Friday, July 31, 2015

Animation Fun Facts for Aug 1, 2015

Birthdays: Roman Emperor Claudius, Emperor Pertinax, Francis Scott Key, William Clark of Lewis & Clark, Herman Melville, Robert Todd Lincoln, Geoffrey Holder, Yves St. Laurent, Giancarlo Giannini is 73, Dom Deluise, Jerry Garcia, Coolio, Sam Mendes

1893 - Henry Perky & William Ford patent Shredded Wheat cereal.

1933- The WPA Arts Project set up to employ starving artists on large public works projects like murals for libraries and bridges, etc. Artists like Grant Wood, Andrew Wyeth, Dorothea Lang, Orson Welles and Bernice Abbott got commissions.

1936- The opening ceremonies for the Olympic Games in Berlin. The first Olympic torch lighting ceremony. United States was the only nation to refuse to dip their flag in salute to the host head of state- Adolf Hitler. Filmmaker Leni Reifenstahl was given unlimited access to document the Games.  She pioneered the use of slow motion, tracking shots and closeups to revolutionize the way sports is filmed.

1953- The Alan Ladd movie Shane released.

1960 - Chubby Checker releases "The Twist" and starts a world wide dance craze.

1960 –A young Baptist preachers daughter who had sung nothing but gospel went into a recording booth to try her hand at R & B.  Aretha Franklin’s career began.

 1966- TEXAS TOWER WHITMAN-Lunatic Charles Whitman barricaded himself into the steeple of Texas University and shot 15 people at random during a day long gunbattle with police. The tragedy reached comic proportions when Texas recreational gun owners hauled out their pieces and blazed away alongside the police. Whitman's Marine training was cited for his excellent marksmanship and his eccentric behavior, like constantly polishing his shoes during the day long battle.

1971- The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour debuted.

1971- PBS started a new television series called Masterpiece Theater hosted by Alastair Cooke. It’s first presentation was a the Six Wives of Henry VIII. The high quality BBC and Thames Television programs became so popular in the USA, that people said PBS stood for Preferably British Shows.

1973- With the tag line “Where were you in ’62?” the film American Graffiti opened in theaters. The hit made skinny young director George Lucas a player in Hollywood, and made stars of kids like Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfus and Susanne Somers.

1976- Elizabeth Taylor had married Richard Burton a second time. Today she divorced Richard Burton a second time. This was her 6th marriage.

 1981-I WANT MY MTV! MTV goes on the air, rock videos 24 hours a day. The idea was funded by a consortium of investors including Mike Nesmith of the Monkees, then on the board of 3M Paper company. If you put on the TV this day you saw a slide of an astronaut for several hours, then finally a voice said :”Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Rock & Roll.” The first rock video played was by a British New-Wave Band called the Buggles entitled “Video Killed the Radio Star.” followed by a Pat Benatar single.

Animation Fun Facts for July 31, 2015

Birthdays: Liberace, General George H. Thomas the "Rock of Chickamagua", Sebastian Sperling Kresge the founder of S.S. Kresge stores, Milton Friedman, Sherry Lansing, Geraldine Chaplin, Kurt Gowdy, Dean Cain, Leon “ Bull “Durham, Primo Levi, Ted Cassidy who played Lurch in the Adams Family, Wesley Snipes is 53, and according to J.K. Rowling, this is the birthday of Harry Potter

1930- Radio mystery show “The Shadow” premiered. “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows…heh, heh, heh.” Orson Welles did the voice of the crime fighting Shadow for a year in 1937 for $185 a week.

1954- Steve Allen married Jayne Meadows. 

1966- Birmingham Alabama held a massed rally to burn Beatles records after John Lennon joked that the Beatle had become more popular than Jesus.

1992- The Robert Zemeckis comedy Death Becomes Her opened. With Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis. It is the first film that widely used the new digital matte technique to replace traditional optical printing.
1995- The Walt Disney Company bought the ABC Network, the Discovery Channel and ESPN. 

