Frank Radford "Budge" Crawley


..."considered the Godfather of Canadian film and Canada's answer to Sam Goldwyn."
Peter Morris, The Film Companion (Irwin, 1984)

The Canadian Film Institute in Ottawa premiered Budge: The One True Happiness of F. R. 'Budge' Crawley, a one-hour documentary examining the career of the maverick Canadian film producer Budge Crawley. The Cine Metu video, produced and directed by Michael Ostroff and written by Seaton Findlay, was developed in association with Bravo! Canada for broadcast and is based in part on interviews contained in the Information Research Services (IRS) publication: Budge: F. R. Crawley and Crawley Films, 1939-1982.

F. R. "Budge" Crawley accepted Canada's first Academy Award for a documentary feature film, March 29, 1976 for "The Man Who Skied Down Everest."  The 25th anniversary of this award was in 2001.

"The Man Who Skied Down Everest"

Crawley's acceptance speech:  "This is an American award for a Canadian film about a Japanese adventurer who skied down a mountain in Nepal."

A roast was held at the Royal York Hotel and the CBC documentary "Mountain of a Man" recorded the event.  

While Crawley certainly had his "fifteen minutes of fame," his legacy goes beyond this one event. John Grierson, who founded the National Film Board  (NFB) in 1939, gave Frank Radford "Budge" Crawley his start in the film business by offering his company wartime contracts.

Budge Crawley

Crawley Films developed quickly following WWII, and the company provided a great training ground for young Canadians eager to launch film careers. At that time, the NFB was the only other major alternative filmmaking institute, until CBC television went live in 1952.

Crawley Films
Fairmont Ave.

The first Canadian Film Award (predecessor of The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television Genie Awards) in 1949 went to Crawley Films for the Native-American legend, "The Loon's Necklace." During the fifty years that Crawley Films operated, it received hundreds of film awards and made thousands of films.  

"The Loon's Necklace"

A diverse group of actors appeared in Crawley productions, including Genevieve Bujold, Christopher Plummer, Rich Little, Fred Davis and Lorne Greene. For the 39 episode 1959 RCMP Series alone, the cast list included Murray Westgate, Francis Hyland, Douglas Rain, Lloyd Bochner, Toby Robbins, Eric House, Bruno Gerusi, John Drainie, Tom Harvey, Chris Wiggins, Cec Linder, Jack Creely, John Vernon, Tom Kneebone, Larry Dane and Don Francks.  

Budge was the cameraman/director on a number of the early films made by the company. In time, he was forced to take on the role of "producer," as he became more interested in the development of a Canadian feature and television industry. He was responsible for the animated television series, The Tales of the Wizard of Oz (1962), as well as the features Amanita Pestilens (1962) with Genevieve Bujold in her first screen appearance, "The Luck of Ginger Coffey" (1964) starring British actor Robert Shaw

"The Luck of Ginger Coffey"

He also produced The Rowdyman (1971) with Gordon Pinsent, the rock documentary Janis (1974) featuring Janis Joplin, Oscar-winner  "The Man Who Skied Down Everest"(1975), and Heartland Reggae (1980) with Bob Marley and the Wailers.

Janis Joplin

In his lifetime, Trent University presented Budge Crawley with his first honorary degree (1979), the he received The Order of Canada (1980), and The National Archives purchased the Crawley collection (1984). Until recently, the importance of Crawley in developing a viable private film industry in Canada was little known beyond the informal "alumni" of "Crawley College," as it became known in the film industry. In celebration of The Hundredth Anniversary of Film in Canada (1996), IRS published an informal history of the man and the company. Two years later, journalist Barbara Wade Rose completed a biography of Crawley "Budge: What Happened to Canada's Kings of Film" for ECW Press.




Forrester, J. A. TITLE: Budge : F. R. Crawley and Crawley Films, 1939-1982,  edited by James A. Forrester; layout and design by John Fewings ; cover photograph by Michael Bedford PUBLISHER: Lakefield, Ont. : IRS, 1996, DESCRIPTION: viii, 112 p. : ill., ports. ; 23 cm. ISBN: 0969779429 (pbk.) : $14.95.

