Monday, February 27, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 27, 2017

Birthdays: Roman Emperor Constantine 280AD, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Steinbeck, Ralph Nader, Marion Anderson, Chelsea Clinton, Franchot Tone, William Demarest, James Worthy, Mirella Freni, Judge Hugo Black, David Sarnoff the founder of NBC network, Joanne Woodward, Elizabeth Taylor

1919- Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite The Planets first premiered in London.

1956- Elvis Presley released song Heartbreak Hotel.

1977- In Toronto, the Canadian Mounties busted Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, and his girlfriend Anita Pallenberg for heroin possession. The Stones agree to do two benefit concerts as punishment.

1991- The Mitchell Brothers were tops in the pornography business, producing blockbusters like Behind the Green Door and running the O’ Farrell Theater in San Francisco. This day after doing a lot of drugs, Jim Mitchell shot his brother Arnie to death with a rifle. The Mitchell Brothers Court case marked the first use of 3D computer animation as a crime scenario tool. Jim served three years in prison, and died at home in 2007. He was buried next to his brother.

1994- Figure skater Nancy Kerrigan skipped the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer so she could begin her multi-million dollar endorsements with DisneyWorld. She blows it all later when she’s caught near a hot mike during a Disney parade saying: “This is all so corny. I can’t believe I’m doing this!”

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 26, 2017

Birthday: King Wenceslas of Bohemia-1361, Victor Hugo, Buffalo Bill Cody, Emma Destin, Levi Strauss, Jackie Gleason, Fats Domino, Betty Hutton, Johnny Cash, William Frawley (Fred Murtz), Robert Alda, Tony Randall- born Leonard Rosenberg, Erhyke Bahdu, Tex Avery

1962- First day shooting on the first James Bond film Dr. No. The scene was in M's office and featured Bernard Lee, Peter Burton and the new discovery, Sean Connery.

1965- First day of shooting on the Beatle's second film 'Help!"

1983- Michael Jacksons album Thriller went to #1 in the pop charts and stayed for weeks. In the weeks after his death in 2009, Thriller again went to #1.

1990- Cornell Gunther, lead singer for the DooWop group the Coasters, was shot dead at a Las Vegas traffic intersection."Yakkety-Yak, Don't Talk Back!"

1991- At a meeting in Switzerland, Tim Berners-Lee introduced the first Web Browser.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 25, 2017

Birthdays: Enrico Caruso, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Zeppo Marx, St. Louis (King Louis IX of France), Bobby Riggs, Carl Eller, Sir Anthony Burgess, Neil Jordan, Larry Gelbart, Tom Courtenay, Sean Astin is 46, Tea Leoni, John Foster Dulles, Neil Jordan is 67

1932- TOONTOWN SCANDALS. Former Australian prizefighter Pat Sullivan was the producer of the Felix the Cat cartoons, the first true animation star. Although animator Otto Mesmer actually created him, Sullivan's name is the only one on the titles. Felix was one of the top film stars of the 1920s. Lindbergh supposedly had a Felix doll with him in the Spirit of St. Louis and his body shape was the prototype of Mickey Mouse and dozens of other characters. While Mesmer quietly drew pictures Sullivan lived the fast life of a roaring twenties celebrity.

Mrs. Marjorie Sullivan had been having an affair with her chauffeur. After a nasty scene when husband confronted wife and the chauffeur fled, Mrs. Sullivan mysteriously fell out of her window to her death. The scandal was front page news and Sullivan never got over it. He soon drank himself to death, which during Prohibition was difficult to do. Sullivan's death and his failure to get Felix into sound cartoons doomed his studio. Otto Mesmer went on to animate the first Broadway light signs but did not receive any recognition for his contributions to animation until he was re-introduced to the public at a Bob Clampett night at the Museum of Modern Art in 1975. 

Kid animators Eric Goldberg and Tom Sito were in the audience.

1956- Poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes met at a party in Cambridge England.

