Throwback Thursday: NFB’s ‘Energy Carol’ (1975) A Timely Tale On Energy Conservation

Christmas is almost here and our radios and televisions are packed full with Christmas programming specials. One of the most classic Christmas stories known to most people is Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. There have been countless film and television adaptations of this story of repentance and second chances. The National Film Board even produced its own version in 1975 with a 10-minute version called “Energy Carol”.

Written and directed by Les Drew, this short was also made possible with assistance by the former federal Office of Energy Conservation, as well as the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources. ‘Energy Carol’ is a humorous spin on the Dickens story, with Ebenezer Stooge as a CEO of power production company and his trusted employee, Mr Scratchit. Stooge believes in encouraging everyone to use energy as fast as his power company can make it. According to Stooge, energy waste equates to growth. However, just like his Dickens counterpart, Stooge is shown the folly of his ways by three ‘energy ghosts’ past, present and future.

‘Energy Carol’ was a very clever attempt at educating Canadians of the day at conserving energy in their daily lives.  Without a doubt, the energy crisis of the 1970s was a catalyst in the production of this film. Although it was a short film, ‘Energy Carol’ followed the original Dickens story very well. It was also smart to present the film and energy conservation in a humorous manner; no one certainly wants to feel guilty about wasting energy or cajoled into changing a habit.

The film still resonates in these times, as household energy prices in Canada have been steadily climbing in the past few years. Even if your lifestyle already includes conservation practices such as using energy-efficient light bulbs and taking public transit, ‘Energy Carol’ is still a nice little film to watch at Christmas.

Logo courtesy of NFB
Logo courtesy of NFB

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