Posted Mar 10 2014

Giliam Week: Directors' Shorts - Terry Gilliam - The Christmas Card

Having decamped from the US to London in 1967, Terry Gilliam initially contacted John Cleese, with whom he had worked on a photo-strip piece for the satirical magazine Help! Cleese put him in touch with producer Humphrey Barclay who, amongst other things, gave Gilliam a budget of £400 to produce his first piece of animation. Based around an audio recording of the various on-air inanities of leading DJ Jimmy Young, Gilliam’s first foray into cut ups was seen on the panel show We Have Ways Of Making You Laugh (for which Gilliam was also the on-air cartoonist, essaying caricatures of the celebrity guests.)

Barclay was so impressed with Gilliam’s efforts that he moved him onto a children’s show he was producing, Do Not Adjust Your Set, featuring a certain Palin, Jones and Idle combo. The Christmas Card was one of the first pieces Gilliam made for that show. “It was absolutely brilliant” Palin later recalled “with missiles coming out of church steeples. Terry’s stream-of-consciousness animation was one of the examples of a way of doing things differently.”



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