Monday, December 17, 2018

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 17, 2018


Birthdays: Paracelsus (otherwise known as Nicholas Paracelsus Theophrastus Bombastus Von Hohenheim) the father of modern medical diagnosis, Antonio Cimmarosa, William Lyon Mackensie-King, Arthur Fiedler, Bob Guccione, William Safire, Cal Ripken Sr., Ford Maddox-Ford, Erskine Caldwell, Tommy Steele, Pope Francis I, Bill Pullman is 65, Eugene Levy is 72, Giovanni Ribisi is 44, Armin Mueller-Stahl is 88, Wes Studi, Sean Patrick Thomas, Mila Jovovich is 43, Bart Simpson is 29.

1843- Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story for Christmas" first published. In the 18th century and earlier the Christmas celebration was a more rowdy affair with public drinking, marching around in costumes “mummery” and mayhem more resembling Mardi Gras. 
The popularity of Dickens story of Scrooge, Marley and Tiny Tim did much to help Victorians change the nature of the Christmas celebration to a more intimate observance centered on the family. Charles Dickens said he wrote the book to make some money. Had two flops and wanted to capitalize on the new fashion for family Christmas celebrations around the tree, from by the example set by the royal family of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

1865- Schubert's Unfinished Symphony (#8) received it's world premiere. In 1822 Schubert wrote the first two movements and 8 measures for the 3rd (Scherzo), then forgot about it when he died in 1828. A friend kept the manuscript in a closet for 43 years.

1892- Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker” premiered at the Imperial Ballet in Saint Petersburg. One child dancer playing a candy cane in that first performance was a Georgian boy named Gyorgi Balavadajze- later American choreographer George Balanchine.

1955- Carl Perkins awoke in the middle of a bad nights sleep and wrote Blue Suede Shoes, the first song to be a hit in Country, R&B and Rock n’ Roll charts simultaneously, especially when sing by Elvis Presley” Well you can knock me down, step on ma face, etc.”

1963- Americans began to hear on their transistor radios a new sound from a band in England named the Beatles. “ I wanna hold your hand”  becomes a big hit and heralds the British rock invasion in 1964. 

1969- Tiny Tim, the campy, ukulele strumming crooner, married his Miss Vicky, or Victoria Budinger live on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.



1969- Walt Disney re-released Fantasia,and it was embraced by hippy stoners who liked to get high during screenings, Disney did a black-lite poster for it. It was the first time the 1940 film had ever made a profit. 

1989- After appearing in some interstitial shorts on the variety Tracey Ullman Show, The Simpsonsfirst premiered as a regular TV series.

1999- The film Stuart Littlepremiered. 


Sunday, December 16, 2018

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 16, 2018


 Birthdays: Ludwig Van Beethoven, Catherine of Aragon (Henry VIII's wife number one), Marshal Gerbhard von Blucher, Lenoid Brezhnev, Jane Austen, Margaret Mead, Noel Coward, George Santayanna, Liv Ullmann is 80, Steve Bochco, Leslie Stahl. Quentin Blake- dean of British illustrators favored by Roald Dahl, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Miranda Otto is 51.


1900 -EARLY ANIMATED FILM "ENCHANTED DRAWINGS', James Stuart Blackton was a New York World cartoonist who used to do a vaudeville act in drag. He came to do an article on Thomas Edison then Edison put him on the payroll. He created this and several other trickfilms. It doesn’t move much more than his vaudeville lightning drawing act, His 1906 film Humorous Phases of Funny Faces is considered the first animated cartoon.

1905- Variety magazine born. 

1913- Young English music hall actor named Charlie Chaplin got a job at Keystone Studios in Hollywood. His first film he would play a villain.

1935- Hollywood movie star Thelma Todd found dead in her car in her garage in Malibu She was 30. She was a sexy comedienne who starred with Laurel & Hardy, Buster Keaton and the Marx Brothers. She loved to party so much she was nicknamed "Hot Toddy". She knew New York mobster Lucky Lucciano. Was she done in by the mob, her jealous director boyfriend, was it a suicide or did she just pass out drunk in her car garage with the motor running? The mystery’s never been answered.

1966- The Jimi Hendrix Experience released the song ‘Hey Joe’.

1966- Sergio Leone’s epic Spaghetti Western, The Good, The Bad and the Uglypremiered in Rome. The last of the Man with No Name trilogy. Clint Eastwood never worked with Leone again. 

1971- Don McClean released the long version of the song ‘American Pie’.

1978- The Disney short The Small One, directed by Don Bluth. 

1980- Colonel Harland Sanders, the Kentucky Fried Chicken founder, died.

1988- Shockjock Howard Stern is fined $100,000 by the FCC for having on his radio show a man who could play the piano with his penis.

1993- Producer Aaron Spelling fired star Shannon Dougherty off the TV soap Beverly Hills 90210.

1999- Julie Andrews, star of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, sued New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital for destroying her singing voice during a routine throat operation. 

2009- Roy E. Disney died, the Walt Disney nephew who oversaw the animation resurgence of the 1990s. 