1999- Premiere of Brad Bird’s first movie The Iron Giant.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Animation Fun Facts for July 30, 2015


History for 7/30/2015Birthdays: Georgio Vasari, Henry Ford, Emily Bronte', Casey Stengel, Roy Williams, Vladimir Zworykin who invented the television picture tube, Arnold Schwarzenegger aka the Governator is 68, Ed "Kookie" Byrnes, Peter Bogdanovich is 76, Delta Burke, Henry Moore, Anita Hill, Lawrence Fishburne is 53, Jean Reno is 66, Hilary Swank is 40, Christopher Nolan, Lisa Kudrow is 51

1932-Walt Disney’s “Flowers and Trees” the first Technicolor Cartoon. Disney had worked out a deal with Technicolor creator Herbert Kalmus to use his technique exclusively for two years to show larger Hollywood studios its quality.

1932- The first Los Angeles hosting of the Olympic Games in their spanking new Coliseum. Gold medalist in swimming Larry Buster Crabbe later became a movie star. Another medalist, the Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku, began to teach the Californians about a new sport- surfing!

1935- THE FIRST PAPERBACK BOOK- Andre Maurois 'Ariel, a Life of Shelley', published in this new form by Penguin Books of London.

1936- Producer David O. Selznick buys the movie rights to the best selling book “Gone With The Wind” from an ailing Irving Thalberg. The "boy genius" Thalberg was hoping that Selznick would ruin himself in the process of making this film. Thalberg was convinced that GWTW would prove to be a massive flop because "Costume dramas are box office poison." D’oh!

1948 - Professional wrestling premieres on prime-time network TV ( DuMont )

1954 - Elvis Presley joins Local 71, the Memphis Federation of Musicians.

1986- Disney released “Flight of the Navigator”, featuring early photo-real VFX done by Canadian studio Omnibus.

1988- The last Playboy Club in America closed. It was in Lansing, Mich. In 2006 Hugh Hefner opened a Playboy Club themed casino in Las Vegas.

1999- The Blair Witch Project opened in theaters. The low-budget indy became a monster hit due to an early on-line campaign claiming the footage was real.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Animation Fun Facts for July 29, 2015

Birthdays: Alex de Tocqueville, Benito Mussolini,, Clara Bow, Natalie Wood, Paul Taylor, Sig Romberg, Dag Hammarskjold, Peter Jennings, Michael Spinks, Dave Stevens cartoonist creator of the Rocketeer, Ken Burns is 62,  Booth Tarkington, David Warner, Steven Dorff, Professor Irwin Corey is 101!

1922- In Kansas City, Walt Disney released his first Laugh-o-Gram short- Little Red Riding Hood.

1936 - RCA shows 1st real TV program: dancing, a film on locomotives, a Bonwit
Teller fashion show & monologue from the Tobacco Road radio comedy show.

1938- Three Missing Links- a Three Stooges comedy with the boys as cave men and Ray Crash Corrigan in a gorilla suit.

1942- Orson Welles leaves Rio De Janiero after RKO fires him and stops production of "It's All True". They also have “the Magnificent Ambersons” re-cut to a more acceptable 90 minutes.

1948- Former Disney animation assistant Hank Ketcham’s comic strip "Dennis the Menace," 1st appeared.

1962- The film “Dr No” premiered, introducing the world to the suave spy James Bond 007.  They first considered Cary Grant, David Niven and Patrick McGoohan, James Mason, who all turned them down. So the producers picked young Scots actor Sean Connery. Ian Fleming wrote of the decision “ Disaster!!”

1965 - Beatles movie "Help" premiered, Queen Elizabeth attends.

1972- Mamas and the Papa's chubby singer Mama Cass Eliot dies of a stroke, not as was widely believed from choking on a sandwich.

1987- Ice cream makers Ben & Jerry announce the flavor Cherry Garcia, named for rock singer Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Animation Fun Facts for July 28, 2015

Birthdays: Jacqueline Kennedy, Richard Rogers, Ibn al’ Arabi- philosopher 1165, Marcel Duchamp, Rudy Vallee. Sally Struthers  Peter Duchin, Vida Blue, Joe E. Brown, Jim Davis the creator of Garfield, Frank Yankovic the Polka King, Elizabeth Berkley, Earl Tupper the inventor of Tupperware, Hugo Chavez

1948- In honor of the death of D.W. Griffith, all Hollywood studios observed three minutes of silence.

