Thursday, August 31, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Aug 31, 2017

Birthdays: Caligula 12AD*, Commodus 161AD**, Amilcare Ponchielli, Eldridge Cleaver, Buddy Hackett, James Coburn, Itshak Perleman is 72, Van Morrison, Arthur Godfrey, Richard Baseheart, Rocky Marciano. Alan J. Lerner, Hugh Harman,, Maria Montressori (of the Montressori Method of education), William Saroyan, Richard Gere is 68, Chris Tucker is 45.

1829- Giacomo’s Opera Guglielmo Tell debuted in Paris. The William Tell overture was heard for the first time- Hi Ho Silver!

1837- Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered his American Scholar speech in Cambridge Mass. “Our long apprenticeship to the learning of other lands is drawing to a close.” People called it an intellectual declaration of independence.

1897- Thomas Edison patented the plans for a Kinetoscope, his original version of Motion Pictures using George Eastmans new celluloid roll film. Most of the actual work was done by Canadian scientist W.K.L. Dickson. He drove himself sick designing, building and improving the device as well as the camera and studio, but Edison took all the credit. Edison wrote Edweard Muybridge at the time that he doubted the Kinetoscope would have much commercial value beyond the science lab.

1928- In Berlin the ThreePenny Opera premiered, music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Bertholdt Brecht with Lotte Lenya as Pirate Jenny. Mackie Messer or Mack the Knife was born.

1935- Disney cartoon Plutos’ Judgement Day.

1938- Walt Disney puts ten thousand dollars down to buy 51 acres on Buena Vista Street in Burbank. He would build his modern studio there.

1941 –The Great Gildersleeve, a spin-off of Fibber McGee & Molly debuts on NBC radio.  The voice of Gildersleeve later narrated the UPA cartoon Gerald McBoing Boing.

1946- Looney Toon short 'Walky Talky Hawky' the first Foghorn Leghorn. The character was based on a Fred Allen radio character Senator Beauregard Claghorn, that mocked bombastic Southern conservative congressmen.

1948- Disney's 'Melody Time' premiered.

1948- Movie star Robert Mitchum was busted for smoking pot with a blonde in the Hollywood Hills. This would have normally smoked his career but the new postwar outlaw, noir attitude was in vogue. So bad-boy Mitchum emerged from county jail more popular than ever. When asked what he thought of being in jail, he said it's not much different than being free....but you meet a better clientele of people IN jail.

1955 - 1st microwave TV station operated in Lufkin, Texas.

1964- Young comedian Richard Pryor made his first appearance on TV. He did some of his standup on Rudy Vallee’s Broadway Tonight Show.

1972- Russian Olga Korbut won a gold medal in gymnastics at the Olympics. She was the first of the cutesy little 15 year old girl gymnasts with the bright smile to catch the world’s attention.

1997- PRINCESS DIANA OF WALES died in a high speed car crash in a Paris traffic tunnel. Her Mercedes had been trying to avoid paparrazzi hounding her and her current boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed, the son of the Egyptian tycoon owner of Harrods. The drivers body tested above normal for alcohol and drugs. Princess Di was 36. Britain reacted with an outpouring of grief not seen since the death of Nelson.  The rapacious British press worked overtime to absolve themselves of hounding the woman to death.  Press baron Rupert Murdoch personally flew to London to direct the spin campaign defending his papers.

2001- The NY Stock Exchange tries to avoid a Recession and bolster growth, by getting Michael Jackson and Jerry Lewis to ceremonially open trading sessions. Didn’t work.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Aug 30, 2017

Birthdays: Mary Shelley, Jacques Louis David, Huey Long, Fred MacMurray, Raymond Massey, Ted Williams, John Blondell, Timothy Bottoms, Jean-Claude Killy, Shirley Booth, John Landis, Tug McGraw, R. Crumb is 74, Lewis Black is 69, Cameron Diaz is 45

1867- At the University of Göttingen, Albert Niemann isolated the chemical elements of the Columbian coca plant and named the powdery substance Cocaine.

1935- “Top Hat” starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers premiered.

1936- First newspaper comic strip entirely devoted to Donald Duck.

1939- The last peacetime voyage of the HMS Queen Mary evacuated Americans fleeing the impending war in Europe. Among the crowd was a large contingent of Hollywood stars like Bob Hope and Jack Warner who planned to attend the first Cannes Film Festival (postponed until 1946). The Queen Mary kept radio silence across the ocean to hide from U-Boats. This was a wise, because her sister ship HMS Athenia was torpedoed.

1968- The first 7-11 store opened in Palmdale California. Have a Slurpee !

1975- Ralph Bakshi's film "Coonskin". Bad boy Bakshi's portrayal of African-American urban violence was deemed so offensive that it caused the first riot ever at the Museum of Modern Art, and died at the boxoffice. The film was retitled on video "Streetfight".
When Ralph resurfaced he turned his attention to Sword & Fantasy films.

