Thursday, May 25, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for May 25, 2017


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 54, Ray Stevenson is 53, Ian McKellen is 78

1878- Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore premiered at the Savoy in London.

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”.


1946- Chuck Jones cartoon Hare Raising Hare, where Bugs meets a large shaggy monster named Gossamer “ Monsters are such inn…teresting people…”

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.  They 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 George Lucas’ movie 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!

1980- Evangelist Oral Roberts claimed he saw a 900-foot Jesus over his bed.

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.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for May 24, 2017


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 57, Alfred Molina is 64, Jim Broadbent is 68, John C. Reilly is 52, Bob Dylan is 76


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 of Arc.

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 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 gave a $100,000 dollar donation to the SAG/AFTRA strike fund.

1991- Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louise opened.



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for May 23, 2017


Birthdays: Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Scatman Crowthers, Rosemary Clooney, Artie Shaw, Alicia de Larrocha, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Melissa McBride, Drew Carey is 59, Joan Collins is 84


1701- Captain Kidd was hanged in London for piracy, robbery and killing a sailor with a bucket. His last letter was written to try to bribe the judge with his buried treasure. His body was coated with tar and left hanging in a cage suspended over Execution Wharf on the Thames for years afterward, as a warning to other would-be pirates.


1785- Ben Franklin invented bifocal glasses.


1931- In Max Fleischer's Silly Scandals, the girl character first seen in Dizzy Dishes is first called Betty Boop.


1969- The Who released their rock opera Tommy.



Monday, May 22, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for May 22, 2017


Birthdays: 110 anniv of the birth of Sir Lawrence Olivier (1907-1989), Mary Cassatt, Richard Wagner, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, T. Bone Pickens, Judith Christ, Irene Pappas, Paul Winfield, Richard Benjamin, Susan Strassberg, George Baker, Paul Winchell, Tommy John, Naomi Cambell, Dr. Robert Moog –inventor of the first music synthesizer, Ginnifer Goodwin is 39


1915-The San Fernando Valley voted to become part of Los Angeles.


1925- First day of shooting on Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis.


1954- Bob Dylan’s Bar Mitzvah. Maseltov!

1955-The Golden Age of Radio ended when after 22 years the Jack Benny show was canceled. Once the top broadcast show in the nation, Benny went into television.

1966- Bill Cosby became the first African-American to win an Emmy Award for starring in a television series- I-Spy.

1967- T.V. children's show Mr. Roger's Neighborhood debuted.

1973- Scientist Bob Metcalfe of Xerox PARC patented the Ethernet.


1985- Top Disney animation director Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman who directed the Jungle Book among other films, died in a car crash following lunch at the Smoke House in Burbank.

1992- The film Encino Man premiered, with Brendan Frazier and Pauly Shore.

2001- Ted Turner and Jane Fonda divorced.

2002-The Ayatollahs of Iran outlaw Barbie dolls. They denounce Barbie as "agents of subversive Zionist Western propaganda."

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for May 21, 2017


Birthdays: Plato, Fats Waller, Albrecht Durer, Andre Sakharov, Armand Hammer, Raymond Burr, John Hubley, Dennis Day, Sen. Al Franken is 67, Harold Robbins, Judge Reinhold, Larry Terro called Mr. T. is 66

1933- Woolie Reitherman’s first day at Walt Disney Studio.

1945- BOGEY LOVES BABY-Humphrey Bogart married Lauren Bacall on a friend’s farm in Ohio. He was 48 and she was 21. 

1952- Actor John Garfield died. Some say he died in the midst of wild fornications; in truth he died alone of alcohol abuse at 40. The matinee idol of “The Postman Rings Twice” and “Kid Galahad” was too politically left for the conservative postwar age. When a young stage actor he had run guns to the IRA, later he supported progressive union movements, anti-fascism and desegregation. His outspoken politics got him blacklisted in Hollywood, his friends deserted him and he was ruined.

1952- Famed writer Lillian Hellman testified before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee HUAC but refused to name names. “I cannot cut my conscience to fit the fashions of the day.” She escaped a contempt of Congress wrap but she was blacklisted and at one point was working in a department store.

1979 - Elton John becomes 1st western rocker to perform live in USSR.

1980 – Star Wars “The Empire Strikes Back" premiered.

1983 - David Bowie's "Let's Dance," single goes #1. The tracks featured a then little known guitarist named Stevie-Ray Vaughn.


1992- Tonight Show host Johnny Carson did his last show “I bid you a very heartfelt goodnight.” Johnny spent his remaining years in privacy, even ignoring an invitation to appear at the NBC 75th anniversary spectacular.

2017- In Nassau County NY was the final performance of Ringling Bros, Barnum & Bailey Circus. The Greatest Show on Earth had been a tradition for 146 years.
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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for May 20, 2017


Birthdays: Honore Balzac, Jimmy Stewart, Leon Schlesinger, William Fargo of Wells Fargo, Moshe Dayan, Henri Rousseau, Dave Thomas, Ted Bessell (Donald to Marlo Thomas’ “That Girl”), Japanese baseball great Sadaharu Oh, Antony Zerbe, Bronson Pichot, Joe Cocker, Cher is 71, Busta Rhymes

1609- Shakespeare’s sonnets first published.

