Tin Tan, the Mexican actor, singer and comedian, is today’s (Sept. 19) Google Doodle.
Born Germán Valdés, he was known for wearing zoot suits and popularizing Mexican-American pachuco culture and caló Spanglish slang speech. Tin Tan was born in Mexico City on this date in 1915, and launched his career in Ciudad Juarez. It was there, working as a janitor in a radio station, that he adlibbed into the microphone in an empty studio, not knowing it was live. He was an instant success and was promoted to radio announcer.
Tin Tan’s movie career followed, with the comedic character he created becoming a classic of Mexican cinema. He appeared in over 100 films, and also voiced characters including The Jungle Book’s Baloo and Cat O’Malley in the Aristocats for Spanish-language versions of Disney features.
Mysteriously, Tin Tan turned down the opportunity to appear on the cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. He was immortalized with a statue of his likeness that stands in the Zona Rosa neighborhood of Mexico City.
The Tin Tan doodle, on what would have been his 104th birdthday, is part of Google’s Hispanic Heritage month celebration series.