Saturday, May 31, 2014

Animation Fun Facts for May 31, 2014


Birthdays: King Manuel Ist of Portugal –1495, Walt Whitman, Fred Allen, Don Ameche, Prince Ranier, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Ranier Fassbinder, Brooke Shields, Joe Namath, Richie Valens, John Kemeny-the co-creator of BASIC, Tom Berenger, Denholm Elliot, Peter Yarrow, Lea Thompson, John Bonzo Bonham of Led Zepplin, Colin Ferrell is 38, Clint Eastwood is 84


1928- The song “ Old Man River “sung by Pail Robeson came out as a single.

1958 - Dick Dale invents "surf music" with "Let's Go Trippin".


1969-   John Lennon and Yoko Ono record "Give Peace a Chance." It became the theme song of the Anti-Vietnam War movement. Because of this song and Lennon’s support of the Hippie protesters the Nixon White House kept a file on him. Lennon spent most of 1972-73 under a constant threat of 60-day deportation from the US.


1984- Martial arts movie star Steven Segal married soap opera star Adrienne LaRussa. But what Adrienne didn’t know was he already had a wife named Miyako Fujetani and two kids waiting for him in Japan. A few months after this he fell for another actress named Kelly LeBrock.

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. Before his death, Steve Jobs came back to Apple and make it the worlds most profitable company, as well as run PIXAR and be on the board of the Walt Disney Company.

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

1990- Television sitcom Seinfeld premiered based on a TV special about the standup comedian called the Seinfeld Chronicles. No Soup for You!

2000- The first Survivor show premiered, shepherding in a new era in America of TV Reality shows.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Animation Fun Facts for May 30, 2014


Birthdays: Czar Peter the Great, Benny Goodman, Famed WB voice actor Mel Blanc, Stepin Fetchit, Boris Pasternak, Irving Thalberg, Milt Neil, Howard Hawks, Gale Sayers, Michael J. Pollard, Wynonna, Keir Dullea is 78, Ceelo Green is 39. Idina Mensel

1919- Hollywood entrepreneur Charles Tolman bought a natural declivity north of Hollywood Blvd called Daisy Dell. People had been picnicking in the grass there for years. Now Tolman wanted to build a concert amphitheatre. Conductor Hugo Kirchhofer remarked “ It looks like a big bowl!” So it became the Hollywood Bowl thereafter.

1930- The Lockheed Terminal rededicated as Burbank Airport.


1955- The New York chapter of the Catholic League of Decency pressured Loews Theater on Broadway to take down a giant 30-foot billboard of Marilyn Monroe trying to push her skirt down.


1962- Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem had it’s first performance.

1972- Director choreographer Bob Fosse filmed a live performance of Liza Minelli’s one-woman show Liza with a Z. It was telecast in Sept. and became a sensation.


2003- Pixar’s Finding Nemo opened.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Animation Fun Facts for May 29, 2014


Birthdays: King Charles II (the "Merry Monarch"), John F. Kennedy, Bob Hope would be 111, J.G. Chesterton, Patrick Henry, Oswald Spengler, T.H.White, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Josef Von Sternberg, LaToya Jackson, John Hinckley Jr., Al Unser Jr., Beatrice Lilly, Danny Elfman, Annette Benning is 59, Melissa Etheridge is 53, Rupert Everett is 55



1941-THE GREAT WALT DISNEY CARTOONISTS STRIKE.. The picket line and campsite went up across the street where St. Joseph's Hospital is today. Chef's from nearby Toluca Lake restaurants would cook for the strikers on their off time and the aircraft mechanics of Lockheed promised muscle if any ruffstuff was threatened.  

Picketers included Hank Ketcham (Dennis the Menace), Walt Kelly and Margaret Selby (later Kelly) (Pogo), Bill Melendez (A Charlie Brown Christmas), Steve Bosustow and John Hubley (Mr. Magoo), Maurice Noble and Chuck Jones (What's Opera Doc?), George Baker (Sad Sack), Dick Swift ("the Parent Trap") Frank Tashlin (Cinderfella) and four hundred others. Animators from Warner Bros. MGM and Walter Lantz marched with their Disney brothers and sisters, because they knew this was where the fate of their entire industry would be settled. Celebrities like Dorothy Parker and John Garfield gave speeches. The studio claimed no one of importance was on strike.

The strike was eventually settled by Federal arbitration and a little arm twisting by the Bank of America. Many of the artists who left the studio afterwards set up U.P.A. and pioneered the modern 1950's style.

1942- JOHN BARRYMORE- The great dramatic actor, the first American to dare to play Hamlet in England, died of his vices at age 60. Whether the infamous prank actually happened where Raoul Walsh, Bertholdt Brecht, Peter Lorre, W.C. Fields and some others (the"Bundy Drive Boys") kidnapped Barrymore's body from Pierce Brothers Funeral Home and propped it up at the poker table to scare the willys out of Errol Flynn is a matter of debate. Flynn and Paul Heinried said it was true, writer Gene Fowler said it was false. .
     John Barrymore's last words were to screenwriter Gene Fowler:
   "Say Gene, isn't it true you are an illegitimate son of Buffalo Bill?"

