Tuesday, December 25, 2012
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM AEF!! Birthdays: Clara Barton, Humphrey Bogart, Cab Calloway, Helena Rubinstein, Rod Serling, Charles Pathe, Jimmie Buffet, Quentin Crisp, Mike Mazurki, Conrad Hilton- Paris’ granddad, Anwar El Sadat. Larry Csonka, Burne Hogarth, Ishmail Merchant, Maurice Utrillo, Kid Ory, Ken Stabler, Barbara Mandrell, Dame Rebecca West, Clark Clifford, Annie Lennox is 59, Animation educator Howard Beckerman, Karl Rove is 61, Sissie Spacek is 63, CCH Pounder is 60 1541- After the Christmas services, Michelangelo’s fresco The Last Judgement was unveiled, done for the Altar wall of the Sistine Chapel beneath his famous ceiling. 1931-The first BBC World Service Network broadcast. An address by King George V called "Around the Empire". 1946- Comedian W.C. Fields died of alcoholism at 67. While in his hospital bed someone saw him reading a Bible. They said:" W.C. what are you doing with that? " Fields replied:" Looking for loopholes!" 1955- Chuck Jone's 'One Froggy Evening' premiered. Director Steven Spielberg called it the "Citizen Kane of Cartoons." If you wonder why you never heard the old time ditty 'The Michigan Rag' anywhere else but here, was because Chuck Jones & Mike Maltese wrote it specifically for the cartoon. 1957- Disney film Old Yeller premiered. 1963- Walt Disney’s The Sword in the Stone released. First animated feature directed by Wolfgang,” Woolie” Reitherman. 1977- Charlie Chaplin died quietly in his sleep at Vevey, Switzerland. He was 86.
Monday, December 24, 2012
Birthdays:, Roman Emperor Servius Galba, English King John Lackland, Revolutionary Patriot Dr Benjamin Rush, Kit Carson, Howard Hughes, Ava Gardner, Michael Curtiz, I.F.Stone, Robert Joffrey of the Joffrey Ballet, Mean Joe Green, John Matusak, Susan Lucci, Nicholas Meyer, Ricky Martin is 43, Ryan Seacrest 1818-the song Silent Night first sung at the Church of Saint Nicholas in Obersdorf, Austria. It’s lyrics were written by the minister named Josef Mohr and music by a teacher named Franz Gruber. 1888- Vincent Van Gogh cuts off a piece of his left ear after an argument with fellow artist Paul Gaugin over the affections of a prostitute named Rachel. He sent his ear to the prostitute. She fainted. Recent scholarship theorizes his ear was sliced off by Gaugin waving an antique sword. 1922- The BBC presented it’s first radio play:" The truth about Father Christmas." 1952- First draft script completed on the MGM film Terror Planet, changed to “ Forbidden Planet.” 1964- First day shooting on the “Cage” a pilot for a new TV show called Star Trek. Jeffrey Hunter was the first captain, later replaced by William Shatner when Hunter’s wife advised him to skip the series. She was worried he’d be typecast. 1966- Local New York City TV station WPIX premiered The Yule Log. They ran a loop of 6 minutes of a closeup of a log burning in a fireplace in Gracie Mansion. The loop ran from 11:00PM to 1:00AM with Christmas carols playing. It made the TV the metaphorical family hearth. New Yorkers loved their kitschy Yule Log tradition and when WPIX tried to replace it in 1989 hundreds of complaints forced them to put it back the following year. The log was taped once more in 1970, and that’s been the film ever since. 1968- Twentieth Century Fox announced that legendary Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa had been fired from the production of TORA-TORA-TORA. Producer Darryl Zanuck’s original concept was the story of the Pearl Harbor attack told by Kurosawa from the Japanese side and David Lean from the American side. But Lean passed and Richard Fleischer stepped in. Japanese sections were directed by Toshio Fukusaku and Masuda, whose previous credit was The Green Slime. 1985- Fidel Castro gives up smoking cigars, on doctors’ orders. 1990- Tom Cruise married Nicole Kidman. 1997- 62 year old Film director Woody Allen married 27 year old Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his former lover Mia Farrow. When asked to explain himself the director said: " The Heart wants what it Wants.."