1948- The Premiere of that utterly memorable film " ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN." For you hardcore film trivia fans this film is the only other time than the original Tod Browning movie that Bela Lugosi played Count Dracula on film.

1971- Photographer Diane Arbus probed increasingly darker subject matter, circus freaks, severe birth defects. This day she committed suicide by swallowing a bottle of sleeping pills, then slitting her wrists.

1998- In Afghanistan the Taliban ordered mass destruction of television sets.  They also forbade the Internet, and shaved the heads of their national soccer team for daring to wear shorts.

1999- Mayor Willie Brown of San Francisco declared today Marilyn Chambers Day, in honor of the San Francisco native, and star of classic porn like Behind the Green Door.

2061- The next predicted appearance of Halley’s Comet.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Animation Fun Facts for July 27, 2015

Birthdays: Confucius, Alexander Dumas fils, Enrique Granados, Hillaire Belloc, Norman Lear, Maureen McGovern, Keenan Wynn, Leo Durocher, Peggy Fleming, Bobby Gentry, Jerry Van Dyke, Vincent Canby, Betty Thomas, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Ilya Salkind, David Swift –director of the Haley Mills Disney films like The Parent Trap, Maya Rudolph is 43, Jonathan Rhys Meyers is 38.

1940- HAPPY 75th BIRTHDAY BUGS BUNNY. Tex Avery’s short-"A Wild Hare”-There were several earlier prototypes of the famous rabbit, white with a different voice, but this is the short that launched his career. Bugs says “Whats Up Doc?” for the first time, co-opting a line uttered by Clark Gable while chewing a carrot in the 1934 Frank Capra film “It Happened One Night”. Interestingly, voice actor Mel Blanc was allergic to carrots, and kept a bucket nearby to spit them out after chewing.

1946- Writer Gertrude Stein died. Her last words to Alice B. Toklas were:" What is the Answer?" When Alice said nothing, Gertrude said:" Well then, What's the Question?"

1953- The Tonight Show debuted on NBC. It's first host was Steve Allen.

1993- IBM announced it would eliminate 35,000 white-collar jobs. Downsizing becomes a popular sport in corporate America. The more workers laid off, the higher your stock rose. The chairman of General Electric Jack Welch, was nicknamed “Neutron Jack” after the neutron bomb that kills off people but leaves buildings intact. He wrote op-eds in the NY Times defending his practice of outsourcing jobs.

2007- The Simpson’s Movie debuted.

Animation Fun Facts for July 26, 2015

 Birthdays: Salvador Allende, Serge Koussevitsky, George Bernard Shaw, Gracie Allen,
 Carl Jung, Stanley Kubrick, Blake Edwards, George Grosz, Pearl Buck, Jason Robards Jr,  Aldous Huxley, Jean Shepard, Vivian Vance, Emil Jannings, Sandra Bullock is 51, Kevin Spacey is 54, Kate Beckinsdale, Mick Jagger is 72

1951- Charlie Chaplin driven into exile by red-baiters. He was on a holiday to Britain when he learned his visa had been revoked by the U.S. government. He didn't return until 1972. Despite his immense achievements in Hollywood History, when the Hollywood Walk of Fame was dedicated later that year, Chaplin’s name was deliberately excluded.

1959- KPFK , Los Angeles lefty alternative radio of the Pacifica Network, starts up.

1984- Edward Gein died peacefully in a prison for the criminally insane. Gein was arrested in 1957 and sentenced to life for mass murder. Police found his farm in Wisconsin decorated with human body parts and heads in the freezer and in the stove, and the dried cadaver of his mother.  His story inspired "Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Silence of the Lambs".