Saturday, December 15, 2018

Animation Fun Facts for Dec. 15, 2018


Birthdays: Roman Emperor Nero, Roman Emperor Lucius Verus who was known for little else but his really swell haircut, Gustav Eiffel, J. Paul Getty, Jeff Chandler, Alan Freed, Ernie Pintoff, Tim Conway is 85, Helen Slater, Neil DeGrasse-Tyson, Don Johnson is 69, Julie Taymor is 66

1815- Giacomo Rossini received the commission to write a new opera based on Beaumarchais’ play the Marriage of Figaro- The Barber of Seville.

1893-Czech composer Anton Dvorak premiered a symphony he wrote while living in the Minnesota. The New World Symphony.

1939- The gala premiere of Gone with The Windat the Loews Grand Theater in Atlanta Georgia. Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh flew out from Hollywood and the Governor of Georgia declared it a state holiday. Clark Gable called Margaret Mitchell “ The most fascinating woman I ever met.” Hattie McDaniel, the first black woman to win an Oscar for her portrayal, was not invited to the premiere.

1941- Lena Horne recorded her signature tune “Stormy Weather.”

1943- In Harlem jazz great Fats Waller died of alcoholism and heart failure. He was 39.

1954-“Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter” starring Fess Parker was featured on the Walt Disney TV show for the first time. The show created a mania for little kids, all wanting coonskin caps. “ Born on a mountaintop in Tenn- Ah- See..”

1966- Walt Disney died at age 65. He was alone in the room at Saint Joseph's when he died. His brother Roy had been in earlier rubbing his legs. On his desk, scribbled on a piece of paper the name- Kurt Russell. A heavy cigarette smoker- his favorites were Malboro and French Gitanes- he suffered from lung cancer and respiratory failure. Contrary to the legend that he's cryogenically frozen in a room in the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, he was cremated and interred at Forest Lawn. 


1974- Mel Brooks film Young Frankensteinopened.


1978- Superman the Movie opened in theaters. Richard Donner directed, and it made a star of Christopher Reeve. 

1985- Sylvester Stallone married model Birgit Neilsson. 


Friday, December 14, 2018

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 14, 2018


Birthdays: 1553-King Henry IV of Navarre, Tycho Brahe, Nostradamus -Michel de Notre Dame-1503, English King George VI- 1895, Spike Jones the bandleader, Morey Amsterdam, Charlie Rich, Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, Lee Remick, Patty Duke, Adult film star Ginger Lynn,Clark Terry- trumpeter. Cecil Pay, Saxophonist, Jane Birkin "Je t'aime moi non plus" is 71.


1871- Verdi's opera "Aida" debuts in Cairo.


1913-   Cartoonist Johnny Gruelle entertained his dying daughter by making up stories involving her rag dollies. After her passing, friends urged Gruelle to publish them. The RAGGEDY ANN & ANDY stories are born.

1924- Ottorino Respighi ‘s stirring rhapsody The Pines of Rome premiered.

1934- March of the Wooden Soldiers, the Hal Roach version of Babes in Toyland with Laurel & Hardy opened. 

1944- Hollywood starlet Lupe Velez, the "Mexican Spitfire' committed suicide.  

1944- The film National Velvet premiered, making a star out of 12 year old Elizabeth Taylor.

1957- Hanna Barbera's first TV cartoon "Ruff and Ready" premieres.

1970- George Harrison’s single My Sweet Lord went gold.

1977- DISCO! The movie Saturday Night Fever starring John Travolta and the music of the Bee Gees make the Disco dancing scene a national craze.

1979- STUDIO 54 RAIDED- The Internal Revenue Service busted the worlds most notorious disco club. Formerly the hangout of Andy Warhol, Bianca Jagger, Truman Capote and other “Beautiful People”, now the Feds were on to them. The IRS seized doctored account books, cocaine and undeclared cash, landing the owners in jail and bringing the celebrity playlands days to an end. 

1983- Disney Studio released the short film Frankenweenie, done by a weird young artist named Tim Burton.

2015- Hollywood premiere for J.J. Abrams reboot of the Star Wars franchise, Star Wars the Force Awakens.

2017- Rupert Murdoch sold off much of the Twentieth Century Fox Studio to Walt Disney for $66 billion.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

ANIMATION FUN FACTS FOR DEC 13, 2018


Birthdays: Heinrich Heine, Mary Todd Lincoln, Dick Van Dyke is 93, Mike Mosley, Darryl Zanuck Jr., George Schulz, Christopher Plummer is 89, Steve Buscemi is 62, Jamie Fox is 49, Lynn Holly Johnson, Wendy Malick, Taylor Swift is 29.

1895- Gustav Mahlers 2ndSymphony “Resurrection” premiered.

1928- Leopold Damrosch conducted the premiere of George Gershwin's -"An American in Paris."

1936- At the urging of New Yorker editor Harold Ross to find a better line of work, actor Dave Chasen opened Chasen's restaurant in Beverly Hills, which catered to Hollywood stars for 60 years. It is the restaurant where Leopold Stokowski was introduced to Walt Disney and as a result they conceived "Fantasia". Humphrey Bogart, John Huston and Lauren Bacall met upstairs to discuss the Blacklist of 1947. Elizabeth Taylor ordered Chasen’s chili flown out to Rome so she could eat it on the set of Cleopatra. The restaurant closed in 1995 because the Chasen family wanted to cash in on the choice real estate. Today it is a supermarket.
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1940- Fleischer Popeye cartoon "Eugene the Jeep" .The Thimble Theater character would give its name to the new army General Purpose vehicle- G.P. or "Jeep".

