- Crikey. The opening credits are still rolling when this
gem pops up. It's a
photograph of Gromit graduating from Dogwart's University (1).
a spoof of Harry Potter's famous wizarding school "Hogwart's",
instead of flying ducks, our duo have a series of flying orange
on their wall (2).
That's the moon rocket Wallace built in
duo's very first stop-motion outing, A
Grand Day Out....
here's our first proper in-joke. The greengrocer is called "Harvey's".
lifted from the movie "Harvey" (1950), in which barfly Jimmy
Stewart starred alongside his own imaginery giant rabbit pal.
store is actually one of three in the street, all with spoof names,
we'll discover shortly...
- The photos with the eyes lighting up is a homage to that classic Gerry
TV series Thunderbirds (1966).
If you recall the show, there
portaits of each of Jeff Tracy's siblings lined up on the walls of
Rescue's HQ on Tracy Island, and the appropriate portrait
would light up, as each of the boys made contact...
- And it goes
on. This whole departure sequence continues to pay
homage to "Thunderbirds". The show was, and still is, a hugely
influential production, imposing itself on the formative minds
a generation of future film makers, artists and designers...
- Hmm. There's an A-Z street map of Wigan on the dashboard of the
Folks across the pond and beyond might not know that Wigan
one of UK's great "northern" towns and the various Wallace &
and shorts often play up their brash and brassy northern lineage...
- Now this odd. There's a calendar on the side of the SMUG (SMEG)
here, and two fridge magnets, and they look very in-jokey, but it's
so difficult to make out the detail.. *gnash*... . What we can say
for sure is,
three of these items are missing when we return to the kitchen at
say it too loudly, but it looks like it might be a continuity
error. You can check it out for yourself, anyway, if you keep watching
- There are always
spoof products a-plenty in Wallace and Gromit's
West Wallaby Street home.
It's been that way since their first adventure,
Grand Day Out, and we could sit here all day pointing out the product
and what they're referring to. That Middle Age Spread jar (1)
self-explanatory, playing on the fact that poor old Wallace has just
stuck in that trapdoor in the ceiling. But there's also a particularly
UK-centric joke here, in the shape of that bottle of Mummie's Sauce (2).
It's playing on the popularity of a particular brown ketchup billed as
Daddie's Sauce. It's a cafe classic for us Brits...
- Hmm. That scoreline on the back of "The Morning Post" could
be bit of
fulfilment for Nick Park and co. Someone's beaten Manchester
Could it be Preston North End? - Nick's a lifelong fan of that
club and he's referenced them in other Wallace and Gromit
But even if we're wide of the mark, the notion of any
beating another from Manchester by a wide margin plays up
old northern rivalry that exists between towns and clubs from
09.30 - Spoof
books ahoy! - Wallace's works are all cheese-related riffs on
titles. So we have:
for Gouda (Waiting for Godot)
to Eternity (From Here to Eternity)
Expectations (Great Expectations)
East of Edam (East of Eden)
Cheese Family Robinson (Swiss Family Robinson)
Encounter (Brief Encounter)
Green Was My Cheese
(How Green was my Valley)
Roquefort (Brighton Rock)
Hunt for Red Leicester (The Hunt for Red October)
- The interiors of Tottington Hall are festooned with faux art pieces,
the Tottingtons through the ages (1)
And Fashion buffs should also keep their eye on Lady T's delightful
dresses. They're all based upon various vegetables, beginning with
this pea flower design (3)...
- By the way, what's in a name? - Lots, actually, in Aardmanland.
Posh ladies are known to "totter" around their stately
posh boys like to refer to their scrumptious lady friends as "totty".
Hence, Lady Tottington.
And in Victor Quatermaine's case, we can giggle at his surname and
how it reflects upon his own personality. If you know your Rider Haggard
books, you'll recall that the khaki-clad, gun-toting, action-seeking
who stars in "King Solomon's Mines" goes by the name of
Quatermain. Victor is a rather poor hunter and adventurer, in
comparision, wouldn't you say?
