RVOD073 The Tale of Moose Baby

(1960s-ish?, Educational-Short, color)


Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

Moose Baby, again, was hideously ugly. We think you’ll agree.

Rating: ***

In a Nutshell:

Moose Baby watches nature and, um, not much else.


Wasn't he part of Dillinger's gang?Moose Baby was apparently born during the initial moments of this short film. You know, when screen stayed dark and silent for the first ten seconds or so. Then a green-filtered wilderness pops up with the narrator in mid-sentence while Moose Baby wobbles around “like a wet rat on stilts” (Mike’s words). Our eponymous woodland friend observes his fellow nature-dwellers while learning to forage.

Winter comes. Moose Baby grows while the few fellow nature-dwellers remaining either fall through thin ice to perish horribly, or grow into hungry predators that thirst for Moose Baby’s blood. Everybody’s antlers fall off and grow back in the spring. Repeat a couple more years, and now Moose Baby should probably change his name to Moose Adult.


Between the lack of title and credits, the intermittent sound and the odd, Zen-like pointlessness, it’s tough to tell if The Tale of Moose Baby is unfinished or the work of shy incompetents. (Granted, there’s no reason it can’t be both, but I’m trying to be generous.) I sense a park service behind it, somehow. The barely coherent nature factoids repeatedly circling the seasons give it a dreamy, recursive feeling—interesting enough to make you want to leave the ranger station it’s playing in to go out and look at actual nature, but not interesting enough to make you want to stay and see how it ends. Either that or it’s for stoners by stoners, because that baby moose is, like, so totally deep and true to life, man.

A sampling of the commentary: As the narrator goes over the other animals Baby Moose meets on his first day out of the womb, he skips over a few with alarming quickness while Kevin notes, “He saw a bird for about two tenths of a second.” When the narrator rather strangely emphasizes that beavers build ponds “for their own use” Bill clarifies, “Beavers are anti-Semitic.” As the short film pieces together episodes of Moose Baby’s life beyond the year mark, Mike speculates, “Two crew members committed suicide rather than continue filming the damn moose.” If ever there was a short designed to alter the viewer’s consciousness, this is the one. Mike, Bill and Kevin chime just enough to keep it interesting.