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. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Animation fun fact for Feb 26, 2019


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


1929- Congress declared the Grand Tetons a national park.

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

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

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


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

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

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 23, 2019


Birthdays: George Fredrich Handel, Samuel Pepys (pronounced 'peeps'), Mayer Amschel Rothschild-1743- founder of the Rothschild banking dynasty, Victor Fleming, W.E.B. DuBois, Johnny Winter, Peter Fonda, William Shirer, Allan MacLeod Cormack-inventor of the CAT Scan, Kelly MacDonald, Tom Bodet, Neal McDonough, Kristin Davis is 54, Dakota Fanning is 25.


1871- C.B. Stone, the mayor of Seattle, embezzled the town’s treasury, $15,000, and skipped town. 

1892- Rudolph Diesel patented the Diesel Engine.

1898- French writer Emile Zola was arrested and charged with libel for his J'Accuse newspaper article that exposed the cover up of the Dreyfus Scandal. He jumped bail and fled to England until the scandal brought down the government.

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

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



Friday, February 22, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 22, 2019


Birthdays: Hungarian King Ladislas the Posthumous-1440, Shah Tahmasp I-1514, George Washington, Frederic Chopin, Edward St. Vincent Millay, John Mills, Edward Gorey, Luis Bunuel, Ted Kennedy, Dr. J- Julius Erving, Dwight Frye- Renfield in Dracula, Sparky Anderson, Sheldon Leonard, Charlie O. Finley, Nicky Lauda, Don Pardo, Jonathan Demme, Jeri Ryan, Lea Salonga, Kyle McLachlan is 58, Rachael Dratch, Steve Erwin, Drew Barrymore is 44


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

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



2009- Slumdog Millionairewon best picture and best cinematography at the 81stAcademy Awards. The first movie to win that was shot completely digital, with no celluloid film used.
  

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 20, 2019



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

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

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

2005- First episode of Seth Green’s Robot Chickenpremiered on TV.


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

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 19, 2019

Quiz: It’s been said America is now a nation dominated by plutocrats. What is a plutocrat?

Yesterdays’ question answered below: What is the Copernican Theory?
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HISTORY FOR 2/19/2019
Birthdays: Copernicus is 1542, Luigi Boccherini, Smokey Robinson, Andre Breton, Lee Marvin, Sir Cedric Hardwicke. Karen Silkwood, Paul Terry, Paul Krause, Merl Oberon, Amy Tam, John Frankenheimer, Jeff Daniels, Benicio Del Toro is 52, Hilary Duff


1878- Thomas Edison patented the phonograph.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 18, 2019


Birthdays: Queen Mary I Tudor -Bloody Mary, Pietro Guarnieri the violin maker, Harry Grover- Seeley one of the founders of Paleontology, Louis Tiffany, Andre Segovia, Wendell Wilkie, Billy de Wolfe, Enzo Ferrarri, Yoko Ono is 86, Jack Palance, Milos Forman, Bobby Bachman of the Bachman Turner Overdrive, Gahan Wilson, Johnny Hart, Matt Dillon is 55, John Travolta is 65, John Hughes, Dr. Dre

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

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


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

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


Animation Fun Facts for Feb 17, 2019


Birthdays: Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, Montgomery Ward, Red Barber, Marian Anderson, C'haim Potok, Jim Brown, Rene Russo, Michael Bay, Jerry O’Connell, Cybil Shepard, Huey Newton, Lou Diamond Phillips is 57, Denise Richards is 48, Paris Hilton is 38, Michael Jordan is 56, Hal Holbrook is 94, Joseph Gordon Levitt is 50

1890- The Los Angeles City Council voted to change the name of their main street, called Fort Street because it led up to the old fort, to Broadway. 

1912- THE NEW YORK ARMORY SHOW-Mabel Dodge and Gertrude Stein introduced the American public to modern art. The first showings of Picasso, Matisse, Duchamp and the Italian futurists in the USA. The show was denounced as a "chamber of horrors" and Matisse was burned in effigy in Chicago. Marcel Duchamp's "Nude Descending a Staircase" was described by an art critic as "an explosion in a shingle factory".  Duchamp was highly gratified, I believe.

1925- First issue of Harold Ross’s The New Yorker magazine. 

1942- Ernst Lubitsch’s screwball comedy "To Be, Or Not To Be" debuted. Adolf Hitler enters a room and after everyone "Sieg Heil" salutes him, he responds "Heil Myself!" But the comedy flopped, in part because it’s female star Carole Lombard had died tragically in a plane crash just before the film opened.

1958 – Johnny Hart’s comic strip "BC" 1st appears.

1967 – The Beatles release "Penny Lane" & "Strawberry Fields"

1979- A Prairie Home Companion radio show starring Garrison Keilor was first broadcast nationally. It was a feature on Minnesota Public Radio since 1974. Garrison retired in 2016 and was accused of Me-Too sexual abuse shortly after.

