Friday, October 31, 2014

Animation Fun Facts for Oct. 31, 2014

Birthdays: Jan Vermeer, John Keats, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek,  John Candy, Dale Evans, Jane Pauley, David Ogden Stiers, Dan Rather, Lee Grant, Ethel Waters, Juliet Low-founder of the American Girl Scouts, Ollie Johnston
Vanilla Ice, Stephen Rea, Rob Schneider, Animator Randy Cartwright, Peter Jackson is 53.


HAPPY ALL HALLOWS EVE- The night before the Feast of All Souls, beginning the Christian season of Advent, was confused in Medieval custom with one of the four Druid fire festivals, All Hallows. In Ireland it was called Samhein, at this time all hearth fires in the land are extinguished then re-lit from the fire at the Druids sacred grove. Add to this the early Church's attempt to eradicate the pagan custom of giving food to departed spirits -Greek Anthesterion in Feb., Roman Feralia and Lemuria in May- by moving the date to honor the dead to the Feast of All Souls on November 1st.  Nov 1st was the feast of the Roman Goddess of the Harvest Homona. It was considered a good day for pagans to accept baptism. Many cultures had customs of putting food offerings on doorsteps so the spirits would leave you in peace. So today's the last night for the devil and other ghosties to romp before the Holiday Season (Advent) begins.

1892- Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle gathered all his Holmes mystery stories into it’s first collection to be published in book form- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.


1941-the sculpture group of U.S. Presidents on Mount Rushmore completed. Instead of just their heads artist–designer Judson Borglum wanted the sculpture to go down to the figures waists but he died in early 1941 and with war on the horizon, his son and chief engineer rushed to complete the heads as is. 

 1945- The "War of Hollywood" Ends. The CSU union strike, the film business's longest and ugliest, falls apart and many of the former members drift into IATSE locals.

1945- The first ever Conference on Computer Technique was held at MIT.

1964- Barbara Streisand single “People, People who need People..” goes to number one.


1993- Young movie star River Phoenix overdosed and died on the street in front of the Viper Room night club in LA after partying with Johnny Depp and Alicia Silverstone. The club is owned by movie star Depp. It was once the Melody Room owned by mobster Bugsy Siegel. Ironically, as Phoenix was thrashing spasmodically people walked by unconcerned, because it’s a common enough occurrence on the Sunset Strip.


2001- The acting Governor of Massachusetts officially overturned the convictions of the last six people executed in the Salem Witch Trials 300 years ago in 1692.




Thursday, October 30, 2014

Animation Fun Facts for Oct. 30, 2014 thurs


 Birthdays: John Adams, Christopher Columbus, English playwright Richard Sheridan,
Ezra Pound, Emily Post, Louis Malle, Henry Winkler is 67, Charles Atlas, Ruth Gordon,
Claude LeLouch, Dick Gautier, Louis Malle, Ted Williams, Grace Slick, Diego Maradona


1931- first day shooting on the movie Tarzan the Ape Man, starring former Olympic Gold Medal swimming champ Johnny Weissmuller.

1936- English Publishers George Allen & Unwin had received a manuscript from an Oxford languages professor named J.R.R. Tolkein. Raynar Unwin, the son of the publisher, read it and made a report “ This book will be a very good read for children from ages 5-7.” So they published “The Hobbit”.

1938-"THE NIGHT THAT PANICKED AMERICA- 27 year old Orson Wells broadcast a  radio update of H.G. Well’s story "The War of the Worlds". Despite periodic station announcements that it was only a fictional re-enactment, people across the U.S. go bonkers that an actual Martian invasion had landed in  Grover’s Mill New
Jersey.  In Hollywood famed actor John Barrymore, drunk as usual, went over to his
kennel of prize winning racing greyhounds and open their cage doors, saying: "Fend
for yourselves!" In 1949 Equador and 1969 Buffalo NY, radio stations did updated versions of the broadcast, and they also started panics.


1947- Bertholt Brecht, the playwright of Mother Courage and the Threepenny Opera,
testified to the McCarthy HUAC committee. He smoked a large cigar through the whole
session. Next day, as he had once fled Hitler’s Germany, he fled the U.S. and settled
in East Germany.

