What on Earth!
|What on Earth!|
|Directed by||Kaj Pindal
|Produced by||Robert Verrall
|Written by||Kaj Pindal|
|Narrated by||Donald Brittain|
|Music by||Donald Douglas|
|Studio||National Film Board of Canada|
|Distributed by||National Film Board of Canada
|Running time||09 min 35 s|
What on Earth! (French: La Terre est habitée!) is a 1966 National Film Board of Canada animated short co-directed by Les Drew and Kaj Pindal, which takes a humorous look at car culture from the point of view of fictional Martians, who mistake automobiles for Earth's true inhabitants and people as their parasites. The film is a mockumentary, introduced in its opening credits as produced by the "National Film Board of Mars."
The film was first proposed at the NFB by Pindal in December 1963, with the working title Automation, with the intention of showing how “in spite of appearances, man is the master in the automated world.” The working title would become Martians, before the final title What on Earth! was chosen. Drew was brought in to work on the film in 1965 and 1966, with Brittain assigned to write narration. Pindal’s original idea of "man as the master" is not reflected in the final version of the film, and NFB archivist and blogger Albert Ohayon believes Brittain may have been responsible for this key change.
What on Earth! was completed in late 1966 and shown to distributors including Columbia Pictures, which purchased international theatrical rights in January 1967. The film received several film festival awards, including at the International Festival of Science Fiction in Trieste, Italy. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 40th Academy Awards.
Following a successful theatrical run, the film was sold to approximately 30 networks around the world, beginning in 1969. TV sales included CBC-TV in Canada and the ABC TV network in the US. The ABC sale was for seven animated shorts, including Walking, Cosmic Zoom and Hot Stuff, and marked the first time NFB films had been sold to a major American television network. The films aired on ABC in the fall of 1971 as part of the children’s television show Curiosity Shop, executive produced by Chuck Jones.
- "La Terre est habitée!" (in French). National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
- "What on Earth!". Collection. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 12 March 2010.
- Thought, Volume 21, Issues 1-26, Page ccxii
- Ohayon, Albert (June 08, 2012). "What on Earth: Science fiction satire at its funniest". NFB.ca Blog. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved June 08, 2012.
- "Meet the Panelists:Kaj Pundal". Take Two Film Festival. Orangeville, ON. Retrieved 12 March 2010.