of interest, television specials of the past, like A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, had to rely on company sponsorship in order to get made. While A Charlie Brown Christmas found its financier in the form of Coca-Cola, How the Grinch Stole Christmas struggled to find a benefactor. With storyboards in hand, Jones pitched the story to more than two dozen potential sponsors—breakfast foods, candy companies, and the like—all without any luck. Down to the wire, Jones finally found his sponsor in an unlikely source: the Foundation for Commercial Banks. “I thought that was very odd, because one of the great lines in there is that the Grinch says, ‘Perhaps Christmas doesn’t come from a store,’” Jones said of the surprise endorsement. “I never thought of a banker endorsing that kind of a line. But they overlooked it, so we went ahead and made the picture.”
4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas had a massive budget.
Coming in at over $300,000, or $2.2 million in today’s dollars, the special’s budget was unheard of at the time for a 26-minute cartoon adaptation. For comparison’s sake, A Charlie Brown Christmas’s budget was reported as $96,000, or roughly $722,000 today (and this was after production had gone $20,000 over the original budget).
5. Ted Geisel wrote the song lyrics for the special.
No one had a way with words quite like Dr. Seuss, so Jones felt that Geisel should provide the lyrics to the songs featured in How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
6. Fans requested translations of the “Fahoo Foraze” song.
True to his persona’s tongue-twisting trickery, Geisel mimicked sounds of classical Latin in his nonsensical lyrics. After the special aired, viewers wrote to the network requesting translations of the song as they were convinced that the lyrics were, in fact, real Latin phrases.
7. Thurl Ravenscroft didn’t receive credit for his singing of “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”
The famous voice actor and singer, best known for providing the voice of Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger, wasn’t recognized for his work in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Because of this, most viewers wrongly assumed that the narrator of the special, Boris Karloff, also sang the piece in question. Upset by this oversight, Geisel personally apologized to Ravenscroft and vowed to make amends. Geisel went on to pen a letter, urging all the major columnists that he knew to help him rectify the mistake by issuing a notice of correction in their publications.
8. Chuck Jones had to find ways to fill out the 26-minute time slot.
Because reading the book out loud only takes about 12 minutes, Jones was faced with the challenge of extending the story. For this, he turned to Max the dog. “That whole center section where Max is tied up to the sleigh, and goes down through the mountainside, and has all those problems getting down there, was good comic business as it turns out,” Jones explained in TNT’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas special, which is a special feature on the movie’s DVD. “But it was all added; it was not part of the book.” Jones would go on to name Max as his favorite character from the special, as he felt that he directly represented the audience.
9. The Grinch’s green coloring was inspired by a rental car.
In the original book, the Grinch is illustrated as black and white, with hints of pink and red. Rumor has it that Jones was inspired to give the Grinch his iconic coloring after he rented a car that was painted an ugly shade of green.
10. Ted Geisel thought the Grinch looked like Chuck Jones.
When Geisel first saw Jones’s drawings of the Grinch, he exclaimed, “That doesn’t look like the Grinch, that looks like you!” Jones’s response, according to TNT’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas Special: “Well, it happens.”
11. At one point, the special received a “censored” edit.
Over the years, How the Grinch Stole Christmas has been edited in order to shorten its running time (in order to allow for more commercials). However, one edit—which ran for several years—censored the line “You’re a rotter, Mr. Grinch” from the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” Additionally, the shot in which the Grinch smiles creepily just before approaching the bed filled with young Whos was deemed inappropriate for certain networks and was removed.
12. The special’s success led to both a prequel and a crossover special.
Given the popularity of the Christmas special, two more Grinch tales were produced: Halloween is Grinch Night and The Grinch Grinches The Cat in the Hat. Airing on October 29, 1977, Halloween is Grinch Night tells the story of the Grinch making his way down to Whoville to scare all the Whos on Halloween. In The Grinch GrinchesThe Cat in the Hat, which aired on May 20, 1982, the Grinch finds himself wanting to renew his mean spirit by picking on the Cat in the Hat. Unlike the original, neither special was deemed a classic. But this is not to say they weren’t well-received; in fact, both went on to win Emmy Awards.