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The Log Driver’s Waltz (1979)

by on 2013/02/18

“It’s birling down, a-down white water,
A log driver’s waltz pleases girls completely.”

* * * *

If you want to psychically teleport a Canadian child of the 80s back to weekday afternoon immediately after school, playing the National Film Board’s animated short The Log Driver’s Waltz should do the trick.

I had a childhood flashback right in the middle of the North Gloucester Public Library when Jack Horowitz played this legendary NFB short for Hacker Renders and I, and assorted other families on a Saturday afternoon.

It was a full-on, sense memory flashback when the song sung by other Canadian treasures, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, began. I was in my mother’s living room again, waiting for our moose meat roast and boiled potatoes dinner to make it to the old, oak dining table.

(And if that’s not a Canadian memory, I don’t know what is).

That’s the power of this John Weldon-directed animation. No wonder it is the most-requested NFB film in the collection.

Back in my day, it ran on CBC as an interstitial almost every weekday afternoon. I could count upon it appearing as consistently as I could count upon a misunderstanding of some kind happening in Three’s Company.

The seamless blending of historical footage and the naive animation style was charmingly addictive.

In an adolescence where very little was predictable and could be relied on, I could rely on this NFB film. It is whirling, joyous and managed to make the ridiculously dangerous work of logging seem like a really good time.

The Log Driver’s Waltz pleases this Canadian girl completely.

* * * *

Watch the full NFB film.

3 minutes


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