1951- One of the legendary Hollywood producers was Walter Wanger- starting in 1921 his films included The Sheik, Stagecoach, Queen Christina, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Silk Stockings andCleopatra.His wife was beautiful starlet Joan Bennett, but at this time she had taken a lover. On this day Wanger surprised Hollywood by pulling out a gun and shooting his wife's lover in the nads right in the MCA studio parking lot. In true Hollywood fashion Wanger got off, sentenced to just a few months in an honor ranchero compound and was soon back to work. Contributors to pay his legal fees included the Jack Warner, Walt Disney and Sam Goldwyn. The boyfriend, Jennings Lang, recovered and later became an executive producer of comedies like House Calls. 

1961- Jimmy Dean’s folk ballad Big Bad John went to #1 of the country charts. Later Dean had his own TV variety show and started Jimmy Dean’s Pure Pork Sausage Company.

1969- Arlo Guthrie’s hit song Alice’s Restaurantreleased.


1971- Disney’s film Bedknobs and Broom Sticks opened.

1996- In Terry Gilliams’ sci-fi apocalypse epic the Plague of the 12 Monkeys was unleashed today, a virus that killed 4/5ths of the world’s population and drove the remainder underground. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 12, 2018


Birthdays: Frank Sinatra, Roman Emperor Alexander Severus, Edvard Munch, Gustav Flaubert,  John Jay, Edward G. Robinson, Field Marshal Karl Von Rundstedt-the Black Knight of Germany, Ed Koch, Zack Mosley –the cartoonist of “Smilin' Jack", Connie Francis, Dionne Warwick, Cathy Rigby, Tracy Austin, Bill Nighy is 68, Tom Wilkerson is 70, Jennifer Connelly is 48

1897-The Katzenjammer Kids comic strip by Rudolph Dirks appears in the Heart’s New York Journal. The first comic where characters spoke in word balloons. The adventures of Hans & Fritz was so popular a rival newspaper started an imitation called the Captain & the Kids, leading to the first artistic plagiarism lawsuit. 

1901-First transatlantic wireless signal sent by Guglielmo Marconi. This finally ended the frustrating hoopla over laying transatlantic telegraph cables and have them break down almost constantly since the 1850s. The pioneers of radio broadcasting like Armstrong, Lee Deforest and David Sarnoff got their start working for the Marconi Wireless Company. Recent scholarship puts forward that Nikola Tesla preceded Marconi with the concept.

1925- The world’s first Motel opened. Arthur Heinman opened the Milestone Motel in San Luis Obispo California. Motel was a contraction of Motor-Hotel.

1952- The first Screen Actors Guild Strike. President Walter Pidgeon -Dr. Morbius in Forbidden Planet- had the movie stars hit the bricks to win television and commercial residuals. The final deals were settled by then SAG president Ronald Reagan in 1960. Ronnie compromised with the studio heads (many who later backed his bid for the governorship of California) that only residuals for films released after 1955 would be paid. 
Actors who made their big hits in the 30's and 40s like Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, and The Little Rascals were left out. Mickey Rooney, who's Andy Hardy movies were the box office champs of the mid-1940's put it mildly: "Reagan screwed me !!" 


1980- The song “Whip It” by Devo won a gold record.

1991- Actor Richard Gere married supermodel Cindy Crawford.


Monday, December 10, 2018

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 10, 2018


Birthdays: English King Edward VII “Bertie”, Emile Dickinson, Ada Lovelace, E. H. Shepard the illustrator of Winnie the Pooh. Chet Huntley, Morton Gould, Victor McLaughlin, Dan Blocker, Tommy Kirk, Fionnula Flanagan, Kenneth Branaugh is 58, Dorothy Lamour, Susan Dey is 66, Michael Clarke Duncan

1905- O. Henry’s short story “ A gift from the Magi” first published.


1938- To make the film "Gone With the Wind" Producer David Selznick and director Victor Fleming shot the massive "Burning of Atlanta" in Culver City, California. The sequence was storyboarded and designed by William Cameron-Menzies, who designed the sets for Intolerance for D.W. Griffith. Selznick used the opportunity to clean the studios backlot storage, destroying sets from King Kong, Little Lord Fauntelroy and Last of the Mohicans in the inferno. They shot the scenes with three Rhett Butler stand-ins.

1941-The Hollywood Victory Committee formed. Top Hollywood agents like Abe Lastfogel, Lou Wasserman and Myron Selznick (David's brother) start signing up movie stars for bond drives and touring shows for the troops. 
 The committee later created the Hollywood Canteen, a nightclub for servicemen on Ivar near Sunset.  A soldier or sailor could come in for a free meal served by Tyrone Power or Red Skelton and have a dance with celebrities like Rita Hayworth or Dina Shore. 

