Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Animation Fun Facts for Wednesday June 1st.

Marylin Monroe born. She would be 85 today.

1931- Swiss artist Albert Hurter joined the Disney staff, giving the look of cartoons like Snow White a more Germanic storybook look. He was the first inspirational artist, later called Visual Development artist in animation.

1933 - Eric Larson hired by the Disney Studio. He will rise to become one of the Nine Old Men.

1939- HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUPERMAN- Joe Seigel and Jerry Shuster, two aspiring cartoonists in High School create a character called “Superman”. Jewish kids, they had read about the Nazis racial concept of the Aryan Superman. They wanted to show a Superman could be on the American side. On this day they sell all the rights to their characters to Detective Comics (D.C.) for $130.

Animation Fun Facts for Tuesday May 31th.

1985- John Sculley was a former exec from Pepsi brought in by Apple Computer founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak to help run the company. This day his solution to help the company run better was to fire Steve Jobs. Wozniak retired and Sculley eventually moved on. Steve Jobs eventually returned to Apple, but in the interval he bought George Lucas computer division, now called Pixar.

1989- "Skinhead Day at the Magic Kingdom" Disneyland refused to admit a rally of skinheads, Nazis and Klansmen.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Animation Fun Facts for Monday May 30th.

U.S. Memorial Day

Mel Blanc born

1936 Walt Disney Short Mickey Through the Looking glass premiered.

2003 Pixar's Finding Nemo released.

Animation Fun Facts for Sunday May 29th.

Danny Elfman born

70 years ago- 1941 The first picketlines appear in front of the Waqlt Disney Studios. Striking cartoonists demanding recognition of their guild, and the rehiring of Art Babbitt fired by Walt in defiance of the Wagner Act.

2009 Pixars UP released.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Animation Fun Facts for Saturday May 28th.

1941- 70 Years Ago- THE WALT DISNEY STRIKE- Labor pressures had been building in the Magic Kingdom since promises made to artists over the success of Snow White were reneged on, and Walt Disney’s lawyer Gunther Lessing encouraged a hard line with his employees. On this day, in defiance of federal laws, Walt Disney fired animator Art Babbitt, the creator of Goofy, and thirteen other cartoonists for demanding a union. Babbitt had emerged as the union movements’ leader. Studio security officers escorted Babbitt off the lot.

That night in an emergency meeting of the Cartoonists Guild, Art’s assistant on Fantasia, Bill Hurtz, made a motion to strike and it is unanimously accepted. Bill Hurtz will later go on to direct award winning cartoons like UPA’s "Unicorn in the Garden" and the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Picket lines go up next day in cartoon animation’s own version of the Civil War. Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Walt Kelly, Bill Melendez and more joined their brother and sister artists on the picketline.

Walt Disney almost had a nervous breakdown over the strike and was bundled off to Latin America so Roy could work out a deal. A federal mediator was sent by Washington to arbitrate. In later years, Uncle Walt blamed the studio’s labor ills on Communists. The studio unionized but hard feelings remained for decades after. For more details- Read AEF member Tom Sito's Book Drawing the Line.

1977- " MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU." George Lucas' space fantasy film STAR WARS opened. This blockbuster was the first film where the filmmaker retained the licensing rights for merchandise instead of the distributor, known in Hollywood as the 'backend deal'. Several studios including Universal passed on the film because the prevailing wisdom was sci-fi films didn't make money. Twentieth Century Fox picked up the distribution but let the backend go to Lucas, because they didn't think the film would do any serious business. Even George Lucas didn’t think the film would break even. Fox's market research department told studio head Alan Ladd, Jr.” a) don't make this movie; no one will go see a science fiction movie; and b) change the title; no one will go see a movie with "War" in the title. Fox executives had predicted the studios monster hit for that summer would be "Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry" with Peter Fonda and Susan George.
Star Wars was a monster hit. It was like there were no other movies playing that summer. George Lucas became a seriously rich man and developed THX Dolby sound, digital animation and Industrial Light and Magic special effects. The film’s popularity ran so ahead of expectations, that at Christmas when you purchased a Star Wars Game you got a box with a pink IOU note in it pledging to get you the game when they printed more.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Animation Fun Facts for Friday May 27th.

Vincent Price Born

Christopher Lee is 89.

1933- Walt Disney’s cartoon“The Three Little Pigs” premieres, whose song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” becomes a national anthem of recovery from the Depression.

1948 Walt Disney's Melody Time, another anthology film like Fantasia but with pop tunes of the time.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Animation Fun Facts for Thurday May 26th.

