Thursday, May 30, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 30, 2019


Birthdays: Czar Peter the Great, Benny Goodman, Mel Blanc, Stepin Fetchit, Boris Pasternak, Irving Thalberg, Milt Neil, Howard Hawks, Gale Sayers, Michael J. Pollard, Wynonna, Keir Dullea is 83, Ceelo Green is 44, Idina Menzel is 48



1919- Hollywood entrepreneur Charles Tolman bought a natural declivity north of Hollywood Blvd called Daisy Dell. People had been picnicking in the grass there for years. Now Tolman wanted to build a concert amphitheatre. Conductor Hugo Kirchhofer remarked “ It looks like a big bowl!” So it became the Hollywood Bowl thereafter. 


1955- The day before the movie The Seven Year Itch opened, the New York chapter of the Catholic League of Decency pressured Loews Theater on Broadway to take down a giant 30-foot billboard of Marilyn Monroe trying to push her skirt down.


1962- Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem had its first performance.

1972- Director choreographer Bob Fosse filmed a live performance of Liza Minelli’s one-woman show Liza with a Z. It was telecast in Sept. and became a sensation.


2003- Pixar’s Finding Nemo opened. 


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 29, 2019


Birthdays: John F. Kennedy, King Charles II (the "Merry Monarch"), Bob Hope, G. K. Chesterton, Patrick Henry, Oswald Spengler, T.H. White, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Josef Von Sternberg, LaToya Jackson, John Hinckley Jr., Al Unser Jr., Beatrice Lilly, Danny Elfman, Annette Bening is 61, Melissa Etheridge is 58, Rupert Everett is 60


1606- Michel Caravaggio the artist shot a man over a tennis match. Caravaggio was a mad-artist before the term was invented.  The police records of Rome show the master painter constantly in trouble, seducing man, woman and child, throwing rocks at soldiers, stabbing waiters, etc.

1911 -The first Indianapolis 500

1912- 15 young women were fired by the Curtis Publishing Company for dancing "Turkey Trot" during their lunch break.

1941-THE GREAT WALT DISNEY CARTOONISTS STRIKE.. The picket line and campsite went up across the street where St. Joseph's Hospital is today. Chef's from nearby Toluca Lake restaurants would cook for the strikers on their off time and the aircraft mechanics of Lockheed promised muscle if any ruff stuff was threatened.   

Picketers included Hank Ketcham (Dennis the Menace), Walt Kelly and Margaret Selby (later Kelly) (Pogo), Bill Melendez (A Charlie Brown Christmas), Steve Bosustow and John Hubley (Mr. Magoo), Maurice Noble and Chuck Jones (What's Opera Doc?), George Baker (Sad Sack), Dick Swift ("the Parent Trap") Frank Tashlin (Cinderfella) Ade Woolery (Playhouse), and four hundred others. Animators from Warner Bros. MGM and Walter Lantz marched with their Disney brothers and sisters, because they knew this was where the fate of their entire industry would be settled. Celebrities like Dorothy Parker and John Garfield gave speeches. The studio claimed no one of importance was on strike. 

The strike was eventually settled by Federal arbitration and a little arm twisting by the Bank of America. Many of the artists who left the studio afterwards set up U.P.A. and pioneered the modern 1950's style.

1942- JOHN BARRYMORE- The great dramatic actor, the first American to dare to play Hamlet in England, died of his many vices at age 60. Whether the infamous prank actually happened where Raoul Walsh, Bertholdt Brecht, Peter Lorre, W.C. Fields and some others (the "Bundy Drive Boys") kidnapped Barrymore's body from Pierce Brothers Funeral Home and propped it up at the poker table to scare the willys out of Errol Flynn is a matter of debate. Flynn and Paul Heinried said it was true, writer Gene Fowler said it was false. .
     John Barrymore's last words were to screenwriter Gene Fowler:
   "Say Gene, isn't it true you are an illegitimate son of Buffalo Bill?"

1942- Bing Crosby recorded "White Christmas," debatably the greatest selling record of all time.

1954- New York Police raid the studio of Irving Klaw, the photographer of the Betty Page kinky pin-up photos. Klaw tried to appeal to the Supreme Court but couldn’t get a hearing.


