About Robert Finehout
UNC-Chapel Hill Class of ’43
Robert Finehout enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1941, after attending a small community college in New Jersey for two years. He enrolled in the School of Journalism, where he stated, “the legendary ’Skipper’ Coffin was my mentor… with his deadly blue-pencil that excised purple prose and various syntactic abuses.” While in school, Professor Walter Spearman shared Finehout’s interest in films, and later encouraged him to write for The Daily Tar Heel, where he composed a regular column called “The Sound Track” and wrote several film critiques.
After graduating in 1943, Finehout moved back to New Jersey acting as the promotional director for Association Films, a leading distributor of industrial, educational and entertainment films. In his new job, Finehout produced advertising materials, catalogs, brochures, news releases and feature stories to garner interest in their clients’ films. At the time, sponsored films (films underwritten by corporations or other special interests) became the principal feature of business communications. These films were unique because they could reach a selective, business audience, as well as larger audiences in theaters and on television. As Finehout said, “It was an exciting time in a burgeoning field!”
Through his job, Finehout became interested in collecting and archiving sponsored, educational, documentary and entertainment films, all of which were produced on 16mm film. At the same time, he began writing historical pieces and essays on motion pictures, as well as on corporate archiving and the communications industry in general. His articles have appeared in Variety, Public Relations Journal, American Cinematographer, Box Office, Back Stage, Business Screen, Film News, Motion Picture Herald, and other related-interest publications. In 1991, after retiring from Modern Talking Picture Service (successor to Association Films), he formed Antiquary Video, specializing in World War II documentaries.