1989- "Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure" premiered, starring the most excellent Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter. Whoah-Dude!

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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 16, 2019


Birthdays: The Great Elector Frederick William of Brandenburg-Prussia, Henry Adams, Charles Taze Russell founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Edgar Bergen, James Baskett, Sonny Bono, John MacEnroe, Frank Welker, John Schlesinger, Faith Hubley, Katherine Cornell, John Corligiano, Kim Jong Il, Levar Burton is 62, Ice-T is 61

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

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

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


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

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

Friday, February 15, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 15, 2019


Birthdays: Galileo, French King Louis XV, Michael Praetorius, Susan B. Anthony, Charles Tiffany, John Barrymore, Jane Seymour, Cesar Romero, Gale Sondergard, Melissa Manchester, Chris Farley, Claire Bloom, Chris MacDonald, Marissa Berenson is 72, Matt Groening is 65


1950- Walt Disney’s Cinderella opened in general theater release.

1954- Future President and b-movie star Ronald Reagan tried doing a stand-up act at the Las Vegas Ramona Room with the "Honey Brothers", a comedy troupe similar to Abbot & Costello. 

1965- Canada first flies the Maple Leaf flag.

1984- Touchstone Pictures created, so the Walt Disney Company could do more adult PG movies. Their first film was Splash, starring a tastefully topless Darryl Hannah.


1994- After months of insane bidding, Viacom’s Sumner Redstone beat out QVC’s Barry Diller to buy Paramount Pictures. The cost was $20 billion, although the studio’s net worth was estimated at $8 billion. When asked, Diller replied: “What’s done is done. Next.”



Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 14, 2019


Birthdays: Joshua Norton aka Joshua Ist Emperor of the United States 1819, Jack Benny- real name Benjamin Koubeilsky, Frederick Douglas, Christopher Latham Scholes- inventor of the typewriter, George Washington Ferris inventor of the Ferris Wheel, Pier Francesco Cavalli, Jimmy Hoffa, Vic Morrow, Skeezix Wallet (character in Gasoline Alley comic strip), Gregory Hines, Ignaz Friedman, Thelma Ritter, Carl Andersen, Hugh Downs, Jim Kelly, Florence Henderson, Meg Tilly, Alan Parker, Simon Pegg is 48,
Margaret Knight the inventor of the flat bottom paper bag still in use in supermarkets today.  The character Lara Croft, is 51.

Happy Valentines Day!


1886- Los Angeles began to export its first trainload of oranges back east.


1907- Golden Books incorporated. One of their artists was Gustav Tennegren, who would  become the stylist of Walt Disney's Pinnochio.

1920- The League of Women Voters formed.

1927-Alfred Hitchcock’s first suspense film “The Lodger” opened in London.

1931- Tod Browning's film of the play Dracula, starring Hungarian actor's union organizer and recreational morphine addict Bela Lugosi, premiered.

1946-John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert Unveil The ENIAC, the first all electronic circuited computer, started up at the University of Pennsylvania.  

1962- First Lady Jackie Kennedy gave a tour to network television cameras of the private living quarters of the White House. It’s the first time most Americans had ever seen the inside of the Executive Mansion. She worked mostly without a script, adding her own details as she went along. The day after the broadcast, Pres. Kennedy called the FCC just to see how here Nielsen ratings were. They were much higher than his speeches ever were. 


1967- Former kinky pinup model Betty Page married Harry Lear.


1979- Digital music composer Walter Carlos, who scored the film A Clockwork Orange, announced he had undergone a sex change and was now Wendy Carlos.


1991-Meg Ryan married Dennis Quaid.
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Animation Fun Facts for Feb 13, 2019


Birthdays: Giambattista Piazzetta, Bess Truman, Grant Wood, Lord Randolph Churchill, Fyodor Chaliapin, Peter Tork, Oliver Reed, Chuck Yeager, Woody Hayes, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Carol Lynley, Kim Novak is 86, George Segal is 85, Peter Gabriel, Jerry Springer is 73, Stockard Channing is 74, Kelly Hu, Mena Suvari

1863- President Lincoln hosted a wedding reception at the White House for P.T. Barnum star attraction General Tom Thumb and his bride. Lincoln was heavily criticized at the time for having such a frivolous party during the depths of the Civil War. 

1867- The Blue Danube Waltzby Johann Strauss Jr premiered in Vienna.Brahms was a personal friend of Strauss. An anecdote from the time is that Strauss's stepdaughter approached Brahms with a customary request that he autograph her fan. Brahms inscribed a few measures from the "Blue Danube," and then wrote beneath it: "Unfortunately, NOT by Johannes Brahms."