1941- The New York Metropolitan Opera announced that in light of the Pearl Harbor attack they were suspending any further performances of Madame Butterfly for the duration. Other opera companies also stopped doing Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado.

1966- The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” hit #1 in pop charts.

1967- R&B star Otis Redding and four of his band the Bar Kays were killed in a small plane crash near Madison Wisconsin. He was 26. Redding had recorded his hit “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” just three days earlier.

2013- Richard Williams unfinished epic animated film the Thief and the Cobblerreceived its premiere at the Motion Picture Academy in Beverly Hills. It was begun 40 years earlier in 1972 and never completed. 


Sunday, December 9, 2018

Animation Fun Facts for Dec. 9, 2018


Birthdays: Sappho, John Milton, Jean De Brunhoff, Emile Waldteufel the composer of the Skaters Waltz, Admiral Grace Hopper 1906 who wrote the earliest computer language, Hermoinie Gingold, Dalton Trumbo, John Cassavettes, Broderick Crawford, Dick Butkus, Red Foxx, Cesar Franck, John Malkovich is 65, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Buck Henry is 88, Felicity Huffman, Mario Cantone, Judy Dench is 84, Kirk Douglas-born Issur Danielevitch is 102!

1854- Albert Tennyson's poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade" published.

1905- Richard Strauss’s opera Salomepremiered in Dresden. The lead role demands
a soprano with big Wagnerian lungs but also a flat stomach to do the strip tease
the Dance of the Seven Veils. When the opera debuted in New York, old millionaires
like J.P. Morgan were shocked at its’ blatant sexuality. They threatened to cut 
off funding until Sal and her skimpy veils was banished from the schedule. 

1931- Disney short Mickey’s Orphans debuted.

1936- The first cookery show appeared on British television.

1946- Damon Runyon died, the writer whose characters the musical "Guys and 
Dolls' are based. His philosophy:  "All life is six to five against."

1948- Actor Ossie Davis married actress Ruby Dee.

1960-  Coronation Street premiered on British ITV.

1964-John Coltrane recorded his landmark jazz album “A Love Supreme”. Late on 
foggy nights Trane liked to take his saxophone out onto the middle of San Francisco’s 
Golden Gate Bridge in the night fog, and practice by himself.  


1965- Bill Melendez's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" the first half hour animated TV special featuring the music of Vince Guaraldi.  Producer Lee Mendelson had heard Guaraldi's jazz combo perform in San Francisco. He never scored a 
film before:" How many yards of music do you want?" A Charlie Brown Christmas has run every year for 53 years. 

1967- At a Doors concert lead singer Jim Morrison was sprayed with mace and arrested
by Miami police for “lewd behavior” on stage, but probably more for referring to
the cops as pigs.


1994- Disney Animators in California move into their new Animation building designed
by Robert Stern.

2340- Mr Worf, the Klingon officer of Star Trek Next Generation was born.


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Animation Fun Facts for Dec. 8, 2018


Birthdays: Horace (Quintus Horatius) 65BC, Mary Queen of Scots, Gustavus Adolphus, Queen Christina, Jean Sibelius, George Melies the father of Motion Picture Special Effects 1861, Joel Chandler Harris (Uncle Remus), James Thurber, Richard Fleischer, Eli Whitney, Jim Morrison, Diego Rivera, Emile Reynaud, Sammy Davis Jr, Maximillian Schell, Flip Wilson, Sam Kinison, Teri Hatcher is 54, Sinead O’Connor is 52, Kim Basinger is 65


1913- Ground broken for the construction of San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts.

1891- George O'Brien invented the electric tattooing needle, making modern tattooing possible.

1940- Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo remarry. The two great Mexican artists had been married for ten years but divorced for a year because of their mutual infidelities. Diego also wanted to protect Frida from fallout from his political activities. But after a year apart that decided they couldn’t live without one another and remarried. 

1941-DAY OF INFAMY Aftermath- On the day after the Pearl Harbor sneak attack, President Roosevelt did his famous "Day of Infamy" speech. Congress voted almost unanimously to declare war on Japan. 
With the American Fleet sunk or scattered, the US Pacific Coast braced for Japanese attack.  The civil defense command placed anti-aircraft guns on the Walt Disney Studio lot because of it's proximity to the aircraft plant of Lockheed. Walt Disney himself was turned away at the gate for not wearing his identity badge. That evening, an official at the Navy Dept telephoned Disney and offered him a commission for twenty short films on aircraft and warship identification.


1958- THIS IS JAZZ- Landmark live CBS television broadcast of jazz greats Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Lester Young , Coleman Hawkins and Thelonius Monk .

1961-"Surfin’" the first record by the Beach Boys started to climb the local LA pop charts.

1963- Frank Sinatra Jr was kidnapped in Lake Tahoe. After four tense days he was released unharmed.

1980- The Bravo Channel began. Remember when it played only classical concerts and ballets?

