Sunday, December 17, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 17, 2017


Birthdays: Paracelsus (otherwise known as Nicholas Paracelsus Theophrastus Bombastus Von Hohenheim) the father of modern medical diagnosis, Antonio Cimmarosa, William Lyon Mackensie-King, Arthur Fiedler, Bob Guccione, William Safire, Cal Ripken Sr., Ford Maddox-Ford, Erskine Caldwell, Tommy Steele, Pope Francis I, Bill Pullman is 64, Eugene Levy is 71, Giovanni Ribisi is 43, Armin Mueller-Stahl is 87, Wes Studi, Sean Patrick Thomas, Mila Jovovich is 42, Bart Simpson is 29.


1843- Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story for Christmas" first published. In the 18th century and earlier the Christmas celebration was a more rowdy affair with public drinking, marching around in costumes “mummery” and mayhem more resembling Mardi Gras. 
The popularity of Dickens story of Scrooge, Marley and Tiny Tim did much to help Victorians change the nature of the Christmas celebration to a more intimate observance among centered on the family. Dickens said he wrote the story to make some money capitalizing on the new fashions for family Christmas celebrations around the tree begun by the example set by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

1865- Schubert's Unfinished Symphony (#8) received it's world premiere. In 1822 Schubert wrote the first two movements and 8 measures for the 3rd (Scherzo), then forgot about it when he died in 1828. A friend kept the manuscript in a closet for 43 years.

1892- Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker” premiered at the Imperial Ballet in Saint Petersburg. One child dancer playing a candy cane in that first performance was a Georgian boy named Gyorgi Balavadajze- later American choreographer George Balanchine.

1955- Carl Perkins awoke in the middle of a bad nights sleep and wrote Blue Suede Shoes, the first song to be a hit in Country, R&B and Rock n’ Roll charts simultaneously, especially when sing by Elvis Presley” Well you can knock me down, step on ma face, etc.”

1962- The Beatles first hit "Love Me Do" enters the U.K. pop charts.

1969- Tiny Tim, the campy, ukulele strumming crooner, married his Miss Vicky, or Victoria Budinger live on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

1969- The US Air Force terminated Operation Blue Book, the investigation of UFO phenomena.

1969- Walt Disney re-released Fantasia, and it was embraced by hippy stoners who liked to get high during screenings, Disney did a black-lite poster for it. It was the first time the 1940 film had ever made a profit.

1989- After appearing in some interstitial shorts on the variety Tracey Ullman Show, The Simpsons first premiered as a regular TV series.

1999- The film Stuart Little premiered.



Saturday, December 16, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 16, 2017


 Birthdays: Ludwig Van Beethoven, Catherine of Aragon (Henry VIII's wife number one), Marshal Gerbhard von Blucher, Lenoid Brezhnev, Jane Austen, Margaret Mead, Noel Coward, George Santayanna, Liv Ullmann is 79, Steve Bochco, Leslie Stahl. Quentin Blake- dean of British illustrators favored by Roald Dahl, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Miranda Otto is 50.



1871- BOSS TWEED INDICTED- William Marcy Tweed as New York City Commissioner of Public Works was behind one of the most corrupt city governments in U.S. history. Tweed mobilized poor and immigrant voters into political power and bought and sold city building projects. The cost overruns to build a simple courthouse cost more than the total cost to build the British Parliament in London- $13 million dollars. For example he once billed the city $14,000 for 11 thermometers.
The press tried to expose him, but it was really Thomas Nast’s cartoons in Harper’s Weekly who helped bring the Tweed Ring down. Boss Tweed said: "I don’t mind the newspaper articles since most of my voters can’t read, but those damn pictures!" Tweed once offered Nast half a million dollars to go to Europe and "study art". Nast refused. Boss Tweed ended his life in the Ludlow Street Jail, which he himself built.

1900 -EARLY ANIMATED FILM "ENCHANTED DRAWINGS', James Stuart Blackton was a New York World cartoonist who used to do a vaudeville act in drag. He came to do an article on Thomas Edison then Edison put him on the payroll. He created this and several other trickfilms. It doesn’t move much more than his vaudeville lightning drawing act, His 1906 film Humorous Phases of Funny Faces is considered the first animated cartoon.