1991 – Children’s comic Paul Reubens, aka Pee Wee Herman, was arrested in Florida for masturbating in an adult movie theater. The film was Naughty Nurse Nancy.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Animation Fun Facts for July 23, 2015

Birthdays: Ethiopian Emperor Rastafari Halie Selassie "the Lion of Judah", Raymond Chandler, Raymond Booth, Don Drysdale, Gloria DeHaven, Arthur Treacher, Pee Wee Reese, Bob Fosse, Harry Cohn, Don Imus, Slash, Marlon Wayans, Monica Lewinsky, Woody Harrelson is 55, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Edie McClurg is 65, Daniel Radcliffe is 27

1966- The comedy song "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha, Ha!" released. The singer was Napoleon XIV.

1982- Actor Vic Morrow and two children are killed by a stunt helicopter while filming "Twilight Zone, the movie". The last scripted line before his death was "I’ll Keep you safe kids, I swear to God!" The children were being worked into the early morning hours without a caretaker supervisor in defiance of the Coogan Laws. Director John Landis was investigated but exonerated. The only filmworker to dare to testify against Landis, the wardrobe supervisor, was blacklisted and never worked in Hollywood again.

2004- Two armed men enter the Munch Museum in Norway and steal Edvard Munch’s masterpiece The Scream at gunpoint. It was recovered with some water damage in 2007.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Animation Fun Facts for July 22, 2015

Birthdays: Emma Lazarus, Eduard Hopper, Gregor Mendel, Alexander Calder, James Whale, Oscar De La Renta, Rose Kennedy, Stephen Vincent Benet, Jason Robards, Bob Dole, David Spade is 51, Terence Stamp is 77, Danny Glover is 69, Alex Trebek, Bobby Sherman, Don Henley, Alan Mencken, Irene Bedard, William Dafoe is 60, John Leguizamo, Selena Gomez, Albert Brooks is 68- real name Albert Einstein, a nice name but already taken.

1921- Artist Man Ray arrived in Paris determined to go Dada!

1965- Cary Grant married Dyan Cannon.

1967- Jimi Hendrix quit as opening act for the Monkees.

1977- Walt Disney’s film "The Rescuers" featuring the last work of Disney
master animator Milt Kahl.

1989- Nintendo released in America the Gameboy. Designer Gunpei Yokoi designed it and the unique cross shaped directional fingerpad to replace a joystick control. Nintendo loaded Tetris on to it and it became a worldwide phenomenon. Gunpei Yokoi was killed in a car accident outside Kyoto in 1997.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Animation Fun Facts for July 20, 2015

Birthdays: Petrarch, Sir Edmund Hilary, Lord Elgin, Quaker Anne Hutchinson, Natalie Wood, Theda Bara the Vamp, Carlos Santana, Lord Reith- the first Director General of the BBC. Giselle Bunchen is 35, Sandra Oh is 44, Harrison Ellenshaw, Diana Rigg is 77

1946-Bob Clampett's cartoon"the Great Piggy Bank Robbery" with Daffy Duck as Duck Tracy. "I'm gonna rrrrrrrrrrrubbb ya out, see !"

1964 –The first surfin' record to go #1-Jan & Dean's "Surf City"

1968 - Iron Butterfly's "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida", considered the first heavy metal song to
hit the pop charts.  The song was written as “ In the Garden of Eden” but singer Doug Ingle was so drunk and stoned, In a Gadda Da Vida was all that he could slur out.

1973- Bruce Lee died of cerebral edema one month before his last film Enter the Dragon premiered. The handsome kung fu movie star single-handedly made Chinese martial arts a world wide craze, and the Chop-Socky genre film a standard genre in world movie theaters. He was buried in his Enter The Dragon costume. Bruce Lee was only 33.

1976-Warner\Lambert, makers of Trident sugarless gum, comes out with their famous slogan "Sugarless gum is recommended by four out of five dentists who chew gum". When people asked what gum did the fifth dentist recommend, they were brushed.

1984 - Jim Fixx, creator of the Jogging craze through his hit book Running, died at 52 of a heart attack. Apologists for a health advocate dying so young, say Fixx would have died even younger without his physical routine. The creator of PowerBars also died in his fifties. Pass me another donut.