1956- Hollywood director James Whale (Frankenstein, The Invisible Man) drowned himself in his pool. His career was over and his health was deteriorating from a series of strokes. Bruises were found on his head and at first the police suspected foul play. It wasn’t until 1989 his gay lover made his suicide note public. His head had struck the pool’s bottom as he jumped in causing the bruise.


1978 - Bob Crane, (Hogan-Hogan's Heroes), died at 49 under mysterious circumstances. He was found in a Tucson hotel room surrounded by pornography bludgeoned to death by a camera tripod.  The murder was never solved.

1987 –pop singer Michael Jackson attempted to buy the nineteenth century remains of Joseph Meredith a.k.a. the Elephant Man.



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Animation Fun Facts for May 28, 2014


Birthdays: Solomon 970 BC, Noah Webster, Dr. Joseph Guillotine, William Pitt the Younger, General Pierre Beauregard, Ian Fleming, Jim Thorpe, The Dion Identical Quintuplets 1930, Gladys Knight, Jerry West, Dietrich Fisher-Deiskau, Sandra Locke, T-Bone Walker, Taffy Abel (one of the first professional hockey stars), John Fogarty is 69, Carey Mulligan is 29, Carol Baker is 83. Frank Gladestone


1929 - 1st all color talking picture, "On With the Show" exhibited (NYC).

1935- Tortilla Flat published. The first novel by John Steinbeck.

1941- 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 law, 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 the motion to strike, and it was unanimously accepted. Bill Hurtz will later go on to direct award winning cartoons like UPA’s "Unicorn in the Garden". Picket lines go up next day in cartoon animation’s own version of the Civil War.

  Walt Disney nearly had a nervous breakdown over the strike and 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 completely, but the hard feelings remained for their rest of their lives.


1954- Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder in 3D premiered.

1960- George Zucco 74, a character actor who specialized in horror movies like Blood from the Mummies Hand, one version says he died of fright in a mental hospital in San Gabriel California. He was convinced that H.P. Lovecraft's Great God Cthulu was after him. He actually died of natural causes in a nursing home.



1977- " MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU." George Lucas' space fantasy film STAR WARS opened (The premiere was May 25). 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 expect the film to 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.

1983- “What a Feeling” the theme from the film Flashdance by Irene Cara reaches the top of the pop charts. Everyone dancing with leggings and baggy sweaters.


1998- Saturday Night Live comedian Phil Hartman was shot to death by his wife Brynne as he slept. She was a heavy drink and pill user. At 6:00am as the LAPD were knocking Brynne turned the gun on herself.

2005- The great London clock Big Ben mysteriously stopped ticking for 45 minutes.

2005- Actress Lindsay Lohan was photographed passed out in her car shortly after a court hearing for a previous DUI.




Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Animation Fun Facts for May 27, 2014 tues.


Birthdays: James 'Wild Bill' Hickock, Julia Ward Howe, Aemelia Jenks-Bloomer, Dashell Hammett, Vincent Price, Henry Kissinger is 89, Leopold Goldowsky (the inventor of Kodachrome film), Hubert H. Humphrey, Herman Wouk, Harlan Ellison, Joseph Feinnes, Richard Schiff is 59, Peri Gilpin, Paul Bettany is 43, Sir Christopher Lee is 92

1895 - British inventor Burt Acres patented a film camera/projector

1930- HAPPY BIRTHDAY SCOTCH TAPE -Chemist Richard Drew of Saint Paul Minnesota invented cellophane tape, marketed by the 3M Company under the brand Scotch. It was called Scotch after the stereotype perception that Scots people are frugal with money, so it’s a good value. Three years later Drew invented Masking Tape as a way for car manufacturers to paint cars two tone.


1933- Disney’s cartoon“The Three Little Pigs” premiered, whose song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” became a national anthem of recovery from the Depression.
Director of the short Burt Gillette left Disney afterwards to run the Van Beuren Studio in New York.


1948- Walt Disney feature Melody Time released, featuring Pecos Bill.

1969 – Construction on Walt Disney World Florida began.

1977-The Sex Pistols release their Punk hit God Save the Queen, the Fascist Regime, in time for the Queen’s Jubilee year. Her Majesty preferred the Beatles All You Need is Love.