1980- JOHN LENNON MURDERED.  As he went in to his apartment building the Dakota in New York City, Beatle-composer John Lennon was stopped by a fan named Mark David Chapman for an autograph. A few hours later Lennon emerged from the building on another errand. Chapman was still there, except this time he pulled out a gun and shot Lennon 4 times in the back. John Lennon was 40. The area of Central Park across from the apartment was dedicated to him as Strawberry Fields. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 7, 2018


Birthdays: Willa Cather, Larry Bird, Piero Mascagni, Madame Tussaud-1761, Johnny Bench, Louis Prima, Ted Knight –real name Wladsyslaw Konopka, Victor Kiam II, Noam Chomsky, Ellen Burstyn-real name Edna Mae Gilhooley, Harry Chapin, Clarence Nash the voice of Donald Duck, Eli Wallach, Tom Waits, Jeffrey Wright is 54 
  
1842- The New York Philharmonic, the oldest symphony orchestra in the U.S., gave its first concert, performing works of Beethoven under the baton of Ureli Corelli Hill.

1919- “Blind Husbands” premiered, the first film by Erich Von Stroheim. Originally a Viennese hat salesman, Stroheim cultivated his Germanic aristocratic image on the silver screen. The premiere issue of the New Yorker in 1923 glibly noted how “Mr. Stroheim has grown a very stylish “Von” in the Southern California Sun”.

1927- Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller set a world record in the 150-meter freestyle, one minute 25 and 2/5thseconds. He competed in two Olympics and was never beaten. He later went to Hollywood and was the star of the Tarzan movies.


1942- An RAF bomber pilot named Lumsden filed a report about seeing a UFO following his plane in the night skies over the English Channel. British pilots nicknamed the unexplained lights Foo Fighters, after a phrase in a comic strip.

1964- Height of student uprising at Berkeley College in California. Students won more liberalized curriculum and open teaching and created the first major student protest of the tumultuous 1960's and earned Berkeley the national reputation of the nations most radicalized school. The Oakland police were later nicknamed the Blue Meanies after the villains in the Beatles cartoon Yellow Submarine.

1974- The disco song “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas hit #1 in the pop charts.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 6, 2018


Birthdays: King Henry VI of England-1422, English Puritan General George Monck-1608, John Eberhard 1822, builder of the first large pencil factory in the US, John Singleton-Mosby the Grey Ghost, Henry Jarecki, Baby Face Nelson, William S. Hart, Ira Gershwin, Dave Brubeck, Agnes Moorehead, Tom Hulce is 65, Wally Cox, Lynn Fontaine, Steven Wright, JoBeth Williams, Judd Apatow is 50, Nick Park is 61

1877- First edition of the Washington Post.

1915- MAX FLEISCHER PATENTED THE ROTOSCOPE TECHNIQUE- This system enables you to film an actor then draw the cartoons over the still frames of the live action to achieve a realistic motion. (an early form of Motion Capture) Max would film his brother Dave in a clown suit then draw Koko the Clown over him. Dave had already owned the clown suit because he had been seriously considering a change in careers. The Fleischer's New York studio would be Disney's chief rival for most of the 1920's-30's.

1933- U.S. Federal Judge Woolsey decides James Joyce's "ULYSSES" is not a dirty book and can be published in the U.S by Viking Press. The book had been out in Europe since 1922. 

1941- WONDER WOMAN, Psychologist William Moulton Marston was an educational consultant for Detective Comics, Inc. (DC Comics). Marston saw that the DC line was filled with images of super men like Green Lantern, Batman, Superman.  From a suggestion of his wife Elizabeth, he wondered why there was not a female hero? DC head Max Gaines, was intrigued by the concept and told Marston that he should create a female hero - a "Wonder Woman." Marston's 'good and beautiful woman' made her debut in All Star Comics#8. 

1942- Val Lewton’s atmospheric movie The Cat Peoplewith Simon-Simon premiered.

1960- Baseball’s American League granted an expansion franchise team to old cowboy singer Gene Autry, the California Angels.

1964- The first concert at the Los Angeles Music Center.


1964- Rankin Bass' TV special 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer'first broadcast. And it has run every year since.

1969- The Rolling Stones do the last big rock festival of the 60s in Altamont California. The festival turned ugly when Hells Angels motorcyclists, hired to guard the stage, started fighting with fans. One man was killed. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 5, 2018


Birthdays: Pope Julius II, Martin Van Buren, Walt Disney, Fritz Lang, Eugene Debs,  George Armstrong Custer, Little Richard Penniman, Strom Thurmond, Otto Preminger, Lin Piao, Calvin Trillin, Joan Didion, Jim Plunkett, Jose Carrerras, Margaret Cho is 50


1791-MOZART DIED- The 35 year old composer was slaving away on a commission for a Requiem Mass when he died of scarlet fever and kidney failure complicated by exhaustion and alcoholism (and he didn't work in animation ) Mozart was buried in a pauper's grave and when his wife came to mourn him a few days later nobody could recall where he was buried. 
The theories about Antonio Salieri poisoning him out of jealousy or the FreeMasons doing him in began only a few years later. Schiller wrote a play in 1817 called Mozart & Salieri where he has Salieri doing the dastardly deed. Salieri lived into his 80s. In 1827 one of Beethoven's pupils wrote the Maestro about going up to the sanitarium to visit the ancient composer: "Salieri is in one of his fits again, shouting “I killed Mozart! Mozart forgive me!”"