1994 - OJ Simpson offers $500,000 reward for evidence of ex-wife Nicole’s klller. No clues or suspects other than himself ever appeared. As David Letterman later said" OJ  began to vigorously search for the real killer on all the major golf courses of the nation."

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Animation Fun Facts for July 19, 2015

Birthdays: Edgar Degas, Col. Samuel Colt, Charles Mayo of the Mayo Clinic, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Vicki Carr, Max Fleischer, Lizzie Borden, Ille Nastase, George McGovern is 93, Brian Harold May of Queen, Atom Egoyan, Anthony Edwards, Campbell Scott, Benedict Cumberbatch is 39

1717- George Frederich Handel premiered his suite the Water Music for a procession of King George II on pleasure boats from Whitehall to Lambeth Palace.

1957- The film “ I Was a Teenage Werewolf” starring Michael Landon premiered.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Animation Fun Facts for July 18, 2015

Birthdays: William Makepeace Thackeray, Chill Wills, Nelson Mandela, James Brolin, Elizabeth McGovern, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Hume Cronyn, Red Skelton, Hunter H. Thompson, Clifford Odets, Paul Verhoeven, John Glenn is 94, Vin Diesel is 48.

1877- Thomas Edison recorded sound on tin foil cylinder `Mary Had a Little Lamb-'

1939-MGM tried a sneak preview of the film The Wizard of Oz. Afterward they debated cutting the song Somewhere Over the Rainbow as slowing down the pace. Finally they decided to leave it in. The film debuted in August to wild success and acclaim.

1939- RKO pictures signed Orson Welles to direct movies in Hollywood. That Hollywood signed a 24 year old radio star who never directed a movie, and gave him complete freedom was an amazing deal.

1950- Walt Disney’s live action film Treaure Island Premiered, with Robert Newton as Long John Silver, Capt Jack Sparrow’s role model. Arrrr-mateys!

1964- Bob McKimson’s "A False Hare", the last Bugs Bunny theatrical short for Warner Bros until 1985.

1966- Bobby Fuller who made the hit song "I fought the Law and the Law Won" was found in LA in his mothers Oldsmobile beaten and dead from "forcible inhalation of gasoline"- huffing.

1968- Engineer Bob Noyce quit Fairchild Semiconductor and founded a new company in Santa Clara Cal named Intel. His partners were Andy Grove and Gordon Moore, he of Moore’s Law. It sold a new thing called microprocessors. In 1980 they’d invent the silicon chip.

1998- Pokemon the First movie released in Japan, stoking the Pokemon craze.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Animation fun facts for July 17, 2015

Birthdays: James Cagney, John Jacob Astor I, Hyacinth Rigaud, Bernice Abbott, Chill Wills, Brian Trottier, Phoebe Snow, Daryl Lamonica, Prof. Peter Schickele a.k.a. PDQ Bach, Earl Stanley Gardner the creator of Perry Mason, Art Linkletter, Diane Carroll, David Hasslehoff is 63, Donald Sutherland is 80, Phyllis Diller

60 Years Ago- 1955 DISNEYLAND OPENED- Walt Disney's dream of a perfect family amusement park, called 'The Happiest Place on Earth" was declared open with movie celebrities like Ronald Reagan, Art Linkletter and the Mouseketeers in attendance. Walt Disney was so worried the no one would show up, he requested employees to come with their families to beef up the crowd for the TV camera. Walt hoped to get 10,000 visitors that first day.  He got 100,000. Facilities broke down from the huge crowds and the haste with which the park was built.  Concrete pavement which was poured the night before was still soft under people's feet, there were no working water fountains and the car parking was a nightmare. To the Disneyland workers opening day was nicknamed 'Black Sunday". But despite all, Disneyland became a huge success.

1967– The Monkees performed at Forest Hills NY, Jimi Hendrix was their opening act.

1968- The Beatles musical cartoon feature The Yellow Submarine premiered in London’s Piccadilly Circus. Look Out ! It’s the Blue Meanies!!

