Film ID: YFA 3144 Video of YFA 3144 Winter Wonderland Fantasy WINTER WONDERLAND FANTASY 1958 Visitor TabsDescription This is a whimsical short film which uses stop motion animation to create a winter wonderland fantasy using miniature figurines on a snowy model landscape. The famous Christmas song, Winter Wonderland, accompanies the film. The film opens with the title Winter Wonderland Fantasy. Each of the characters moves around the set and act out the scenes as described by the song, including building a snowman. This portion of the film closes with an end title. At the end, the winter landscape set is shown in a studio. The filmmaker’s wife and children gather around. The woman is holding a cup of tea, and as she places it by the set, she spoons a cup of 'snow' into her tea. It appears that the entire set is made of sugar, including the snowman which she eats. The film closes with the title – Definately the End. [sic] Context This is an animation film made by amateur filmmaker Eric Bolderson. Eric was born in 1927 in Castleford, just outside of Leeds, and made many films in the Castleford area, and also of his trips out in Yorkshire and beyond. Eric was also a keen rugby player until he broke his neck on his twenty second birthday in a rugby match in 1949. He was paralysed for about six months, and had to wear a plaster jacket and leather collar for four years. In the mid 1950s Eric bought himself a cine camera, and eventually an expensive Bolex 16mm, which he used for most of the films he made in the 1950s and 1960s (and which he still has). These he would show in a makeshift cinema in his small attic. Another film that Eric made in 1958, which can also be viewed on YFAO, is Kindergarten. This is a film of a nursery where Eric’s sister, Jean, worked, and is one of many films in the Bolderson Collection held with the YFA. The son of a bookmaker, Eric took up his father’s work and became very well known in the area. Along with his pals in the local workingmen’s clubs, Eric was involved in raising money for charity, and some of the events he filmed, like the pram race in Castleford in 1962, and would show these in the local clubs and pubs throughout the winter. Unlike many who took up filming in the 1950s, Eric was only partially associated with the cine clubs, and worked mostly on his own – indeed he may have been the only person in the Castleford area who owned a cine camera at that time. As well as being behind a cine camera, Eric also got to be in front of one when he played the part of the farmer in Ken Loach’s film Kes, filmed on Hoyland Common and Tankersley, just outside Barnsley. As an animation, Winter Wonderland was something of a novelty for Eric, and is a rarity for amateur filmmakers at this time. Eric designed and built the set himself, using white and blue card on a board. The trees came from a model railway set, the robins from Christmas decorations, the fencing was cut from twirlwold netting and the celluloid dolls were given a card base to allow them to be moved around. The snow was salt except for the bit that Eric’s wife spoons into her coffee, which was sugar (more expensive!). Eric relates that the most difficult part of the film was working out the timing. The sequence of movements was worked out in relation to the words of the song and broken up into parts so that each movement was timed to the second, or to the frame: 24 frames to the second. In order to make as much use of the film as possible, Eric had the film developers add the title at the end, and the spelling mistake is their doing. This wasn’t the only time that Eric had experimented in his filmmaking though: in ‘Stephen the Magician’, made shortly after this film, by under exposing the film, and using half frame filters, Eric has filmed his son fighting himself. Both Eric’s son Stephen, and his daughter, also make an appearance in Winter Wonderland. Eric was inspired to make the film by the popular song Winter Wonderland. This was composed by Felix Bernard, with lyrics by Richard Smith, and was first performed in 1934 by Richard Himber and his Orchestra (as well as two other orchestras). It has since been covered by an enormous range of performers; The Andrews Sisters and Perry Como both recorded it in 1946, and others who have released it include some surprises: such as Elvis Presley, the Eurythmics, the Cocteau Twins (who also covered Frosty the Snowman!), and even Radiohead. But it is the Johnny Mathis version, which came out in 1958, that Eric used.