1886- Artist Thomas Eakins resigned in disgust his professorship at the Philadelphia Academy of Art when he was criticized for having women students in his art class drawing male nudes. At that time the men still were fully nude, but wore a kind of thong with a pouch for their junk.

1914- ASCAP founded.

1932- Free Eats, the first Our Gang short comedy to feature Spanky MacFarland.

1933- comic character Blondie married Dagwood Bumstead.

1939- Producer David O. Selznick replaced directors on Gone With the Wind.George Cukor was out, Victor Fleming was in after completingThe Wizard of Oz.Vivien Leigh liked Cukor who was known for directing women, but Clark Gable convinced the producers that the film needed an action director. About 15 minutes of George Cukor’s work remains in the picture. Victor Fleming loved Gable, but didn't get along with Vivien Leigh and came to hate the controlling Selznick. David O. brought in Sam Wood to direct second unit when Fleming fell behind. 

1937- Hal Foster's comic book hero Prince Valiant first appeared. 


60 Years Ago 1959 -Happy Birthday BARBIE! Mattel introduced the plastic nymph, from a German doll named 'Bild Lilli" based on a character in a comic strip by Reinhard Beuthin. Mattel co-owner Ruth Handler had it re-designed and changed to 'Barbie" after the nickname of her daughter Barbara. 

1964- The Invention of Cool Whip.

1996- The off-Broadway musical Rent by John Lawson, premiered

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 12, 2019


BIRTHDAYS-Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin are born on the same day in 1809, although an ocean apart; Austrian Emperor Francis II, Thaddeusz Kosciuszko, Joe Garagiola, Luigi Boccherini, John L. Lewis, Bill Russell, Franco Zeffirelli, Lorne Greene, Joe Don Baker, Arsenio Hall, Christina Ricci is 39, Josh Brolin is 51.



1924- RHAPSODY IN BLUE- Band leader Paul Whiteman had commissioned a rhapsody for Jazz Band from the famous composer George Gershwin. Tonight at a concert at the Aeolian Hall in New York City it premiered in a long bill of "Modern Music". Also on the bill was jazz interpretations of "Yes We have no Bananas" and "Kitten on the Keys." Sergei Rachmaninoff, Fritz Kriesler, Igor Stravinsky and Leopold Stokowski were in attendance.
Interestingly enough Gershwin’s orchestrator was Ferde Grofe’, the composer famous for the Grand Canyon Suite. It was Grofes’ idea to bring in a jazzman named Ross Gorman to do the opening clarinet solo. While rehearsing the piece Gorman took Gershwin’s opening 17 note ascent and ‘smeared’ the riff to the long high note, creating the famous opening. Gershwin liked it so much he told him to play it always that way. 
Gershwin was originally going to call his piece Concert Rhapsody for Jazz Band & Piano or American Rhapsody but his brother Ira Gershwin was inspired by some Whistler paintings he saw recently at a museum called Nocturne in Blue and Green and Harmony in Grey and Green. He suggested Rhapsody in Blue. 


1947- THE BIRTH OF THE 'NEW LOOK' The Paris fashion show where designer Christian Dior defined the look for women of the 1950s into the early 60's: Wasp waists, gloves and patent leather accessories, pleated mid length skirts. 

1964- Miles Davis and his band played Carnegie Hall. 

1967- London police arrest Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Marianne Faithful for doing drugs and doin’the nasty. 

1976- actor Sal Mineo was killed outside his car port in West Hollywood. Marilyn Monroe and Shelley Winters once shared an apartment in the same building. Mineo's murder remained unsolved for many years and there were rumors that he was done in by a gay acquaintance, but the killer turned out to be a routine robber who wanted money.



Monday, February 11, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 11, 2019


Birthdays: Thomas Edison, Leslie Nielsen, Eva Gabor, Tina Louise-Ginger on Gilligan’s Island is 85, Rudolph Firkusny, Joe Mankiewicz, Sidney Sheldon, Burt Reynolds, Sergio Mendes of the band Brazil 66, Al Eugster, Brandy Norwood, Bobby Picket -who recorded the Monster Mash, Jennifer Aniston is 50, Sheryl Crow is 57, Sarah Palin


1936- Famed German Expressionist animator Oscar Fishinger escaped Nazi Germany for the U.S.

1948- Famed Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein died of a heart attack.

1963- Bell Jar author Sylvia Plath laid out bread and butter and two glasses of milk for her children, then stuck her head into an oven and committed suicide. Her poet husband Ted Hughes who had abandoned her, waited until 1998 to tell his side of the story. Hughes wrote stories for his children explaining death like The Iron Giant.

1976- Chuck Jone’s TV special "Mowgli’s Brothers."


1995- Disney Studios planned neighborhood suburban community Celebration opened.

2000- Disney’s The Tigger Moviepremiered.

2005- Playwright Arthur Miller died at 90.

