Released in 1979, Tom Waits for No One is a groundbreaking animated short that was recently rediscovered thanks to YouTube.

It was directed by John Lamb and features Tom Waits performing ‘The One That Got Away’ at Hollywood’s La Brea Stage. This footage was carefully transformed into animation using then-revolutionary rotoscope technology (used much later on Richard Linklater’s Through A Scanner Darkly, for example), and had to be drawn by hand.

It’s hardly surprising that many of the animators who worked on the short film went on to work for Disney and on The Simpsons, and the techniques still look astonishing over three decades later. As it approaches its 35-year anniversary, the director is launching a Kickstarter campaign to restore the film to its original glory.

Lamb is planning to run an event on March 20 and 21 next year at Hollywood’s Catchlight Studios (the location where La Brea Stage used to exist), and plans to present the film properly for the first time in over 30 years. He has explained that the money from the Kickstarter – which is due to begin on September 19 – will be used for “transferring the original live action footage of Tom Waits and the video pencil test to a contemporary format to be projected throughout the gallery; restoration and framing of original animation cels for display; and restoration of the Lyon Lamb Video Rotoscope used in the film’s production.”

There will also be a scrapbook put together with “a bevy of miscellanea” from the film’s production, which should have Tom Waits fans wringing their hands with glee, we’re sure. If you’ve not managed to see the film yet, you can watch the un-restored version on YouTube below. [via Consequence of Sound]



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