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Tin-Tan: A Versatile Genius from Mexico’s Golden Era of Cinema

by planetnomad on August 30, 2011

Germán Valdés, better known as “Tin-Tan”, left an undeniable impression on the performance industry. With a career spanning for more than 30 years during Mexico’s Golden era of cinema, he was a cabaret singer, actor and comedic giant. Tin-Tan was best known for his comedic genius and for being exceptionally apt at gesturing. The fluidity in his gesturing infused his characters in movies like, “El Hijo Desobediente”, The Disobedient Child and “Músico, Poeta y Loco”, Musician, Poet and Madman.

He even, and more importantly, was known for bridging the Mexican and American cultures through his portrayal of “Pachuco” characters. The “Pachuco” was a product from the barrios of Los Angeles who never turned his back on his Mexican origins, but instead found ways to merge both cultures through language and dress. He often dressed in a “zoot suit”, baggy pants, over-sized coat, Fedora hat and two-tone shoes.

Tin-Tan was a spirited personality who displayed this Pachuco persona with ease when donning his zoot suit and incorporating bits of both languages. Though he played this character in many of his movies, he was also known for his multiple talents as seen in comedic pieces and his many cabaret acts.

To discover more about this Mexican legend, the CECUT Cultural Center in Tijuana has had an ongoing exhibit, “Tin Tan: el artista, el pachuco, el hombre” since June 24th. It was assembled by his daughter Rosalía Valdés Julián, in homage to his legacy and will be on display until September 19th, what would have been the artist’s 96th birthday. The temporary exhibit is housed in the Museo de las Californias and is divided up into three themes. One includes posters showcasing his cinematic work while another shares several of his personal mementos such as letters, postcards, photos and even a green card. The last theme displays multiple newspaper clippings and general items regarding his work.

The price to see this exhibit is included in the entrance fee to the Museo de las Calfornias and is housed in the temporary exhibit space.

I am a contributing writer for the Mexico Today Project, which, along with Marca País – Imagen de México “ is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination.”

Disclaimer:  **Please note that I am being compensated for participation in this project and for attending its launch in Oaxaca. Also note that all posts and written contributions by me will be expressed in an unbiased form with all opinions reflecting my own.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ricardo September 1, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Excellent post Mark! Tin-Tan has always been one of my favorite comedians of all time together with Cantinflas. It is great that they are doing this exhibit in Tijuana as a tribute to him, but at the same time I hope it sparks the interest in younger generations to explore the films and humor of such a talented artist. Thank you!

planetnomad September 2, 2011 at 10:16 am

Thanks Ricardo! Tin-Tan was definitely a dynamic talent and I agree, the youth should embrace and admire these one-of-a-kind giants from the past!

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