Friday, March 22, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for March 22, 2019


Birthdays: Anthony Van Dyck, Marcel Marceau, Stephen Sondheim, Karl Malden, Werner Klemperer- Colonel Klink in Hogan’s Heroes, George Benson, James Gavin, Allen Neuharth, Milt Kahl, Fanny Ardant is 70, Lena Olin is 64, Bruno Ganz, Reese Witherspoon is 43, William Shatner is 88.

1687- Jean Francois Lully was court composer to Louis XIV the "Sun King" and by all accounts a champion opportunist.  In an age when the Baton had not come into use for conductors, Lully conducted his orchestra by beating a large pole on the ground to the tempo of the music. One day during a performance he poked a hole in his own foot with the pole and died of blood poisoning.   
On his deathbed he asked a priest for Last Rites but the priest refused unless he burned his latest opera "Atys" which the church considered blasphemous. Lully admitted his sins and burned the manuscript of ATYS in front of the priest, who then gave him the sacrament. A friend came in afterward and said:" How could you burn your work?" Lully replied:" Don't worry. I have another copy here in my desk. "

1913- Jack London (White Fang, The Call of the Wild) wrote fellow writers HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw and Winston Churchill and asked them how much they get paid. He was unsure what to charge.

1935- The first regular electronic television service began in Berlin as Deutscher Fernseh Rundfunk. Broadcasting from the Fernsehsender Paul Nipkow, it used a 180-line system, and was on air for 90 minutes, three times a week. Very few receivers were ever privately owned, and viewers went instead to Fernsehstuben (television parlors). During the 1936 Summer Olympics, broadcasts, up to eight hours a day, took place in Berlin and Hamburg.

1958- Hollywood producer Mike Todd was killed in a small plane crash. He produced hit movies like Around the World in 80 Days and romanced starlets like Gypsy Rose Lee and Elizabeth Taylor. Taylor and Todd had been married for one year and she was devastated by the accident. Years and many marriages later Taylor said Mike Todd was the only man she actually loved.

1960- Arthur Shawlow and Charles Townes patented the laser beam. Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation or LASER. Pussycats rejoice!

1970- Paul McCartney filed papers in a London court for a formal dissolving of the Fab Fours partnership.

1978- Karl Wallenda, 73 year old scion of the daredevil family the Flying Wallendas, fell to his death from a tightrope between two resort hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

1991- Ivana Trump divorced Donald Trump. A celebrated court case ensued to see how the huge Trump fortune would be divided. Newspapers cried, Ivanna More Money!

1995- First day of shooting on that utterly classic film- Dinosaur Valley Girls!


Thursday, March 21, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for March 21, 2019


Birthdays: Plato, Johann Sebastian Bach, Benito Juarez, Modest Mussorgsky, Fats Waller, Josef Pulitzer, Flo Ziegfield, Bronco Billy Anderson, Rev Ralph Abernathy, Armand Hammer, Harold Robbins, Matthew Broderick is 57, Gary Oldman is 61, James Coco, Timothy Dalton is 73, Rosie O’Donnell is 57, animator Kathy Zielinski.

1617-Pocahontas, now called Lady Rebecca Rolfe, died at Gravesend, England after being taken off the homeward bound ship, too ill with smallpox to continue. She was 21. Her children with John Rolfe became the beginnings of one of the largest families in Virginia, with many scions of the Old Dominion tracing their ancestry to Pocahontas.

1915- President Woodrow Wilson hosted a private screening of D.W. Griffith’s film “The Birth of a Nation” at the White House. 

1917- Buster Keaton first stepped in front of a movie camera. 

1935- Persia renamed Iran and Mesopotamia renamed Iraq.

1951- HOLLYWOOD COMMIES- House UnAmerican Acitivities Commitee (HUAC) under Judge J. Parnell Thomas from Washington and sets up in Hollywood to continue rooting out Communist subversion in the movies. They began in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, and later move to the federal building downtown. 

Their concerns weren’t total fantasy, actor Sterling Hayden confessed he was ordered by his communist operatives to try and influence the Screen Actor’s Guild. Still the point remains whether the authorities overreaction was justified and whether Congress could get more publicity looking for spies in Tinseltown than the Department of Games and Fisheries.

Out of 15,000 people who made a living in the movies and television, only 295 were ever proven or confessed communists. It was an open secret that for $5,000 delivered to the right committee member, your dossier would be moved to the bottom of the pile. The hearings stopped in 1956, the blacklist was broken in 1960 and Judge J. Parnell Thomas went to jail for embezzlement.  

1952- DJ Alan Freed put on an event of the new pop music in Cleveland Ohio. Called the MoonDog Coronation Ball, it was the very first Rock Concert.

1961- The Beatles first perform at the Cavern Club in Hamburg Germany.

1963- Barbara Streisand married Elliot Gould. 

1976- ASPEN MURDER- Jet setter Claudine Longet, a model who was formerly married to singer Andy Williams, shot and killed her lover Spider Sabich, an Olympic skiing champion. Even though their relationship was foundering she said it was an accident, that the Luger went off in his abdomen when he was showing her how to use it. In the bathroom. Uh Huh. Imagine being in the bathroom shaving and your girlfriend pops in “Honey, I’m having problems with the safety on my luger. Here darling I’ll just –oops!”
She spent 30 days in jail for negligent manslaughter, then married her defense attorney.

1988- the Screen Actor's Guild hits the bricks for the fourth time in twenty years, this time striking Hollywood for residuals for cable and videocassette income. 


