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Wallace and Gromit: Clay Superstars

An unassuming Englishman with his trademark green sleevless sweater and his dog who never utters a dog like bark are the unlikely duo who are considered clay superstars all across the world. Wallace and Gromit are Nick Park’s (of Shaun the Sheep fame) labour of love. Gromit is more human than dog, the think tank, the quiet one. Wallace his master is garrulous, up and about, getting all mixed up and thinking he is boss.

If you ever wanted to show a child the value of partnerships, a gentle friendship of two souls that is highly entertaining step into the world of Wallace and Gromit.

This miniature world of stop motion action created in clay primarily by Nick Parks and then the team at Aardman is a visual treat. Wallace was voiced by the veteran theatre actor Peter Sallis. Gromit speaks entirely with his face.

Nick Park had  been making sketches of Wallace and Gromit as a young boy. He tried making short films before finally settling on plasticine. Wallace and Gromit was his film school graduate project which he took seven years to do. The first feature of Wallace and Gromit was called ‘The Grand Day Out’, in which Wallace and Gromit build a rocket in the basement that they blast off. I was incredulous the first time I watched it. These two staid characters who seemed to talk of tea, cheese and crackers all whilst taking in the green rolling fields were building and finally taking off in a rocket to space!

Every weekend we would all be dutifully sit in front of our telly’s awaiting that wonderfully British theme song of Wallace and Gromit, composed by Julian Nott. One could almost visualise Buckingham palace, the Union Jack and cups of “teeh” (tea).

Wallace_and_gromit_FotorThe home of Wallace and Gromit, full of wall paper, kettles, crackers, lamp shades, tea cups, dishwasher was the stuff of dreams beamed to us by our national broadcaster Door Darshan. Door Dashan litterally translates to visons from afar and what a vision it was to behold Wallace and Gromit.

In the Grand Day Out, the lack of cheese to put on the crackers get Wallace and Gromit planning to go to the moon. As Wallace correctly says, “Everybody  knows the moon’s made of cheese”. Wallace immediately goes to the basement and starts working on his drawing board. Soon the rocket ship starts taking shape. If ever there was a man of action it was Wallace! Gromit at his side, silently helps the rocket take proper shape. Here Gromit is using the drill, then he is welding while Wallace paints the rocket ship.

Soon our twosome are all set to go into space in a rocket decorated just as their living room, with the same wall paper even. The coutdown for blast off has started, but wait, the crackers have been forgotten! Blast off happens with the basement rats watching.

The cheese on the moon doesn’t have the superior taste of Wensleydale cheese, but they make do. A moon robot tries to stop them from taking cheese back to earth, but with no success.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hf-kmJOp3Sc

The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave are the two other classics whose high entertainment value I can vouch for. The most recent Wallace and Gromit movie is The Curse of the Were Rabbit.

Speaking of Wensleydale cheese there is a story that links Wallace and Gromit to this century old cheese. Originally made in Wensleydale by French monks, and later English farmers this creamery was in danger of being shut down. A Wallace and Gromit edition was introduced and sales soared and continue to do well. This speaks of the popularity of Wallace and Gromit.

Their never say die and their do it now attitude,  all speak of a solution mindset which Park accredits to his parents who once built a family caravan from scratch. Wallace and Gromit, always in their true nature, never seek out excitement. On the contrary they seek the comfort of routine but are always thrust into some adventure or the other, much to the delight of their viewers.

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