1837- Hector Berlioz chorale Requiem premiered.


1854- Aaron Allen of Boston patented the theater chair that folded up so you could exit.

1912- New York Hatdirected by D.W. Griffith starring Mary Pickford and Lionel Barrymore premiered. The first movie script written by19 year old Anita Loos to be produced. She became one of the finest Hollywood screenwriters and Broadway playwright, who penned films like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She died in 1981 at age 92.


1938- The FCC concludes there was no malicious intent in Orson Welles Halloween broadcast of The War of the Worlds, and no fines would be imposed.


1952- The Abbott & Costello Television Show premiered. Where’s Hilary, Mr Fields and Stinky? “ Niagara Falls! Slooowwlly I turn! Step by Step! Step by Step!”

1974- The BBC aired the last Monty Python show.
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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 4, 2018


Birthdays: Chief Crazy Horse, Samuel Butler, Thomas Carlyle, Lillian Russell, Vasilly Kandinsky, Buck Jones, Wink Martindale, Max Baer Jr.,Robert Vesco, Charles Keating, Wally George, Deanna Durbin, Pappy Boyington, Horst Bucholtz, Rainer Maria Rilke,, Jeff Bridges is 69, Marisa Tomei is 54, Tyrah Banks is 45, Johnny Lyon of the band Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Jay-Z is 49, Fred Armisen is 52

1881- First issue of the Los Angeles Times.

1927- The Cotton Club opened as a speakeasy nightclub in Harlem. Owners were New York gangsters Owney “The Killer” Madden and George “Big Frenchy” DeMange. Duke Ellington’s orchestra highlighted the opening night. When other gangsters tried to open a rival The Plantation Club, Owney had his hoods firebomb the place. The Cotton Club was one of the great centers of the Harlem Renaissance, but African Americans were banned from eating or drinking at the tables. Even W.C. Handy was turned away.

1931- “ Its alive! Its alive!” James Whale’s macabre masterpiece film “Frankenstein” opened at the Mayfair theater in NY.  English actor William Henry Pratt renamed Boris Karloff played the monster.

1932- “Good Evening Mr & Mrs. North and South America and All the Ships at Sea! Let’s Go To Press!” Newspaper columnist Walter Winchell began his famous radio broadcasts on the NBC Blue Network. Winchell became one of the most powerful voices in American society and politics for 23 years.

1941- The animated film "Mr. Bug Goes to Town"-opened. Max Fleischer's last gamble to keep up with Walt Disney and keep his studio alive. Songs written by top pop song writer Hoagy Carmichael. However the events of Pearl Harbor three days later not only sink the American Navy, but also Hoppity's box office and put Max out of business. 

1948- “Hey...Stella!! A Streetcar Named Desire opened on Broadway with Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy.

1955- French mime Marcel Marceau appeared on American TV for the first time.

1958- Cocoa Puffs cereal invented.

1961- Someone at the Museum of Modern Art in NY noticed that they had hung Henri Matisse’s painting Le Bateau upside down. It had been that way for two months, and until now nobody had noticed.

1965 - Jerry Garcia, Bob, Phil, Bill, and Pigpen first convened as the Grateful Dead to play as the house band for Ken Kesey and the Prankster's Acid Test in San Jose, California. The Dead went on to break records, bend minds, and build a community that continued on for many years.

1985- The first Cray X-MP Supercomputer booted up. 


1985- Steven Spielberg’s production Young Sherlock Holmes,directed by Barry Levinson premiered. It featured the CG breakthrough Stain Glass Knight animated by John Lasseter. Despite this, the film failed, and its failure made Disney change its movie title Basil of Baker Street to The Great Mouse Detective.  



Monday, December 3, 2018

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 3, 2018


Birthdays:  French King Charles VI the Well-Loved 1380, Gilbert Stuart, Sven Nykvist, Joseph Conrad- real name Josef Korzeniowski, Jean Luc Godard, Nino Rota, Jim Backus, Maria Callas, Larry Parks, Charles Pillsbury, Mitsuo Fuchida the Japanese pilot who led the attack on Pearl Harbor, Darryl Hannah is 58, Katerina Witt, Brendan Fraser is 50, Julianne Moore is 58, Andrew Stanton, Amanda Seyfried is 33 Ozzie Ozbourne is 70.

1894- In Samoa, writer Robert Louis Stevenson was opening a bottle of wine, when he paused and cried “ What’s that?”, then he looked at his wife and said “ Does my face look strange?” Then he collapsed and died of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 44.

1919- Impressionist painter Pierre August Renoir died at age 79 . Suffering from arthritis that left him unable to paint with his hands, Renoir used a bit that held the brush in his teeth.


1931- Happy Birthday Alka Seltzer! The fizzy tablet was invented by chemist Maurice Treener for the Dr. Miles Medicine Company of Indiana.

1934- Lee Blair, Disney artist and brother of Preston Blair, Disney artist, married Mary Browne Robinson, Disney artist. She became the most famous of them as Mary Blair.


1965- The Beatles release the album Rubber Soul.


1968- Elvis Presley opened in Las Vegas to rave reviews and packed houses. It marks the beginning of his comeback and his transition from thin, black leather-jacketed youth to fat, rhinestone jumpsuit, half tinted sunglasses, karate-swinging middle age. 


