Just As I Thought

A Too Close Shave

Sad news today (listen, the horrific tragedy in Pakistan is large enough that I can’t quite wrap my mind around it yet and I’m not going to be able to add anything to the narrative of that earthquake, so don’t think I’m ignoring it).
There was a fire at the Aardman Animation studio warehouse in Bristol, which destroyed the Victorian-era building and it’s contents: characters and props dating back to the beginning of the Wallace and Gromit animation studio.

No one was in the building when the fire broke out. Aardman said the sets and props from its latest film, “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” were not caught in the blaze.

Aardman has used stop-motion clay animation to create a series of acclaimed films, including three shorts featuring cheese-loving inventor Wallace and his resourceful dog Gromit.

The sets from those shorts — “A Grand Day Out,” “The Wrong Trousers” and “A Close Shave” — are all thought to have been destroyed, along with those from “Chicken Run” — Aardman’s first feature-length release.

… “Today was supposed to be a day of celebration, with the news that ‘Wallace and Gromit’ had gone in at No. 1 at the U.S. box office, but instead our whole history has been wiped out,” Aardman spokesman Arthur Sheriff said. “It’s turned out to be a terrible day.”

Sheriff said the warehouse contained sets, props and models from the company’s productions, from the children’s cartoon character “Morph” through the Oscar-winning, anthropomorphic “Creature Comforts” series to the Wallace and Gromit films.

Wallace and Gromit’s creator, Nick Park, said the earthquake in South Asia helped put the loss into perspective.

“Even though it is a precious and nostalgic collection and valuable to the company, in light of other tragedies, today isn’t a big deal,” he said.

The BBC reports:

“I’m pleased to say Nick Park’s original A Grand Day out rocket, that he built by hand, is safe and sound,” Mr Sproxton says. “It’s very close to him.”

Park’s three Oscars for Wallace and Gromit and Creature Comforts were also elsewhere.

The clay characters themselves are not kept after filming because they disintegrate, and the Aardman film studio is in a different part of the city and so is unscathed.

The original film and negatives are stored in a humidity-controlled vault at a different location and the sets from the current Wallace and Gromit feature film, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, were also elsewhere.

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