I conclude my series of posts about the 1987 Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas Celebration special with my favorite segment in the program: “The Carol of the Bells.”
The humor in “Carol of the Bells” is the Claymation Christmas special’s tightest and most sophisticated, to the extent that it almost seems designed to lead children in hand from pure slapstick laughs to a world of humor that requires some life experience and awareness of the literary canon.
Anyone can identify with the one student in class, the one guy at work, the one player on a team represented by this incompetent bell. Either we hate that bell or we are that bell, perhaps both. The work of the world is represented by the bells banging themselves to the point of physical pain to create the beauty of music (creation is sacrifice). Even as the “dumb bell” ruins the piece, we find him endearing. This is very American. And it’s hard to be a teacher without feeling like the conductor does at several points in the episode — but even he gets the job done in the end.
“I lost mine.” Gets me every time.
Claymation Christmas Part 1: California Raisins do “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Claymation Christmas Part 2: Three camels jazz up “We Three Kings.”
Claymation Christmas Part 3: Walruses and Penguins do not mix, even among “Angels We Have Met on High.”
The remaining videos in Claymation Christmas are below, including a sampling of original 1987 TV commercials from the show:
These are the artistic efforts of the Claymation Christmas special, which are beautiful and very atypical of network holiday specials in general.
O Christmas Tree:
Joy to the World:
And I even found some original TV commercials that aired with the special in 1987: