Will Vinton's Claymation characters bring song and cheer to the holidays

In 1987, I remember catching A Claymation Christmas Celebration on its original TV airing, and it's influenced how I see several classic Christmas carols for years. The songs'll stick in your head and the animation is, to today's audience, quaint and nostalgic. It's too bad that the claymation art form is rarely seen anymore, because there's a real charm to it.

The TV special doesn't have a strong story but it does focus on two dinosaurs, Rex (Johnny Counterfit) and Herb (Tim Conner), who present various vignettes and Christmas carols, each with their own style and story. Among others, the songs include "We Three Kings" sung with soulful camels as backup, "The Carol of the Bells" with living bells hitting themselves with mallets, and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" sung by the California Raisins whose commercials Will Vinton oversaw in the 80's. (Vinton was also behind the Domino's Pizza Noid commercials and the M&M's Red, Yellow and Green characters.)

As I said, I saw this when it aired on TV and my family made sure to record it, so I don't know how many times I watched it as a kid. And when I got it on DVD, after years of being "too grown up for that kind of thing" it all came flooding back.

It's fun. It's cute. It's musical. It's silly. It's whimsical.

It's short.

I love it!

The DVD comes with Will Vinton's Halloween and Easter specials on it as well, and while I do enjoy those as well, I definitely prefer the Christmas Celebration.

This one gets an 8 / 10.

A Claymation Christmas Celebration is unrated and perfectly safe for everyone.

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Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 5 years ago from USA

I am fascinated by Claymation. It looks like so much work. I like it for the reasons you mentioned - it is fun, cute, musical, and whimsical. I haven't watched this one though - will have to look for it.

Garlonuss profile image

Garlonuss 5 years ago from Saratoga Springs, Utah Author

Yeah, I think people are too quick to turn their back on old art forms. The advent of CG makes people see claymation as antiquated. But there's so much work and technique that goes into it and CG is impressive but keeps being made easier and easier. I like CG, but I respect a well done claymation technique.

It's like how, once gaming consoles got to where they could do fully 3D rendered environments, side-scrolling platformers seemed to drop off the face of the earth except in handheld devices. But I think "Wario Land: Shake It!" and "New Super Mario Bros. Wii" prove there's still plenty of life in the formula.

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