587. A Claymation Christmas Celebration – Will Vinton

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SUMMARY: Dinosaurs Rex and Herb present a series of musical Claymation films with a Christmas theme.

WHY IT’S HERE: Claymation pioneer Will Vinton had made his feature length masterpiece ‘The Adventures of Mark Twain’ in 1985 but it was a film that baffled many people unfamiliar with Twain’s work and somehow this gem got buried. Not so Vinton’s first TV special ‘A Claymation Christmas Celebration’, an enduringly popular festive treat which remains one of the greatest and most joyous of holiday animations. ‘A Claymation Christmas Celebration’ is divided into a number of different music videos for songs like ‘We Three Kings’, ‘Joy to the World’ and ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’. Some are delivered in a traditional style such as a children’s choir, while others are given a doo-wop and soul makeover. The result is a Christmas special to get the whole family singing along and even up and dancing. The show-stopper comes from special guests The California Raisins, Vinton’s fictional musical group who had risen to fame in a commercial the previous year, in which they had performed ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’. This utterly terrific classic is so spirited but devoid of cheap sentimentality that it can’t fail to fill all but the most stony-hearted with Christmas cheer.

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