2012- Singer actress Whitney Houston was found dead in her bathtub. She was 48, She was preparing for the Grammy Awards when she had a heart attack and drowned in the water.




Sunday, February 10, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 10, 2019

Birthdays: Former British PM Harold Macmillan, Jimmy Durante, Bertholdt Brecht, Leontyne Price, Roberta Flack, tennis great Bill Tilden, Lon Chaney Jr., Stella Adler, Mark Spitz, Boris Pasternak, Dame Judith Anderson, Greg Norman, Donavan, Dr Alex Comfort author of the Joy of Sex, Michael Apted, Jerry Goldsmith, Robert Wagner, Laura Dern is 52

1870- The town of Anaheim Cal founded. No Disneyland yet. The name means Ana, as in Santa Anna River, and Heim, the German word for home. Most of the settlers were German immigrants.

1888- The City of Long Beach incorporated.

1929- Elsa Lanchester married Charles Laughton.

1938- RKO screwball comedy with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant “ Bringing Up Baby”premiered.


1940- MGM's "Puss gets the Boot"the first Tom and Jerry cartoon and the first collaboration of the team of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.

1949- The premiere of Arthur Miller’s play "Death of a Salesman".

1966- CBS co-ops broadcasting the senate Kennan Hearings on the conduct of the Vietnam War with reruns of "I Love Lucy'. CBS news division president Fred Friendly quit in protest. 

1966- Jaqueline Susanne’s novel The Valley of the Dolls first published. Although critics considered it cheap and trashy- Time Magazine called it “Dirty Book of the Month”, and Truman Capote called Susanne in her heavy sixties eye shadow, a “Truck Driver in Drag” Valley of the Dolls sold like wildfire. Its frank portrayal of single women enjoying casual sex and taking drugs in suburbia was a big step in the sexual revolution of the 1960’s.

1992- The children’s book- The Stinky Cheese Mandebuted.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 9, 2019


Birthdays: Constantine XI Paleaologus- the last Byzantine Emperor 1404, President William Henry Harrison, Samuel Tilden, Carmen Miranda, Alban Berg, Ronald Colman, Ernest Tubb, King Vidor, Mamie Van Doren, Roger Mudd, Alberto Vargas, Carole King, Bill Veeck, Fred Harman, Joe Pesci is 76, Zhang Zhu-Yi, Disney animator Bill Justice, Frank Frazetta, Mia Farrow is 74, Mena Suvari is 40, Ciaran Hinds is 66, Jerry Beck.

1909- The First US narcotics legislation, this one against opium. At this time heroin, morphine and cocaine were all available in patent medicines. Marijuana wasn’t outlawed until after prohibition in the late 1930s. Cab Calloway reminisced about the Reefer Man on the streets of Harlem selling marijuana cigarettes, 3 for 25 cents.

1914- “Mabel’s Strange Predicament” The Max Sennett Keystone short where Charlie Chaplin first donned his baggy pants, little mustache and derby to create The Tramp, one of the most beloved characters in cinema history. He was so famous, even young Adolf Hitler was once admonished to change his mustache, because he looked too much like Chaplin.

1959- The AFL and CIO unite.

1964- Ed Sullivan introduced the English rock band the Beatles to a nationwide TV audience. It was a "Rrrreally Big Shewww!" (Sullivan’s signature line)

1969- The" Lindsay Snowstorm". John Lindsay was the handsome if confused mayor of New York in the sixties of whom the Robert Redford character in "The Candidate" was partially based. He tried to cut budget expenses by stripping New York of it's snowplow fleet, thinking they were unnecessary. The city was immediately paralyzed by 14 inches of snow. Plows had to be brought from as far as Montreal. Even then, he ignored the outer boroughs for days, focusing on Manhattan.

1968-"You did it! You Finally did it! Oh, Damn you all to Hell!!"the film the Planet of the Apes with Charlton Heston premiered.

1971- The Sylmar Quake (6.8) rocks L.A.

1989- In testimony before the New Jersey State Senate World Wrestling Federation President Vince McMahon admit that the sport of wrestling is purely entertainment, and no one actually gets hurt. I’m shocked, shocked!

1990- Singer Del Shannon, who had a hit with the 1961 song Runaway, shot himself with a 22 rifle. Del Shannon was supposed to replace Roy Orbison in the Travelling Wilbury's, the group that featured Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynn.  Orbison had died the previous year of heart failure and the Wilburys were starting to rehearse with Del Shannon.  After Shannon's suicide, the group decided to disband.

2001- Actor Tom Cruise filed for divorce from Nicole Kidman.