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Birthdays; Joseph Smith -Founder of Mormonism, Paul Hornung, Ruth Roman, Otto Soglow -cartoonist of 'the Little King', Frank Morgan (the Wizard of Oz actor) Jose Greco, Elizabeth Hartmann, Harry Guardino, Claudio Scimone, Vincent Sardi of Sardi’s restaurant in NY, Harry Shearer is 69, Bob Barker, Frederick Forrest is 76, Japanese Emperor Akihito is 79, France’s First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is 45 1823- SANTA CLAUS BORN. This day the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was published anonymously in The Troy Sentinel, a New York newspaper. . Several years after the authorship was claimed by a Bronx Bible teacher, the Reverend Clement Clarke Moore, and he was celebrated in his time as the father of Santa Claus until his death in 1863. In 2000 a literary-forensic specialist challenged Clement Moores authorship. He claimed an Revolutionary War veteran from Poughkeepsie named Major Henry Livingston actually wrote the poem. He uses as evidence the poetry style of Livingston being much closer to the anonymous poem than Rev Moores. But we may never know. The poem completed the synthesis of English and Dutch folk traditions that were merging in New York into our modern concept of Santa. The Dutch Klaus-in-the-Cinders" or Kris Kringle was an elf who climbed down chimneys to give children toys. He merged with the British Father Christmas or Saint Nicholas who was a big fat jolly bishop with a white beard in a red suit. In an 1859 reprint of the famous poem famed cartoonist Thomas Nast (who created the Republican elephant and Democratic donkey) drew the first likeness of Santa Claus. Because of residual rivalry from the Civil War claiming Santa was a Yankee or came from old Dixie, in 1867 Nast ended the argument by declaring Claus’s true address to be the North Pole. The likeness we all recognize was created by illustrator Haddon Sundblom for a Coca-Cola ad campaign in 1934. 1893- Humperdinck's opera "Hansel und Gretel" debuts in Weimar Germany. 1894- Claude DeBussey’s “Afternoon of a Faun” premiered in Paris. 1912- The Max Sennett short comedy “Hoffmeyer’s Release” premiered, the first comedy featuring the Keystone Cops. 1913- Young Italian Rudolph Valentino arrived in America to seek his fortune. He was so poor that after a year he sent his parents a photo of himself in a borrowed tuxedo to allay their fears. He worked as a nightclub dancer and gigolo until becoming a Hollywood film star in 1921. 1930- Young actress Betty Davis signed her first contract with Universal Studio. 1935- Walt Disney sent a detailed memo to art teacher Don Graham outlining his plans for retraining his animators to do realistic feature films. circa-1935- This was the traditional day for Republic Pictures to fire all their employees and hire them back after New Years so they wouldn't have to pay them holiday pay. Republic billed itself on it’s business cards as The Friendly Studio.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Birthdays: Josef Stalin- real name Jozef Djugashvili, Jean Racine, Giacomo Puccini, Connie Mack, J. Arthur Rank, Ladybird Johnson, Deems Taylor, Jean Michel Basquiat, Barbara Billingsley, Peggy Ashcroft, Emil Sitka, Gene Rayburn, Hector Elizondo, Diane Sawyer, Robin Gibb & Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees, Ralph Fiennes is 49. 1808-DA-DA-DA- DUMMMM- Beethoven premiered his 5th Symphony. 1882- Thomas Edison introduced the string of electric Christmas Tree lights replacing candles.
