Sunday, 28 February 2016

Tralfaz Sunday Theatre – The Romance of Transportation in Canada

Welcome to Tralfaz Sunday Theatre. This new programme on the Tralfaz blog will feature various short films from around the internet that may be fun, interesting or odd.

I’ve avoided doing this for the longest time because a) video links tend to die and I don’t want to deal with dead links and b) I really don’t have the time to hunt down material to maintain this feature indefinitely. But I have a few posts banked so it’ll continue for several weeks, which is longer than “Turn On” lasted on ABC.

Our premiere episode features an animated short from the National Film Board of Canada. Back when I was in elementary school, we’d periodically have stuff from the NFB screened in class. I don’t recall whether I saw this film way back then, but I wouldn’t be surprised. The NFB web site describes “The Romance of Transportation in Canada” thusly:
A light-hearted animated short about how Canada's vast distances and great obstacles were overcome by settlers. The story is told with a tongue-in-cheek seriousness and takes us from the intrepid trailblazers of long ago to the aircraft of today and tomorrow. A 1953 Cartoon Short Subject Oscar-nominee.
Because we’re into the ‘50s and because the NFB basically let creative people be creative, you won’t mistake this for a Disney cartoon. Robert Verrall’s designs are enjoyable. Eldon Rathburn’s jazzy score is a bonus, though it sounds like the mikes were placed in the back of the room at times.

The NFB site will let you view this in high-definition. You can choose the 1080p setting below.


  1. This was the FIRST film from the NFB to be animated with cels, that's one Canadian fact!

  2. Actually, I believe the first cel-animated cartoon from NFB is "Bid It Up Sucker" by Jim Mackay, which came out in 1944. It was a wartime propaganda that warned against inflation.

    1. Never heard of that one before, but good call. I just seem like for a while, the NFB couldn't commit to using cels regularly until the 1950's when UPA showed them a roadmap on how to do successful animation in a limited fashion (as they were akin to using cut-outs and other forms of animation prior).

      Seeing a clip from "Bid It Up Sucker" here, I can see how far they had to go to make that possible.