2006- The first Tweet sent on the new format Twitter. Scientist Jack Dorsey tweeted his friends “Setting up my twttr…” Twitter went public that July. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for March 19, 2019


Birthdays: George De La Tour, Wyatt Earp, Dr. David Livingston, William Jennings Bryan, Sir Richard Burton (The African explorer), Charles M. Russell, Jacky Moms Mabley, Adolf Eichmann, Phillip Roth, Adolf Galland, Ursula Andress, Patrick McGoohan, Ornette Coleman, Bruce Willis is 64, Glenn Close is 72, animator Richard Williams is 86


1853- Charles Dicken’s novel Bleak House first appeared in magazine installments. It is the first novel to mention dinosaurs-" It would be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill…"

1859- Charles Gounod's opera 'Faust" premiered. It was so popular that after a while in New York wags nicknamed the Metropolitan Opera the "Faustspeilhaus" ( it's a pun on Wagner's theater in Bayreuth being called a Festspeilhaus, so Faustspeilhaus..heh-heh,.get it ?....look, don't blame me...its a Gilded Age joke....)

1875- Mark Twain admits in a letter to a friend that he now likes to use a typewriter, a new technology accused of ruining the art of writing.

1895- The Lumiere Brothers shot their first movie, employees leaving their dad’s factory.

1914- A fire in the negative vaults of the Eclair Studios in New Jersey destroyed forever all the American work of pioneer French animator Emile Cohl. He had come to the U.S. to animate the first cartoon series, George McManus’ "The Newlyweds" later to be renamed in comic strip form "Life With Father".

1928- the Amos & Andy radio show debuted. NBC Blue Network, WMAQ in Chicago.

1953- First T.V. broadcast of the Oscar ceremony. That utterly memorable circus film 
"The Greatest Show on Earth" won top honors. Ironically it was Cecil B. DeMille’s only Oscar of his career. Before TV, the Oscars ceremony included a dinner and an hour of dancing before the awards were presented. The caremony took around 15 minutes.

1954- Singer Sammy Davis Jr. lost an eye in an auto accident in the California desert. He was left lying bleeding unattended in a hallway in Riverside County Hospital. This was because he was black and it was a segregated facility. Finally, actor Jeff Chandler found him and forced the doctors to treat him. Friend Frank Sinatra urged Davis out of his depression and got him out on stage again. That first night at Ciro’s nightclub the entire Ratpack- Sinatra, Dean Martin and Peter Lawford each preformed on stage wearing a black eye patch similar to Davis’.

1957- Elvis Presley purchased an estate outside Memphis Tennessee called Graceland from Ruth Moore for $100,000.

1959- Disney released The Shaggy Dog, their low budget live action comedy hit.

1962- The first Pillsbury Doughboy commercial.

1964- IBM gives the green light to plans for the 360 series. The first compatible computers.

1964- First day shooting on the James Bond film Goldfinger.

1974- The band Jefferson Airplane changed its name to Jefferson Starship.

1979- C-Span cable channel started broadcasting live from the floor of Congress. The first Congressman to speak on camera was Al Gore.

1982- Randy Rhoads, the lead guitarist for Ozzy Ozbourne died when he playfully flew his plane buzzing the bands travelling bus and smacked into a farmhouse. 

1984- I’LL BE BACK- James Cameron began shooting the film the Terminator. He first considered casting O.J. Simpson for the cyborg killer before settling on Austrian weightlifter Arnold Swarzenegger.

1993- Monkey-cam debuted on the David Letterman Show.

2004- Brian Maxwell, the inventor of the Power Bar nutrition snack, died of a heart attack at age 51.

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Monday, March 18, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for March 18, 2019


Birthdays: Amerigo Vespucci, John Calhoun, Nicholai Rimsky-Korsakov, Neville Chamberlain, Wilson Picket, Edgar Cayce, John Updike, Grover Cleveland, Edward Everett Horton, Vanessa Williams, F. W. DeKlerk, George Plympton, Peter Graves, Irene Cara, Luc Besson, Queen Latifah is 50

1902- BIRTHDAY OF THE RECORDING INDUSTRY. The RCA Victrola company sent it's engineers to Milan to record ten discs of the young singer Enrico Caruso. He became a world celebrity and the phonograph moves from being a scientific curiosity to something every home had to have.

1910- Rosie O’Neill invented the Kewpie Doll.

1924-The film “The Thief of Baghdad”starring Douglas Fairbanks released. Directed by Raoul Walsh and designs by William Cameron Menzies. It is considered the first great special effects blockbuster.


1942- Paramounts “The Lost Dream” the first Little Audrey cartoon.

1965- The Rolling Stones are fined 5 English pence for urinating on a wall in Stratford at ABC recording studio Romford.

1967- The Pirates of the Caribbean ride opened at Disneyland, designed by master animator Marc Davis. In recent years rampant political correctness has disturbed the pirates fun. One diorama that portrayed a lusty buccaneer chasing a wench around a table while she giggles. It was changed to show he was only interested in her sandwich tray. An animatronic of Jack Sparrow was sandwiched in. Last week it was announced the brides auction diorama was going to be replaced.


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for March 17, 2019


Birthdays: Jim Bridger the mountain man, Nat King Cole, film composer Alfred Newman, Mercedes McCambridge, Leslie Ann Down, Patrick Duffy, Rudolph Nureyev, Gary Sinise, Kate Greenaway, John Sebastian, Ben Washam (warner bros. animator), Ken Anderson (Disney animator), John Wayne Gacy, Kurt Russell is 68, Rob Lowe is 55

1884- To quiet the fears of New Yorkers that the Brooklyn Bridge was too dangerous to cross, circus-master P.T. Barnum led a herd of his circus elephants led by Jumbo the Elephant across the bridge safely.