1976-A 40 foot long inflated pig broke away from its’ tether at a Pink Floyd photo shoot and became a hazard to civil aviation. The AeroPork was lost to radar at 8,000 feet.

1991- Hulk Hogan defeated Undertaker to become WWF champ for the 4th time.

1997 – 56 year old Darlene Gillespie, an original member of the Mickey Mouse Club, was busted in LA for a securities fraud scheme.


Sunday, December 2, 2018

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 2, 2018


Birthdays: George Seurat, Charles Ringling, Julie Harris, Gianni Verasce, Ray Walston, Monica Seles, Cathy Lee Crosby, Lucy Liu is 50, Britney Spears is 37

1854-Napoleon III was Napoleon's nephew and since 1848 legally elected President of the Second French Republic. But he decided that he wanted to be an Emperor like his uncle, so he seized dictatorial power and arrested all dissenters like Victor Hugo, Alex DeTocqueville and cartoonist Honore' Daumier (gotta watch them cartoonists...)

1877- Camille Saint Saens opera “Samson & Delilah” premiered in Weimar.

1933- Voice actor Clarence “Ducky” Nash began working at Walt Disney. He would create the voice for Donald Duck and his nephews.

1935- Animator Marc Davis first day at Walt Disney Studios. He retired in 1978.


1994- LA jury found Heidi Fleiss ‘The Hollywood Madam” guilty of running a prostitution ring. Charlie Sheen and Sean Penn were among her customers..


Saturday, December 1, 2018

Animation Fun Facts for Dec 01, 2018

Question: What was the Monroe Doctrine?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: What does it mean to be peripatetic?
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History for 12/1/2018

 Welcome to December from Decembrius Mensis, month number 10 to the Romans who only had ten months in their original calendar. It’s the same Latin root as Decimate, Dime, Decimal. 

Birthdays: Richard Pryor, Mary Martin, Cyril Ritchard, Dick Shawn, Lee Trevino, Charlene Tilton, Lou Rawls, Marshal Gyorgi Zhukov, Admiral Stansfield Turner, Rex Stout the author of Nero Wolfe, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, Treat Williams, Woody Allen is 81, Bette Midler is 73, Sarah Silverman is 48

Happy Roman Festival of Neptune.

WORLD AIDS DAY- established by the UN in 1987. 

659 AD-Today is the feast day of Saint Eligius of Limoge, a goldsmith and mint master to Merovingian King Dagobert, who started the art of Limoge enamels.

1521- Pope Leo X died after getting overheated attending celebrations of the defeat of French forces in Milan. He was 45. Some thought he was poisoned, but he probably caught the malarial fever prevalent in Rome at the time. Leo was one of the great art patrons of the Renaissance. He spent lavishly. “ God has given us the Papacy, so let us enjoy it” As soon as the Pontiff was cold, Cardinals and bankers looted the Vatican treasury for all the money he borrowed from them, sending the Church into one of the worst financial crises in its’ history.

1641- THE GREAT REMONSTRANCE- The English Parliament sent King Charles I a long list of everything that annoyed them about him.  They demanded Parliament to be the supreme authority in the realm, to sit in permanent session, the right to select and dismiss royal ministers, and to reform the Protestant Church of England to a more Calvinist purity. “God's Blood! You ask of me things one would never ask of a king!"-sayeth King Charles. This little spat would become the English Civil War by next June.

1805-THE MIDNIGHT CAMP AT AUSTERLITZ- The night before the big battle between French, Austrian and Russian armies on a cold little field in what would be the Czech Republic. Napoleon went on a midnight inspection of his troops. His tour turned into something akin to a homecoming football rally. The French soldiers cheered, lit torches, sang and partied around bonfires all night. Across the hills the enemy generals mistakenly thought all the activity meant Napoleon was preparing to run away.

1835- Hans Christian Andersen published his first book of fairy tales.

1861- The first installment of Charles Dicken’s novel Great Expectations began to appear in magazines.

1869- A Sir William MacDougal was sent by Ottawa to take over the administration of Prince Rupertland, now called the new Canadian province of Manitoba. His problem was the whole population of French trappers, Indians and half-breeds had already declared themselves the independent Metiz Republic under their leader Louis Riel.  MacDougal had to sneak across the border from the U.S. at midnight.  Avoiding Metiz patrols, his party stopped at an abandoned Hudson's Bay trading post where they raised the Union Jack in the darkness and MacDougal read his Royal Proclamation to an audience of seven aides and two hunting dogs. Then they crept back over the border to the U.S. to a healthy dose of razzing from Yankee cowboys. The British Army arrived next spring and established order but by then MacDougal had been recalled. 

1879- Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera HMS Pinafore opened. Sullivan conducted the orchestra while Gilbert was a chorister. “So Stick to your desk and never go to sea, and you will be the leader of the Queen’s Navy.”

1887- The very first Sherlock Holmes mystery by Arthur Conan-Doyle "A Study in Scarlet" first published in Beeton’s Christmas Gazette.

1909- The Pennsylvania Trust Company invented the Christmas Club account. 

