A Grand Day Out
|A Grand Day Out|
Original cover art of the A Grand Day Out VHS. (United States)
|Directed by||Nick Park|
|Written by||Nick Park|
|Music by||Julian Nott|
|Distributed by||The National Film School Distribution Company|
A Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit, later marketed as A Grand Day Out, is a 1989 British stop motion animated short film directed and animated by Nick Park at Aardman Animations in Bristol. In the film, Wallace and Gromit spend a bank holiday by building a homemade rocket to the Moon to sample cheese.
The short premiered on 4 November 1989, at the Bristol Animation Festival at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol. It was first broadcast on 24 December 1990, Christmas Eve, on Channel 4. A Grand Day Out is followed by 1993's The Wrong Trousers, 1995's A Close Shave, 2005's The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and 2008's A Matter of Loaf and Death.
As Wallace and Gromit relax at home, trying to decide where to spend their upcoming bank holiday, Wallace decides to fix a snack of tea with cheese and crackers. Finding no cheese in the kitchen, he decides that the pair should go to a place known for its cheese. After browsing several possible locations, a glance out the window at the night sky gives them the idea to travel to the moon, since, according to Wallace, "everybody knows the moon's made of cheese." They build a rocket in the basement and pack for the trip, but after lighting the fuse, Wallace realises that he has forgotten the crackers. Hurrying to the kitchen, he grabs multiple boxes and returns to the rocket just in time for lift-off.
When they arrive on the moon, they discover that the entire landscape is in fact made of cheese. They set up a picnic and sample some, but are unable to match its taste to any cheese they know (Wallace thinks it tastes like Wensleydale, Stilton and Camembert). Looking for a different spot, they encounter "The Cooker", a wheeled, mechanised, coin-operated device that resembles an oven and storage cabinet.
Wallace inserts a ten pence coin, but nothing happens immediately; only after he and Gromit have left does the Cooker spring to life, popping jointed arms out of its side panels. When it finds the picnic site, it becomes agitated and gathers up the dirty dishes; finding a skiing magazine nearby, it develops a desire to travel to Earth and experience the sport. The Cooker glues a discarded spike of cheese back onto the spot from which Wallace cut it, issues a parking ticket for the rocket, and becomes annoyed by an oil leak from the craft.
The Cooker spots Wallace and Gromit in the distance, Wallace having cut another spike of cheese, and sneaks up with a baseball bat in hand. However, before it can hit Wallace over the head, the money Wallace inserted runs out and it freezes in place. Wallace takes the baseball bat as a souvenir, inserting another ten pence in exchange, and he and Gromit prepare to leave. Returning to life, the Cooker realises that the rocket can take it to Earth and excitedly chases after them. Wallace panics, thinking that the Cooker is angry over the cheese he is taking, and he and Gromit retreat into the rocket.
Unable to climb up the rocket's ladder, the Cooker cuts its way into the fuselage with a can opener, but accidentally spills and ignites some fuel. The resulting explosion blows it backward and allows Wallace and Gromit to lift off. The Cooker is left on the moon, with nothing but two strips of metal ripped from the fuselage; initially crushed by its failure to reach Earth, it fashions the strips into a pair of skis and is soon happily skiing across the lunar landscape. It waves goodbye to Wallace and Gromit as they return home.
- Peter Sallis as Wallace
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 himself, 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 McDonalds 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.
Awards and nominations
- "Annual Report 1990" (PDF). Channel 4. p. 20. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 September 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "Aardman Animations and the NFTS Present Wallace & Gromit in Nick Park's A Grand Day Out". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
- Jeffries, Stuart (16 September 2005). "Lock up your vegetables!". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "A Grand Day Out (1989)". British Film Forever. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- Martins, Holly (September 2000). "13th BBC British Short Film Festival". Netribution. Archived from the original on 29 July 2001. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "Wallace and Gromit's 20th birthday present from Google Doodle". The Guardian. 4 November 2009. Archived from the original on 4 March 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
Park unveiled Wallace and Gromit to an unsuspecting public on this day in 1989 at an animation festival at the Arnolfini gallery in Bristol.
- "2012 Annual Review" (PDF). Nick Park on A Grand Day Out when shown at Bristol Animation Festival in 1989. 2013. p. 4. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
Nick Park on A Grand Day Out when shown at Bristol Animation Festival in 1989
- "Gromit! It has been 25 years". The Telegraph. 4 November 2014. Archived from the original on 7 November 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- Midgley, Neil (26 November 2010). "Christmas telly is a reassuring British tradition". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
- "A Grand Day Out". Wallace & Gromit. Archived from the original on 7 February 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
A Grand Day Out was finally finished and transmitted on Channel 4 on Christmas Eve, 1990 - 6 years after production began!
- Nigel Farndale (18 December 2008). "Wallace and Gromit: one man and his dog". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 December 2008.
- Nigel Kendall (20 December 2008). "Nick Park on Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death". The Times. London. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
- Andy Lane (2004). The World of Wallace and Gromit. BoxTree. p. 53. ISBN 9780752215587.
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