Friday, December 21, 2012
Birthdays: Benjamin Disraeli, Josh Gibson- the Home Run King of the Negro Baseball Leagues, Pat Weaver-TV exec who created the Today Show and father of Sigourney Weaver, Frank Zappa, Dr. Kurt Waldheim, Florence Griffith Joyner, Chris Evert, Phil Roman, Jane Fonda is 75, Paul Winchell the voice of Tigger, Keifer Sutherland is 46, Samuel L. Jackson is 64, Ray Romano is 55, Jane Kaszmarek, Judy Delphy is 43, Jeffrey Katzenberg is 64 1914- The premiere of the first feature length film comedy- Tilly’s Punctured Romance, starring Marie Dressler, Mabel Normand and a young Charlie Chaplin. 1925- Sergei Eisenstein’s cinematic masterpiece Battleship Potemkin premiered in Moscow. The films pioneering use of montage and allegorical imagery intercut inspired a generation of filmmakers. 1933- Twentieth Century Fox signed 5 year old Shirley Temple to a seven year contract. 1937-Walt Disney's " Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" had it’s grand premiere. The first feature length American cartoon, it becomes the box office champ of 1938-earning 4 times more than any other film that year. 1971- Richard William's animated TV special "A Christmas Carol" with Alastair Sim reprising his scrooge.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Birthdays: Bonnie Prince Charlie, Branch Rickey, George Roy Hill, Dr. Samuel Mudd, Jenny Aguitter, Uri Geller, Irene Dunne, Cecil Cooper, Albert Dekker, Amby Paliwoda, Charlie Callas, John Spencer, Harvey Firestone, John Spencer, Elsie De Wolfe, Jonah Hill is 29. 1892- According to Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days this was the day Phileas Fogg completed his trip. 1920- English song & dance man Leslie Downes became an American citizen and changed his name to Bob Hope. 1937- Nazis Josef Goebbels noted in his diary that this day he sent his boss Adolph Hitler a Christmas present of a dozen Mickey Mouse Cartoons from America. Officially der Fuehrer called Mickey ‘vermin’ but privately enjoyed his animated antics. 1950- Harvey premiered starring James Stewart and a 6 foot invisible rabbit. 1952- Bridgette Bardot married director Roger Vadim. 1955- Sir Lawrence Olivier’s film version of Richard III premiered. 1962- The Osmond Brothers premiered on the Andy Williams Show. 1957- Elvis Presley received his draft notice. G.I. Blues! 1968- Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day premiered. 1971- Twentieth Century Fox chief Darryl F. Zanuck blames his own son CEO Richard Zanuck for Fox's monetary problems and fires him. This sets off a power struggle among the board of directors. When Zanuck's estranged wife Libby throws her support against the mogul, Darryl F. Zanuck is overthrown and fired from his own company. He was the last of the original Hollywood moguls.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Birthdays: King Phillip V of Spain (1683), Edith Piaf, Cicely Tyson, Sir Ralph Richardson, Robert Urich, Jennifer Beals is 49, David Susskind, Fritz Reiner, Disney Legend Mel Shaw, Alyssa Milano is 40, Jake Gyllenhaal is 32 1914- Earl Hurd patented animation 'cels' (celluloids) and backgrounds. Before this cartoonists tried drawing the background settings over and over again hundreds of times or slashed the paper around the character and tried not to have it walk in front of anything. By the late 1990’s, most cels & cel paint had been replaced by digital imaging. 1932- BBC Overseas Service Radio broadcasts begin. 1957- The musical ‘The Music Man’ starring Robert Preston first debuted. "Seventy Six Trom-bones in the Big Parade.." 1958- the first airing of the Disneyland holiday show " From All of Us, to All of You." 1971- Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’ premiered. Based on a novel by Anthony Burgess. In America the film received an X Rating, more for sexual situations than violence. The sensation over the film caused so many incidents of urban violence, that with Kubrick’s permission, it was banned in England for three decades. 1974- The first personal computer went on sale. The Altair 8800, named for the planet in the 1955 sci-fi movie classic Forbidden Planet. The computer came in a kit that you had to build and it cost $397. The next year, two kids at Harvard named Bill Gates and Paul Allen created a programming language for it called BASIC. 2001- Peter Jackson’s film ‘The Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship of the Ring’ first opened.