- Wallace is reading a copy of "Ay-up!" magazine. That's
colloquial northern greeting, here in the UK, and it's being used as
a spoof on that famolus celebrity chat magazine "OK!".
are spoofs within those sub headlines too. "Shed Pounds"
the great tradition of menfolk inhabiting their garden sheds
escape from "her indoors". There's also a reference to "Rude
a picture of a farmer holding up some rather phallic crop. That's
Brit-centric favourite, that is. Rude and knobbly vegetables
in our magazine shows and tabloid publications all the time!
- And now, on the back cover there's an advertisement that says "Welcome
Wensleydale" which is yet another northern reference. Wensleydale
a place, and a type of cheese, and it's one of Wallace's favourites.
That same ad also features a sheep not unlike the ones who star in
"Shaun the Sheep", Aardman's hit TV spin-off...
- Two spoof vinyl records here. Instead of Gustav Holst's Planet Suite
(1914-1916) we have "The Plant Suite" with radishes and
the cover. And there's a P.E.A. (R.C.A.) record of Elvis Parsley
(Presley) singing "Blue Swede Shoes" (Blue Suede Shoes)...
That stone figure protecting the vegetables is Frank the Tortoise
Nick Park's original "Creature Comforts" film...
- Rev. Hedges' greenhouse features a super stained glass window. It depicts
mother with a crying infant, hushing an angelic orchestra. And between
and her, three not-so wise men have their fingers in their ears!
- Have you been keeping notes? - Good! - You can see now, the calendar
the fridge magnets from 06.59
have indeed disappeared from the
duo's refridgerator... So is this a continuity error?
- Onwards now, and you don't need a screen grab to see how Lady T
as a veritable angel in this church scene. Whilst, moments later,
is exposed as a cunning little devil. These super little moments
the film head and shoulders above the cartoon crowd...
and fashion-buffs, ahoy. Lady Tottington is now dressed up as
a beautiful beetroot...
Hmm. That Barber's Shop next to Harvey's is named after the third
Wallace & Gromit film, A Close
- The letters on the car radio buttons spell out MUTT = DOG = Geddit?
that snippet of a song on the airwaves, as Gromit glowers is
"Bright Eyes", the hit theme tune of "Watership Down"
film is infested with rabbits, so it is...
- Here's our third grand shop, at last. Rare Bit is a traditional Welsh
dish of cheese on toast. Here, it's being used as the name of an antiques
hence "Rare Bits". But also, it's riffing on its pronunciation
Bits = Rabbits = Geddit?
- Well lookee here, "Bean" Martin is in concert. Bean Martin
= Geddit, again?
- Gromit's got a BOTCH rivet gun here. BOTCH being a play on the
of that famous tool design and engineering firm BOSCH.
hope he doesn't do a "botch job" with it...
- Fashion time. Lady Tottington is now wearing a green
- Right there! - Hit your pause button! - There's just something
gibbering pose as his transformation gathers pace... Those
the shirt and braces... He looks exactly like Jim Dale transforming
at the climax of "Carry on Screaming" (1966). In fact, the whole
film is imbued with that same giddy mixture of horror, sauce
45.37 - Oh,
the magazine cover for "Pro Nun Wrestling" is just fab. Along
with its habits and wimples it includes a free Mother Superior poster!
- And this is why Aardman win Oscars, folks. Rev. Hedges' volume is
magnificent. It takes its title from a series of hugely popular
guide books. The first Observer's guide was published in 1937,
and there were 100 titles produced up to 2003. Lots of folks grew up
with these encyclopedic guides to all sorts of worldly things.
"The Observer's Book of Monsters" is written by Claude Savagely
and the book's big wax seal (2)
features a hammer and
cross and a number of silver bullets - perfect for stopping
all kinds of mythical monsters in their tracks!
we're shown four fabulous entries within this guide book.
designed after that famous German woodcutting of Vlad the
before his victims (circa 1499ad), and each entry
its own spoof latin name. Here are the four:
Loch Ness Monster (touristis trappus)
Foot (enormus flippis-floppus)
(carrotus apetitus giganticus)
more latin encircling each illustration, but deciphering it all
proven too tricky, thus far...
- The Rev. tells Victor Quartermaine that a Were-Rabbit can only
with a golden bullet - and a 24 carat one, at that. This is a
twist on the old werewolf legends which said such
creatures could only be killed with a silver bullet, and was
by DreamWorks honcho Jeffrey Katzenburg, during
- Oh, now this really is something that freezeframing was invented for.