1901- At a grand exhibition of his paintings at Bernheim-Jeune Palace in Paris, the world discovered the brilliance of a poor Dutch lunatic who had shot himself a few years back- Vincent Van Gogh.

1941- The National Gallery of Art opens in Washington D.C.

1965- Chicago began the Saint Patrick’s Day tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green.

1982- Politically conservative Hollywood actors led by Charlton Heston broke with the Screen Actor’s Guild and form a rival group called AWAG (American Working Actor’s Guild). They were angered by SAG president Ed Asner’s taking their union into national politics by condemning Pres. Ronald Reagan’s policies in Central America, capped by the SAG board refusing Reagan (their former president) the Guild lifetime achievement award. 
As a result Ed Asner’s hit TV show “Lou Grant” lost sponsors and was cancelled, and Heston’s career cooled as well, beyond speaking at NRA events, and writing cranky letters to the L.A. Times calendar that Ben Hur wasn’t gay.


1983- On trial for libel, and refusing to name sources, wheelchair bound porn publisher Larry Flynt showed up in a US Federal court wearing a diaper made from an American flag. This was calculated to mock a conservative demand for a Constitutional amendment against burning the flag.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for March 16, 2019


Birthdays: James Madison, Conrad Nagel, Dr. Josef Mengele the Nazi Angel of Death, Teresa Berganza, Christa Ludwig, Pat Nixon, Alice Bonheur, Harper Goff, Gore Verbinsky, Jerry Lewis, Bernardo Bertolucci, Eric Estrada, Kate Nelligan, Isabelle Huppert is 66, Lauren Graham is 52


1850- Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter published.


1898- Artist Aubrey Beardsley died of tuberculosis at 25. Having a religious conversion at the end of his life, but still the stickler for detail, his last words were:" Destroy all my erotic drawings...all the bad ones too...." Luckily for history his friends did neither.

1934- Disney’s short The Three Little Pigswon an Oscar for best animated short.

1961- Walt Disney comedy The Absent Minded Professorwith Fred MacMurray premiered. 

2007- Author Michael Crichton was the author of classics like The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park. He had been called the H.G. Wells of modern times. But today he shocked the scientific community by denouncing the theory of Global Warming.

2005- Old actor Robert Blake was acquitted of the murder of his wife Bonnie Lee Blakeley. She was shot in the head while in their car after having dinner together. Blake claimed he had returned to the restaurant to retrieve his gun. (?)  Another suspect has never been found.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for March 15, 2019


Birthdays: Andrew Jackson, Lee Schubert-one of Broadways Shubert Brothers, Ry Cooder, Sly Stone, Harry James, Lightnin' Hopkins, Rev. Jimmy Swaggart, Judd Hirsch, Norm Van Brocklin, Sabu, Fabio, Reni Harlin, David Cronenburg is 76, Eva Longoria is 44, David Silverman

1915- Universal Studios formed. Carl Laemmele bought a huge track of Burbank farmland and set up his studio. Laemmele had wooden bleachers built next to the movie sets where he charged people a nickel to come watch the filming. He used so many of his relatives in production that Ogden Nash quipped: "Carl Laemmele has a very large Faemmele." Universal actually had been operating as a film company since 1912 but the company counts today as its birthday.

1933- Young animator Chuck Jones first hired at Leon Schlesingers Looney Tunes cartoon studio.

1944- The DeHAVILAND CASE- A judge ruled actress Olivia DeHaviland free of her exclusive seven year personal contract to Warner Bros. For years movie stars like Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck and James Cagney had been fighting in court the system of exclusive contracts the studios used to keep them under control. They had no choice in the type of films they did, no residuals, and studios could lend them out to other studios for higher fees, and keep the money.  
If the actor complained they were put on disciplinary leave by the studio, without pay, and the penalty time added onto the end of their contract. Garbo called it the closest thing to White Slavery. Some contracts even ordered some stars not to get married for fear it would erode their sex appeal. The DeHaviland Case broke that system and allowed actors to make their own deals. 

1956- Lerner & Lowe’s musical "My Fair Lady" premiered.

1956- The Sci Fi Classic Forbidden Planetpremiered in theaters.

1964- Elizabeth Taylor married Richard Burton, for the first time.

1969- Two young heirs to the Polident false Teeth Company and two hippy promoters announced a rock festival would be held that summer in the farm community of Woodstock New York.

1977- Television sitcom Threes Company debuted.

1985- Symbolic.com is assigned the first registered private domain site on the Internet. 

2002- Blue Sky’s hit animated film Ice Age premiered.



Animation Fun Facts for March 14, 2019


Birthdays: Georg Phillip Telemann, Johann Strauss Sr., Albert Einstein, Casey Jones, Quincy Jones is 85, astronaut Frank Borman, Les Brown, Hank Ketcham, Wolfgang Petersen, Diane Arbus, Chris Klein, Michael Cain born Maurice Mickelwhite is 86, Billy Crystal is 71


1885- Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta The Mikado premiered in London.

1932-Inventor GEORGE EASTMAN shot himself- The inventor of the Roll-film camera, who named his celluloid strips 'film' and founded Eastman/Kodak. He had been suffering from a long illness and left the note: " To my friends: The End is near, why wait? "

1941- Xavier Cugat and his orchestra recorded "Babalu".

1943- Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" premiered. George Szell conducting.   Young Leonard Bernstein once asked Copland how he could write more "American" sounding music. The maestro answered:" Lenny, just shuttup and write. You're American. It's all going to sound that way anyway!"