1988- A home video tape was released of actor Rob Lowe making whoopee with two underage girls in his hotel room.

2004- Katsuhiro Otomo’s film Steamboy premiered. Japanese interest in the idea of SteamPunk began to spread worldwide.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Animation Fun Facts for July 15, 2015

Birthdays: Rembrandt van Rijn, Inigo Jones, Sir Thomas Bullfinch, Mother Cabrini, Clemont Moore, Julian Bream, Linda Rondstadt, Alex Karras, Jan Michael Vincent, Lola Davidovich, Forrest Whitaker is 54, Brigette Neilsen, Jesse Ventura, Terry O’ Quinn is 63

1938- Popeye cartoon "With the Jeep" introduced Eugene the Jeep. The funny little character later gave it’s name to the army’s new General Purpose Vehicle, the G.P. or Jeep.

1941- President Franklin Roosevelt sent federal mediator Stanley White to try and solve the labor strike between Walt Disney and his cartoonists.

1953- The film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes premiered starring Marylyn Monroe and Jane Russell.

1971- Producer Steve Krantz announced the production of the first X-rated cartoon, Fritz the Cat, to be directed by newcomer Ralph Bakshi.

1982-Coca-Cola introduced Diet Coke. Coke officials are proud of the fact that within a year it's sales top that of Tab, but Tab was owned by Coke as well. ( duh..?)

2011- Disney’s Winnie the Pooh and the Ballad of Nessie opened in theaters.

Thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Animation Fun Facts for July 14, 2015

Birthdays: Issac Bashevis Singer, Mr. Maytag, inventor of the electronic washing machine-1857, Emiline Pankhurst, Woody Guthrie, Gerald Ford, Ingmar Bergman, Jerry Rubin, Scott Rudin, Rosie Grier, Harry Dean Stanton is 89, Polly Bergen, Gustav Klimt, Terry Thomas, Jimmy Hoffa, Dave Fleischer, Bill Hanna, Walt Stanchfield, Joel Silver producer of the Matrix movies. Vincent (Big Pussy) Pastore

1908- The Adventures of Dollie premiered, the first movie of D.W. Griffith.

1933- "Well Blow Me Down"- Max Fleischer's first "Popeye the Sailor" cartoon debuted. Vaudvillian Red Pepper Sam provided his salty mumbles throughout the post-sync track. When Sam asked for more money than Max Fleischer thought he was worth, he replaced him with assistant animator Jack Mercer, who was the voice ever after.

1967 - The new band called the Who began a US tour as the opening act for Herman’s Hermits.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Animation Fun Facts for July 13, 2015

Birthdays:  Cheech Marin, Father Flannagan, Cameron Crowe, Woye Solenka, Dave Garroway, Chef Paul Prudhomme, Michael Spinks, Film special effects artist Jim Danforth, Dr. Erno Rubik inventor of the Rubik’s Cube, Patrick Stewart is 74, Harrison Ford is 72, Tom Kenny the voice of Spongebob Squarepants is 53

1798- Poet William Wordsworth visited Tinturn Abbey and was inspired to write his famous elegy on the ruins.

1865- P.T. Barnum’s American Museum in New York City burned down in a spectacular fire. Barnum rebuilt but after that one burned as well, he got the idea of getting into the circus business. In his American Museum , more a sitting menagerie and sideshow than a museum as we know it,  Barnum invented the idea of advanced hype and created kiddie matinees.

1925- Walt Disney and Lillian Bounds marry. Lillian was one of the first female animation ink & paint artists.
1930 – David Sarnoff the head of the NBC radio network said in the NY Times that " The new invention of Television would be a theater in every home". Sounded crazy back then. Critics said it would require one room of the house be darkened, and they doubted people would just sit still that long.

1939- Frank Sinatra recorded his first album, this one with the Harry James Orchestra.

1949- Hollywood Studio exec David O. Selznick left his first wife Esther, the daughter of Louis B. Mayer, to marry actress Jennifer Jones.

1984- The film The Last Starfighter with Robert Preston opened. The first movie where all the spaceships and effects were done with computers instead of miniature models.