Monday, October 31, 2016

Animation Fun Facts for Oct 31, 2016

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 55.

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

 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.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Animation Fun Facts for Oct 30, 2016

 Birthdays: John Adams, Christopher Columbus, English playwright Richard Sheridan,
Ezra Pound, Emily Post, Louis Malle, Henry Winkler is 69, Charles Atlas, Ruth Gordon,
Claude Lelouche, Dick Gautier, Louis Malle, Ted Williams, Grace Slick, Diego Maradona, Ivanka Trump is 35

1811- Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility published.

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

1936- London publishers George Allen & Unwin had received a manuscript from an Oxford languages professor named J.R.R. Tolkein.  Raynar Unwin, the ten year old son of the publisher, read it and made a report “ This book will be a very good read for children from ages 5-7.” He was paid a shilling. 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 Ecuador 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!

2002- Rap star of Run-DMC Jam Master Jay was shot dead in the lounge of his recording
studio in Queens NY. The killer was never found.

2005- Disney feature Chicken Little premiered.

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

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Animation Fun Facts for Oct. 29, 2016

Birthdays: James Boswell, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Keats, Sir Edmund Halley, Louis Blanc, Fanny Brice, Joseph Goebbels, Richard Dreyfus is 69, Zoot Sims, Winona Ryder, Jesse Barfield, Kate Jackson, Bill Maudlin, Akim Tamiroff, Ralph Bakshi is 78, Rufus Sewell, 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.

1936- Ella Crawford-Smith was a real estate magnate whose first husband was killed in a gangland hit. She had the Hollywood bungalow where the murder occurred torn down, and brought in Arte-Moderne architect Robert Derrah to create something unique. Today the project, Cross Roads of the World, was dedicated. It was an early form of open-air mall, designed to look like an ocean liner coming into port. It’s still there today.

1957- Louis B. Mayer dies. His last words were: "Nothing Matters..." The head of MGM Studios lorded over Hollywood like a monarch, made and broke moviestars, ordered Judy Garland fed a steady stream of narcotics and had his office redesigned all white to resemble Mussolini, whom he admired. Humphrey Bogart was at his funeral. When asked if he was close to Mayer, Bogie replied: Nah, I'm just here to make sure he's dead!

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 gold rush was on.

1993- Tim Burton’s fantasy A Nightmare Before Christmas, premiered in the US.

2012- Disney’s Wreck-it Ralph premiered.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Animation Fun Facts for Oct 28, 2016

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 42, Dennis Franz 74, Julia Roberts is 49, Bill Gates is 61, Disney animator Don Lusk is 103.

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

1929- Composer Irving Berlin scolded George Gershwin for his lack of patriotism that he unloaded his stocks and bonds. The Great Stock Market Crash the following day bankrupting Irving Berlin but left Gershwin unscathed. Stick to music, Irv...

1949- Walt Disney’s merchandise and licensing mastermind Kay Kamen and his wife were killed in a plane crash in the Azores.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Anim Fun Facts for Oct 27, 2016

B-Days: Captain James Cook, Theodore Roosevelt, Dylan Thomas, Nicolo Paganinni, Gerhard Von Gneisenau, Sylvia Plath, Roy Lichtenstein, John Cleese is 77, Freddy De Cordova, Ruby Dee, Roberto Benigni is 64, Bernie Wrightson is 68

1886-Musical fantasy "Night on Bald Mountain" premiered in Russia. Composer Modest Mussougorsky worked as a florist during the day and wrote music at night. He was convinced he couldn’t make a living otherwise.

1947- The "You Bet Your Life" quiz show premiered on radio. "Say the Secret Word and Win Fifty Dollars". 

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. MGM Production head Dori Schary 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!

1964- The “ You Choose Speech” Actor and TV pitchman Ronald Reagan made his maiden political speech at a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. He had made political speeches in the past, but this one marks his shedding his acting and union careers to become a full time politician.

Fifty Years Ago 1966- Bill Melendez's Peanuts TV special "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown'.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Animation Fun Facts for Oct. 26, 2016

Birthdays: Danton, Leon Trotsky, Vladimir “Bill” Tytla - Disney animator who gave life to Dumbo, Grumpy and the Devil from Bald Mountain, 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, and Pat Sito!

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.
 The event was a public relations fiasco. Nobel laureate Thomas Mann used his airtime to launch into a longwinded intellectual defense of Communism. When word reached them that some of the Hollywood writers they were defending really were communists Bogart and Bacall felt they had been hoodwinked. "As politicians we stink!" quote Bogie.

1952- David Wolper’s documentary Victory at Sea, with it’s majestic score by Richard Rogers first premiered.

1955- The Greenwich Village Voice, later called simply The Voice, first published.

1957- Vatican Radio began broadcasting.

1965- The rock band the Beatles received MBEs ( most excellent Member of the British Empire ) medals at Buckingham Palace.  John Lennon later returned his as a protest.

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.

1985- The original date Marty McFly time travels from in the film Back to the Future.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Animation Fun Facts for Oct. 25, 2016

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 , 

Tyrus Wong is 106!

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 it’s 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, 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.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Animation Fun Facts for Oct 24, 2016

Birthdays: Roman Emperor Domitian, Bob Kane the creator of Batman, Antoni van Lewuenhoek- the founder of Microbiology, Moss Hart, Jiles Perry Richardson better known as the Big Bopper, F. Murray Abrahams is 75, Enkwase Mfume, Y.A. Tittle, Sara Josepha Hale 1788- who wrote the poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb", animator Preston Blair, Kevin Kline is 68

1902- Author Arthur Conan-Doyle was knighted by King Edward VII. He received the award not for his literary accomplishments but for his doctor volunteer services during the just concluded Boer War. 

1937- At Piping Springs NY, composer Cole Porter suffered an accident while horseback riding that broke both his legs. Even after 26 operations he never regained their full use and one leg was amputated in 1958.

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'.

1948- In-N-Out, the first drive-through restaurant opened in Baldwin Park California. It’s still in business today, selling only burgers, shakes, and fries, pretty much like they did back then.

1969- Godfather Producer Robert Evans married young actress Ali McGraw.

1975- The musical play A Chorus Line opened.

1994- Disney TV series Gargoyles premiered.