Before They Were Stars: Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Original Incarnation of “South Park”

In this week’s Shouts From the Back Row podcast about stop motion animation, I made mention of two animated short films called Jesus vs. Frosty and Jesus vs. Santa, which is where the pop culture phenomenon we know as South Park originated from. Even though South Park is made with computer animation, these two shorts were put together with stop motion. Trey Parker and Matt Stone made Jesus vs. Frosty while attending the University of Colorado in 1992, and used construction paper, glue and an old 8 mm film camera to put it all together. It’s interesting to see the primitive original incarnation of the South Park characters, where Stan has Cartman’s voice, Cartman is named Kenny, and Kenny is just some nameless guy who gets killed! In 1995, a Fox executive saw Jesus vs. Frosty and paid Parker and Stone to make an animated short that he could send to his friends as a video Christmas card. They put together Jesus vs. Santa, which features a lot of gags that would eventually show up in South Park. Both shorts would develop a cult following and become two of the Internet’s earliest viral videos, which eventually caught the eye of Comedy Central and lead to Parker and Stone getting their own TV series. Fifteen years later, they’re still going!

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