1995- Actor Christopher Reeve was left paralyzed from the neck down after falling from his horse in an equestrian event in Charlottesville, Va.  He became a spokesman for stem-cel research, but his effort in the US was frustrated by powerful religious lobbyists. Christopher Reeves died in 2004.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Animation Fun Facts May 26, 2014


Birthdays: Alexander Pushkin, Isadora Duncan, Norma Talmadge, Paul Lukas, John Wesley Hardin the shootist, John Wayne, Al Jolson, Jay Silverheels (Tonto), Peter Cushing, Robert Morley, Lady and the Tramp singer Peggy Lee, Sally Ride, Pam Grier is 65, Helen Bonham Carter is 48, Bobcat Golthwaite is 54, Matt Stone the co creator of South Park

Happy Memorial Day in the US.

1897- A novel by a quiet London theatre manager named Bram Stoker appeared in bookstores.  It was titled Dracula.

1913- Actors Equity formed.

1933- Jimmy Rogers "the Singing Brakeman", considered the father of modern country music, died of tuberculosis at age 31. Shortly before his death he recorded a song about it called "TB Blues".


1962- The Isley Brothers single “Twist & Shout” released.

1969- John Lennon and Yoko Ono have their "Bed-In for Peace" news conference in New York.  One of the most acerbic exchanges was one Lennon had with Lil'Abner cartoonist and curmudgeon Al Capp.


1994- Singer Michael Jackson married Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie Presley in the Dominican Republic. They keep the wedding a secret for six weeks, then divorced 18 months later.


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

1995- In a memo to Microsoft, founder Bill Gates declared the Internet the “most important single development” since the personal computer.

Animation Fun Facts for May 25, 2014


Birthdays: Miles Davis, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Josef Broz Tito, Igor Sikorsky, Pontormo, Bennett Cerf, Claude Akins, Leslie Uggams, Bill Bojangles Robinson, Frank Oz (Richard Frank Oznowicz), Beverly Sills, Robert Ludlum, Anne Heche, Irwin Winkler, Mike Myers is 51, Ray Stevenson is 50, Ian McKellen is 75


1911- Thomas Mann visited Venice Italy. On the Lido Beach he was inspired to write A Death in Venice.

1932-Mickey’s Revue, the first Disney cartoon that featured the character that would eventually be called Goofy.

1942- First day shooting on the film “ Casablanca”.

1957- Sid Caesar's Your Show of Show's canceled after nearly a decade. The show used future star writers like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Woody Allen and Neil Simon.  The show pioneered the executive strategy of network programmer Pat Weaver to not let the show be owned by an entire sponsor but the network would produce the show and would sell the sponsor commercial time in 30 second chunks. Pat Weaver’s daughter is Sigorney Weaver. Your Show of Shows was finally bested in the ratings by The Lawrence Welk Show.


1968- The Rolling Stones release the song Jumping Jack Flash.

1969- John Schlesinger’s film Midnight Cowboy premiered. The first X-rated film to ever win the Oscar for Best Film.

1977- The Hollywood premiere of Star Wars. The movie opened on the 28th.

1979- Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic Alien opened. It featured the exotic designs of Hungarian artist Giger, and John Hurt with a classic case of chest pains!

1983- Return of the Jedi opened. It was originally Revenge of the Jedi, but George Lucas changed the name just a month before.


1994- First International Conference on the World Wide Web. Tim Berners-Lee and CERN talked on how to implement and unify the new World Wide Web.




Saturday, May 24, 2014

Animation Fun Facts for May 24, 2014


Birthdays: Jean Paul Marat, Queen Victoria, Walt Whitman, Emmanuel Leutze, Gary Burghoff, Priscilla Presley, Patti LaBelle, Tommy Chong of Cheech & Chong, Peter Ellenshaw, Kristin Scott Thomas is 54, Alfred Molina is 61, Jim Broadbent is 65, John C. Reilly is 49, Bob Dylan is 73


1830 –The poem "Mary Had A Little Lamb," was written.

1850- America’s first nationwide newspaper/magazine Harpers Weekly began.

1866 - Berkeley, California founded, named for George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne.

1929- The Marx Brothers first movie comedy” The Coconuts” premiered.


1950- Married movie star Ingrid Bergman shocked American morality by having an open love affair with neorealist film director Roberto Rosselini. This day they were finally married but the outcry of conservatives about this “Apostle of Degradation” was such that her image needed a makeover, so she played Saint Joan.

1954 - IBM announces vacuum tube "electronic" brain that could perform 10
million operations an hour.


1989- In Los Angeles, a spectacular fire destroyed the Art-Deco-Moderne all-wood landmark, the Pan Pacific Auditorium.

1991- Tri-Star Pictures 75 million-dollar mega-flop "Hudson Hawk" opened.
 Star Bruce Willis, whose own salary was $17 million, blamed the film’s costs on union filmworkers’ salaries. He would return to his car after a day’s shooting to find it covered with animal excrement. The film almost sank his career. Willis’ next two films, "Death Becomes Her" and 'Pulp Fiction", he did for scale. In 2000 he made a $100,000 dollar donation to the SAG/AFTRA strike fund.

1991- Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louise opened.