Movie Preview: An appreciation of a stop motion animation icon, Will Vinton — “Claydream”

He made a few mostly-forgotten films, but clay animation pioneer Will Vinton brought stop-motion animation back into vogue with his famous “California Raisins” TV commercials in the ’80s.

Anyway, his role in bringing back the art form that was used long before he came along — Remember “Gumby and Pokey” and “Davey and Goliath” on TV? Clay animation predates tjosenshows in films, is worth taking a look at.

His Claymation work was featured in Michael Jackson videos, “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” that Eddie Murphy TV series “The PJs” and elsewhere, his career probably helped by the fact that he copyrighted the term “claymation,” although I’m not sure who first coined that. I remember his lawyers sending me a threatening letter for using it in a review around 1990. I don’t know who coined the term “douchebag” either, but its equivalent certainly comes to mind at the thought of this guy seizing a term in common currency and claiming it as his own.

The art form predates Vinton by decades and decades. It broke out on TV in the ’50s (“Gumby,”;Davey and Goliath”) and even earlier in film.

“Claydream” comes out Aug. 5.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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