Saturday, August 19, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Aug 19, 2017


B-Days: Roman Emperor Probus (232AD), Orville Wright, Ring Lardner, Ogden Nash, Alfred Lunt, George Enesco, jockey Willie Shoemaker, Malcolm Forbes, Tipper Gore, Gene Roddenberry, Colleen Moore the It Girl, Jill St. John, Ginger Baker, Dawn Steel, John Stamos, Peter Gallagher is 61, Kyra Sedgwick is 52, Matthew Perry is 48, Jonathan Frakes is 65, Bill Clinton is 71


1909- The Brickyard is born. The first Indianapolis 500 autorace.

1929-  the Amos and Andy show premiered on radio.

1955 - WINS radio, announces it will not play "copy" white cover versions of black R&B.  DJs must play Fats Domino's "Ain't It A Shame," not Pat Boone's. In 1957 Little Richards “Tuttie-Fruitie” never got higher than 17th in the Billboard Charts while Pat Boones version, by his own admission awful, went to number one.


1973 - Kris Kristofferson wed Rita Coolidge.

1977- Groucho Marx, the last surviving Marx Brother, died at age 86. In his final years Groucho had rewrote his will in favor of his young personal secretary Erin Fleming. This spawned a furious legal battle between Fleming and the Marx family.


2004- Google stock first went public on the stock market.

2012- Director Tony Scott (Top Gun, Days of Thunder) jumped to his death off a bridge in Los Angeles. He was 68.

2335 – According to Star Trek the Next Generation, this is the birthday of William T Riker, in Valdez Alaska, first officer of the Enterprise.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Aug 18, 2017


 Birthdays: Meriwether Lewis, Austrian Emperor Franz Josef II, Leo Slezak, Shelly Winters, Roberto Clemente, Rafer Johnson, Enoch Light, Coco Channel, Roman Polanski is 84, Patrick Swayze, Madeleine Stowe, Christian Slater, Edward Norton is 48, Martin Mull, Denis Leary is 60, Robert Redford, born Charles Robert Redford Jr, is 81


1939- The movie The Wizard of Oz released and made a star of Judy Garland. Frank Morgan, the actor playing the Wizard, needed to wear a shabby old coat so a studio costume designer went through some L.A. thrift stores until she found the good candidate. When Morgan looked in the lining he discovered the coat was previously owned by L.Frank Baum, creator of the Oz stories.  Morgan was first president of the Screen Actor's Guild, but stepped down when he was considered too lefty to work with the Roosevelt administration. Lyricist Yip Harburg (Somewhere over the Rainbow ) was later blacklisted as a communist. "And yer little dog, too!!"

1953- The first MacDonalds franchise restaurant opened in Downey California.

1955- Folksinger Pete Seeger appeared before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. He refused to cooperate, and was blacklisted. But he still managed to have a successful career on the folk scene, and appeared on TV in 1967.

1956- Actress Vivien Leigh suffered a mental breakdown after a miscarriage.

1958 - "Lolita," by Vladimir Nabokov, published. The novel was rejected by four publishers before Putnams picked it up. It became a best seller and allowed Nabokov to quit teaching and focus on writing.

1958 – The TV Game Show Scandal investigation starts. Allegations that popular quiz shows like 21 were rigged turned out to be true.

1962 - Peter, Paul & Mary release their famous folk song "If I Had a Hammer".


1966- HAPPY BIRTHDAY SLURPEE!  The Ice Slurpee was invented by two Dallas engineers for a failing Oklahoma ice cream store.

1974- The Xerox Company decided not to seriously market the Alto, the first personal computer that had a GUI, ethernet and mouse, long before anyone else. Xerox decided to stick with copying machines and let go of many of their Palo Alto development team Xerox PARC. Most of their breakthroughs wound up in other computers like the Lisa, Macintosh and the IBM PC.

1977- The rock band the Police make their debut in a Birmingham nightclub. The lead singer Gordon Sumner started to get the nickname Sting, from the black & yellow striped shirt he habitually wore.

1989- Publishing Tycoon Malcolm Forbes flew 800 guests to Tangiers to celebrate his birthday. His birthday party cost $2 million. The soiree' comes to symbolize 1980's excess.

1990- 510 animators pay tribute to Betty Boop creator Grim Natwick on his 100th Birthday. It was the last big gathering of the Golden Age artists of Hollywood Animation. Chuck Jones, Walter Lantz, Disney’s Nine Old Men, Friz Freleng.

1999- TV psychic Kriswell predicted that day would be the End of the World.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Aug 17, 2017


Birthdays: Davy Crocket, Mae West, Marcus Garvey, Sam Goldwyn- born Schmuel Gelbfisz, Harry Hopkins, Monte Wooley, Boog Powell, Belinda Carlisle, Guillermo Vilas, V.S. Naipul, Jim Courier, Donnie Wahlberg, Belinda Carlisle, Maureen O’Hara, Sean Penn is 56, Martha Coolidge is 71, Robert DeNiro is 73


1876- Richard Wagner’s 4 hour opera Gotterdamerung- the Twilight of the Gods, premiered.