1957- Buddy Holly and the Crickets record "That'll Be the Day."

1971- Oh Calcutta, the first play with lots of actors shedding their clothes, premiered on Broadway at the Belasco.

1983- Famous playwright Tennessee Williams was found dead in a New York hotel room. He died when he choked on a nose spray bottle cap that fell into his mouth while he was using the spray. Others say it was a Pepsi bottle cap. He was 71.

1996- Dr Haing Ngor, the doctor who survived the Cambodian Killing Fields holocaust and won an Academy Award in a movie of the same name, was killed in a robbery attempt outside his Los Angeles home.

2004- Movie star uber-Catholic Mel Gibson’s movie the "The Passion of the Christ" opened in North America. The film was criticized for it’s perceived anti-Semitism, it was the first movie in which Jesus spoke his real language –Aramaic. Pastors bought blocks of tickets for their congregations. The film earned nearly a billion dollars, most of the profit earned by Mel Gibson, who was the films sole investor.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 24, 2017

B-Dazes: Roman Emperor Hadrian, Winslow Homer, Arrigo Boito, Wilhelm Grimm (of the brothers Grimm), Honus Wagner- early 1900’s baseball player called the Flying Dutchman, Admiral Chester Nimitz, Edward James Olmos, Barry Bostwick, Michel Legrand, James Farentino, illustrator Zdzislaw Beskinski, Michael Radford, Billy Zane, Steve Jobs, Abe Vigoda.

1937- MGM studio announced it acquired the rights to L. Frank Baum’s book The Wizard of Oz, to be made into a movie for their new star Judy Garland.

1942- The radio service the Voice of America first went on the air.

1943- Fed up with the bad feelings left in the studio because of the Strike, master animator Bill Tytla resigned from the Walt Disney Studio and returned back east.

1987- US Robotics sold the first 56k modems.

1988- PARODY LAWS- The US Supreme Court upheld the right of public figures to be satirized by throwing out a lawsuit Rev Jerry Fallwell brought against Hustler Magazine owner Larry Flynt. Flynt published a drawing describing Rev Fallwell having sex with his mother in an outhouse. The Court ruled a public figure can be lampooned, so long as it is not portrayed as factual.

2008- Pixar’s Ratatouille won the Oscar for best animated feature.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 23, 2017

Birthdays: George Fredrich Handel, Samuel Pepys (pronounced 'peeps'), Mayer Amschel Rothschild-1743- founder of the Rothschild banking dynasty, Victor Fleming, W.E.B. DuBois, Johnny Winter, Peter Fonda is 77, William Shirer, Allan MacLeod Cormack-inventor of the CAT Scan, Kelly MacDonald, Tom Bodet, Neal McDonough, Kristin Davis is 52, Dakota Fanning is 23.

1821- In a house in Rome’s Piazza de Espagna 25 year old English poet John Keats died of tuberculosis. As he was dying he joked: ” I can feel daisies growing over me”. He instructed that his grave marker bear only the self deprecating message” Here lies one who’s Fame was Written in Water.”

1927- animator Les Clark began work at the Walt Disney Studio. He was the first of Walt’s Nine Old Men.

1935- Walt Disney Mickey & Donald cartoon "The Band Concert." This was the first color Mickey Mouse cartoon.

1942- In the dead of night a Japanese submarine surfaced off the California coast and fired it's cannon at lights it thinks is a city.  In reality it's an oil refinery near Goleta (Ellwood) just north of Santa Barbera. The brief bombardment caused $150 dollars in damage. The sub breaks radio silence to report to Tokyo that " Enemy coast sighted. Los Angeles is in Flames." The incident fueled the panic that Californians had that the West Coast was ripe for enemy invasion.  The incident was lampooned in the Steven Spielberg comedy "1941."