1991- Lyricist Howard Ashman (Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast) died of HIV/AIDS.


1998- The epic disaster movie Titanic surpassed Star Wars and Jurassic Park as the greatest money earning film (until Avatar). It cost over $200 million to make but it earned at least $1 billion in box office alone. Quote director James Cameron: I’m King of the World!!
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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for March 13, 12019


Birthdays: Hugh Walpole, Charles 2ndEarl Grey 1764- English Prime Minister whom the tea blend 'Earl Grey Tea " is named for, Pope Innocent XII (1615), Abigail Powers Filmore- First Lady of Millard Filmore, Hugo Wolf, Ted Sears, Sammy Kaye, Danny Kaye, Neil Sedaka, L. Ron Hubbard, William Macy is 69, Dick Katz, Annabell Gish, Joe Ranft

1639- Richard Burbage died. Burbage was the famed Elizabethan actor and friend of William Shakespeare. On his tombstone was a simple epitaph- EXIT BURBAGE.

1928- In New York City, Walt Disney sent a telegram to his brother Roy back in California, informing him of his disastrous meeting with producer Charles Mintz. That Mintz had exercised a clause in their contract to take the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit away from them. He cabled “ Leaving Tonight, stopping over KC. Arrive Sunday Morning. Don’t Worry. All Will be Well.” Later on the train home, Walt with Ub Iwerks, Les Clark and his wife Lillian came up with a new character named Mickey Mouse.

1939- Hollywood recognized the Screen Director’s Guild, later called he DGA. After a nasty battle lasting several years Guild President Frank Capra signed the contracts representing 80% of movie directors. They also contractually ensured the custom of the director’s credit being the last one seen at the opening title sequence of a film. 

1943- Radio station WNYC goes on the air.

1944- Abbot & Costello copyrighted their baseball routine ‘Who’s on First?"


1947- MGM Tom & Jerry’s Cat Concerto won the Oscar for Best Animated Short.

1965- Guitarist Eric Clapton quit the band The Yardbirds. 

1969- Disney’s comedy about a Volkswagen beetle,"The Love Bug" premiered. 

1983- The Larry King Show debuted on HBO, later moving to CNN. King retired that show in 2010, but he still does shows on cable.

1988- Overly endowed porn star John Holmes, also called Johnny Wad, died of HIV/AIDS. He claimed to have had sex with 14,000 women and a few men in his career, but that he contracted the disease through intravenous drug use. He also got involved with some drug dealers and was implicated in a murder. The film Boogie Nights was based on his career.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for March 12, 2019


Birthdays: Jack Kerouac, Billy "Buckwheat "Thomas, Darryl Strawberry, Edward Albee, Andrew Young, Joan Kennedy, Eugene Ormandy, Gordon McCrae, Liza Minelli is 74, Courtenay Vance, James Taylor, Frank Welker, Al Jareau, Maurice Evans, porn star Ron Jeremy, Barbara Feldon- agent 99 in Get Smart, DeWitt Bodeen- writer of the 1942 film Cat People. Aaron Eckart is 51

1932- Disney short "Mickey’s Revue" featuring Dippy Dog, now turned into a new character named "the Goof" or Goofy.

1951- Former Disney assistant animator Hank Ketcham was trying his hand as a print cartoonist. He had some success selling gags to the New Yorker Magazine. His baby son Dennis was a precocious infant. Once after she caught the child smearing the contents of his diaper around the house, his mother exclaimed to Hank-“ Your son is a Menace!” That gave Ketcham an idea. Today the first Dennis the Menace comic strip was published.

1955- BIRD DIED- Jazz genius Charlie "Bird" Parker had a lifelong drug addiction. Since the death of his infant daughter earlier that year his drug use had spiraled out of control. He was sleeping on the couch in the NY apartment of the Baroness du Rothschild-Konigswarter, a jazz supporter. He awoke to watch TV. While laughing at a juggler on the Dorsey Brothers Variety Show, he died. The coroner said death was by heart failure, cirrhosis and pneumonia. He estimated Parker’s age at 65. He was really 34. 

1969- Mrs. Robinson –a song written by two young folk singers named Simon & Garfunkel, won a Grammy award.

1969- Paul and Linda McCartney married.

1989- Tim Berners-Lee flicked a switch and the World Wide Web became operational, connecting several regional web systems into a global network.

1992- Warren Beatty married Annette Benning.

2003 –The female vocal group the Dixie Chicks were tops of the country-western world. They had preformed at last years Super Bowl. But in an interview during a concert in Britain, singer Natalie Maines expressed her sadness over America’s invasion of Iraq. “ Just so you know, we're on the good side with y'all. We do not want this war, this violence. And we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas." Starting today the conservative backlash from this comment destroyed their careers. They made a documentary about it in 2006 entitled “ Shut Up and Sing.” 




Monday, March 11, 2019

Animation fun facts for March 11, 2019


Birthdays: Torquato Tasso, Marius Pretipa, Raoul Walsh, Charlie Ruggles, Lawrence Welk, Samuel “Shemp” Howard, British PM Harold Wilson, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Bobby McFerrin, Sam Donaldson, Antonin Scalia, Jerry Zucker, Vannevar Bush- MIT scientist who in 1945 predicted personal computers. Joey Buttafuco, Jules Engel, Douglas Adams, Rob Paulsen is 63, Terence Howard is 50, Rupert Murdoch is 88

1889- The California Legislature splits Orange County from LA County.

