Toccata for Toy Trains is a 1957 short film by Charles and Ray Eames, one of several films (including Powers of Ten, made many years later) the husband-and-wife design team made during their career.
The film features mostly antique toy trains moving within fanciful settings to a toccata. Other antique toys, such as dolls (representing passengers and townspeople), automobiles and horse-drawn carriages are featured.
Most of the toys come from a mix of museum and private collections, including that of the Museum of the City of New York, and apparently date from before the 1920s. The film is shot from a toy's-eye-view, as if the viewer is following the journey of trains from two cities, beginning with the busy activity of the departure train station and surrounding downtown neighborhood, traveling across the countryside, and ending with trains pulling into the arrival station.
A short opening narration by Charles Eames, set in a roundhouse, extols the design merits of toys, especially antique toys, with their "direct and unembarrassed manner", versus scale models. Eames says the modern era has lost the art of toymaking in the attempt to have "a perfect little copy of the real thing".
Famous quotes containing the words trains and/or toy:
“Ever notice how these European trains always smell of eau de cologne and hard boiled eggs?”
—Billy Wilder (b. 1906)
“Everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
Its easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred.”
—Bob Dylan [Robert Allen Zimmerman] (b. 1941)