Excerpt from BUDGE: What happened to Canada’s King of Film

In 1989 I was  tracking down some information for a magazine story when I discovered I needed to telephone Crawley Films Ltd. in Ottawa.

“There’s no one here,” said the man who answered the phone.  “We’re just closing up.  The business is finished.”

That’s funny, I thought. I had heard of Crawley Films from time to time during the 1970s when I lived in Ottawa . . . The voice on the telephone told me to contact a man named Bill O’Farrell, who had worked at Crawley Films for more than 40 years . . . O’Farrell mentioned something about Budge Crawley spending much of its revenues to build a wind tunnel to fly some geese.

A what? I asked.

O’Farrell continued.  Budge began his career by filming Canada coast to coast, he said.  During its 40 years in business Crawley Films won nearly 300 international awards.

Really? I said.

The company wasn’t Budge’s anymore.  It had been bought by one of its employees from the animation department in 1982.  Budge had sort of run it into the ground.  At this point O’Farrell sounded as if he were chuckling to himself.  Possibly, he said, having the two wives had worn him out.

Pardon? I said.

– Preface, BUDGE: What happened to Canada’s King of Film