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Birthdays: Antonio Stradivari, Karl Maria Von Weber,Ty Cobb, George Stevens, Ozzie Davis, Diane Disney-Miller, Anita O’Day, Paul Klee, Betty Grable, Keith Richards is 69, Leonard Maltin is 62, Ray Liotta is 58, Katie Holmes is 34, Brad Pitt is 49, Steven Spielberg is 66 Two Hundred Years Ago- 1812- The first volume of stories Childrens and Household Tales by the Brother Grimm came out, The world learns of Rapunzel, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. 1919- in France Composer Cole Porter married divorcee Linda Thomas. They stayed together all their long lives even though she knew from the outset that he was gay . 1937- Mae West does a comedy routine on national broadcast radio with Don Ameche about Adam and Eve that was considered so racy CBS banned her from their network. At the same time she got fined by the networks for joking about ventriloquist puppet Charlie McCarthy:" Hmmm…he’s all wood and a yard long!" 1939-Max Fleischer's animated classic “Gulliver's Travels”. 1960- A young eccentric man named Jerry Garcia was dishonorably discharged from the army. He had done things like drive a tank into a field then walk away and had been AWOL 8 times in one year. After leaving the army Jerry Garcia became a hippie musician in San Francisco and in 1966 formed the rock band the Grateful Dead. 1961-" In the Jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps to-night…a winoweh, etc. " this song by the Tokens goes to #1 in pop charts. 1964- DePatie-Freleng’s The Pink Phink, the first Pink Panther cartoon short. 1966- Chuck Jone's 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' premiered. 1975- Rod Stewart announced he was leaving the band Faces for a solo singing career. 1978- SAG strikes Hollywood again for residuals. (again...) 1984- Christopher Guest married Jamie Lee Curtis at Rob Reiner’s house . 1997- Saturday Night Live Comedian Chris Farley was found dead in his Chicago apartment in the John Hancock Tower, surrounded by empty food containers and porn magazines. The chubby 31-year-old had been partying for 17 straight hours doing cocaine, heroin, vodka and crystal-meth. His last words were to an exhausted prostitute:" Please don’t leave me.". He was set to play the voice of Shrek. Farley idolized the late John Belushi, who had also died of drugs and hard living at age 31. One writer recalled Farley drunk turned to him and asked innocently:" Do you think Belushi is in heaven?" 1998- Dreamworks feature cartoon the “Prince of Egypt”, or, as it was known in Hollywood,"The Zion King".
Sunday, December 16, 2012
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, Bill Pullman is 59, Eugene Levy is 66, Giovanni Ribisi, Arman Muehler-Stahl is 82, Wes Studi, Sean Patrick Thomas, Bart Simpson is 23 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 like today’s Mardi Gras. This is why the Pilgrims tried to ban it. 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 and pious 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. 1892- Peter Ilyich Tschaikowsky’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. 1936- Disney's last Silly Symphony, the Ugly Duckling. 1962- The Beatles first hit "Love Me Do" enters the U.K. pop charts. 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.
Birthdays: TA-TA-TA-TUMMMMMM!!! Ludwig Van Beethoven, Catherine of Aragon (Henry VIII's wife number one), Lenoid Brezhnev, Jane Austen, Margaret Mead, Noel Coward, George Santayanna, Liv Ullmann is 71, Steve Bochco, Leslie Stahl. Quentin Blake- dean of British illustrators favored by Roald Dahl, William 'Refrigerator' Perry, Arthur C. Clarke 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 Mayoral 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 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. 1907- THE WHITE FLEET- Pres. Teddy Roosevelt sent a big badass fleet of US Navy battleships all painted white on a round-the-world cruise. It was billed as a goodwill tour, but in an age when battleships were the viewed like nukes are today, the message to other world powers was obvious. That the US was now a serious player in world affairs. 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 and 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’. 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- 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.
