Clay Classics™: Story Summaries

Here are the story and theme of each DVD. For a sample video clip, please click on Preview Video Clip.

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Play Martin the Cobbler





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MARTIN THE COBBLER: Martin has been faithful to his cobbler's bench in spite of some deep personal disappointments. A chance encounter with a customer inspires him to reach out to those in need, He is able to settle a dispute between an old lady with a bag of apples and a young ragamuffin who has attempted to "borrow" one of her apples. Later he invites a street-sweeper who is half-frozen to join him for some hot tea. Finally a young mother is given a warm shawl to keep both her and her infant warm. Martin comes to the realization that sharing is always in season. Author: Leo Tolstoy (Russia); Narrator: Alexandria Tolstoy (daughter of Leo); Award: First Prize "Children's Film" at Ottawa International Animation Film Festival.
RIP VAN WINKLE: Rip seems to be the town neer-do-well. Instead of tending to his farm, he is often teaching the children to fly kites and play games. They love his singing and dancing much to the consternation of the Puritan villagers who are greatly puzzled by his lack of work ethic, as is his wife we might add. After drinking a magic potion concocted by Henry Hudson's shipmates, he goes to sleep for 20 years. When he wakes up he is embraced by the townsfolk as a long lost friend. Author: Washington Irving (USA); Narrator: Will Geer; Academy Award Nomination for Short Subject Animation.

Play Little Prince




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THE LITTLE PRINCE: The Little Prince, an idealist, expected perfection from his Rose. She had just a speck of vanity, but this was too much for him. He left her only to discover that, "What is essential is invisible to the eye. It is only with the heart that one sees rightly." We follow the eternally young Prince through a fantasy universe seeking "matters of consequence". This production remains totally faithful to the spirit of innocence and sense of wonderment that mark the original text. Author: Antoine de Saint-Exupery (France); Narrator: Cliff Robertson; Award: Grand Prix of Festival at Chicago International Film Festival.

Play Star Child





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THE STAR CHILD: Two woodcutters, Gustav and Sven, discover an infant wrapped in a golden cloak with an amber chain around his neck. Sven takes him home and raises him with his other children. They name him Pero and he grows into a beautiful youngster. However, he becomes enamored of his own beauty. He treats a beggar lady cruelly and in turn is transformed into a frightful hideous creature. Only when he becomes beautiful inside does his external beauty return. But there's more to the story. Author: Oscar Wilde (Ireland); Narrator: Anonymous; Award: Gold Medal at Chicago International Film Festival.

GOD'S TROMBONES: "The Creation" is the first in this trilogy of African-American poetry. It is an artistic rather than a literal interpretation of the Genesis story of creation. It is a reminder of our responsibility to leave planet earth as good or better than we found it. After all, we only have it on loan from the next generation. Another poem is "The Prodigal Son" which is a reminder that forgiveness is always in season. Author: James Weldon Johnson (USA); Narrator: James Earl Jones (voice of Star Wars' Darth Vader); Academy Award Nomination for Short Subject Animation.

Play Michael the Visitor





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MICHAEL THE VISITOR: Simon discovers a naked young man along the road. After some hesitation he clothes him, takes him home and feeds him, much to the consternation of his bewildered wife, and finally offers him a place to sleep. Remember, Simon and his wife don't have two coins to rub together. However, Simon, a shoemaker, teaches Michael his trade and because of Michael's skill, business picks up dramatically. Michael turns out to be a blessing in disguise, and much more. Author: Leo Tolstoy; Narrator: Stockard Channing; Award: CINE Golden Eagle.
THE FIRST CHRISTMAS and other Stories: A reenactment of the Nativity story as written in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. The innkeeper's daughter and the shepherd boy add identifiable characters for young viewers. The miracles we witness in our daily lives make faith in Christmas relatively uncomplicated. Authors: Matthew and Luke (Israel); Narrator: Christopher Plummer; Award: Andrew Carnegie Medal. Includes two bonus videos: The Chimes (Author: Charles Dickens; Narrator: Derek Jacobi; Award: CINE Special Jury Award) and A Christmas Gift (Based on "A Christmas Dinner," a ballad by Peter, Paul and Mary).
THE VELVETEEN RABBIT: The youthful rabbit and the wise old skin-horse lived in the boy's toy-room. One day the rabbit asked the skin-horse what it meant to be real. The skin-horse replied, "Being real isn't how you are made. It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, then you become real." Their conversation and the story continue and the world is the richer for it. Author: Margery Williams (England); Narrator: Jennifer Shapiro; Award: Notable Children's Video (American Library Association).