Wallace And Gromit Google Doodle
On November 4th 2009, the Google homepage was taken over by a Wallace and Gromit Google Doodle celebrating the 20th birthday of the loveable characters. Whilst the Wallace and Gromit Google Doodle did not appear globally, it appeared in a diverse range of countries spanning from the UK and Germany to Thailand and Taiwan. The Wallace and Gromit Google Doodle was one of a number of occasions when an outside artist produced the doodle, on this occasion it was produced by the animation studio Aardman Animations.
The Wallace and Gromit Google Doodle featured the duo sat at a table. The Google logo was comprised as follows in the Wallace and Gromit Google Doodle, the first “G” was formed by a blue lamp, the first “O” was comprised of a red teapot and the second “O” was represented by a golden magnifying glass, held by Wallace. The logo’s second “G” was formed by a combination of a cup and saucer, whilst the “L” and “E” were formed by a blue spanner and a roll of golden metal respectively.
The characters of Wallace and Gromit were devised by Nick Park. Wallace is a misguided inventor who is assisted in his endeavours by Gromit his silent yet highly expressive and intelligent pet dog. The two live together in their home situated somewhere in the North of England, at 62 West Wallaby Street. Throughout their adventures there have been a number of references to the location of their home. These include an A-Z Wigan road guide, displayed in Wallace’s Anti-Pesto van during the feature film “Curse of the Were-Rabbit”. The location of Wigan is reinforced by the fact that the letters Gromit picks up in “The Wrong Trousers” shows Wigan as their address.
The series is full of Northern references, to demonstrate Wallace’s love interests are named after northern towns, Ramsbottom and Tottington. Also when Gromit looks for a safe location to dispose of the bomb in “A Matter of Loaf and Death” he spots the Yorkshire border, a reference to the historic Yorkshire and Lancashire rivalry, which dates back to the War of the Roses.
To date there have been four short Wallace and Gromit films, “A Grand Day Out” which first appeared on the 25th of December 1989, The Wrong Trousers first appeared December 26th 1993, “A Close Shave” which first appeared December 24th 1995. Interestingly the fourth short film, A Matter of Loaf and Death appeared in Australia first, on 3rd December 2008, before appearing in the UK on December 28th of the same year. Each of the four Wallace and Gromit short films were between 22 minutes and 29 minutes in length.
The duo embarked on their big screen debut in 2005, in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit which premiered on October 7th. The film was a resounding success and enjoyed gross profits of over $192 million. Other notable excursions include, the 2002 series of short films lasting between 1 and 3 minutes “Wallace and Gromit’s Cracking Contraptions” and the 2010 television series “Wallace and Gromit’s World of Invention”.
A number of spin off programs have been created, which feature minor characters from Wallace and Gromit short films as main characters. These programs include “Shaun the Sheep” which first aired in 2007 with 7 minute episodes and “Timmy Time” which appeared two years later in 2009 and has ten minute episodes.
Each of the Wallace and Gromit films to date have been shot using the stop-motion technique. This technique involves a process of detailed storyboarding. Following which a number of plasticine models and sets are created. Once these have been created, each film is filmed one frame at a time. Between each frame the characters are moved slightly to provide the impression of movement in the final cut. Due to the fact that just a second of film is made up of no less than 24 four separate frames, a short film such as the 22 minute A Grand Day Out takes a tremendous amount of time and energy to produce.
The speed with which Wallace and Gromit films are produced is said to be a total of 30 frames a day, which equates to just over a second a day. Due to this, the filming process takes a large amount of time. To demonstrate, it took over 15 months to shoot the film The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. However it proved impossible to achieve some of the effects required for this film in the stop-motion technique. Due to this, these effects such as fire and smoke, were later rendered with the use of a computer.
The voice for the character of Wallace is mainly provided by the actor Peter Sallis, however on occasions when Sallis is not available Ben Whitehead stands in. Whilst Gromit remains silent throughout, he is perfectly able of communicating with the audience through his highly expressive facial expressions and exaggerated body language.
The duo have enjoyed widespread appeal throughout the globe, with their televised excursions being translated into over 20 languages. In 2005 the Aardman Animations studio caught fire and as a result all of the models created before this date were destroyed.
Wallace and Gromit have made a number of off screen appearances, the duo have their own comic which is released on a monthly basis, published by Titan Comics. There have been a number of computer game adaptations for the duo. The first of which was created in 1995 and titled W&G Cracking Contraptions and was released for the PC. The second game, Wallace & Gromit In Project Zoo, was released in September 2003. The game was available on a number of game consoles including Xbox and Playstation2. In 2005, a game was released to accompany the launch of Curse of the Were-Rabbit, the game had the same title and was available on Playstation2 and Xbox.
They are not the only animated characters to have received a dedicated doodle celebrating a major anniversary with their Wallace and Gromit Google Doodle. The Scandinavian Pippi Longstocking, The prehistoric Flintstones and the Gallic Asterix and Obelix have also received dedicated doodles. A number of animators have also received doodles, most notably E.C. Segar, creator of strongman sailor Popeye, received a doodle tribute on the 7th December 2009 to celebrate what would have been his 115th birthday.