18 January 2007

Tom Waits for No One

It's remarkable what discoveries the internet affords the avid fan. To wit, this entry in the Tom Waits Library:

Since the late 1970's, the undercurrent buzz of an obscure animated rock video entitled, "Tom Waits For No One", has been circulating amongst the worldwide hardcore aficionados of Tom Waits. Rumors have been fueled only by occasional and rare photographs; perhaps these are stills from the video itself, or perhaps images taken from the animation cels. The intriguing source of the photos has been a baffling chase for more than twenty years. Who made it, what was it about, where did it originate geographically, why hasn't it been available to the public, and how was it made, all the basic questions, have been nothing short of a discouraging riddle. The 5 1/2 minute animated short is an erotic visual featuring Waits crooning "The One That Got Away" to a sultry long-haired stripper on a desolate boulevard of broken hearts.

At long last we got in touch with the director of this beautiful and technologically groundbreaking video, John Lamb. Through email conversations John has finally come forth with the history behind this video and graciously clarified the mystery. He explains how he came to make it, the persons involved with the making of it, the creative process of Rotoscoping, why the video dived into a black hole, Tom Waits' involvement, and delectable anecdotes on working with Waits.

This really is remarkable work. In fact, as you'll learn from the interview with John Lamb here, the "Video Animation System for testing motion picture animation sequences" that Lamb invented in 1976 (with the help of his business partner, Bruce Lyon) earned the two an Academy Award in the category of Scientific and Technical Achievement (1980). So here, at long last, is the video itself:

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