In a very Canadian throwback Thursday, we are exploring an iconic short film from 1979.
In the late 1970’s Canadian broadcasting was rushing to keep up with their American neighbours in creating quality television content. Even then Canada knew that they risked losing a cultural identity when a mass amount of American and British content was filling our media. The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) invested in creating a collection of short films known as the Canada Vignettes.
Canada Vignettes, which aired on CBC and other Canadian channels, became popular for their depiction and representation of a changing nation. 80 filmmakers produced films of many styles including animations that showcased Canadian history, politics, and culture. Through the 80’s many favourite Vignettes were continuously broadcast until they were drilled into the heads of young children forever.
Which brings me to “The Log Driver’s Waltz” directed by John Weldon. One of the most popular short films to ever come out of the NFB, “The Log Driver’s Waltz” aired on Canadian television well into the 1990’s. Personally, I watched this Vignette so many times as a child; I cannot read the title without the music playing in my head and filling in the remaining lyrics.
That would make now a good time to share the video. At only three minutes, it is worth watching the whole way through.
As you can see, the flashy animation style and flowing movements made this an enjoyable film to watch. The celebration of the log driver is an important piece of Canadian heritage as they helped to build our modern economy. And like I said, this film played a lot on Canadian television but, still, it is fun to watch- I’m not sure how much of that is nostalgia.
The song is a classic folk song that dates back well before this film. Obviously, there are a lot of double entendre and sexual innuendos that involve the log driver pleasing girls. Making an all-ages movie with such sexually influenced lyrics with youth these days probably would not fly but, in the 70’s and 80’s nobody really cared. Though I can tell you from experience that I always knew there was something else going on in this video that I could never explain. Honestly, I am still not sure if I get it all.
“If you ask any girl from the parish around,
What pleases her most from her head to her toes;
She’ll say, “I’m not sure that it’s business of yours,
But I do like to waltz with a log driver.”
No matter how dirty this song actually is, Canadians everywhere will long love this iconic short film. Coming from a nation that lacks the same media power as our neighbors down south these Vignettes did their job of creating a strong Canadian culture. Also, every Canadian grew up knowing that if you wanted to please girls completely, you needed to be in the lumber industry. Maybe it is time to bring these films back.