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, Bill Pullman is 59, Eugene Levy is 66, Giovanni Ribisi, Arman Muehler-Stahl is 82, Wes Studi, Sean Patrick Thomas, Bart Simpson is 23 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 like today’s Mardi Gras. This is why the Pilgrims tried to ban it. 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 and pious 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. 1892- Peter Ilyich Tschaikowsky’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. 1936- Disney's last Silly Symphony, the Ugly Duckling, premiered. 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 15, 2012
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Nero, Gustav Eiffel, J. Paul Getty, Jeff Chandler, Alan Freed, Ernie Pintoff, Tim Conway is 79, Helen Slater, Don Johnson is 63, Julie Taymor is 60 1815- Giacomo Rossini received the commission to write a new opera based on Beaumarchais the Marriage of Figaro- The Barber of Seville. 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. 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. 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. Or maybe that’s what he wants us to think?! 2000-Emperors New Groove premiered.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Birthdays: 1553-King Henry IV of Navarre, Tycho Brahe, Nostradamus -Michel de Nostre 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. Chanteuse Jane Birkin "Je t'aime moi non plus" is 65. 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. 1944- The film National Velvet premiered, making a star out of 12 year old Elizabeth Taylor. 1957- Hanna Barbera's first TV cartoon "Ruff and Ready" premieres. 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.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Birthdays: Heinrich Heine, Mary Todd Lincoln, Dick Van Dyke, Mike Mosley, Darryl Zanuck Jr., George Schulz, Tim Conway, Christopher Plummer is 83, Steve Buscemi is 55, Jamie Fox is 43, Lynn Holly Johnson, Wendy Malick, Taylor Swift is 23. 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 real estate. Today it’s 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? 1969- Arlo Guthrie’s hit song Alice’s Restaurant released. 1971- Disney’s film Bedknobs and Broom Sticks opened.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Birthdays: Frank Sinatra, Edvard Munch, Gustav Flaubert, Auguste Rodin, Edward G. Robinson, former NY Mayor Ed Koch, Zack Mosley –the cartoonist who drew “Smilin' Jack", Connie Francis, Dionne Warwick, Cathy Rigby, Tracy Austin, Bill Nighy is 62, Tom Wilkerson is 64, Jennifer Connelly is 42 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 (who later backed his bid for the governorship of California) that only residuals for films after 1955 would be paid. Actors who made their big hits in the 30's and 40s like Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, The Little Rascals and Mickey Rooney 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.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Birthdays: Sir David Brewster,1781- inventor of the kaleidoscope, Fiorello LaGuardia, Robert Koch, conqueror of tuberculosis, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Carlo Ponti, Gilbert Roland, Big Mama Mabel Thornton, Jean Marais, Jean Louis Tritignant, Tom Hayden, Jermaine Jackson, McCoy Tyner- John Coltrane's pianist, Brenda Lee, Rita Moreno is 81, Teri Garr is 65, Mos Def is 39 Mo’nique is 45 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 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. 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. 1970- Walt Disney's the 'Aristocats' premiered. 1978- THE LUFTHANSA HEIST.- Some small time Brooklyn Mafiosi slipped into the Lufthansa cargo terminal at Kennedy Airport and stole $8 million in unmarked bills and jewelry, most from European money exchange booths. As the FBI moved in on the gang it’s members tended to wind up dead, thirteen bodies in all. The money was never recovered. The reputed mastermind, Jimmy the Gent Burke, died in prison on an unrelated murder charge in 1991. The incident was dramatized in the Martin Scorcese film “Goodfellas”. 2009- Disney’s animated Princess and the Frog.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Birthdays: English King Edward VII “Bertie”, Emile Dickinson, Chet Huntley, Morton Gould, Victor McLaughlin, Dan Blocker, Tommy Kirk, Fionnula Flanagan, Kenneth Branaugh is 53, Dorothy Lamour, Susan Dey is 60, Michael Clarke Duncan 1607- Captain John Smith left the Jamestown camp with two men to find food. They were captured by the Indians who killed the other men and dragged Smith before chief Powhatan. He ordered Smith’s head to be placed on a flat stone and bashed in with a war club. But Powhatan’s favorite daughter Pocahontas threw herself over Smith and protected him. Smith could speak no Algonquin and the Indians no English and neither could sing any Broadway tunes. Was this an execution prevented or a ritual of admission into the tribe? Powhatan was known to extend his rule through dynastic alliances with other tribal leaders, and he was well aware of the white strangers, wiping out a Spanish attempt to land on his beach in 1600. Maybe this was his way of wanting to bring the white mans powers to his side. No one knows for sure. Smith didn’t write of this incident until back in England 14 years later. 