1908- D.W. Griffith signed a contract to begin directing movies for Biograph Pictures. He was paid $50 dollars a week plus royalties. 


1941- EL GRUPO- Walt Disney and his artists arrive in Rio on a ten week goodwill tour of South America, underwritten by a $70,000 government grant.  President Franklin Roosevelt was worried that some South American countries might be sympathetic to the Nazis, forcing the U.S. to worry about her backdoor. So FDR sent Nelson Rockefeller to give the Latin American countries whatever they wanted to keep them out of the world war. Among other things they wanted Donald Duck. Back in LA the federal mediator Stanley White had worked out with Roy Disney that if they got Walt out of town, they could settle the Disney animators strike. The name comes from hotel footmen in Buenos Aires paging the artists as El Grupo Disney! The Three Caballeros and Saludos Amigos result.

1962- The Beatles replaced drummer Pete Best with Ringo Starr.

1969- The closing day of the Woodstock Rock Concert, Three Days of Peace and Music. Jimmy Hendrix did his famous rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

1984- The Walt Disney Company informed it’s chairman Ron Miller that they wanted his resignation. Disney had fallen to 14th in film box office by then. Miller had been Walt’s son-in-law and he was he was once a tight end for the LA Rams. Within two years of Michael Eisner taking power Disney was number one.

1985-The Hormel Meat Packing Strike, severely threatening the worlds supply of SPAM.

1986- John Lasseter’s award wining short Luxo Jr, premiered at Siggraph’86 Dallas.


1992- Famed film director Woody Allen admits he is having an affair with Soon Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his long time lover Mia Farrow. He is 60 and she is 21. But as the unrepentant Allen states: “The Heart wants what it wants.” They’ve been married ever since.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Aug 16, 2017


Birthdays: Fess Parker, Karl Stockhausen, George Meany, Charles Bukowski, Menachim Begin, Otto Mesmer the creator of Felix the Cat, Myron Grim Natwick the creator of Betty Boop, Hal Foster the creator of Prince Valiant, Kathie Lee Gifford, Eydie Gorme, Bill Evans, Leslie Ann Warren, Angela Bassett is 59, Julie Numar is 84, Robert Culp, James Cameron is 63, Bruce Beresford, Steve Carrell is 55, Madonna, aka Louise Ciccone of Bay City Michigan, is 59


1938- In Three Forks Misssissippi, Blues legend Robert Johnson was poisoned by a jealous husband.

1942- Happy Birthday Mighty Mouse. Terrytoon's short: "The Mouse of Tomorrow".

1969- “ Hey Man, we’re gonna serve breakfast in bed for 500,000” So was hippy Wavy Gravy’s announcement on the second day of the Woodstock Rock Concert. He said this was the day Americans learned to eat Granola. It was ladled out en masse in paper cups and has been a diet staple ever since.

1974- The Ramones play their first gig at the NY club CBGBs. Hey-Ho, Lets Go!


1977- E-DAY in Memphis. Elvis Presley, donuts and Pizza Hut box in hand, died of a heart attack while sitting on the toilet. He was reading the book-the Historic Search for the Face of Jesus. He was 42.

1985- On her birthday, Madonna married Sean Penn. They divorced shortly after.

1987- The Harmonic Convergence- Another one of these celestial events that the mainstream media trumpeted as the end of everything. All nine planets of our solar system were in perfect alignment and the subsequent gravitational forces were supposed to knock the Earth into the Sun or something or other that would send us to Hell in a Handbasket. Lots of New Age types flocked to occult sites like Mt. Shasta and Stonehenge to meditate on the End of All Things.  So what happened? Nothing.

1991- The original Shamu the Whale died of respiratory failure at age 16.

2005- Top Pixar story-artist Joe Ranft was killed in an auto accident. He was 42.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Aug 15, 2017


Birthdays: Napoleon Bonaparte, Leon Theremin- inventor of that weird electronic musical instrument that is in all those 1950s flying saucer movies, Samuel Coleridge, Sir Walter Scott, King Frederick Wilhelm Ist of Prussia 1685, Lawrence of Arabia, Ethel Barrymore, Huntz Hall, Bill Baird, Edna Ferber, Sir Robert Bolt, Rose-Marie is 93, Linda Ellerbee, Gene Upshaw, Oscar Peterson, Shimon Peres, Mike “Mannix” Connors, Nicholas Roeg, Anthony Andrews, Ben Afleck is 44, Debra Messing is 48, Julia Child, Jennifer Lawrence is 26.