1927- The first Roxy Theater opens at 50th st. & Seventh Ave. in New York. Roxy was a nickname of theater owner Samuel L. Rothaphel who pioneered the movie palace and is called the father of De-Luxe presentation.

1943- The Broadway musical team of Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein opened their first collaboration “Away We Go!”

1971- Philo Farnsworth died of pneumonia at 64. The young Utah native in 1922 he had invented the television set, but by the 1960’s he was forgotten, broke and addicted to painkillers. The only recognition he got was as a contestant on the quiz show I Got a Secret. He won an $80 check and a carton of Winston Cigarettes. Today Farnsworth is considered one of the true inventors of Television, along with John Logie-Baird.

1977- Film director Roman Polanski (Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown) was arrested for having sex with a 13 year old girl in Jack Nicholson’s home after he got her stoned on quaaludes. Polanski was charged with statutory rape. He jumped bail and fled Hollywood for exile in Paris. LA courts have been trying unsuccessfully to get him extradited ever since.

1984 - NAUSICAƄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND, adapted and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, was released in Japan.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for March 10, 2019


Birthdays: Lorenzo da Ponte -librettist of Mozart's operas, Barry Fitzgerald, Claire Booth Luce, Heywoud Hale Broun, James Herriot, Pablo de Sarrasate, Osama Ben Laden, Chuck Norris is 79, Shannon Tweed, Sharon Stone is 61, John Hamm is 48

1926- The First Book of the Month Club – The Lovely Willows by Sylvia Townshend Warner.

1933- The LONG BEACH EARTHQUAKE. There had not been a serious quake in LA since 1857, so everyone thought it a thing of the past. Today the buildings swayed and brick walls collapsed. It was the last big shift in the San Andreas Fault. 200 people were killed, and if the schools had not been empty for Easter break, the casualties could have been much worse.
Actors convening early SAG union meetings in the El Capitan Theater moved out into a parking lot because of the aftershocks. The quake sparked the first serious earthquake building codes.

1935- The First Smokey Stover comic strip (notary sojac).

1947- Ronald Reagan becomes President of the Screen Actor's Guild after President George Montgomery and V.P. Franchot Tone resigned to become independent producers. In the violent gangster-ridden atmosphere of Hollywood unions Reagan took to wearing a .32 Smith & Wesson in a shoulder holster under his coat.

1948- Zelda Fitzgerald, the socialite wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, died in a fire at the mental hospital where she had been committed for more than a decade. 

1954- In a letter to studio heads director Elias Kazan worried that young actor James Dean was “too odd” and unpredictable to star in his movie “Rebel Without a Cause”.

1954- First day of shooting on Stage 3 of the Giant Squid battle on Walt Disney’s production of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The director was Richard Fleischer, the son of Disney’s onetime competitor Max Fleischer.


50th anniv. 1969- The Godfather, a novel by Mario Puzo was first published. The book about a NY mafia family was a huge hit and spawned three successful movies.

1980- This year one of the most popular diets in the country was the Scarsdale Diet by Dr. Herman Tarnower. This day a woman named Jean Harris entered his Purchase NY home and shot Dr. Tarnower to death. Her trial was a cause-celeb in the NY press. 

1988- Andy Gibb of the BeeGees died at age 30. It was reported he died of a drug overdose, but he actually died of heart failure brought on by years of heavy drug abuse.


Saturday, March 9, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for March 9, 2019


Birthdays: Amerigo Vespucci, Eddie Foy Sr., Yuri Gargarin, Samuel Barber, chess master Bobby Fischer, Mickey Spillane, Vita Sackville-West, Raul Julia, Vacheslav Molotov, Juliet Binoche is 55, Linda Fiorentino is 61, Lil’ Bow-Wow is 32

1888- While strolling through his garden, writer Jules Verne was shot by an emotional deranged nephew.  He recovered, but walked with a limp for the rest of his life.

1907-Former Edison animator J. Stuart Blackton started "Moving Picture World" an early movie fanzine.

1913- Virginia Woolf completed her first novel The Voyage Out.

1935- The Looney Tune Cartoon "I haven’t Got a Hat" premiered. This cartoon gave birth to the first permanent Warner Bros. Cartoon star- Porky Pig. 

1954- Edgar R. Murrow does his "See It Now" television broadcast detailing the life of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the commie-chaser. The obvious contradictions and gross opportunism in McCarthy's record when laid out before a nationwide audience, destroyed his career and took the steam out of the "Red Scare" of the 50's. It is probably television journalism's finest moment. For the lowest? Well, what's on tonight? 

1955- Actor James Dean’s film, East of Eden, premiered today,

1959-The first "Clutch Cargo" show. 

1984- Roy E. Disney Jr., Walt’s nephew, resigned from the central board of the Walt Disney Company, setting in motion a series of takeover bids and maneuvering that by August would wrest control of the company from Ron Miller, Walt’s son-in-law.


1984- Touchstone pictures Splashpremiered, featuring Tom Hanks, John Candy and a tastefully topless Daryl Hannah.

1989- Artist-photographer Robert Maplethorpe died of AIDS.