1905- O. Henry’s short story “ A gift from the Magi” first published. 1938- To make the film "Gone With the Wind" Producer David Selznick and director Victor Fleming shot the massive "Burning of Atlanta" in Culver City, California. The sequence was storyboarded and designed by William Cameron-Menzies, who designed the sets for Intolerance for D.W. Griffith. Selznick used the opportunity to clean the studios backlot storage, destroying sets from King Kong, Little Lord Fauntelroy and Last of the Mohicans in the inferno. They shot the scenes with three Rhett Butler stand ins. 1941-The Hollywood Victory Committee formed. Top Hollywood agents like Abe Lastfogel, Lou Wasserman and Myron Selznick (David's brother) start signing up movie stars for bond drives and touring shows for the troops. The committee later created the Hollywood Canteen, a nightclub for servicemen on Ivar near Sunset. A soldier or sailor could come in for a free meal served by Tyrone Power or Red Skelton and have a dance with celebrities like Rita Hayworth or Dina Shore. One animation painter who worked in the kitchen told me the only celebrity who would stay until closing, even mopping and washing coffee cups was Marlene Deitrich.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Birthdays: Sappho, John Milton, Jean De Brunhoff, Emile Waldteufel the composer of the Skaters Waltz, Admiral Grace Hopper 1906 who wrote the earliest computer language, Elzie Segar the creator of Popeye, Hermoinie Gingold, Dalton Trumbo, John Cassavettes, Broderick Crawford, Dick Butkus, Kirk Douglas-born Issur Danielevitch is 97, Red Foxx, Cesar Franck, John Malkovich is 59, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Buck Henry is 82, Felicity Huffman, Judy Dench is 78 1946- Damon Runyon died, the writer whose characters the musical "Guys and Dolls' are based. His philosophy: "All life is six to five against." 1960- Coronation Street premiered on British ITV. 1964-John Coltrane recorded his landmark jazz album “The Love Supreme”. Late on foggy nights Trane liked to take his sax out onto the middle of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and practice by himself. 1965- Bill Melendez's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" the first half hour animated t.v. special featuring the music of Vince Guaraldi. Producer Lee Mendelson had heard Guaraldi's jazz combo perform in San Francisco. He never scored a film before:" How many yards of music do you want?" A Charlie Brown Christmas has run every year for 47 years. 1967- At a Doors concert lead singer Jim Morrison was sprayed with mace and arrested by Miami police for “lewd behavior” on stage, but probably more for referring to the cops as pigs. 1968- Douglas Engelbardt of Stanford held the Mother of All Demos at Brooks Hall in SF. 1992-Britains Prime Minister John Major announced the separation of Prince Charles and Diana of Wales. 1994- Disney Animators in California move into their new Animation building designed by Robert Stern. 2340- Mr Worf, the Klingon officer of Star Trek Next Generation was born.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Birthdays: Horace (Quintus Horatius), 65BC, Mary Queen of Scots,Jean Sibelius, George Melies the father of Motion Picture Special Effects, James Thurber, Richard Fleischer, Eli Whitney, Jim Morrison, Diego Rivera, Emile Reynaud, Sammy Davis Jr, Maximillian Schell, Flip Wilson, Sam Kinison, Ann Coulter, Teri Hatcher is 48, Sinead O’Connor is 46, Kim Basinger is 59 1868- According to Jules Verne’s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, tonight is the night Captain Nemo’s fantastic submarine the Nautilus attacked and sank a US warship and captured Professor Aronax and harpooner Ned Land. 1940- Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo remarry. The two great Mexican artists had been married for ten years but divorced for a year because of their mutual infidelities. Diego also wanted to protect Frida from fallout from his political activities. But after a year apart that decided they couldn’t live without one another and remarried. 1941-DAY OF INFAMY Aftermath- On the day after the Pearl Harbor sneak attack, President Roosevelt did his famous "Day of Infamy" speech. The civil defense command placed anti-aircraft guns on the Walt Disney Studio lot because of it's proximity to the aircraft plant of Lockheed. Walt Disney himself was turned away at the gate for not wearing his identity badge. 1961-"Surfin’" the first record by the Beach Boys started to climb the local LA pop charts. 1980- The Bravo Channel began. Remember when it played only classical concerts and ballets ?
