In 1968, while learning his trade and working in London as an animator, Terry Gilliam somewhat accidentally made his short film The Christmas Card.
Struggling to make money from the magazine industry he was working in, Gilliam’s close friend—and future Monty Python colleague—John Cleese suggested he contact Humphrey Barclay who was, at the time, working on his television show for children called Do Not Adjust Your Set.
Having already recruited the then-unknown actor’s Eric Idle and Michael Palin for the project, Barclay agreed to take on Gilliam and made it his first assignment to create a Christmas segment for the show. With renewed energy for a new challenge, Gilliam headed over to the Tate Gallery and began rummaging through a bunch of Victorian Christmas cards for inspiration.
“I went down to the Tate and they’ve got a huge collection of Victorian Christmas cards so I went through the collection and photocopied things and started moving them around,” Gilliam remembered in The Pythons Autobiography of the Pythons.
“So the style just developed out of that rather than any planning being involved. I never analysed the stuff, I just did it the quickest, easiest way. And I could use images I really loved.”
Enjoy a bit of pre-Python madness and Merry Christmas from Far Out!