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The Search for Oof, Part One

The uncertainties surrounding the brief existence and sudden demise of Studio Oof have colored my life since childhood.

My father, the genius director/producer Mal Quinn (one of the bastions of the Irish Austrian film industry) produced two well received short films in the late 1960s, “The Dark, The Dark!” and “creaturecatdogbirdwhoops”. The dawn of the 70s were spent trying to get the money together for his first feature while also managing to pay for private care for my mother.

My memories are vague: actresses weeping and disrobing in our sunken living room, Klaus d'Alsace’s pet gibbon running amok in my parents' suite, dozens of whispered, incomprehensible conversations in languages I didn’t (and don’t) understand, cries of “GORP GORP" faintly heard from the shrubbery.

What did it all mean?

Any kind of definitive answer would be lost to me (and the world) on Wednesday, 8 October, 1972 when my parents, the actors, and the crew boarded a plane in Berlin, intending to fly to their filming location on a private island in the Indian Ocean. Contact was lost as they flew over the Carpathians.

Forty years of wondering, silence and the responsibility of looking after Klaus’s gibbon have formed the warp and weft of my life. There have been no answers, only tangled threads.

"No answers”. At least until last year, when two simultaneous events changed everything. First, a Moldovan man named Dragos Cojocaro found a large number of items that were thought to be on the plane in a box
in his garage. The second was me locating a cache of pictures, documents and film fragments buried in the garden.

I will attempt to sort through these two boxes and my own disjointed memories and attempt to piece together the exploded fragments of my childhood.

Above is what I assume is a costume design, at least a proposed one. No copies of my father’s last screenplay survive, so I can’t be certain of its meaning. It was found in Moldova, but of my parents there is no sign.

Below are two crumpled telegrams, proving both that financing for my father’s film had been secured in London, and that his lead actress and muse, Svetlana Von Von was causing problems as usual (I have a vivid, disjointed memory of blood dripping down her heavily made up face, my mother laughing, the gibbon screaming).

I fear there are no answers to the questions that have plagued my life, but perhaps I can find deeper mysteries and unravel the fabric of my parents’ life.

Georgia Quinn
Hants. October, 2012

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