Peggy Lee born- who sang He's a Tramp in Lady & the Tramp

Bobcat Goldthwaite born, voice of Pain in Disney's Hercules

Matt Stone born, the co creator of South Park

1995- Looney Tunes director Isadore Friz Freleng died at age 89.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Animation Fun Facts for Sunday May 22st.

Painter Mary Cassatt born.

1925- First day of shooting on Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis.

1967- Mr Rogers Neighborhood premiered.

1985- Disney director Wolfgang"Woolie" Reitherman ( THe Jungle Book)died of a heart attack after a car accident while driving home from a lunch at the Smoke House in Burbank. He was 75.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Animation Fun Facts for Saturday May 21st.

Animator John Hubley born.

Animator Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman born.

1935 Bob Clampett promoted to director at Looney Tunes Studio.

1954 Disney short Pigs is Pigs, directed by Jack Kinney.

Animation Fun Facts for Friday May 20th.

Painter Henri Roussau born

1916- Artist Norman Rockwell sold his first painting for a Saturday Evening Post cover.

1926 - Thomas Edison says Americans prefer silent movies over talking pictures.

1975- In a small warehouse in Van Nuys California, George Lucas assembled an effects crew to create the film Star Wars. It is the birth of Industrial Light & Magic, or ILM.

1984- Hanna Barbera’s “The Smurfic Games”.

1994- Walt Disney released their first sequel feature Aladdin II, the Return of Jafar. They were done by the studios TV unit and outsourced labor. The studios main feature artists disdained these low-budget sequels, and labeled them "cheapquels" but they were very successful with audiences.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Animation Fun Facts for Thursday May 19th.

Frank Capra,Hollywood film director born

Tom Sito, animator, teacher, born.

1927- Sid Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood opened. Ushers and doorman were dressed in imported Mandarin silk robes and wall hangings were painted by young artist/actor Key Luke. Sid Grauman was the showman who also invented the Hollywood premiere with spotlights and limo's pulling up to red carpets, etc.

1998- George Lucas much anticipated film Star Wars Episode One the Phantom Menace premiered, the first Star Wars sequel in 20 years. It featured Jarr Jarr Binks.

2006- Dreamworks animated film ‘Over the Hedge’ premiered.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Animation Fun Facts for Wednesday May 18th.

2001- Dreamworks animated SHREK opened. The voice of Shrek was originally planned to be Chris Farley but the obese comedian died of a drug overdose and was replaced by Mike Myers. Also starring Cameron Diaz, and Eddie Murphy-I’m serving Waffles!

2001 Animation design legend Maurice J. Noble, co-director of the Academy Award winning animated short subject Dot and the Line and many other cartoon classics, passes at the age of 91. His work ranged from Disney's Snow White and Dumbo to Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who and many of the classic Bugs Bunny television cartoons.

2003 Disney/Pixar' Finding Nemo premiered.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Animation Fun Facts for Tuesday May 17th.

Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast lyricist Howard Ashman is born

Ralph Wright, Disney gag man and the voice of Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh, was born

1941- The Looney Toon Lockout. Producer Leon Schlesinger tries to forestall the unionization of his Bugs Bunny cartoonists by locking them out. After a week he relents and recognizes the cartoonist guild. Chuck Jones called it “our own little six-day war.”

1965- Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke shake hands and agree to write a sci-fi movie, with accompanying novel. First called How the Solar System was Won, then Journey Beyond the Stars, the title was finally- 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Animation Fun Facts for Monday May 16th.

1990- Muppet creator Jim Henson died at a NYC Hospital at age 53.

2009- Disney-Pixar's UP premiered.

Animation Fun Facts for Sunday May 15th.

L. Frank Baum born, creator of the Oz stories

Joe Grant born, Walt Disney character designer and story artist

1703 Charles Perrault died. Former state minister under French King Louis XIV. After retiring Perrault wrote stories under the name Mother Goose. His stories include Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.

1928- Walt Disney's short Plane Crazy premiered, a still silent Mickey & Minnie Mouse cartoon short. Mickey tries to emulate hero aviator Charles Lindbergh.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Animation Fun Facts for May 14th

George Lucas is 67.

Robert Zemeckis, the director of 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbitt?, Beowulf and Polar Express is 60 years old.

1923- Kansas City cartoonist Walt Disney wrote NY producer Margaret Winkler for help to get a series of cartoon shorts distributed. Margaret Winkler “ The Live Wire Saleslady of Warner Bros” helped Disney Studios get his start, as well as Max Fleischer and Paul Terry.

1942- Disney composer Frank Churchill, who wrote "Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf", shot himself at the piano. Another version of the story had him shooting himself in an onion field in Valencia that would one day be the site of Cal Arts.

1944- In the comic strip Dick Tracy, the longtime Tracy nemesis the gangster Flattop was killed.