1973- The Carlin Case- Radical radio station WBAI in New York broadcast hippy comedian George Carlin’s routine about the “Seven Deadly Words” the naughty words you can’t say on the air.  I can’t write them because children read this column but you all
know what they are anyway. The FCC slapped a heavy fine and WBAI sued for free speech and the case made it to the Supreme Court. Today the High Court found for the FCC and those 7 deadly words remain banned from airwaves today. Aw, Sh*t!


2012- The Walt Disney Company announced it was buying out George Lucas holdings (including the Star Wars franchise) for $4.05 billion.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Animation Fun Facts for Oct. 29, 2014


Birthdays: James Boswell, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Keats, Sir Edmund Halley, Louis Blanc, Fanny Brice, Joseph Goebbels, Richard Dreyfus, Zoot Sims, Winona Ryder, Jesse Barfield, Kate Jackson, Bill Maudlin, Akim Tamiroff, Ralph Bakshi is 76, Denis Potvin, Neal Hefti-composer of the theme song for TV shows like Batman and the Odd Couple.


1923- The musical Running Wild opened on Broadway, introducing the dance craze the Charleston.



1969- THE BIRTH OF THE INTERNET- After the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Defense Department asked the Rand Corporation to create a communication system that could survive Russian atomic bombs. They conceived of a “net” of computers all in communication with another around the world. Because there was no center, a bomb could not knock out the entire system.

In the basement of UCLA’s Boelter Hall, Lick Licklider, Vincent Cerf, Robert Kahn, Lawrence Roberts and Bob Taylor set up the first call to Stanford. “ We typed the “L” and we asked on the phone “ Did you see the “L”? “Yes, we see the “L,” was the response. Then we typed O and asked Did you see the O?” Yes, we see the O” was the response. Then we typed G, and then the system crashed!” But when they rebooted, and the system sprung to life again. The people at UCLA were able to type in LOG, to which the Stanford folks replied IN.

They called it ARPANET- Advanced Research Projects Agency-NET, a few years later Internet. By 1978 the Defense Department didn’t want to run the thing anymore so they offered to turn over the entire Internet to ATT for free. AT&T said no thanks, we just don’t see the value in it. In 1992 the US government made the Internet public and the rush was on.



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Animation Fun Facts for Oct. 28, 2014


Birthdays: Elsa Lanchester, Cleo Lane, Charlie Daniels, Evelyn Waugh, Jonas Salk, Bruce Jenner, Joan Plowright, Edith Head, Chef August Escolfiere the great French Chef who created Peche Melba and moved French cuisine to the front rank of world cooking, Charles Grovesnor the founder of National Geographic magazine, Joaquin Phoenix is 40, Dennis Franz 72, Julia Roberts is 47, Bill Gates is 59, Disney animator Don Lusk is 101.




1726-Johnathan Swift published "Gulliver's Travels"-"To Vex the World rather than Divert it."




Monday, October 27, 2014

Animation Fun Facts for Oct. 27, 2014


B-Days: Captain James Cook, Theodore Roosevelt, Dylan Thomas, Nicolo Paganinni, Gerhard Von Gneisenau, Sylvia Plath, Roy Lichtenstein, John Cleese is 75, Freddy De Cordova, Ruby Dee, Roberto Benigni, Bernie Wrightson

1947- The "You Bet Your Life" quiz show premiered on ABC radio. "Say the Secret Word and Win Fifty Dollars". Comedian Groucho Marx had struggled after his brothers act the Marx Brothers broke up. During a live radio program with Bob Hope at one point Hope dropped his script. Before he could pick it up Groucho stepped on the pages, threw his own away and the two improvised their conversation. The result was much funnier that anything anybody had written. The producer of the show John Guedel was so impressed he hired Groucho and built a quiz show around him. It moved to TV in 1949.


1954- The" Disneyland" television show premieres. Up until then the major Hollywood Studios were all boycotting the new upstart medium of television, then mostly done in New York by blacklisted stage actors and writers. Dori Schary of MGM called TV “ the Enemy”. Walt Disney is the first to break ranks with the major film studios and get into television production and even films the show in Technicolor, figuring television will develop color broadcasting eventually.


