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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Found Films: Animators Resume Reel uncovered

Among the many mysteries that unfold while digging in the past are the biography's of the people who lived in the home where I am digging. This question arises when I have come across something extraordinary.

This short animated promo for the album "Red Octopus" by Starship  (Jefferson Airplane >Jefferson Starship> Starship) was brought to life by the owner of the estate I was digging through. Being fortunate to find 3 reels of some of his work, I tried to get to know who this person was.

This second piece was done for the Grumman Corporation to help explain to clients how their antiquated methods of testing were clunky and inefficient. Using animation they can hold attention and explain with intended exaggeration how their system is superior.

 Asking around, I found out that the home had belonged to Robert Tinfo, who made his living as an animator working for various firms. In his later years, he moved from his office in the city to this home. He didn't stop animating, instead converting his home into a makeshift studio containing, at one point, an animation stand that spanned the 1st and 2nd floors.

His style was distinctive, colorful and whimsical (One son told me he was behind the animated the NBC peacock). Sadly, there is no biography on Robert Tinfo. My internet searches reveal a vague reference to a company he worked for in the late 50's and early 60's. Some of these sample clips may have come from that era, but there is no title information and most of it leaves me guessing. 

The samples I have are amazing, and prove that there are people around us doing things that merit recognition, or at least more than just a nod hello at the mailbox.

If you remember or know more about Robert Tinfo, please email me and share it in the comments.

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