1951 - Ernie Kovacs Show, TV Variety debut on NBC. Kovacs was a great pioneer in the video medium who loved creating surreal images and pantomime blackout skits.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Animation Fun Facts for Monday May 9th.

James Barrie the creator of Peter Pan, born
James L. Brooks born, the producer and chief writer of The Simpsons.

1754- THE FIRST U.S. NEWSPAPER CARTOON- Ben Franklin in his Pennsylvania Gazette prints a drawing of a segmented snake with each piece named for a colony with the inscription: Join or Die. ( Okay, it's not Calvin and Hobbs but it's a start).

1955- Washington D.C. station puts on a young Univ of Maryland grad named Jim Henson as filler before the TODAY Show. He antics with his handpuppet, a green frog called Kermit, fashioned from fabric from one of his mothers old green coats. The Muppets are born.

1961- John F. Kennedy's newly appointed head of the FCC, Newton Minow, did his first major address to a luncheon of top television executives. In his speech he blasted them for TV’s mindless content and violence. He called television: " A Vast Wasteland."

Animation Fun Facts for Sunday May 8th.

Don Rickles the voice of Mr Potato head in Toy Story born

French cartoonist Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, born.

1943- MGM's Tex Avery cartoon Red Hot Riding Hood premiered.

Happy Mother's Day All!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Animation Fun Facts for Sunday May 7th.

1937-Nobel Prize winning writer William Faulkner hired by MGM Studios, earning $500 a week. He celebrated by going on a two week long drinking binge. When MGM's Head of Writing Sam Marx had him tracked down to an Oakie migrant camp in the Imperial Valley, he was dragged off boozily whining: " Ah wanna write for Mickey Mouse !!"

1942- Battle of the Coral Sea-The U.S. Navy, suffering only defeats up till then, stops a Japanese task force. Veterans commented that one of the sadder losses was when the aircraft carrier USS Lexington went down, she took the fleet's supply of 6 Bugs Bunny cartoons with her. War is Hell.

2010- The Walt Disney Feature Animation Building in Burbank , known as The Hat, was dedicated in the name of the late Roy Disney Jr.

Friday, May 6, 2011

May 6th Anim Educators Trivia

Andreana Casselotti born, the voice of Disney's Snow White.

1919- Wizard of Oz creator L.Frank Baum died of heart disease at 62. He was trying at the time to buy real estate in Los Angeles for an Oz- theme amusement park.

1937- THE FLEISCHER STRIKE-Cartoonists vote to strike Max Fleischers Studio after Max fires 13 animators for union activity and complaining about the 6 day work week.

The strike was settled several weeks later when parent company Paramount forced Max to concede. Strikers sang "We're Popeye the Union Man! We're Popeye the Union Man! We'll Fight to the Finish, Cause We Can't Live on Spinach ! We're Popeye...etc."

2005- Animation designer and story artist Joe Grant died just days shy of his 97th birthday. He started at Walt Disney Studio in 1934, left in 1949, returned in 1990 and worked until his death. He touched every Disney feature from Snow White to The Incredibles. He named Monsters, Inc, and his dog Lady was the inspiration for Lady and the Tramp. He died at home, at his desk while drawing. He was found with a pencil in his hand.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fun Facts for May 3rd

Animator Nina Paley Born

1888- Poem "Casey at the Bat" published. Later made into a successful short cartoon by Walt Disney, with Jerry Colonna narrating.

1948-THE PARAMOUNT DECISION- In 1938 the independent theater chains had brought suit in Federal court against the major Hollywood Studios over their monopolistic practices. Ten years later the Supreme Court ruled the Motion Picture Studios did constitute a monopoly and under the Sherman AntiTrust Act ordered them to sell their theater chains. One casualty of this rule was the short cartoon. Because theater managers no longer were forced to run a cartoon, newsreel and short with a feature (block-booking), they opted for the time to run more showings of the main feature.

1969- Groundbreaking in Valencia for The California Institute of the Arts. The Walt Disney studio paid for the school that merged the Chouinard Art Institute and the LA Conservatory of Music and created a major program for character animation.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1st, Trivia

Russian Animator Fyodor Khytruk born
Maurice Noble born.
Eric Goldberg born.

1902- Richard Outcault's comic strip Buster Brown and Tige first appeared. Outcault, the creator of the first hit cartoon the Yellow Kid was so famous that as part of his deal to do this strip he negotiated the first back-end deal for a percentage of the merchandise sales.

1939- The first Batman comics created by Bob Kane appear on newsstands.

1989 Walt Disney Animation Studio in Orlando Florida opened.

1993 The Florida Animation Union Local 843 chartered.