1980- Willie Nelson released his hit  “On the Road Again.”
1993- The David Letterman Show premiered on CBS. Letterman was wooed away from NBC for $42 million bucks.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Aug 29, 2017

Birthdays: King James II Stuart, John Locke, Oliver Wendel Holmes Sr., Jean Dominique Ingres, Charlie Parker, Preston Sturges, Ingrid Bergman, William Friedkin is 81, Dinah Washington, George Montgomery, Slobodan Milosevic, Robin Leach, Michael Jackson, Joel Schumacher, choreographer Mark Morris, Charles Kettering inventor of the automobile ignition, Joyce Clyde Hall the founder of Hallmark greeting cards, Richard Attenborough, Donald O’Connor, Elliot Gould is 78, Rebecca DeMornay, John McCain is 81.

1908 - NY gives a parade to returning US Olympians from London. Wall Street brokers come up with the idea of throwing shredded stock ticker tape out the windows.
The first ticker tape parade.

1953- Warner's "Cat Tails for Two" introduced Speedy Gonzales.

1955- Mamie Van Doren married Ray Anthony.

1958 - George Harrison joins the Quarrymen -Lennon-McCartney and Sutcliffe. The later rename themselves the Beatles.

1967- Final Episode of the television series "The Fugitive". Dr. Richard Kimble catches the one-armed-man and clears his name.

1976 - Anissa Jones, the child actress who played Buffy on the television show Family Affair), died of a drug overdose at age 18.

2002- Peep-O-Rama, Times Square’s last remaining peep show, closed.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Aug 28, 2017

Question: Who first called a timid person a milquetoast?

Yesterday’s Answer Below: What did it mean to go Tilting the Quintain?

History for 8/28/2017

Birthdays: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Leo Tolstoy, George Villiers the Duke of Buckingham- minister of James I, Sean O'Flagherty, Donald O'Connor, Charles Boyer, Karl Boehm, Bruno Bettleheim, Disney designer Ferdinand Horvath, Ben Gazzara, Janet Evans, Ron 'Louisiana Lightning' Guidry, Nancy Kulp, Daniel Stern, Shania Twain, anim historian Charles Solomon, Jack Black is 48, Rita Coolidge is 56.
Marvel cartoonist Jack "King" Kirby would have been 100 today.

1850- Lohengrin, the first opera written by Richard Wagner, premiered in Weimar. The Third Act chorus “Treulich Gefuhrt” became famous for weddings as “Here Comes the Bride, All Dressed in White”. 

1922- The first broadcast commercial on radio.  It was for a real estate firm Queensboro Realty lasting ten minutes, and cost $100 dollars. The firm selling suburban homes in Queens NY immediately did $100,000 worth of business. The business world took note of this new method of advertising.

1934-Writer Upton Sinclair was nominated for Governor of California on the Democratic ticket by over half a million votes. This shocked the California power-elite because Sinclair was a radical whose grass roots organization EPIC (End Poverty in California) advocated socialist solutions to the Depression. Even FDR kept his distance from Sinclair.
  Powerful forces enlisted Louis B. Mayer, Irving Thalberg and other Hollywood conservatives to ensure Sinclair's defeat by creating the first modern negative media campaign. This included phony newsreels of actors dressed as hobos saying how they're going to California to sponge off the taxpayers. Walt Disney's lawyer, Gunther Lessing, demanded Ward Kimball take the "Sinclair for Governor" sign off his car window.

  Governor Frank Merriam who earlier that year had ordered troops to shoot down striking San Francisco longshoremen and their families won re-election.

1938- Northwestern University conferred an honorary degree upon the ventriloquist puppet Charlie McCarthy- Edgar Bergen’s famed dummy. The Dean of the School of Speech conferred a Master of Innuendo and Snappy Comeback upon the wooden celebrity.

1990- Computer pioneer Sandy Lerner was fired from the company she founded- Cisco Systems.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Aug 27, 2017

Birthdays: Man Ray, Martha Ray, LBJ (Lyndon Baines Johnson), Hegel, C.S. Forester, Hannibal Hamlin- Abe Lincolns first term vice president, Barbara Bach, Theodore Dreiser, Lady Antonia Fraser, Tommy Sands, Tuesday Weld is 74, Mangesuthu Buthelezi, Paul Rubens-aka Pee Wee Herman is 65

1912- Edgar Rice Burroughs published Tarzan of the Apes.

1917- Straight Shooting, the first film directed by John Ford released. Before that Ford did bit parts and stuntwork. He was a Klansman in Birth of a Nation. Not because he was racist but because it was a paying extras job. He said later he kept fussing with his white hood that kept slipping over his eyes while he was trying to ride his horse.