Friday, December 7, 2012
Birthdays: Willa Cather, Larry Bird, Piero Mascagni, Madame Tussaud-1761, Johnny Bench, Louis Prima, Ted Knight –real name Wladsyslaw Konopka, Victor Kiam II, Noam Chomsky, Ellen Burstyn-real name Edna Mae Gilhooley, Harry Chapin, Clarence Nash the voice of Donald Duck, Tom Waits, Jeffrey Wright is 47, Eli Wallach is 96 1919- “Blind Husbands” premiered, the first film by Erich Von Stroheim. Originally a Viennese hat salesman, Stroheim cultivated his Germanic aristocratic image on the silver screen. The premiere issue of the New Yorker in 1923 glibly noted how “Mr. Stroheim has grown a very stylish “Von” in the Southern California Sun”. 1942- An RAF bomber pilot named Lumsden filed a report about seeing a UFO following his plane in the night skies over the English Channel. British pilots nicknamed the unexplained lights Foo Fighters, after a phrase in the Smokey Stover comic strip. 1964- Height of student uprising at Berkeley College in California. Students won more liberalized curriculum and open teaching and created the first major student protest of the tumultuous 1960's and earned Berkeley the national reputation of the nations most radicalized school. The Oakland police were later nicknamed the Blue Meanies after the villains in the Beatles cartoon Yellow Submarine. 1974- The disco song “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas hit #1 in the pop charts.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Birthdays: King Henry VI of England-1422, John Eberhard 1822, builder of the first large pencil factory in the US, John Singleton-Mosby the Grey Ghost, Henry Jarecki, Baby Face Nelson, William S. Hart, Ira Gershwin, Dave Brubeck would have been 92, Agnes Moorehead, Tom Hulce is 59, Wally Cox, Lynn Fontaine, Steven Wright, JoBeth Williams,Judd Apatow is 45, Wallace and Gromet creator animator Nick Park is 54 Today if the FEAST of SAINT NICHOLAS, the patron saint of sailors and children. In the 350 AD Bishop Nicholas heard of a man so poor that he was about to sell his daughters into prostitution. Nicholas climbed into the man’s window and placed gold coins in the families socks drying by the fireplace. In some cities during the Middle Ages the custom was this day to elect a Boy Bishop who would reign in an honorary style until the Feast of the Holy Innocents December 28th. 1915- MAX FLEISCHER PATENTS THE ROTOSCOPE TECHNIQUE- This system enables you to film an actor then draw the cartoons over the still frames of the live action to achieve a realistic motion. (an early form of Motion Capture) Max would film his brother Dave in a clown suit then draw Koko the Clown over him. Dave had already owned the clown suit because he had been seriously considering a change in careers. The Fleischer's New York studio would be Disney's chief rival for most of the 1920's-30's. 1933- U.S. Federal Judge Woolsey decides James Joyce's "ULYSSES" is not a dirty book and can be published in the U.S by Viking Press. The book had been out in Europe since 1922. 1942- Val Lewton’s strange movie the Cat People with Simon-Simon premiered. 1964- Rankin Bass' t.v. special 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer' first broadcast. .
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Birthdays: Pope Julius II, Martin Van Buren , Walt Disney , Fritz Lang, Eugene Debs, George Armstrong Custer, Little Richard Penniman, Strom Thurmond, Otto Preminger, Calvin Trillin, Joan Didion, Jim Plunkett, Jose Carrerras, Margaret Cho is 45 1912- New York Hat directed by D.W. Griffith premiered. The first movie script written by Anita Loos, then 19. She became one of the finest Hollywood screenwriters ,who penned films like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. 1952- The Abbott and Costello Television Show premiered. Where’s Hilary, Mr Fields and Stinky? “ Niagara Falls! Slooowwlly I turn! Step by Step! Step by Step!” 1974- The BBC aired the last Monty Python show.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Birthdays: Chief Crazy Horse, Samuel Butler, Thomas Carlyle, Lillian Russell, Vasilly Kandinsky, Buck Jones, Wink Martindale, Max Baer Jr.,Robert Vesco, Charles Keating, Wally George, Deanna Durbin, Pappy Boyington, Horst Bucholtz, Rainer Maria Rilke,, Jeff Bridges is 63, Marisa Tomei is 48, Tyrah Banks is 39, Johnny Lyon- 1948 of the band Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Jay-Z is 43, Fred Armisen is 46 1657-Old Painter Rembrandt van Rijn was evicted from his home. He was kept out of debtor’s prison, when his daughter and son-in-law auctioned most of his possessions to pay off his creditors. 1791- The London Observer, called the oldest continually published newspaper in the world, first published. True, the Times was begun in 1788 but t had a spotty release it’s first few years while it’s publisher would be thrown in prison for libel. 1931- James Whale’s macabre masterpiece film “Frankenstein” opened at the Mayfair theater in NY. English actor William Henry Pratt renamed Boris Karloff played the monster. 1941- film "Mr. Bug Goes to Town"-opened. Max Fleischer's last gamble to keep up with Disney and keep his studio alive. However the events of Pearl Harbor three days later not only sink the American Navy, but also Hoppity's box office and puts Max out of business. 1958- Cocoa Puffs cereal invented. 1961- Someone at the Museum of Modern Art in NY noticed that they had hung Henri Matisse’s painting Le Bateau upside down. It had been that way for two months and until now nobody had noticed. 1985- The first Cray X-MP Supercomputer booted up. The Cray was used to create early CG animation for Hollywood movies like Peter Hyam's 2010. 1993- Rocker Frank Zappa died of prostate cancer at age 52.
