A much-loved NFB cartoon from my childhood, The Great Toy Robbery is fifty-five years old this year. I remember watching for it in the Friday afternoon film shows at St. Joseph’s Elementary in Kelowna. Unlike some Film Board films from that era, which can sometimes seem pretty creaky when viewed today, this one stands up wonderfully, as if it were made last year.
Some of the other NFB shorts I remember from those Friday shows include animations like Norman McLaren’s Neighbours (1952) and Rhythmetic (1956); documentaries like Arctic Outpost (1960) and The Water Dwellers (1963), which looked at daily life in isolated communities; and mini-dramas like The Chairmaker and the Boys (1959). Of course, I was already a big fan of the Hollywood movies — John Wayne, sci-fi, and Disney — but the NFB films were different. They opened doors onto many places, both far away and closer to home.