1927- Warner Bros began recording the soundtrack for Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer.

1930- Lon Chaney Sr. died of throat cancer. It was claimed then that during filming of a remake of The Unholy Three a wind machine blew an artificial gypsum snowflake into Chaney's mouth - it caused an irritation that became a tumor.

1955- The first Guinness Book of World Records published.

1950- NBC and General Foods abruptly canceled the hit television show “the Aldrich Family” when a pamphlet called Red Channels accused Jean Muir, one of the show’s stars, of being a communist.

1953- The film Roman Holiday introduced a new young actress from Holland named Audrey Hepburn.

1964- The movie version of Mary Poppins premiered.

1967- The Beatles first manager Brian Epstein overdosed on sleeping pills.

1968- Former master animator Bill Tytla's request to return to Disney was turned down. The artist who animated Grumpy the Dwarf, Dumbo and the Devil on Bald Mountain even offered to do a free "trial animation test" to show he still had it. Disney exec W.H. Anderson wrote him:" We really have only enough animation for our present staff."
Tytla died later that year.

1990- Guitar great Stevie Ray Vaughan was killed in a helicopter crash outside Alpine Valley Wisconsin, after an "All Stars of the Blues" show.  Stevie Ray took the last remaining seat on the helicopter, after Eric Clapton got off, claiming he'd rather take a limo back to Chicago, which was about an hour away.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Aug 26, 2017

 Birthdays:  Sir Robert Walpole the first British Prime Minister, Mother Theresa, Albert the Prince Consort, John Wilkes Booth, Guilliame Appollinaire who coined the term Surrealism, General Maxwell Taylor, Christopher Isherwood, McCauley Culkin is 36, Geraldine Ferarro, Dr. Lee DeForrest, Ben Bradlee, Barbet Schroeder, Branford Marsalis, Chris Pine is 37, Melissa McCarthy is 47

1498- Michelangelo gets a job. The big Florentine stonecutter was commissioned by Pope Alexander VI Borgia to carve the Pieta, Mary lamenting over the body of Jesus.

1576- The artist Titian died at age 88. He outlived all the artists of the Renaissance, worked every day of his life, and might have gone on had he not caught a touch of plague.

1838- American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson met English writer Thomas Carlyle.

1918- 17 year old Walt Disney dropped out of high school and faked his parents signature in order to enlist to fight in World War I. Turned down for his age, he volunteered for the Red Cross. Assigned to the ambulance corps, he arrived in Europe just as the war was ending.

1946 - George Orwell published "Animal Farm". Orwell said he conceived the idea for the novel while watching out his window a small boy driving a huge draft horse. The horse could have easily crushed the boy had it the free will, but instead patiently endured the boys taunts and flicks with a small switch.

1946- First day of shooting on Jean Cocteau’s film Belle et le Bete, Beauty & the Beast.

1958- First day of shooting on the Alfred Hitchcock film North By Northwest. Conceived as a story that ended in a chase across the stone faces of Mt. Rushmore. The original title of Ernst Lehman’s script was The Man Who Hung From Lincoln’s Nose.

1967 – The Beatles, Mick Jagger & Marianne Faithful met the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

1980- Director Tex Avery died after collapsing in the parking lot of Hanna-Barbera. Two weeks before he was asked by a friend why he was working in Hanna & Barbera.
Tex laughed:" Hey, Don’t you know? this is where all the elephants come to die!"

1997- Special effects house Boss Studios, closed.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Animation Fun Facts for Aug 25, 2017

Birthdays:  King Ludwig II the Mad of Bavaria, Leonard Bernstein, Walt Kelly, Bret Hart, Lola Montez (flamenco dancing mistress of Ludwig I, King of Bavaria), Alan Pinkerton, Elvis Costello is 64, Clara Bow, Ruby Keeler, Monty Hall, Van Johnson, Willis Reed, Frederick Forsythe, Wayne Shorter, Billy Ray Cyrus, Dr. Bruno Bettleheim, Rolly Fingers, Gene Simmons, Anne Archer, Tim Burton is 59, Sean Connery is 87, supermodel Claudia Schiffer is 46

1970- A young singer named Elton John did his first US tour, opening at the Troubadour in LA.

1980- The premiere of the Broadway musical version of the classic movie 42nd Street. In a moment of Broadway melodrama producer David Merrick came out on stage and startled the cast and audience by announcing that the director of the play Gower Champion had died that very day. 42nd Street went on to be a smash hit. The play itself is about a Broadway director who works himself to death creating a hit musical.

1991- At the Emmy ceremony, comic Gilbert Gottfried (AFLACK duck) upset the audience by a flood of masturbation jokes about Pee Wee Herman. Fox Network apologized the next day.

2001-Beautiful 22 year old R&B singer Alleiya was killed, when her overloaded charter plane crashed on the island of Abaco in the Bahamas.