Rose, Barbara Wade TITLE: Budge : what happened to Canada's king of film, Barbara Wade Rose PUBLISHER: Toronto: ECW Press, 1998. DESCRIPTION: 260 p., [32] p. of plates: ill., ports.; 25 cm.
ISBN: 1550223631 (pbk.) : $16.95.


Crowley, D., "F. R. Crawley: Canada's Maverick Filmmaker", Reader's Digest, May, 1977, p. 99-106.

Fetherling, Doug, "Putting Janis together", Take One, July/August, 1973, p. 20-22.

Forrester, James A. "The Crawley Era", Cinema Canada, June 1982, p. 22-24.

Forrester, James A. "Budge Crawley: Canada's First TV Maverick", Take One, Vol. 7 (20),
Summer 1998, p. 36-38.

Moore, Steve, "Family Viewing", Archivist, Vol. 20(4), 1994, p. 2-4.

Quig, James, "Yesterday's Shirts & Last Week's Pants", Quest, May, 1976, p. 16-22.

Rose, Barbara Wade, "The Loon's Necklace and Beyond", Imperial Oil Review, Vol. 82 (431),
Winter, 1998, p. 6-11.

Rose, Barbara Wade, "An Interview with Budge: Experience on a Construction Job was Worth More Than a Graduate Degree" [Except from Budge], Canadian Forum, v. 77(873) Nov. 1998, p.5.

Street, Jeffrey B., "Budge Crawley", Motion, Vol. 5, No. 2, January, 1976, p. 14-18.


Scott, Munroe, Corpus Delectable: a Full Length Stage Play in Two Acts for Two Actors, PUBLISHER: Toronto, Playwrights Union of Canada, 1995. DESCRIPTION: 55 p., 28 cm. ISBN: 1-55173-171-1 (pbk).

Film & Video:

Evans, Janet, Mountain of a Man, a CBC production, 1976 (only available from CBC Archives due to rights restrictions), 20 minutes.

Gzowski, Peter, 90 Minutes Live (interview), a CBC production, 1977 (available for research from National Archives), 15 minutes.

Kramer, John, Has Anybody Here Seen Canada?: a History of Canadian Movies 1939-1953 , an NFB/CBC co-production, 1979 (distributed by NFB), 87 minutes.

McFadden, Patrick, Huebener, Alrick & Lasovich, Mary, DIG (interview), TVOntario/Carleton University production, 1979, (only available for research from Carleton University), 28 minutes

Ostroff, Michael, "Budge": the One True Happiness of F. R. "Budge" Crawley, A Cine Metu production, 2002 (distributed by Kinetic Video), 46 minutes.

Information Research Services
P.O. Box 718, Lakefield, Ontario K0L 2H0

Distribution of the 1996 IRS Budge Book
Disticor Direct - Book Division
695 Westney Road South, Suite # 14, Ajax, Ontario L1S 6M9
(866) 679-2665
Contact at Disticor

Distribution of the Budge video
Kineticvideo, 11 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1Y4
 (416) 538-6613

 Distribution of the 1998 ECW Budge Book
ECW Press, Suite 200, 2120 Queen Street. East, Toronto, Ontario M4E 1E2
 (416) 694-3348

Canadian Film Institute Cinema
Budge Video Premiere

 Academic Film Archives:
Crawley Films Retrospective (Feb. 1, 2001)

 Other Web Resources
Canadian Encyclopedia entry for Budge

 Internet Movie Database (IMDB) Budge Crawley

Canuxploitation's Page "Instructional Films of Budge Crawley"

 Northern Stars: Budge Crawley

Special Achievement Award to the Crawleys @ 1986 Genies

AV Preservation Trust Masterworks Induction of The Loon's Necklace (1949)

Canadian Film Awards, 1949-1978 for Crawley Films

Information provided by James Forrester

Film Fanatics

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