1843- Tivoli Gardens opened in Copenhagen. One of the oldest amusement parks in the world. King Christian said “ When people are amused, they don’t worry about politics.”
Hans Christian Andersen was a frequent visitor. One hundred years later, Walt Disney visited to get inspiration for his Disneyland.

1885- Sir Richard Burton completed his translation from medieval Persian of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights. There had been earlier attempts like a French edition in 1809, but Burton’s edition introduced the west to Aladdin and his magic lamp, Sinbad the sailor and Shaherazade.

1935- Twentieth Century Pictures and Fox Pictures merge to become Twentieth Century Fox.

1935- Humorist writer Will Rogers and his pilot Wiley Post are killed when their small plane crashed in Barrow, Alaska.

1946- Disney’s Make Mine Music, featuring Blue Bayou, All the Cats Join In, and Willie the Operatic Whale.


1958 - Buddy Holly weds Maria Santiago.

1965- The Beatles play their largest U.S. concert yet, at New York's Shea Stadium.

1968- The pirate radio station Radio Free London began transmitting.

1969-WOODSTOCK-Three Days of Peace and Music- The rock concert of the 20th Century opened. The promoters, one of whom was heir to the Polident Denture Cream fortune, were hoping to host 50,000 people and launch a recording studio in the quiet New York farming town. What they got was 500,000 young fans and the social phenomenon that defined an age. At one point the more conservative elements of the community got a court order to block the land to be used, but farmer Max Yasgur offered his cow farm for the site.

 Up till then in the tumultuous 1960’s any gathering of young people that big meant violence and riot, and at one point New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller threatened to send in the National Guard. But the magic prevailed and there was no violence outside of 200 bad acid trips and one heroin overdose.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Animation Fun facts for Aug 14, 2017


Birthdays: Gary Larson, Erwin "Magic" Johnson, Lina Wertmuller, David Crosby, Alice Ghostly, Buddy Greco, Nehemiah Persoff, The 20's Parisian nightclub singer Bricktop, Dick Lundy, Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, C.S. Watson, James Horner, Wim Wenders, Emmanuele Beart, Halle Berry is 51, Mila Kunis, Steve Martin is 72


1928 - Ben Hecht & Charles McArthur's play" The Front Page," premiered in NYC. They later went on to become top comedy writers in Hollywood. McArthur is the one who sent Hecht the famous cable- "Hecht, some quick, fortunes to be made and your competition are idiots!"


1956- The Marilyn Monroe movie "Bus Stop" premiered.


1965 - Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe" hits #1.

1965- Jane Fonda married director Roger Vadim, who put the beautiful young blonde in naughty movies like Barbarella. His previous wife Bridgette Bardot was a beautiful young blonde that he put in naughty movies….hmm.


1995- Super-agent Michael Ovitz of CAA was named President of the Walt Disney Company under Michael Eisner. After 14 fruitless months he left.



Sunday, August 13, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Aug 13, 2017


B-Dayz: Annie Oakley, Alfred Hitchcock, Don Ho, Buddy Rogers, Bert Lahr, Ben Hogan, Richard Baseheart, Saul Steinberg, Regis Toomey, Johann Christoph Denner (1655)- inventor of the clarinet. Danny Bonaduce, John Logie Baird one of the inventors of television, Hockey great Bobby Clarke, Daniel Schorr, Bombay movie star Viyayanthimala, Fidel Castro


1934- First Little Abner comic strip by Al Capp. Dogpatch, Mammy Yokum, Daisy Mae, Kickapoo Joy Juice, Jubilation T. Cornpone and the Schmoo are born. Al Capp was a hard drinking old curmudgeon of a cartoonist who lost one leg when as a child he fell off an ice truck and it was severed by a streetcar.


1941- James Stuart Blackton certainly had an interesting career. The English born artist became a top newspaper cartoonist, a vaudevillian drag act as Mademoiselle Stuart, the first American animator, founder of the Vitagraph Company, the movie fanzine Motion Picture World. He even successfully faked a newsreel of the battle of Manila Bay in 1898 using toy boats, sparklers and cigar smoke. He made fortunes and lost them just as quickly. On this day, penniless, he was struck and killed by a bus on Pico Blvd.

1942-  Disney's Bambi opened in theaters nationwide. Today the film looks quaint but in its time artists felt it was as realistic as artists could attain. 

1946- MGM cartoon Northwest Hounded Police, the short in which Tex Avery perfected the 'Tex Avery Take" - used since in films like Mask, Roger Rabbit and Casper.

1955- Shooting wrapped on Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. He was remaking the film he had done as a silent movie in 1925. One wag said: DeMille has done God one better, because he has now parted the Red Sea twice."

1991- Jack Ryan died. The Toymaker was the inventor of Hot Wheels toy cars, and helped launch the doll Barbie.