Dream of the Sphinx

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When I was a kid there were rumors in the family about some animated shorts my dad had made in the ’60s–Dream of the Sphinx and, with Adam Beckett, The Letter. He’d won prizes in France, they said, been a shooting star in the obscure world of experimental animation where folks make movies about the inner lives of tomatillos and lint people who come to life in laundromats at night.

Where are the films? We wanted to know.

Sold. Lost. Somewhere.

Oh.

So it was kind of cool and out of the blue nowhere when a researcher emailed a few days ago asking after James Gore and directing me to the library where the old reels live. I poked around the internet a bit, emailed another filmmaker. It seems the shorts were screened in classes at CalArts for decades. And my dad’s been an elusive sax-playing mystery man of trippy experimental animation yore.

Could you put me in contact with him? They asked.

I can try.

But, alas, the mystery man remains elusive. He’s off fishing with sea gypsies in the gulf of Thailand.