Nick Park (1989)

Wallace and Gromit build a rocket to get to the Moon in search of cheese.

Wallace and his sophisticated dog Gromit, have to decide where to go for their annual picnic. With a home-made rocket and large appetite they head for the moon, hoping to find it made of cheese. Their moon tasting arouses the anger of the moon’s resident, mechanical caretaker. In the conflict that ensues the earthlings unwittingly help the robot to fulfill its dreams.

A Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit, later marketed as A Grand Day Out, is a 1989 British stop-motion animated short film starring Wallace and Gromit. It was directed and animated by Nick Park at the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield and Aardman Animations in Bristol.

The short premiered on 4 November 1989, at an animation festival at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol.

The short was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1991, but it lost to Creature Comforts, another stop-motion animated short film made by Nick Park and Aardman Animations, also released in 1989.

Nick Park started creating the film in 1982, as a graduation project for the National Film and Television School. In 1985, Aardman Animations took him on before he finished the piece, allowing him to work on it part-time while still being funded by the school. To make the film, Park wrote to William Harbutt’s company, requesting a long ton of Plasticine.

The block he received had ten colours, one of which was called “stone”; this was used for Gromit. Park wanted to voice Gromit, but he realised the voice he had in mind — that of Peter Hawkins — would have been difficult to animate. For Wallace, Park offered Peter Sallis £50 to voice the character, and his acceptance greatly surprised the young animator.

Park wanted Wallace to have a Lancastrian accent like his own, but Sallis could only do a Yorkshire voice. Inspired by how Sallis drew out the word “cheese”, Park chose to give Wallace large cheeks. When Park called Sallis six years later to explain he had completed his film, Sallis swore in surprise.

Gromit was named after grommets, because Park’s brother, an electrician, often mentioned them, and Nick Park liked the sound of the word. Wallace was originally a postman named Jerry, but Park felt the name did not match well with Gromit. Park saw an overweight Labrador retriever named Wallace, who belonged to an old woman boarding a bus in Preston. Park commented it was a “funny name, a very northern name to give a dog”.

According to the book The World of Wallace and Gromit, original plans were that the film would be forty minutes long, including a sequence where Wallace and Gromit would discover a fast food restaurant on the Moon. Regarding the original plot, Park said:

The original story was that Wallace and Gromit were going to go to the Moon and there were going to be a whole lot of characters there. One of them was a parking meter attendant, which was the only one that remained — the robot cooker character — but there were going to be aliens, and all sorts. There was going to be a McDonald’s on the Moon, and it was going to be like a spoof Star Wars. Wallace was going to get thrown into prison and Gromit was going to have to get him out. By the time I came to Aardman, I had just started doing the Moon scene and somebody told me, “It’s going to take you another nine years if you do that scene!” so I had to have a check with reality and cut that whole bit out. Somehow, I had to tie up the story on the Moon and finish the film.

Nick Park

Visit Nick Park and Wallace and Gromit by clicking on the link below:

http://www.wallaceandgromit.com

To check out Nick Park’s Creature Comforts click on the link below:

https://hobomooncartoons.com/2019/11/09/creature-comforts/

Nick Park (1989)

Nick Park’s first Oscar winning film. A series of interviews with the animals in an English zoo. Used to open spaces and sunnier climates, they comment on accommodation, diet, and, of course, the English weather.

A humorous and thought provoking view of what animals in zoos might be thinking about their captivity and surroundings.