Friday, February 8, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 8, 2019


Birthdays: St Proclus of Constantinople 412AD, Jules Verne, Dmitri Mendeleev- inventor of the Periodic Table of Elements, James Dean, William T. Sherman, John Williams is 86, Ivan Ivano-Vano, Lana Turner, Jack Lemmon, Alejandro Rey, Ted Koppel, Nick Nolte, Gary Coleman, Robert Klein, Seth Green


1893- THE FIRST RECORDED STRIPTEASE - discounting Salome. At Paris' famed Moulin Rouge club an artist's model named Mona decided to get an edge in a beauty contest judged by art students by disrobing to music while walking up and down the stage. She was arrested and fined 100 francs and the students rioted. 


1914- THE FIRST TRUE CHARACTER ANIMATION- Windsor McCay's "Gertie the Dinosaur" premiered as part of a vaudeville act. Up to then most U.S. animations were attempts to bring popular newspaper comic characters to life, but Gertie was a new character never before seen. Some critics had wondered if animated characters weren’t some kind of man in a special suit, so McCay drew a dinosaur, a character that couldn’t possibly be impersonated by any living thing.  The brilliant draftsmanship and timing of this film would inspire the generation of Animation artists of the Golden Age of the 1930's-40s.

1915- THE BIRTH OF A NATION or The Clansman premiered at Clunes Auditorium in Los Angeles. Film pioneer D.W. Griffith's racist movie was considered for many years the first American feature length film. The discovery in 1999 of a 1913 Richard III film predates it. Son of a Confederate veteran, it’s been thought that Griffith was making a personal statement, truth is there was a flood of films to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil War and the book the Clansman by Thomas Dixon was a best seller. President Woodrow Wilson (another son of the Confederacy) endorsed the film, when he called it :"History written with a thunderbolt and I’m afraid all too true." 

Birth of a Nations’ inflammatory imagery and this politically incorrect Presidential endorsement helped a rebirth of the defunct Ku Klux Klan, and caused an increase in lynching.  But despite the film’s politics, it’s technique influenced world cinema and established once and for all the feature film length as the standard for all future motion pictures. Its original running length was 3 hours. 

   D.W. Griffith in later years lost his fortune and became a drunken has-been. Watching him at Chasen's Restaurant in the 1940’s beg MGM studio head Dore Schary for work, inspired Billy Wilder to write SUNSET BLVD. 

1924, the first execution by gas chamber in the United States took place at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City. It took Chinese gang member Gee Jong six minutes to die. 

1928- Englishman John Logie Baird transmitted a still television image across the Atlantic from England to Hartsdale New York. It was a still image of a woman. 

1960- Adolph Coors III the heir to the Coors beer empire was killed in a failed kidnapping attempt. Joseph Corbett Jr was apprehended in Canada and charged with the crime. Ironically, Adolph Coors was reputedly allergic to beer.

1961- Nebraska teenager and future movie star Nick Nolte was busted for the first time. He was accused of selling fake Draft cards so his friends could buy alcohol. 

1967- Georgy Girlby the Seekers goes to #1 in pop charts.

1976 - TAXI DRIVER, directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader, starring Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, Cybill Shepherd, Peter Boyle, and Albert Brooks, was released.

1994- Screaming, “ You cut me off!” Jack Nicholson destroyed the windshield of a neighbor’s car with a golf club. He settled the matter out of court.

2001- Walt Disney’s California Adventure theme park opened.

2007- Anna Nicole Smith, centerfold, pole dancer, heiress and reality TV star, died from an overdose of prescription drugs. She was 39.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 7, 2019


Birthdays: St. Thomas Moore, Eubie Blake, Sinclair Lewis, Larry "Buster" Crabbe, Laura Ingalls Wilder writer of Little House on the Prairie, Gay Talese, James Spader is 59, Chris Rock is 54, Eddie Izzard is 57, Ashton Kutcher is 41

1900- In Barcelona a new young talent named Pablo Picasso had his first show. 

1910- The Town of Hollywood was absorbed into the growing City of Los Angeles.


1931- Aviatrix Amelia Earhart married publisher George Putnam.

1939, Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleepwas published. Chandler was a 51year old ex-oil company executive who had taken up writing at the age of 45, after being fired for alcohol-soaked absenteeism. Over the previous five years he had published enough crime stories in the pulp magazines to survive, but this was his first novel, the first of seven featuring the inimitable detective Philip Marlowe.

1940- Disney's second animated feature "Pinocchio" opened at the Central Theater in Manhattan. It cost a staggering $2.6 million to make. 


1964- THE BRITISH ROCK INVASION BEGAN. Thousands of screaming fans welcomed THE BEATLES to New York for their first U.S. Tour. The last music out of England to be taken seriously by Americans was The Lambeth Walk, now the UK announced itself as a powerhouse of rock & roll. For a Brit to do Rock & Roll in America was as audacious as an American reciting Shakespeare in Stratford, but the welcome for the Beatles was so overwhelming that other bands like the Rolling Stones and Herman’s Hermits soon followed. 