1964- Sonny & Cher married. I got you babe!



1966- Bill Melendez's Peanuts TV special "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown'. This film was the last film score of jazz musician Vince Guaraldi, who created the unique sound of Charlie Brown cartoons.


1998- Disney released Lion King 2: Simbas Pride.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

ANIMATION fun facts for Oct. 26, 2014


Birthdays: Danton, Leon Trotsky, Vladimir “Bill” Tytla - Disney animator who gave life to Dumbo, Grumpy and the Devil from Bald Mountain would be 110, Francois Mitterand, Domenico Scarlatti, Charles W. Post of Post Cereals, Bob Hoskins, The last Shah of Iran Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, Mahalia Jackson, Clive Barker, Bootsie Collins, Marla Maples, Count Helmuth Von Molkte the Elder -German strategist of the Franco-Prussian War, Dylan McDermott, Cary Elwes, Jaclyn Smith, Hilary Rodham Clinton, Seth McFarlane is 41


1947-HOLLYWOOD FIGHTS BACK.- Members of Hollywood's progressive elite tried to answer the McCarthy hearings and the blacklist with a nationwide radio broadcast "Hollywood Fights Back' -Starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, Katharine Hepburn, Danny Kaye, John Huston, Gene Kelly and Edward G. Robinson.


1970- Doonesbury born. Yale law graduate Gary Trudeau was convinced by Jim Andrews his classmate now an editor at Universal Press syndicate, to recreate his funny comic he did in the campus newspaper. It's original name was 'Bull Tales".

1984-" I’LL BE BACK…" James Cameron’s sci-fi thriller THE TERMINATOR first released. Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered a Hollywood joke before this film made him a major star. An interesting what-if, was that before Arnold was cast in the role of the cyborg assassin, the producers were first considering O.J. Simpson.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Animation Fun Facts for Oct. 25, 2014 sat


Birthdays: Pablo Picasso, George Bizet, Johann Strauss Jr., Bobby Knight, Helen Reddy Minnie Pearl, Whit Bissell, Lyle Lovett. Leo G. Carroll, Bill Barty the famous Little Person celebrity, John Matusak, Julia Roberts, Katie Perry is 30, Nancy Cartwright the voice of Bart Simpson is 57, 


Tyrus Wong the art director of Bambi is 104!

1903- New York’s New Amsterdam Theater opened with a gala performance of A Midsummer’s Night Dream. The New Amsterdam boasted all Art Nouveau decoration, the first theater in a steel girdered building and a new style of floating balcony that didn’t obstruct the view with support pillars, an effect to be copied by movie houses throughout the world. The Great Ziegfield staged his great Follies there and in the rooftop garden theater for only the cream of New York society. The theater fell into decrepitude and in the 1970’s was a porno house, but the Walt Disney Company restored it to its Gilded Age glory in 1996.

1917- Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, in a lecture announced his firm belief in spiritualism, divination, fairies and communication with the dead. He called it the New Revelation. “The chasm between this life and the next is not insurmountable.” Other British intellects think Sir Arthur had gone a bit potty.



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Animation Fun Facts for Oct. 24, 2014 fri.


Birthdays: Roman Emperor Domitian, Bob Kane the creator of Batman, Moss Hart, Jiles Perry Richardson better known as the Big Bopper, F. Murray Abrahams is 73, Enkwase Mfume, Y.A. Tittle, Sara Josepha Hale 1788- who wrote the poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb", animator Preston Blair, Kevin Kline is 66


1938- The Fair Labor Standards Act established the 40 hour workweek as the law of the land. The 40 hour week that thing few of us see nowadays.



1947- Walt Disney testified to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC) as a friendly witness. He accused members of the Cartoonists Guild and the League of Women Voters –which he mistakenly called the League of Women Shoppers as being infiltrated by Communists "Seeking to subvert the Spirit of Mickey Mouse'.


1975- The Musical play A Chorus Line opened.

1994- Disney TV series Gargoyles premiered.