Show Name: Will Vinton’s A Claymation Christmas Celebration
Release Date(s): December 21, 1987
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
The holiday season is upon us and Rex and Herb are here to guide our trip to the holiday celebration. While trying to prove the term is “a-wassailing” and not a-waffling, a-waddling, or a-wallowing, Rex and Herb show classic holiday songs that will stay with you the season.
Released December 21, 1987 on CBS, A Claymation Christmas was produced and directed by Will Vinton. Well received, the animated special aired regularly for a number of years and was the recipient of a Primetime Emmy Award for Best Animated Program in 1988.
The art design for each of the characters is fantastic and the stop-motion is very smooth. The special blends in well with other long running stop-motion holiday specials like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town which undoubtably had some effect on the special.
The soundtrack is all over the place and each piece has its own theme and style. “We Three Kings” mixes a traditional performance of the song with a more jazzy style chorus for one of the best performances of the show. “Carol of the Bell” puts a lot of life in the totally instrumental performance by giving personalties in each bell and setting it in Notre Dame with Quasimodo as the angry conductor. “O, Christmas Tree” is a subtle but nice version of the song sung by children with an almost puzzle like aspect with a worlds within worlds on a Christmas tree. “Angels We Have Heard on High” is a rather dull instrumental piece with skating walruses. “Joy to the World” is traditional animation and has a lot of African-American themes. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” brings in the California Raisins at the high of their popularity to perform the song. It is fun, but not as creative as some of the other pieces. The show if finally rounded out by a real performance of “Here We Come A-Wassailing” for Rex and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” over the credits.
It is kind of a shame that A Claymation Christmas never really took hold and isn’t regularly played on network TV today. The special still holds up and it stands its ground with other classic holiday specials. It would have been nice to have a different cartoon in the mix at the holiday season and would open it up to less runnings of classics like A Charlie Brown Christmas which gets played into the ground. It is a nice show, available on DVD, and can be enjoyed by the family. You might just go out a-waffling afterwards.