was 30 Years Ago Today…
That this Christmas show was launched in clay…
right…that's as far as we want to take any rip-off of Sgt.
Pepper. The story and music behind the making of the Emmy
Award Winning "Claymation Christmas Celebration" for CBS
Television, and the subsequent album on Atlantic Records
the following year, is fun, interesting, and frankly, one
long lesson in "dreaming big to get your goals…but be careful
what you wish for."
December 21st, 1987- The Claymation Christmas Celebration
was shown on the CBS Network- winning the ratings for that
night (take that "Little Match Girl") and going on
to win an Emmy Award. The special aired for five years on
CBS, and was sold to the Disney network, where it languished
in cable repeats, before slipping into obscurity.
1988- Atlantic Records releases a related album of music
from the special, as well as several new arrangements of
traditional Christmas carols- featuring countless NW musicians
of this site is not to tell everyone's story, as anyone
who worked on this project has his or her own perspective
and memories involved. It is simply to share some of the
music and the stories behind the music, of one of the best
loved, but hard to find Christmas specials, told from the
prospective of the person who created the music, Patric
reasons the special is so hard to find, and why the follow-up
album is now considered a "collector's item," are a mystery
to most, but are likely explained by the entangled mess
of copyrights, publishing rights, and co-mingled (mangled?)
trademarks that become prevalent by including a commercial
advertising icon run amuck- the "California Raisins." They
were a "late addition" to the concept- and in my opinion
doomed the longevity of the final product. But, more on
began as a simple concept for a children's "direct to video"
release for the holidays, morphed into an award-winning
franchise of television specials, as well as launching the
rise, and subsequent fall of Will Vinton Productions and
the Claymation franchise. However, that story is one that
played out in courtrooms and Portland media, with allegations
of hostile takeovers, mismanagement of funds, and the draconian
hand of an international tennis shoe manufacturer.
story is about the simple joy, challenge, and creativity
that started with some hastily produced demos of pigs mangling
"Here we come a wassailing," and led to the final production
seen by millions, and an album featuring local talent that
was bought by…well, the number is still contended. But,
that is another story.
beginning, read this SIMPLE DISCLAIMER.
are my memories- and they come from an aging mind, cloaked
in the haze of 25 years of living. They are from a chapter
in my life that seems so distant and removed from my current
life of being husband, father, grandfather, business owner,
and mediocre golfer that it is almost like writing about
someone else. With the passage of time comes the ability
to forget the smallest details, names and places- and none
are willingly misrepresented or deleted. So…please…keep
three things in mind here. Nobody got rich on this project.
Almost nobody from that era is still "in the business."
And above all- I realize that posting music on a web site-
even music that is almost impossible to find for commercial
sale, borders on copyright law infringement. But…for any
of the legal folks who work for whomever is still claiming
ownership of this music, and continues to squash its release
in commercial form…I own the publishing rights, kids. I
am registered as such with ASCAP…so I have the right to
share (without financial gain), this music for anyone who
comes to listen.
begin at the beginning…