1964- The GI Joe action figure born. In 1974 it got the Kung-Fu Grip.


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 6, 2019


Birthdays: Christopher Marlowe, Eva Braun, Ronald Reagan, Francois Truffaut, Babe Ruth, Elias Disney- Walt’s dad, Bob Marley, Queen Anne I of England, Aaron Burr, Robert Townsend, Mike Farrell, Tom Brokaw, Mike Maltese, Haskel Wexler, Axel Rose, Patrick McKnee- Mr Steed of the Avengers, Thurl Ravenscroft the voice of Tony the Tiger, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Kathy Naijimy is 62, Rip Torn, Marty Sklar 

1926- Oliver Hardy tried once to be a dancer in a minstrel show, but wound up running a movie theater in his hometown of Milledgeville, Georgia. He watched the comics on screen and thought" I am better than those guys." He went to Hollywood, and this day signed a contract with the Hal Roach Studios to appear in short comedies, usually as a villain. Next year director Leo McCarey teamed the rotund Hardy with skinny English music hall comedian Stan Laurel, and a legendary team was born- Laurel & Hardy.  Interesting Note: Laurel & Hardy were both over 6 feet tall.

1935- The board game Monopoly is introduced by Parker Brothers. The prototype monopoly board was round oilcloth and had street names derived from Atlantic City NJ. 

1937- John Steinbeck’s novel “Of Mice and Men” published. In a result Mr Steinbeck probably didn’t anticipate, was the stereotype image of a mildly autistic man as the big dumb sidekick Lenny, cartoonists used so often. “Duh, tell me about da rabbits, George.”

1938- The first automatic donut making machine invented in Dubuque, Iowa.

1943- “GET ME GEISLER!” Actor Errol Flynn was acquitted of two counts of sex with adolescents, which even if it is consensual is still considered statutory rape. The two women who brought the charges had actually tried this shakedown with other celebrities. They weren't exactly adolescents, despite testifying in court with pigtails and a lollypop. Flynn hired lawyer to the stars Jerry Geisler and he slowly took the women story apart. Geisler discovered one had a prior conviction for 'public lewdness' and the other had an abortion, which then was illegal. So Flynn got off- literally. 

Flynn had just finished a film called "Gentleman Jim" and at the end of the film when he says to Alexis Smith: "I never said I was a Gentleman." Peals of knowing laughter rang out from audiences. This is also the time the slang term for living it up was coined- to be “In Like Flynn”. Flynn’s limo soon sported the license plate- R U 18?

1956- Invasion of the Body Snatchersopened in theaters.

1974- John Boorman’s sci-fi cult classic Zardozpremiered. Sean Connery in his red jock-strap. 

1985- Steve Wozniak, the young engineer who started Apple Computer with Steve Jobs in his garage, retired from running the company. He’d rather work as an engineer and teach children. He also returned to Berkeley to complete his undergraduate degree, under the name Rocky Clark. Rocky was the name of his dog. .

2018- First launch of the Space X Falcon Heavy, the first privately owned reusable rocket, capable of taking people to the Moon or Mars. This rocket took into orbit entrepreneur Elon Musk’s personal red sports car with a dummy astronaut in the drivers seat, with the music playing David Bowie’s Space Oddity in an endless loop. Also the words from Hitchhiker’s Guide Don’t Panic in a panel in the dashboard.


Monday, February 4, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 5, 2019


Birthdays: Sir Robert Peel founder of London’s police force- the Bobbies, outlaw Belle Starr, John Carradine, William Burroughs, Arthur Ochs Schulzburger, Hank Aaron is 86, Tim Holt, Barbera Hershey, Charlotte Rampling, Roger Staubach, Michael Mann is 765, Bobby Brown, H. R. Giger, Red Buttons, Christopher Guest, Jennifer Jason Leigh is 58, Laura Linney is 55, Michael Sheen is 50


Gong Xi Fa Chai! Happy Year of the Pig.

1887- Verdi’s opera "Otello" debuted. Guiseppi Verdi had retired from composing after 1875, but was goaded by a new generation of composers like Arrigo Boito to take up his pen once more. 


1916- Enrico Caruso recorded O Solo Mio for the Victor Talking Machine Co.

1919- Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith sign papers to form the United Artists Studio. The press teased “ The Lunatics have taken over the asylum!”

1921- The Loews State Theater in Chicago opened.

1922- The Reader’s Digest began publication.

1937- Charlie Chaplin’s film Modern Timesopened in theaters. Chaplin was inspired to lampoon modern technological madness when he was invited to view the auto assembly production lines in Detroit and saw men moving like machines. 

1944- British scientists at Bletchley Park booted up the Colossus Mark I, a huge early computer used to decode Hitler’s secret messages. Eleven more Colossus computers were built. After the war all but one were destroyed with sledgehammers, and the scientists put under a vow of secrecy for thirty years. 