1997- Gangsta-rap singer Christopher Wallace, who was known as the Notorious B.I.G. and also called Biggie Smalls, was shot and killed by a gangsta-style drive by. His last album was entitled Life After Death. Notorious BIG could never shake the accusation that he was involved in the similar murder of singer Tupac Shakur.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for March 18, 2019


Birthdays: Sophocles, Carl Phillip Emmanuel Bach, Hannah Hoes Van Beuren- the First Lady for Martin Van Beuren, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., Alan Hovhannes, Kenneth Grahame the author of the Wind in the Willows, Cyd Charisse, Charlie Pride, Mickey Dolenz, Alan Hale Jr., Jim Rice, Aiden Quinn is 60, Freddy Prinze Jr is 45, Jim Bouton- baseball player, author, and inventor of Big League Chew bubble gum

1886- A small time Scots doctor in Portsmouth England named Arthur Conan-Doyle had been trying his hand at writing fiction. He had sold a few stories to magazines and tried to publish a historical novel about an insurance company, “Firm of Girdlestone” with lackluster results. 
This day he began a new novel “ A Tangled Skein” which had a new character named at first Sheridan Hope, then Sheringford Holmes. By the time he finished his story, month later, he had changed the title to “A Study in Scarlet” and the main protagonist name had become SHERLOCK HOLMES. 
Arthur Conan Doyle was an admirer of the American writer Oliver Wendel Holmes who was touring Britain that year. Like him, Holmes was a doctor who turned writer. No one is sure where he got the name Sherlock. It may have been a neighbor. Conan Doyle’s professor in Edinburgh college Dr Joseph Bell excelled at deductive reasoning and had an assistant named Dr. Watson.

1933- As a result of President Roosevelt's Nationwide Bank shutdown, Hollywood Studios go into a cash panic. MGM, RKO and the others ask for 30-50% salary cuts from their stars and artists. At one point they announced the salary cuts at the Oscar banquet ( betchya that made for a real fun party!)
 Louis B. Mayer, tearful and unshaven pleaded his case to his contract-stars, who reluctantly accepted the cuts. Lionel Barrymore called out "We're with ya. L.B. !"  Afterwards Mayer winked to his secretary and giggled:” So how’d I do?” A week later Mayer hired his new son-in-law David Selznick as a producer at $4000 a week. Production chief Darryl Zanuck quit Warner Bros. over the employee salary cuts and went on to build Twentieth Century Fox. 

1941- Writer and playwright Sherwood Anderson dies from pterioteritus- internal bleeding- after swallowing a toothpick at a cocktail party.

1941- The National Television System Committee set up by the FCC to standardize television technology recommended an industry standard of 525 scan lines at 30 frames a second- what we now call after their name- NTSC. England later adopted the PAL (Phase Alernation Line) of 625 lines, 25 frames per second and France the SECAM System (Systeme Electronique Couleur Avec Memoire).which is also a 625 line, 25fps system.  This is why British TV shows like The Prisoner always looked so grainy on American sets and American shows look so garish on British sets.By garish I mean the color, not the content. 
It also speeds up the film during video from 24 frames to 25fps (i.e. 4%)...which is why in England and the rest of Europe, all Hollywood movies are 4% shorter and the voices of the actors all sound a little squeaky.The way to remember NTSC is "Never-The-Same-Color'.DVD and BluRay went to a thousand- scan lines. The invention of digital screens is making most of this irrelevant.

1961-The Frito Company merges with potato chip makers H.L. Lay to form Frito-Lay. The recipe for Fritos corn chips was bought by milkshake salesman Elmer Doolin from a Mexican fry cook in Texas.

1973- Paul McCartney was fined 100 pounds for growing marijuana on his farm Mull of Kintyre.

1977- Ralph Bakshi’s film Wizardspremiered.

1994- Don Ku invented the ubiquitous little rolling wheeled black suitcase with collapsible handle that bumps into your legs at airports today.


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for 3/06/2019


Birthdays: Michelangelo Buonnarotti, Cyrano De Bergerac, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Phil Sheridan, Lou Costello, Ivan Boesky, Ring Lardner, Gabriele Garcia-Marquez, Valentina Tereschkova the first woman in space, Tom Arnold, Kiri Te Kanawa, Rob Reiner is 72, Alan Greenspan, DC Mayor Marion Barry, Stephen Schwartz is 71, Ed McMahon, Shaquille O’Neal is 47

1853-  Giusseppi Verdi’s classic opera La Traviata premiered at Teatro alla Fenice in Venice. It was based on Dumas novel Le Dame Aux Camelias. Verdi wrote in his diary about the premiere:" The evening was a disaster! Was it my fault or the fault of the singers? Only time will tell..."

1856-  Mr. Simon met Mr. Schuster while buying a piano in New York City and discovered they had a common love of books. They formed Simon & Schuster, one of the most famous publishers in the U.S.

1918- The Navy destroyer USN Cyclops disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle, and has never been found.

1921- The film Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse premiered. The first Hollywood film to earn over one million dollars, and it made a major star out of Rudolf Valentino..

1933- Two days after inauguration Eleanor Roosevelt became the first First Lady to hold her own separate press conference. She insisted only female journalists could attend.

1936- Mr. Clarence Birdseye introduced frozen vegetables.

1978- Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt was shot and crippled by a lunatic. 

1979- The film The China Syndromepremiered. It was about an accident at an American nuclear power plant. Three weeks later the real Three Mile Island accident occurred, boosting the box office. " It's spooky, it's enough to make you religious"said star Michael Douglas.

1981- CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite retired.  Dan Rather succeeded him after CBS learned ABC was offering Rather big bux to jump networks. Roger Mudd, who was thought to be the real successor to Cronkite, left the network to anchor the History Channel. Dan Rather was the CBS anchor until 2004.

1989- Time Inc. merged with Warner Communications to become Time Warner, the largest media conglomerate in the world. They were bought by AOL in 2000 but AOL proved to be dead weight and they resumed control as TimeWarner in 2003.

1992- The film The Lawnmower Man premiered. It featured early motion-capture CGI imagery, and claimed to have the first virtual reality sex scene. 