1830 - D Hyde patented the fountain pen, replacing the goose quill.

1891- Thomas Edison demonstrated an early prototype of kinetoscope- a motion picture machine- to his wife's friends at a party. The footage was of engineer W.K.L. Dickson and his associates dancing. That night Edison wrote a letter about his movie machine to photographer Edweard Muybridge: " I doubt it will ever have any commercial value.."

1916- Artist Norman Rockwell sold his first painting for a Saturday Evening Post cover.

1926 - Thomas Edison says Americans prefer silent movies over talking pictures. He also thought the flat record disc could never replace the cylinder.

1975- In a small warehouse in Van Nuys California, George Lucas assembled an effects crew to create the film Star Wars. It is the birth of Industrial Light & Magic, or ILM.

1979- The last Saturday Night Live show done by the original cast. Many of them had their 5 year contracts up and wanted to do something else. Plus producer Lorne Michaels was feuding with NBC chairman Fred Silverman and wanted to leave. So goodbye Lorne Michaels, Gilda Radner, Lorraine Newman, Garret Morris, Bill Murray and Al Franken, Hello Jean Doumainian and Joe Piscopo! Lorne Michaels came back to the show a few years later and has produced it ever since.

1984- Hanna Barbera’s “The Smurfic Games”.

1993 - Max Klein, the inventor of Paint by Numbers sets, died at 77. President Eisenhower once passed out paint-by-numbers sets to his senior cabinet so their paintings could adorn the West Wing offices. Imagine seeing on your wall an original artwork by Richard Nixon or Curtis LeMay!

1994- Walt Disney released Aladdin II, the Return of Jaffar. Done overseas at ¼ the budget of the original, it’s nevertheless success spawned the industry of Disney direct-to-video sequels, called “cheapquels” by some animators.

2003- In 1977, when Walt Disney's the Rescuers was being completed, the artists for a joke added a Playboy picture into a pan shot. Going by at 1/24th a second, they were confident nobody would ever spot it. Later in the 1990s, when Rescuers went to VHS video, they edited out the controversial frame. But when it was time in 2003 to rerelease on DVD, the Studio apparatchniks went back to the original 1977 negative, without ever bothering to consult any of us artists. We could have warned them. but no. So on May 20, 2003, nine million copies of the Rescuers DVD hit the stores, with the ensuing out cry, firestorm, and embarrassed apologies you can imagine.

Friday, May 19, 2017

ANIMATION FUN FACTS FOR MAY 19, 2017


Birthdays: Malcolm X- born Malcolm Little, Ho Chi Minh,  Giovanni Della Robbia, John Hopkins, Lord Waldorf Astor, Dame Nelly Melba, Frank Capra, Wilson Mizner, Elena Poniatowska, Jim Lehrer, Nora Ephron, Grace Jones, Peter Mahew, Mad cartoonist Don Martin, Nancy Kwan, Pete Townshend, Joey Ramone, Jimmy Hoffa Jr, Polly Walker, and animation educator Tom Sito.



1927- Sid Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood opened. Ushers and doorman were dressed in imported Mandarin silk robes and wall hangings were painted by young artist/actor Key Luke. Sid Grauman was the showman who also invented the Hollywood premiere with spotlights and limo's pulling up to red carpets, etc.

1934- Mickey Mouse short cartoon Gulliver Mickey.


1956- Cecil B. de Milles film " The Ten Commandments" premiered. Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter and Edward G, Robinson.

1956- The Disney film Pollyana debuted, making a star of Haley Mills.


1997- Matthew Broderick married Sarah Jessica Parker.

1998- George Lucas much anticipated film Star Wars Episode One the Phantom Menace premiered, the first Star Wars sequel in 20 years. It was the first major film premiere to be projected digitally, two theaters in New York and two in Hollywood. It featured Jarr Jarr Binks, a character so annoying that web sites like www. I Want Jarr-Jarr to Die-Die.Com soon racked up tens of thousands of hits.

2000- Walt Disney film Dinosaur opened.

2005- Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith premiered.

2006- Dreamworks animated film ‘Over the Hedge’ premiered.



Thursday, May 18, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for May 18, 2017


Birthdays: Pope John Paul II, Grover Cleveland, Ezio Pinza, Czar Nicholas II, Omar Khayam, Walter Gropius,  Reggie Jackson, Margot Fonteyn, Robert Morse, Perry Como, Dwayne Hickman aka Dobie Gillis, Big Joe Turner, Richard Brooks, Miriam Margolyes, Chow Yung Fat is 62, Tina Fey is 47, Robert Morse is 86


1940- John Halas & Joy Batchelor founded Halas & Batchelor, for many years the predominant animation studio in England.    


1976- The filming of Francis Ford Coppolla's Apocalypse Now was disrupted when the Philippines was hit by a major typhoon. Francis rides out the storm cooking pasta, smoking pot and listening to records of La Boheme.



2001- Dreamworks animated SHREK opened. The first film to win the Best Animated Feature Oscar. The voice of Shrek was originally planned to be Chris Farley but the obese comedian died of a drug overdose and was replaced by Mike Myers. I’m serving Waffles!

2003 Pixar’s Finding Nemo opened.