1952- New York City is the first to adopt the three light traffic lights-red, yellow, green.

1953- Walt Disney’s "Peter Pan" opened in theaters.

1956- Darryl Zanuck resigned from 20th Century Fox, the studio he built into a powerhouse. He later won back the chairmanship in 1962 only to be ousted finally in 1970 by a consortium led by his own wife and son.

1957- Mel Lazarus’ comic strip Miss Peach debuted.


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 4, 2019


Birthdays: Francois Rabelais, Big Bill Haywood, Fernand Leger', Charles Lindbergh, the Agha Khan, Betty Friedan, Rosa Parks, Erich Liensdorf, Alice Cooper is 70, Dan Quayle, Ida Lupino, Conrad Bain, McKinlay Kantor, George Romero, Lisa Eichhorn, boxer Oscar De La Hoya, Clyde Tumbaugh amateur astronomer who discovered the Pluto in 1930. Janet Waldo the voice of Judy Jetson


1826- James Fenimore Cooper’s novel “The Last of the Mohicans” was published. The character of wild frontiersman Natty Bumpo, called Hawkeye, has been referred to as the first American superhero.

1961- United Artists released The Misfits, the last film of stars Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift. John Huston directed and Arthur Miller wrote the screenplay. The film flopped in its initial run but has since gained classic status.


1966- Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, Disney’s first Winnie the Pooh film came out with the live action film The Ugly Dachshund.
(***Now stop what you are doing and sing the Winnie the Pooh Song!!)

1968- Old beatnik Neal Cassady was found dead in Mexico. Cassady was not an intellectual but his wild non-conformist lifestyle was the inspiration for his companion author Jack Kerouac to write his greatest novel " On the Road'. While Kerouac disliked hippies, Cassady drove the first Hippie Bus filled with LSD advocates like Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. 

1983- Pop singer Karen Carpenter died of anorexia-nervosa. She was 32 and weighed only 77 pounds. Her death brought to national prominence how the societal pressure to stay thin could lead to this deadly condition. 

2004- Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, and Chris Hughes launched their social networking site called Facebook. 

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 3, 2019


Birthdays- French King Charles VI the Mad –1380, Felix Mendelson-Bartoldy, Horace Greely, Gideon Mantell 1790-pioneer British fossil hunter that named the Iguanadon, Pretty Boy Floyd, Gertrude Stein, Norman Rockwell, James A. Michener, Joey Bishop, Shelley Berman, Bob Griese, Fran Tarkenton, John Fiedler the voice of Piglet, Victor Buono, Blythe Danner is 76, Morgan Fairchild is 69, Nathan Lane is 63

1920- The play Beyond the Horizon premiered. The first hit of a young man who tried to drink himself to death, but instead became a playwright- Eugene O’Neill.

1930- Roy Disney signed a deal with M. George Borgfeldt Co. of New York to sell figurines of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Disney merchandising is born!

1945- Walt Disney’s The Three Caballeros premiered.

1948- The first Cadillac’s with big rear tail fins were produced.

1953- Jacques Cousteau, inventor of the Aqua Lung published The Silent World, and later made a film version of the book with Louis Malle.

1973- Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law.

1986- After three months of negotiations, Steve Jobs signed papers to purchase the George Lucas Film Graphics Division, now under their new name Pixar Inc.

1989- Swiss firm L'Oreal/Nestle bought animation studio Filmation from Westinghouse and shut it down laying off 229 artists the day before a new federal regulation requiring a company give it's employees 60 day notice before closing went into effect. 

2003-Legendary rock and roll producer Phil Spector shot his girlfriend B-Movie actress Lana Clarkson at his LA mansion. Spector created the Wall of Sound concert technique and produced for the Beatles, Diana Ross and Lenny Bruce among many others. 
The few days before, Phil Spector said to the British Daily Telegraph, “. I would say I'm probably relatively insane, to an extent. I take medication for schizophrenia, but I wouldn't say I'm schizophrenic. I have a bipolar personality, which is strange.”

2013- American supersniper Chris Kyle spent his time back from the Iraq War helping men suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome by taking them hunting. Today he took out a vet named Jodi Routh. At a shooting range, Routh turned his weapon on Kyle and shot him. Shortly before he was killed, Kyle texted his wife about Routh “ This guy is straight-up nuts.”




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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 2, 2019


Birthdays: Tallyrand, Charlie Halas a co-founder of the NFL, James Joyce, Ayn Rand, Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifitz, Abba Eban, Farrah Fawcett, Garth Brooks, Christie Brinkley, Tommy Smothers, Stan Getz, James Dickey, Liz Smith, Elaine Stritch, Brent Spinner is 70, Shakira is 42

1870- Samuel Clemens also known as Mark Twain, married Olivia Langdon or Livy.

