Wednesday, August 01, 2007


"Just Another Job"

By Greg

Does anyone who was alive and reasonably cognizant in 1970s Canada remember a series of TV spots called "Adieu, Alouette"? I obviously don't -- not Canadian and was just a toddler. It was a National Film Board production, described this way:

"Adieu Alouette was a series of 13 half-hour films produced by the National Film Board, intended to revise stereotypes of Quebec for English Canada. In the wake of the October Crisis of 1970 and during a period of rising Quebec nationalism, the series offered a survey of Quebec culture instead of politics."

So there you go. One of these episodes was called "Just Another Job," and was about the birth and early days of the WHA Quebec Nordiques. I came across a NFB videotape sometime in the 1990s, and recently (inspired by a viewing of "Death By Popcorn") dug it out again.

I truly wish I had the technological ability to transfer a videotape to YouTube -- the opening sequence (which I'm guessing/hoping was a constant of "Adieu, Alouette") is classic early '70s, full of all the shame and horror that time period inspires. It's an animated cartoon of a fellow, drenched in psychedelic colors, singing about (basically) "we're all Canadians, why are we afraid of Quebec?" as he morphs through various incarnations. Then there's a picture of Guy Lafleur, then various Canadian landmarks, then (mercifully) the song ends and the episode begins.

After that intro, it's pretty sedate. It's not terribly linear, just a collection of snapshots from the months leading up to the opening game -- but it's of interest to hockey history buffs. The longest storyline, if you can call it that, centers around Jacques Blain -- a fringe defenseman struggling to make the team (for what would be his only season in the WHA). The guy who designed the logo and uniforms shows his original designs (much less red, much more blue). There's Maurice Richard, miserable in his brief and ill-fated coaching career. There's a few other guys whose names I recognized (Jean-Guy Gendron, Serge Aubry). There's lots of plaid pants.

Against all odds, the tape is actually still available here. An interesting little diversion, in the miserably hot days of August.

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Those pink WHA jerseys were weak but tne NHL Nords' blue jerseys were absolutely beautiful.
Please post the themesong to youtube. It is classic. The singer, pictured in full animated splendour, is none other than Robert Charlebois, founder of Unibroue (brewers of Maudite).
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