1905- Variety magazine born.

1913- Young English music hall actor named Charlie Chaplin got a job at Keystone Studios in Hollywood. His first film he would play a villain.

1935- Hollywood movie star Thelma Todd found dead in her car in her garage in Malibu She was 30. She was a sexy comedienne who starred with Laurel & Hardy, Buster Keaton and the Marx Brothers. She loved to party so much she was nicknamed "Hot Toddy". She knew New York mobster Lucky Lucciano. Was she done in by the mob, her jealous director boyfriend, was it a suicide or did she just pass out drunk in her car garage with the motor running? The mystery’s never been answered.

1966- The Jimi Hendrix Experience released the song ‘Hey Joe’.

1966- Sergio Leone’s epic Spaghetti Western, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly premiered in Rome. The last of the Man with No Name trilogy. Clint Eastwood never worked with Leone again.

1971- Don McClean released the long version of the song ‘American Pie’.

1978- The Disney short The Small One, directed by Don Bluth.

1980- Colonel Harland Sanders, the Kentucky Fried Chicken founder, died.

1988- Shockjock Howard Stern is fined $100,000 by the FCC for having on his radio show a man who could play the piano with his penis.

1993- Producer Aaron Spelling fired Shannon Dougherty off the TV soap Beverly Hills 90210.

1999- Julie Andrews, star of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, sued New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital for destroying her singing voice during a routine throat operation.

2009- Roy E. Disney died, the Walt Disney nephew who oversaw the animation resurgence of the 1990s.



Friday, December 15, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 15, 2017


Birthdays: Roman Emperor Nero, Roman Emperor Lucius Verus who was known for little else but his really swell haircut, Gustav Eiffel, J. Paul Getty, Jeff Chandler, Alan Freed, Ernie Pintoff, Tim Conway is 84, Helen Slater, Neil DeGrasse-Tyson, Don Johnson is 68, Julie Taymor is 65


1815- Giacomo Rossini received the commission to write a new opera based on Beaumarchais’ play the Marriage of Figaro- The Barber of Seville.

1893-Czech composer Anton Dvorak premiered a symphony he wrote while living in the Minnesota. The New World Symphony.

1939- The gala premiere of Gone With The Wind at the Loews Grand Theater in Atlanta Georgia. Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh flew out from Hollywood and the Governor of Georgia declared it a state holiday.


1941- Lena Horne recorded her signature tune “Stormy Weather.”

1943- In Harlem jazz great Fats Waller died of alcoholism and heart failure. He was 39.

1954-“Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter” starring Fess Parker was featured on the Walt Disney TV show for the first time. The show created a mania for little kids, all wanting coonskin caps. “ Born on a mountaintop in Tenn- Ah- See..”

1966-Walt Disney died at age 65. He was alone in the room at Saint Joseph's when he died. His brother Roy had been in earlier rubbing his legs. On his desk, scribbled on a piece of paper the name- Kurt Russell. A heavy cigarette smoker- his favorites were Malboro and French Gitanes- he suffered from lung cancer and respiratory failure. Contrary to the legend that he's cryogenically frozen in a room in the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, he was cremated and interred at Forest Lawn.

1967- Beverly Hills police chief C.H. Anderson assured the public that there are "No Hippie Pads in Beverly Hills". Chief Andersen said many oddball types arrested on the Sunset Strip and West L.A. are sent to Beverly Hills municipal courts for trial, but inhabitants need not fear an outbreak of longhaired, hopped up, psychedelic speed freaks.

1974- Mel Brooks film Young Frankenstein opened.

1978- Superman the Movie opened in theaters. Richard Donner directed, and it made a star of Christopher Reeve.


1985- Sylvester Stallone married model Birgit Neilsson. This was after he divorced his first wife Sasha who had shared his years of privation up to stardom. She worked as an usher at the Crown movie theater in NY to support Sly while he went to acting school.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 14, 2017


Birthdays: 1553-King Henry IV of Navarre, Tycho Brahe, Nostradamus -Michel de Notre Dame-1503, English King George VI- 1895, Spike Jones the bandleader, Morey Amsterdam, Charlie Rich, Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, Lee Remick, Patty Duke, Adult film star Ginger Lynn, Clark Terry- trumpeter. Cecil Pay, Saxophonist, Jane Birkin "Je t'aime moi non plus" is 70.