1910- D.W. Griffith's' In Old California', sometimes called the first Hollywood film.

1913- New York’s Grand Central Station opened.

1922- the novel "Ulysses" is published. James Joyce had finished the book months earlier but delayed publishing until his birthday, when it would be 2/2/22, which he considered lucky.

1922- Twenty one year old Walt Disney founded Newman's Laff-O-Grams in Kansas City.

1940- Soviet dictator Stalin had futurist theater director Vselevod Meyerhold shot.
At the time of his arrest Meyerhold’s wife Zinaida was stabbed to death. Neighbors who heard her screams assumed they were rehearsing a new play.

1957- Elizabeth Taylor married producer Mike Todd. Todd was killed in a plane crash a year later. Despite her famous association with Richard Burton, Taylor later said Mike Todd was the only man she ever truly loved.

1961- In a little Greenwich Village nightclub called the Blue Angel a young stand up comic got his first debut. His name was Woody Allen

1963- In England, singer Helen Schapiro was on tour.  On the lower end of her program card was a new band called the Beatles.

1966- Woody Allen married Louise Lasser.


1971- Murakami-Wolf's TV special "The Point" with Dustin Hoffman narrating and Harry Nilsson's music. In 1973, Hoffman's track was re-recorded by Ringo Starr for some reason. “Me and my Ar-row…”

1979- Sid Vicious, lead singer for the punk band The Sex Pistols, was found dead of a drug overdose. The 21 year old was awaiting trial for the stabbing death of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen.

1985- O.J. Simpson married Nicole Brown Simpson.

1997- Nationally known sportscaster Marv Albert allegedly had an evening of sex and porn with a prostitute. At one point he bit the lady on the back. He was tried for lewd behavior and his career tanked.

2006- The Cartoon Riots. A Danish newspaper printed a political cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed with his turban shaped like a bomb. This so offended the Moslem world that rioting broke out in Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jakharta and European capitols. Grenades were thrown at Danish embassies and Danish nationals made to flee. Cartoonist Peter Westergaard dodged a Somali man who attacked him with an axe, and even today needs a bodyguard. 

2014- Actor Phillip Seymour-Hoffman died of a drug overdose.


Friday, February 1, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 1, 2019


Birthdays: Victor Herbert, Langston Hughes, Renata Tebaldi, Clark Gable, John Ford, George Pal, Terry Jones, Jim Thorpe, Sherman Helmsley, Lisa Marie Presley, Garrett Morris, Boris Yeltsin, Billy Mumy is 65, Pauly Shore, Sherilyn Fenn is 54, Michael C. Hall is 48

1887- California land developer Harvey Wilcox takes out a county deed for a new ranch he calls 'Hollywoodland' after the name of an estate his wife admired back in Connecticut. It gave its name to the new Los Angeles town- Hollywood. The famous sign was put up in 1923.

1893- In New Jersey Thomas Edison and his Canadian engineer W. K. Dickson built the FIRST MOTION PICTURE STUDIO in New Jersey.  It was covered with black tar paper and nicknamed "The Black Mariah" because that was the nickname of police paddy wagons that it resembled.  It's debatable how much of the inventing effort was more Dickson than Edison.  Edison was only marginally interested in the movies. He was more concerned with how to extract New Jersey iron ore from rocks using magnets. Dickson worked himself into the hospital to make the studio work, and resenting Edison’s apathy started experimenting on his own. When Edison found out he fired him.

1896- Puccini's opera "La Boheme" debuts in Turin. It was based on Prosper Merimee’s popular book Bohemian Sketches. Puccini's old roommate Piero Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana) with whom Puccini and he once lived like Bohemian artists, tried to sue because he was writing a Boheme' also. The suit failed and Mascagni released his rival version, but it didn't hold up in comparison with Puccini's.

1915- The Fox Film Company formed (Later Twentieth Century Fox).

1964- Indiana Governor Matthew Walsh declares that the Rock & Roll song “Louie-Louie” by the Kingsmen was pornographic and should be banned. The FCC investigated and their conclusion was that the “lyrics are unintelligible at any speed”. The song remained a major hit.  In the 1980’s several schools in Northern Cal held Louie-Louie Marathons-96 straight hours of Louie-Louie played by Punk bands, polka bands, string quartets, water-glasses, and folk trios. Whoah whoah, Me gotta go, yo,yo yo yo.



1990- Siegfried & Roy open their exclusive show at the Mirage Casino in Las Vegas. They and their white tigers have performed for Hollywood stars, presidents and Pope John Paul II. One Vegas columnist noted: “When Elvis performed in Vegas there were some empty seats. But there were nothing but full houses when Siegfried & Roy performed.” The act was finally ended when Roy’s throat was slashed by a tiger in 2003.