1998- The Big Lebowskiopened in theaters. The Dude Abides…
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Monday, March 4, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for March 5, 2019


Birthdays: Henry III of England, Giovanni Batista Tiepolo, Explorer Le Sieur de Cadillac the founder of Detroit, Hector Villa-Lobos, Howard Pyle, William Oughtred 1574- inventor of the Slide Rule, Red Rosa Luxemburg, Rex Harrison, Dean Stockwell, Paolo Pasolini, Andy Gibb, Samantha Eggar, Andrej Wajda, Fred Williamson, Penn Gillette is 63, Eva Mendes is 44, Kevin Connolly is 44

1534- Renaissance painter Correggio died when after an argument in the cathedral of Parma with his patrons paid him with sacks of pennies. He grew overheated carrying them all home and died of a fever at age 45.

1717- Giovanni Tiepolo joined the Guild of Saint Lawrence, the artists union in Rome.

1868- Englishman C.H. Gould patented the first stapler.


1922- F.W. Murnau’s eerie film Nosferatu premiered in Berlin.

1963- Country star Patsy Cline died in plane crash near Camden Tenn. Also killed were singers Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins.

1982 - John Belushi died of drug overdose at Chateau Marmont hotel on Sunset Strip. He had done 20 heroin-cocaine speedballs in just 24 hours. A woman named Cathy Smith was charged with administering to him the fatal dose. Robin Williams was with him that night partying also but left early. Belushi was 31. 

1995- Vivian Stanstall, lead singer for the Bonzo Dog Band, died in a fire in his London flat. He had been smoking in bed.

 

 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for March 4, 2019


Birthdays: King Henry II Plantagenet, Antonio Vivaldi, Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal, Count Pulaski, Miriam Makeba, Nancy Wilson, Bernard Haittink, John Garfield, Knute Rockne, Chastity Bono, Ray Boom-Boom Mancini, Patsy Kensit. Katherine O’Hara is 65, James Ellroy, Mykleti Williamson. animator Ward Kimball, animator Ken Duncan

1924- The song “Happy Birthday to You” copyrighted by Claydon Sunny.

1936- Screenwriter Dudley Nichols publicly refuses the Best Screenplay Oscar for John Ford’s “The Informer” as protest in support of the struggling Writer’s Guild.

1946- Alex Raymond's comic strip 'Rip Kirby" premiered.

1952- Ronald Reagan married Nancy Davis at the Little Red Church on Coldwater Canyon blvd. in L.A. William Holden was their best man.

1952- Ernest Hemingway wrote a letter to his publisher:" I've completed a new novel. I think it's my best one to date." The Old Man and the Sea.

1956- Burger King introduced their signature hamburger the Whopper.

1960- American opera baritone Leonard Warren dropped dead on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in the 2nd act of Verdi's La Forza Del Destino.

1961- In the early stages of filming Cleopatra in London, actress Elizabeth Taylor developed pneumonia and slipped into a coma. She would have died, had not doctors at a convention at London’s Dorchester Hotel performed and emergency tracheotomy. When you seen the film today you can still see the tracheotomy scar at the base of her throat.


1994- 375 pound comedian John Candy died of apnea in his sleep. He was 43.

2000- The Japanese launch of Sony Playstation 2. The most anticipated videogame launch in history. 600,000 units were sold. One store in Tokyo’s Ginza had 4,000 people lined up at their door.  It remained a hot for 13 years.

2008- The first Simon’s Cat short cartoon appears on YouTube.



Animation Fun Facts for March 3, 2019


B-Dayz: George Pullman of Pullman Railroad cars, General Matthew Ridgeway, Jean Harlow, Diana Barrymore, Akira Ifukube the composer of the music scores to movies like Godzilla, Tone Loc, Jacky Joyner-Kersee, James Doohan, Ronald Searle, Bruno Bozzetto, Bobby Driscoll, Herschel Walker, George Miller, Miranda Richardson 

1925- The Warner Bros started up LA’s first radio station, KFWB. Their father Ben had coined the letters to mean Keep Fighting Warner Bros, because of their constant bickering. It went through several hands and was sold to a Bollywood music company and changed its letters March 1, 2016. 

1938- The skies over Los Angeles finally clear after two huge Pacific storms ravaged the region, causing massive flooding from Long

Beach to Glendale. The destruction and flooding caused Los Angeles to cover the Los Angeles and Burbank Rivers in concrete, creating the distinctive flood basin the Terminator raced motorcycles and trucks through.

1950- Paramount's "Quack-a-Doodle-Doo" The first Baby Huey cartoon.

1950- Don Herbert teaches millions of kids about science as televisions Mr. Wizard.

1959- Lou Costello, the loveable pudgy comedian of the team Abbott & Costello, died of a heart attack three days before his 53 birthday. 

1966- William Frawley, the bald, gravel-voiced neighbor Fred Murtz on I Love Lucy, had just seen the movie Inside Daisy Cloveron Hollywood Blvd. He was outside the Knickerbocker Hotel when he lit a cigar, then dropped dead of a heart attack. He was 79. When his TV partner Vivian Vance heard the news, she said “Champagne for everyone!” They never liked each other much. She died in 1979.

2001- Despite worldwide outrage, the fundamentalist Taliban of Afghanistan began destroying their nations ancient giant stone Buddhas with dynamite, as graven images.