As Rev. Hedges cries out and the lightning flashes, we withdraw past
framed photos. Pausing the film reveals the film's co-directors
Nick Park (1)
and Steve Box (2)
dressed up as toothy vicars!
- "The Morning Post" newspaper is a West Wallaby St regular,
featured in previous W&G outings. When ever it appears in
of the Were-Rabbit" its headlines are skewed towards various
japes and rabbity puns. Here, we're told there's "Gnaw
from the beast at large. Oh, and the paper itself is billed as being
"The paper with
its finger on the pulses" (groan)...
- Wallace lands in his chair for breakfast, with great rabbity ears and
carrot in his hand as he asks "What's
Up, dog?". That's a super
Tunes reference, of course, because "What's
up, doc?" is
the catchphrase of that wonderful wisecracker, Bugs Bunny...
- Just a directional aside, for us to savour. Look how Wallace's rabbity
head marries up to the newspaper photo. And look at all those
- I mean - headlines. It's a super, classy shot that shows
yet again why this film was a deserved Oscar-winner!
- He's already wearing Wallace's green cardigan and slippers,
is even lifting quotes from the great man. "The bounce
from his bungee!"
was first spoken by Wallace in A Close
he was in Wendolene's wool shop. Part of the Wash'n'Go
cleaning service featured Gromit tied to a bungee chord to
speed up the cleaning process...
- The Were-Rabbit has been killed. Everyone celebrates. But you'd do
to keep your eye on Mr Growbag here, because you'll see that he
down surreptiously and snips a sip from a can of fertilizer!
- Look at the vegetarian acts on this rock'n'roll concert poster. Headlining
"rock around the crop" are Cark Gherkins (Carl Perkins) and
Aubergine (Roy Orbison)!
- Woo! - Pretty! - Just for a second, the Tottington Hall fireworks combine
make a rabbit shape in the night sky...
- Cats'n' Burgers? - Hmm - This fast food sign is clearly a nod to Jeffrey
Katzenberg of DreamWorks SKG...
- Fashionable fans will note, Lady Tottington is now dressed as a carrot...
- Another little aside for you here. Keep your eye on that lad in the
as everyone panics. They're all running around, hands in
the air. But our boy is frozen to the spot with shock. He just crosses
eyes and faints out of frame - brilliant!
- That book on the antiques store, the one with Springfield on the spine,
it a rabbity reference, or something to do with The Simpsons? - Actually,
neither. It's Springfield, next to a rifle = Springfield Rifle =
- Yes, it's all gone "King Kong" (1933) hasn't it? - The Were-Rabbit
scaling Tottington Hall with Lady Tottington in his arms, just like
suequence at the end of the Merian C Cooper film, when Kong
the Empire State Building with Fay Wray in his clutches. It's
harking back to the climax of "Curse of the Werewolf" (1961),
Hammer's horror gem starring Oliver Reed...
- The dog-fight that ensues between Gromit and Phillip, in those
planes is a nod to all those classic British war movies.
- our hero - jumps in the British plane, whilst nasty Phillip
him like that Germanic scourge of the skies, the Red Baron!
- "Get your
hairy mitts off my future wife, you big brute!"
Victor's line is an unabashed spoof of Charlton Heston's classic
"Planet of the Apes" (1968). If you need reminding, the original
"Get your stinking
paws off me, you damn dirty ape!"
and just some extra detail. Isn't it great how the Were-Rabbit
a suruptious nibble of Lady Tottington's headpiece? She's
up like a tempting carrot, after all...
- Gromit uses a slice of Stinking Bishop to revive Wallace. Overseas
may be surprised to learn this is no joke. It's a real cheese,
it is indeed, really smelly...
- Lady Tottington just has to have the last word, doesn't she?
we reach our climax, she's now dressed up as a giant sweetcorn!
And that, as they say, is that. Or probably not.
You've probably found loads more
hidden stuff in this cracking film, and if you
have, why not get in touch and
it with the world?
There's always so much to find in Aardman's feature
films. It's why they're so
revered, and digging up the detail and sharing
it with you guys has been great
fun, so far...
Till next time!
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