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Western Animation / The Drag

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The Drag is a 1966 animated short film by Carlos Marchiori. It was produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

It was an anti-smoking initiative when such things were new. An anonymous man lies on a therapist's couch and tells his shrink about his addiction to tobacco. He describes how he struggled to fit in as a young person, and how cigarette advertising and cigarettes in media led him to start smoking, and how he only gradually realized that he was an addict.

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Tropes:

  • Ash Face: The man turns on his gas stove, apparently to kill himself. He says "Well, one can't hurt me," and lights up a cigarette. The apartment explodes, and the man is left staring at the camera with an Ash Face as the cartoon ends.
  • Clip-Art Animation: While the man is drawn with Thick Line Animation, tobacco products and tobacco advertisements are done with Clip Art photos of actual objects. For example, in one scene real cigarettes shoot out of a real cigarette box which is firing them off like a rocket launcher.
  • Freudian Couch: The man tells his story from a shrink's couch. He's horrified to notice the puffs of smoke from the shrink's cigarette floating over him.
  • Public Service Announcement: A government-sponsored anti-smoking initiative.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Discussed Trope, and it has to be admitted that it is cool when cowboys, athletes, rock stars, and alluring women are all depicted smoking, as they are in the cartoon. And taking up smoking actually does help the man fit in with his friends and succeed with women.
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  • Smoking Is Not Cool: But then there's the lung cancer, and the fact that the man is now an addict and can't quit.
  • Squashed Flat: A mix of animation styles when the hand-drawn animated man is squashed to a pancake by a clip-art tank made of cigarettes.
  • Thick-Line Animation: How the bulk of the short is drawn.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Most of the cartoon is the young man recounting his life and his development of a smoking habit.
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