1871- Verdi's opera "Aida" debuts in Cairo.

1913-   Cartoonist Johnny Gruelle entertained his dying daughter by making up stories involving her rag dollies. After her passing, friends urged Gruelle to publish them. The RAGGEDY ANN & ANDY stories are born.

1924- Ottorino Respighi ‘s stirring rhapsody the Pines of Rome premiered.

1934- March of the Wooden Soldiers, the Hal Roach version of Babes in Toyland with Laurel & Hardy opened.

1944- Hollywood starlet Lupe Velez, the "Mexican Spitfire' committed suicide. She had taken an overdose of sleeping pills and laid herself out in a beautiful negligee of her own design to be found radiant in repose. But instead of dying immediately, the pills made her sick and she was found dead with her head in the toilet. In her prime she counted Gary Cooper, Anthony Quinn and Johnny Weissmuller among her lovers. 

1944- The film National Velvet premiered, making a star out of 12 year old Elizabeth Taylor.

60 Years Ago- 1957- Hanna Barbera's first TV cartoon "Ruff and Ready" premieres.

1970- George Harrison’s single My Sweet Lord went gold.

1977- DISCO! The movie Saturday Night Fever starring John Travolta and the music of the Bee Gees make the Disco dancing scene a national craze.


1983- Disney Studio released the short film Frankenweenie, done by a weird young artist named Tim Burton.


2015- One of the largest Hollywood premieres ever was given for J.J. Abrams reboot of the Star Wars franchise, Star Wars the Force Awakens

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 13, 2017


Birthdays: Heinrich Heine, Mary Todd Lincoln, Dick Van Dyke is 92, Mike Mosley, Darryl Zanuck Jr., George Schulz, Christopher Plummer is 88, Steve Buscemi is 60, Jamie Fox is 48, Lynn Holly Johnson, Wendy Malick, Taylor Swift is 28.

HAPPY HANUKKAH ! – Last night began the Hebrew Festival of Lights, commemorating the victories in 164BCE of the priest-general Judas Maccabeus (Maccabeus means the Hammer) against the Syrian Greeks .

1895- Gustav Mahlers 2nd Symphony “Resurrection” premiered.

1928- Leopold Damrosch conducted the premiere of George Gershwin's -"An American in Paris."

1936- At the urging of New Yorker editor Harold Ross to find a better line of work, actor Dave Chasen opened Chasen's restaurant in Beverly Hills, which catered to Hollywood stars for 60 years. It is the restaurant where Leopold Stokowski was introduced to Walt Disney and as a result they conceived "Fantasia". Humphrey Bogart, John Huston and Lauren Bacall met upstairs to discuss the Blacklist of 1947. Elizabeth Taylor ordered Chasen’s chili flown out to Rome so she could eat it on the set of Cleopatra. The restaurant closed in 1995 because the Chasen family wanted to cash in on the choice real estate. Today it is a supermarket.

1940- Fleischer Popeye cartoon "Eugene the Jeep" .The Thimble Theater character would give its name to the new army General Purpose vehicle- G.P. or "Jeep".

1951- One of the legendary Hollywood producers was Walter Wanger- starting in 1921 his films included The Sheik, Stagecoach, Queen Christina, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Silk Stockings and Cleopatra. His wife was beautiful starlet Joan Bennett, but at this time she had taken a lover. On this day Wanger surprised Hollywood by pulling out a gun and shooting his wife's lover in the nads right in the MCA studio parking lot. In true Hollywood fashion Wanger got off, sentenced to just a few months in an honor ranchero compound and was soon back to work. Contributors to pay his legal fees included the Jack Warner, Walt Disney and Sam Goldwyn. The boyfriend, Jennings Lang, recovered and later became an executive producer of comedies like House Calls. After all, who needs balls to be a producer?

