There’s nothing like the tradition of stop animation holiday specials growing up. Now a trio of local football stars are looking to join the ranks of Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph with their own spacial. That’s right, fresh off the Monday night win against Kansas City, NFL Eagles’ Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata announced that they will star in a nine-minute, stop motion animated holiday special, A Philly Special Christmas Special, premiering Thanksgiving night at 8:00 PM EST via the trio’s YouTube page. Created by Philadelphia-based animation studio, unPOP, the special finds Kelce, Jordan and Lane attempting to rally their friends together for a holiday performance and features songs from A Philly Special Christmas Special (Vera Y Records).
The Philly Specials have released three singles from the LP including “All I Want for Christmas,” “This Christmas” and “Fairytale of Philadelphia” – a duet between Jason and Travis Kelce on a reimagining of The Pogues’ classic, which has over 2 million streams across platforms and has reached #1 on iTunes. All in all, the nine-minute film took 5,000 hours over five months to complete, included 20 hand-crafted puppets with hand-sewn clothing, and 5,000 individual photographs displayed at 24 frames per second.
“The Philly Specials’ A Philly Special Christmas, which featured Kelce, Jordan Mailata, and Lane Johnson singing holiday classics was such a huge success they decided to release another one this year, and they asked US to create a short film,” says unPOP’s co-founder Peter Heacock. “Of course, we jumped at the chance — there’s no denying that we’re super fans of the team. This was a dream job.”
“When you think of Christmas, you think warmth, vintage, and the classics. Kelce and the gang are putting on a holiday variety show,” explained unPOP co-founder Marie Hart. “It’s a drama about Kelce trying to outperform the album they made last year, but also how they want to win the Super Bowl this year… all while learning about the true meaning of the season.” Fans will see Kelce riding a donkey and singing “Dominick the Donkey” and Mailata shines in “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” In the video, cameos by famous friends and family, including Patti LaBelle and Travis Kelce and iconic Philly references. To record the voiceovers, the players came to the couple’s house in West Mount Airy, as the set for A Philly Special Christmas Special is located inside their unPOP garage studio.
A Philly Special Christmas Special (Vera Y Records) is available now for vinyl preorder via PhillySpecialChristmas.com and will be available on all digital platforms on December 1st. This year, proceeds from the vinyl sales will benefit Children’s Crisis Treatment Center’s Toy Drive and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Snowflake Station.
View this post on Instagram