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 22, 2017

Birthdays: George Washington, Hungarian King Ladislas the Posthumous-1440, Shah Tahmasp Ist-1514, George Washington, Frederic Chopin, Edward St. Vincent Millay, John Mills, Edward Gorey, Luis Bunuel, Ted Kennedy, Dr. J- Julius Erving, Dwight Frye- Renfield in Dracula, Sparky Anderson, Sheldon Leonard, Charlie O. Finley, Nicky Lauda, Don Pardo, Jonathan Demme, Jeri Ryan, Lea Salonga, Kyle McLachlan is 56, Rachael Dratch, Steve Erwin, Drew Barrymore is 42

1911-The Kester Ranch in the San Fernando Valley becomes the town of Van Nuys, named for early settler Issac Newton Van Nuys.

1924- President Coolidge becomes first president to address the nation over the radio.

1946- Dr. Selman Abraham created Streptomycin, the first antibiotic drug.

2009- Slumdog Millionaire won best picture and best cinematography at the 81st Academy Awards. The first movie to win shot completely digital, with no film used.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 21, 2017

Birthdays: Leopold Delibes, C. Brancusi, Anais Ninn, W.H. Auden, Hubert de Givenchy, Era Bombeck, Sam Peckinpah, Nina Simone, Robert Mugabe, Joe Oriolo, David Geffen, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kelsey Grammar is 62, Jennifer Love Hewitt is 38, Alan Rickman, Ellen Page is 30.

Pebble Flintstone is 53

1719- A London weekly announced “Mr Handel, a Famous Master of Music, is gone beyond the sea, by order of His Majesty, to collect a company of the choicest singers in Europe for the Opera in the Haymarket.” The London Opera is born. On his recruiting trip George Frederich Handel passed through his hometown of Halle.
A few hours after he was gone another musician came to town, having walked 25 miles to meet this great German who had conquered England. He was Johann Sebastian Bach. But he was too late.  The two giants of classical music would never meet.

1838- The first telegraph message sent by Samuel Morse "What hath God wrought?" He strung electric cables up and down several floors of his art studio using wood stretchers normally used for oil paintings. Morse was an artist and never wanted to be an inventor, he just did it to finance his painting.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 20, 2017

Birthdays: Honore' Daumier, Nancy Wilson, Ansel Adams, Cindy Crawford, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robert Altman, Roger Penske. Phil Esposito, Jennifer O’Neill, Ivanna Trump, Mike Leigh, Lili Taylor, Sidney Poitier is 89

1845- The Battle of the Cahuenga Pass.  Angry Spanish Californians rancheros led by Juan de Alvarado and Pio Pico clashed with the Mexican governor Miguel de Micheltorena. The only casualty was a mule. The story of Alvarado may be one of the origins of Zorro.

1925- Willis O’Brien’s silent movie The Lost World premiered. Based on Conan-Doyles 1912 novel. The stop motion animation of dinosaurs and exploding volcanoes issued in a new era of special effects films. O'Brien later did King Kong and trained kids like Ray Harryhausen.

1936- The film “Follow the Fleet” premiered, with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

1947- In a lecture to the London Mathematical Society, Computer pioneer Alan Turing said the best way to test the intelligence of a computer would be to teach it to play chess. Earliest reference to interactive gaming.

2006- The animated film Wallace & Gromet: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, won the British Academy Award (BAFTA) for the best British Film of the year. It beat out the Constant Gardner, and Pride & Prejudice.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 19, 2017

Birthdays: Copernicus is 1542, Luigi Boccherini, Smokey Robinson, Andre Breton, Lee Marvin, Sir Cedric Hardwicke. Karen Silkwood, Paul Terry, Paul Krause, Merl Oberon, Amy Tam, John Frankenheimer, Jeff Daniels, Benicio Del Toro is 50, Hilary Duff

1736-Georg Frederich Handel’s oratorio Alexander’s Feast premiered at Covent Garden.

1878- Thomas Edison patented the phonograph.