1961- Jimmy Dean’s folk ballad Big Bad John went to #1 of the country charts. Later Dean had his own TV variety show and started Jimmy Dean’s Pure Pork Sausage Company.

1969- Arlo Guthrie’s hit song Alice’s Restaurant released.


1971- Disney’s film Bedknobs and Broom Sticks opened.

1996- In Terry Gilliams’ sci-fi apocalypse epic the Plague of the 12 Monkeys was unleashed today, a virus that killed 4/5ths of the world’s population and drove the remainder underground.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 12, 2017


Birthdays: Frank Sinatra, Roman Emperor Alexander Severus, Edvard Munch, Gustav Flaubert, Cherokee Confederate General Stand Watie, John Jay, Edward G. Robinson, Field Marshal Karl Von Rundstedt-the Black Knight of Germany, Ed Koch, Zack Mosley –the cartoonist of “Smilin' Jack", Connie Francis, Dionne Warwick, Cathy Rigby, Tracy Austin, Bill Nighy is 67, Tom Wilkerson is 69, Jennifer Connelly is 47



1897-The Katzenjammer Kids comic strip by Rudolph Dirks appears in the Heart’s New York Journal. The first comic where characters spoke in word balloons. The adventures of Hans & Fritz was so popular a rival newspaper started an imitation called the Captain & the Kids, leading to the first artistic plagiarism lawsuit. 

1901-First transatlantic wireless signal sent by Guglielmo Marconi. This finally ended the frustrating hoopla over laying transatlantic telegraph cables and have them break down almost constantly since the 1850s. The pioneers of radio broadcasting like Armstrong, Lee Deforest and David Sarnoff got their start working for the Marconi Wireless Company. Recent scholarship puts forward that Nikola Tesla may have preceded Marconi with the concept.


1952- The first Screen Actors Guild Strike. President Walter Pidgeon -Dr. Morbius in Forbidden Planet- had the movie stars hit the bricks to win television and commercial residuals. The final deals were settled by then SAG president Ronald Reagan in 1960. Ronnie compromised with the studio heads (many who later backed his bid for the governorship of California) that only residuals for films released after 1955 would be paid.
Actors who made their big hits in the 30's and 40s like Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, and The Little Rascals were left out. Mickey Rooney, who's Andy Hardy movies were the box office champs of the mid-1940's put it mildly: "Reagan screwed me !!"

1980- The song “Whip It” by Devo won a gold record.

1991- Actor Richard Gere married supermodel Cindy Crawford.
  

Monday, December 11, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 11, 2017


Birthdays: Sir David Brewster 1781- inventor of the kaleidoscope, Fiorello LaGuardia, Robert Koch the conqueror of tuberculosis, Alexander Solzhenitsyn,  Carlo Ponti, Gilbert Roland, Big Mama Mabel Thornton, Vampira, Jean Marais, Jean Louis Tritignant, Tom Hayden, Jermaine Jackson, McCoy Tyner- John Coltrane's pianist, Brenda Lee, John Buscema, Rita Moreno is 86, Teri Garr is 70, Mos Def is 44, Mo’nique is 50



1793- Last July when the French Revolutionary Convention heard of the assassination of their great radical leader Jean Paul Marat, one delegate called out “David ! We Need You!” This day Jacques Louis David unveiled his painting, The Death of Marat for the first time.

1882- The Bijou Theater in Boston presented Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe in the first  show completely illuminated by electric light bulbs.

1926- Josephine Baker performed her banana dance in Amsterdam.

1941- Gone With The Wind producer David Selznick pitched a movie version of Hitler’s book Mein Kampf to be directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written by Ben Hecht. Mercifully for moviegoers, the idea was soon dropped.

1957- Rock and Roll singer Jerry Lee Lewis secretly married his 13 year old cousin Myra Gail Brown, while still married to his second wife, who he divorced when the press broke the story the following April. The incident ruined his career. Great Balls of Fire!


1964- Soul music star Sam Cooke was shot to death in an argument with a lady who ran an L.A. motel he had brought his girlfriend to.


1970- Walt Disney's the 'Aristocats' premiered.


2009- Disney’s animated Princess and the Frog.