Monday, December 3, 2012
Birthdays: French King Charles VI the Well-Loved 1380, Gilbert Stuart, Sven Nykvist, Joseph Conrad real name Josef Korzeniowski, Jean Luc Godard, Nino Rota, Jim Backus, Maria Callas, Larry Parks, Charles Pillsbury, Mitsuo Fuchida the Japanese pilot who led the attack on Pearl Harbor, Darryl Hannah is 52, Katerina Witt, Brendan Fraser is 44, Julianne Moore is 52, Andrew Stanton is 47, Amanda Seyfried is 27 1919- Impressionist painter Pierre August Renoir died of old age. Suffering from arthritis that left him unable to paint with his hands, Renoir used a bit that held the brush in his teeth. 1934- Lee Blair, Disney artist and brother of Preston Blair, Disney artist, married Mary Browne Robinson, Disney artist. She became the most famous of them as Mary Blair. 1997 – 56 year old Darlene Gillespie, an original member of the Mickey Mouse Club, was busted in LA for a securities fraud scheme.
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Birthdays: George Seurat, Charles Ringling, Julie Harris, Gianni Verasce, Ray Walston, Monica Seles, Cathy Lee Crosby, Lucy Liu is 44, Britney Spears is 31 1854-Napoleon III was Napoleon's nephew and since 1848 legally elected President of the Second French Republic. But he decided that he wanted to be an Emperor like his uncle so he seized dictatorial power,and arrested all dissenters like Victor Hugo, Alex DeTocqueville and cartoonist Honore' Daumier (gotta watch them cartoonists...) 1877- Camille Saint Saens opera “Samson & Dalila” with the Dance of the Seven Veils premiered in Weimar. 1935- Animator Marc Davis first day at Walt Disney Studios. He retired in 1978.
Saturday, December 1, 2012
Welcome to Decembrius, month number 10 to the Romans who only had ten months in their original calendar. It’s the same Latin root as Decimate, Dime, Decimal and Dixie. Birthdays: Richard Pryor, Mary Martin, Cyril Ritchard, Dick Shawn, Charlene Tilton, Lou Rawls, Rex Stout the author of Nero Wolfe, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Treat Williams, Woody Allen is 77, Bette Midler is 67, Sarah Silverman is 42 1835- Hans Christian Andersen published his first book of fairy tales. 1879-Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera HMS Pinafore opened. Sullivan conducted the orchestra while Gilbert was a choruster. “So Stick to your desk and never go to sea, and you will be the leader of the Queen’s Navy..” 1887- The first Sherlock Holmes mystery by Arthur Conan-Doyle "A Study in Scarlet" first published in Beatty’s Christmas Gazette. 1938- Legendary filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein released in Moscow his film of Russian patriotism ALEXANDER NEVSKY, with soundtrack provided by Sergei Prokoviev. 1951- MIT scientists booted up Project Whirlwind, the TX-0 Computer. Called the Tixo, it was as large as a bus and was the first computer that could do more than one program at a time. It also had the first computer screen and first light pen. It calculated everything from synchronizing the gunfire of battleships to how much icing to put in an Oreo cookie. A TIXO was used to crete the first CG animation software in 1962. 1953- Ex- Esquire magazine art director and frustrated cartoonist Hugh Hefner published the first issue of Playboy Magazine. It featured a nude centerfold of actress Marilyn Monroe. She joked to the press “ I had nothing on but the radio!” Hefner assembled the layout of the magazine on his kitchen table and borrowed money from his mother-in-law to pay for the printing. The first Playboy had no number or date, because Hef was certain he couldn’t afford to make an issue number two.