1913- Crackerjacks start putting toy prizes in every box. The name Crackerjack for the caramel corn was named for the reaction of Teddy Roosevelt trying it for the first time- These caramel-corns are Crackerjack!

1915- L.A. Times publisher and land baron Harry Chandler was indicted with 8 other prominent Angeleanos for conspiring to start a new revolution in Mexico. The Mexican government had seized their large land holdings there for land redistribution and this was their quaint little way of getting them back.

1944- Writer John Steinbeck asked that his name be taken off of the credits for the Alfred Hitchcock film version of “Lifeboat”. “In view of the fact that my script for the picture was distorted in production.”

1951-Poet philosopher Andre Gide died in Paris. Several things were quoted as his last words, my favorite is " Before you quote me, please make sure I'm conscious."

1960- Bill Keane's "Family Circus" cartoon strip debuts.

1963- The book The Feminine Mystique was published. Betty Freidan’s analysis of contemporary women’s issues is considered the first shot of the modern Women’s Movement.

1968- “ It’s a beautiful day in the Neighborhood…” Mister Roger’s Neighborhood debuted on National Education Television, later called PBS. Ordained Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers had been doing children’s shows similar in Pittsburgh and Canada since the 50’s but today was the start of his show that would run unchanged for thirty-five years.

1995- Busty actress Pamela Anderson married rocker Tommy Lee. On their honeymoon they shot a notorious sex tape on Lake Powell, that leaked onto the internet, becoming the first viral video. By 2000, one sixth of everything viewed on the world-wide web was just about Pamela Anderson.

1990- ILM VFX artist John Knoll helped his brother grad student Tom Knoll create a surfacing and paint system for home use. They called it ImagePro. Adobe bought it and today released it as Photoshop.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 18, 2017

Birthdays: Queen Mary I Tudor -Bloody Mary, Pietro Guarnieri the violin maker, Harry Grover- Seeley one of the founders of Paleontology, Louis Tiffany, Andre Segovia, Wendell Wilkie, Billy de Wolfe, Enzo Ferrarri, Yoko Ono, Jack Palance, Milos Forman, Bobby Bachman of the Bachman Turner Overdrive, Gahan Wilson, Johnny Hart, Matt Dillon is 53, John Travolta is 63, John Hughes, Dr. Dre

1885- Mark Twain's 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' published.

1888- The Hotel Coronado in San Diego Cal. opened for guests. It remains one of the largest remaining wood structures in the U.S..  Several presidents stayed there, the Duke of Windsor may have met Mrs. Simpson there and films like the Marilyn Monroe film Some Like it Hot and The Stuntman were shot there.

1950- First Mr. Magoo cartoon "Ragtime Bear".

1953- First 3-D stereoscopic movie, "B'wana Devil" starring Robert Stack.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 16, 2016

Birthdays: The Great Elector Frederick William of Brandenburg-Prussia, Henry Adams, Charles Taze Russell founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Edgar Bergen, James Baskett, Sonny Bono, John MacEnroe, Frank Welker, John Schlesinger, Faith Hubley, Katherine Cornell, John Corligiano, Kim Jong Il, Levar Burton is 60, Ice-T is 59

1848- Frederic’ Chopin played his last concert in Paris. Slowly dying from tuberculosis, the 48 year old retired to the isle of Majorca, and died a year later.

1923- Bessie Smith made her first recording-"Downhearted Blues".

1978- The first computer bulletin board goes on live. Two guys from Chicago named Ward Christensen and Randy Seuss built a Computerized Bulletin Board System that was an S-100 motherboard and CP/M, and a Hayes 300 baud modem. It still runs to this day, but the Internet has taken the place that BBS's used to have.

1987-"Family Dog" episode on Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories show. The first direction by Brad Bird.

1994- Apple announced the introduction of the digital camera, the first camera that needed no film but could load images directly into a computer. Within ten years Polaroid and Kodak were filing for bankruptcy.