Saturday, March 2, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for March 2, 2019


Birthdays: Sam Houston, Alexander Graham Bell, Kurt Weill, Desi Arnaz ( Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III ), Ted Geisel aka Dr. Suess, Mikhail Gorbachov, Willis O'Brian, Moe Berg, Karen Carpenter, Lou Reed, Jennifer Jones, John Cullum is 88, John Irving, Tom Wolfe, Jon Bon Jovi is 57, Daniel Craig is 51, animator Stephen Chiodo

1923- THE FIRST TIME MAGAZINE. Founders Henry Luce and Claire Booth Luce were among the more powerful of the nations cultural elite. Conservative to the core -to the end of their days they thought Franklin Roosevelt and Civil Rights were big mistakes, they still experimented with LSD when it was thought by Harvard professors to be mind expanding. In the late 1980's the Time merged with Warner Communications to form Time-Warner, the world's largest media conglomerate.

1933- "KING KONG"s exclusive premiere at the new Radio City Music Hall in New York at the Roxy. It opened in the rest of the country in April. “Twas Beauty killed the Beast.”

1947- Crusading Hollywood union organizer Herb Sorrell was plucked off the street in Glendale by gangsters posing as police. They may not have been just posing, many movie studios at the time hired off-duty LAPD at double time rates to rough up troublesome employees. They drive Herb up to Mulholland and work him over, leaving him by the side of the road. Shortly after leaving the hospital, Sorrell was jailed for disturbing public peace. 

1961- Pablo Picasso married his second wife Jacqueline. He was 80, she was 35. Jacqueline cared for the increasingly reclusive artist and kept even his family at a distance. When Picasso died in 1973, she turned away many family members from the funeral. Jacqueline committed suicide in 1986.

1962- The classic Twilight Zone episode To Serve Man first episode. It’s a Cookbook!

1965- The movie The Sound of Music opened at the Rivoli theater in Manhattan. 

1971- Charles Engelhard died, a venture capitalist whose wild investments and grand lifestyle made him the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s villain Auric Goldfinger.


1973- The Women in Film organization founded.

1976- Francis Ford Coppola began shooting his epic film“ Apocalypse Now” in the Philippines. The film was plagued by cost overruns, a typhoon and his Philippine Army helicopters frequently flying off to fight real guerrillas in the middle of shooting, but somehow it all got done. Today it is considered a classic.

1982- Science Fiction writer Philip K. Dick died of a stroke in Santa Ana, California. The author of stories the movies Blade Runner, Minority Report and Total Recall were based. Dick said he was at times possessed by a superalien who appeared in his mind in a beam of pink light. His autobiography was titled “ I am alive and you are dead.”


Friday, March 1, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for March 1, 2019


Birthdays: Frederic Chopin, Augustus Saint Gaudens, Glen Miller, Harry Belafonte is 91 David Niven, Oskar Kokoschka, Roger Daltry, Robert Conrad, Deke Slayton, Yitschak Rabin. Catherine Bach, Timothy Daly, Ron Howard is 64, Javier Bardem is 50, Zack Snyder is 53

1930- Disney animator Ub Iwerks, the animator/designer of Mickey Mouse, quit the studio to set up his own place. Walt was stunned by the defection of one of his first employees and closest friends. Iwerks studio produced Flip the Frog Cartoons, but it eventually failed, and he'll return to Disney to invent the xerox process. Iwerks partner was Pat Powers, who’s PowersCinephone was the process used to put sound on “Steamboat Willie”. Powers engineered the break between Ub and Walt when Disney refused to let him buy into a co-partnership in Disney Studio. 


1933- Max Fleischer's short cartoon "Snow White" (starring Betty Boop) premiered. Cab Calloway singing the "St. James Infirmary Blues" is a highlight.


1946-The National Cartoonists Society formed.

1951- Frank Sinatra was subpoenaed by the Senate Kefhauver Committee looking into the activities of the Mafia. In deference to Old Blue Eyes public persona, strings were pulled so he was allow to testify in his attorney’s private office high in 30 Rockefeller Plaza at 4:00 a.m.


1961-The Ken Doll introduced. 

1988- Apple introduced the first commercially available CD-ROM drive for your personal computer.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 27, 2019


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 the NBC network, Joanne Woodward, Elizabeth Taylor


1888- Prof. Eadweard Muybridge traveled to Menlo Park NJ for a private meeting with inventor Thomas Edison. There they discussed the possibilities of combining his zoopraxiniscope with Edison’s sound recording machine to create sound movies.  It came to naught. Muybridge left, then Edison had his staff immediately try to copy their own version of Muybridge’s device. Edison concluded, “ I doubt Motion Pictures will have any commercial application beyond the science laboratory. “

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


1941-At the 13thAcademy Awards, for the first time a Walt Disney cartoon did NOT win Best Animated Short.  MGM’s The Milky Waywon.

1956- Elvis Presley released song Heartbreak Hotel.

1958- Columbia Pictures mogul Harry Cohn died of a heart attack at age 66. His ruthlessness was legend in Hollywood. He once said " I don't get ulcers, I give them!" Hedda Hopper said:' You have to wait in line to hate him." The entire Columbia staff was ordered, not requested, to attend a memorial service. Looking at the large crowd around the coffin, Red Skelton quipped: "You see, like Harry always said, give the people what they want, and they'll show up."

1968- CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite, called “The Most Trusted Man in America”, was so shocked by what he saw of the Tet Offensive, that he went on a tour of Vietnam to see for himself. Tonight on his national news program he said he felt the Vietnam War was at best a stalemate, all this suffering for an uncertain goal. After President Johnson watched the broadcast, he said to his aides dejectedly “ If I’ve lost Cronkite, then that means I’ve lost the Middle…”

1991- The Mitchell Brothers were tops in the pornography business, producing blockbusters like Behind the Green Doorand 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.