|A Grand Day Out|
|Directed by||Nick Park|
|Produced by||Rob Copeland|
|Written by||Nick Park|
|Music by||Julian Nott|
|Edited by||Rob Copeland|
|Distributed by||National Film and Television School|
|24 minutes (NTSC)|
23 minutes (PAL)
A Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit, later marketed as A Grand Day Out, is a 1989 British stop-motion animated short film starring Wallace and Gromit. It was directed, co-written, and animated by Nick Park at the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield and Aardman Animations in Bristol.
The short premiered on 4 November 1989, at an 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, 2008's A Matter of Loaf and Death, and many other productions.
The short was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1991, but it lost to Creature Comforts, another stop-motion animated short film made by Nick Park and Aardman Animations, also released in 1989.
Cheese-loving inventor Wallace (Peter Sallis) and his dog Gromit run out of cheese. As "everyone knows the moon is made of cheese", they build a rocket and fly to the Moon. They encounter a coin-operated robot. Wallace inserts a coin, but nothing happens. After he and Gromit leave, the robot comes to life and gathers the dirty plates left at the picnic spot.
The robot discovers a skiing magazine and yearns to travel to Earth. It repairs a broken piece of landscape, issues a parking ticket for the rocket, and is annoyed by an oil leak from the craft. The robot sneaks up on Wallace and prepares to strike him, but the money Wallace inserted runs out, and it freezes. Wallace takes the robot's nightstick as a souvenir, inserts another coin, and prepares to leave with Gromit.
Returning to life, the robot follows Wallace and Gromit. Wallace panics and he and Gromit retreat into the rocket. Unable to climb the ladder, the robot cuts into the fuselage with a can opener and accidentally ignites some fuel. The explosion throws it off the rocket and Wallace and Gromit lift off. Dejected, the robot fashions discarded rocket fuselage into skis and skis across the lunar landscape. It waves goodbye to Wallace and Gromit as they return home.
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 his own, 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 McDonald's 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.
The short film was released on VHS in the 1990s by BBC Video. It was also released on DVD multiple times, as part of the Wallace and Gromit in 3 Amazing Adventures series of DVDs. In the United States, it was released on DVD in 2009 by Lionsgate VOD and HiT Entertainment. In the United Kingdom, it was again released on DVD in the 2000s.
The short premiered on 4 November 1989 at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol, UK, and premiered in the United States on 18 May 1990. It was also shown on Channel 4 on 24 December 1990 in the UK.
Park unveiled Wallace and Gromit to an unsuspecting public on this day in 1989 at an animation festival at the Arnolfini gallery in Bristol.
Nick Park on A Grand Day Out when shown at Bristol Animation Festival in 1989
A Grand Day Out was finally finished and transmitted on Channel 4 on Christmas Eve, 1990 - 6 years after production began!