1917- Father Flanaghan opened Boys Town west of Omaha Nebraska. A retreat for homeless boys and in 1979 girls as well.

1934- Josef Stalin's close confidant Sergei Kirov is assassinated in a Kremlin hallway by Lenoid Nikolayev. Stalin orders the GREAT PURGES of the thirties to begin. Later it came out that Stalin had ordered Kirov assassinated as an excuse.  Exact figures are debatable but it is estimated millions were arrested and died. Stalin even had the wandering poor blind storytellers of the Ukraine rounded up and shot for fomenting anti-revolutionary ethnicity.  Declassified private papers of Stalin revealed he admired Czar Ivan the Terrible and tried to learn from his example.

1938- In Moscow legendary filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein released his film of Russian patriotism ALEXANDER NEVSKY, with soundtrack provided by Sergei Prokoviev.

1941-Anticipating imminent hostilities with Japan, The U.S. Navy withdrew it’s fleet of Yangtze River gunboats. As the gunboats steamed out into the South China Sea, they were surrounded by large Japanese warships, that held their fire to let them pass. 

1943- FDR, Churchill and Stalin conclude their first meeting in Teheran, Iran. The western allies passed supplies to Russia via the Persian Gulf through Iran. Roosevelt discussed the occupation zones of a defeated Germany by drawing lines in pencil on a map torn out of an old National Geographic magazine he found on a table.

1944- Bela Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra premiered by the Boston Symphony and Serge Kousevitsky.

1947- Alastair Crowley died. Called the “wickest man in the world” he fused several  occult theologies like Bavarian Illumanism, Gnosticism and Numerology into his Abbey of Theleme. His own mother nicknamed him “the Great Beast.” In 1968 Alastair Crowley was portrayed on the cover of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper album.

1949- The last Nationalist capitol, Chunking (Chonqing), fell to Mao Tse Tung's PLA, the People’s Liberation Army. 

1951- MIT scientists booted up Project Whirlwind, the TX-0 Computer. Called the Tixo, it was as large as a bus and was the first computer that could do more than one program at a time. In 1952 it had the first computer screen and first light pen. It calculated everything from synchronizing the gunfire of battleships to how much icing to put in an Oreo cookie. The TX-2 was used to write the first animation program Sketchpad, and the first interactive game Spacewar, both in 1962.

1953- Ex- Esquire magazine art director and frustrated cartoonist Hugh Hefner published the first issue of Playboy Magazine. It featured a nude centerfold of actress Marilyn Monroe. She joked to the press “ I had nothing on but the radio!” Hefner assembled the layout of the magazine on his kitchen table and borrowed money from his mother-in-law to pay for the printing. The first Playboy had no number or date, because Hef was certain he couldn’t afford to make an issue number two.

1955- ROSA PARKS, a black seamstress in Montgomery Alabama, refused to give up her seat on a crowded bus and was arrested for violating the segregation laws. She was fined $10. At the time she said she was unaware that she was breaking the law, she was actually seated in the first row reserved for Colored passengers, but since the bus was crowded the driver insisted she give up her seat for a white man. This incident and the subsequent boycott is the spark of the great Black Civil Rights Movement of the 50's and 60's.

1963- The NASA space facility at Cape Canaveral Florida was changed to Cape Kennedy in honor of slain president John F. Kennedy. The same day the Kennedy Family moved out of the White House so Lyndon Johnson could move in. Jackie Kennedy only returned to the White House once more in her life in 1971 and on the condition that it be in secret and no press be present. She even would tell D.C. taxicabs to avoid streets where she might accidentally get a glimpse of it.

1963- According to recently unclassified documents, today was supposed to be the day a staged coup would overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba. The CIA had hired Mafia hitmen to shoot Fidel as he drove in an open jeep to his beach home. Then the head of the Cuban army, Juan Almeida would then seize the government. 
But John Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas suspended all such plans. 

1964- DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING MET J. EDGAR HOOVER- Dr. King and Rev Ralph Abernathy were on their way to Oslo for Dr. King to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. In Washington they were invited to meet with the legendary head of the FBI. Hoover sat them down and proceeded to lecture them for over two hours, calling them "boys" and hinting that they better not cause him trouble because he had tapes of Dr. King's extra-marital affairs.  Dr. King and Abernathy left insulted and enraged. Hoover always believed that Martin Luther King and the entire NAACP were Communist agents of Moscow. Later when Dr. King came out publicly against the Vietnam War, one of these sextapes was mailed to his wife Corretta- anonymously.

1982- Dr. Barney Clark receives the first Artificial Heart. Part of the research development was credited to Paul Winchell, puppeteer and cartoon voice who created Jerry Mahoney, Knucklehead Smith, Dick Dastardly and a plastic heart valve. At first it was hoped these plastic valves could take the place of real hearts, but today they are mostly used for temporary relief until a human donor heart can be found.

1990- Tunnelers digging below the English Channel from France and England break through to meet in the middle and shake hands. A tunnel under the Channel had been a dream since Napoleon in 1802.
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Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean to be peripatetic?

Answer: Peripatetic was the school of philosophy founded by Aristotle.