1956- Hollywood director James Whale (Frankenstein, The Invisible Man) drowned in his pool. His career was over and his health was deteriorating from a series of strokes. Bruises were found on his head and at first the police suspected foul play. It wasn’t until 1989 his gay partner made his suicide note public. His head had struck the pool’s bottom as he jumped in causing the bruise.

1973 - Columbia Records fired president Clive Davis for misappropriating
$100, 000 in funds, Davis then founded Arista records.

1987 –pop singer Michael Jackson attempted to buy the XIX century remains of Joseph Meredith a.k.a. the Elephant Man.

1999- Hikers in Malibu California discover the remains of Phillip Taylor, the bass guitar player of the 60’s band Iron Butterfly. The musician had disappeared four years before. Now his skeleton was found sitting in his Ford Aerostar at the bottom of a steep ravine.



Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 28, 2019


Birthdays:Solomon 970 BC, Noah Webster, Dr. Joseph Guillotine, William Pitt the Younger, General Pierre Beauregard, Ian Fleming, Jim Thorpe, The Dion Identical Quintuplets 1930, Gladys Knight, Jerry West, Dietrich Fisher-Deiskau, Sandra Locke, T-Bone Walker, Taffy Abel (one of the first professional hockey stars), John Fogarty is 74, Carey Mulligan is 34, Carol Baker is 88.

1929 - 1st all color talking picture, "On With the Show" exhibited (NYC).

1935- Tortilla Flat published. The first novel by John Steinbeck.


1941- THE WALT DISNEY STRIKE- Labor pressures had been building in the Magic Kingdom since promises made to artists over the success of Snow White were reneged on, and Walt Disney’s lawyer Gunther Lessing encouraged a hard line with his employees. On this day, in defiance of federal law, Walt Disney fired animator Art Babbitt, the creator of Goofy, and thirteen other cartoonists for demanding a union. Babbitt had emerged as the union movements’ leader. Studio security officers escorted him off the lot. 
That night in an emergency meeting of the Cartoonists Guild, Art’s assistant on Fantasia, Bill Hurtz, made the motion to strike, and it was unanimously accepted. Bill Hurtz will later go on to direct award winning cartoons like UPA’s "Unicorn in the Garden". Picket lines go up next day in cartoon animation’s own version of the Civil War.

 Walt Disney nearly had a nervous breakdown over the strike and a federal mediator was sent by Washington to arbitrate. In later years, Uncle Walt blamed the studio’s labor ills on Communists. The studio unionized completely, but the hard feelings remained for their rest of their lives.

1954- Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murderin 3D premiered.

1960- George Zucco 74, a character actor who specialized in horror movies like Blood from the Mummies Hand, died. One version says he died of fright in a mental hospital in San Gabriel California. He was convinced that H.P. Lovecraft's Great God Cthulu was after him. He actually died of natural causes in a nursing home.

1966- the It’s a Small World exhibit, which had been created for the 1964 NY Worlds Fair, reopened at Disneyland, California. 

1977- George Lucas film Star Warsopened in general release across the country.

1981- The Bambi Murders- Police hunt Playboy Bunny Bambi Bemenek for shooting her husband’s ex-wife in Milwaukee. She was captured but escaped prison in 1990. 
Just follow the little stiletto high heel footprints.


1983- “What a Feeling” the theme from the film Flashdanceby Irene Cara and Giorgio Moroder reached the top of the pop charts. Everyone dancing with leggings and baggy sweaters.

1998- Saturday Night Live comedian Phil Hartman was shot to death by his wife Brynne as he slept. She was a heavy drinker and pill user. At 6:00am as the LAPD were knocking Brynne turned the gun on herself.

2005- The great London clock Big Ben mysteriously stopped for 45 minutes. 

2005- Actress Lindsay Lohan was photographed passed out in her car shortly after a court hearing for a previous DUI.



Monday, May 27, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 27, 2019


Birthdays: James 'Wild Bill' Hickock, Julia Ward Howe, Aemelia Jenks-Bloomer, Dashell Hammett, Vincent Price, Dr. Henry Kissinger is 97, Leopold Goldowsky (the inventor of Kodachrome film), Hubert H. Humphrey, Herman Wouk, Harlan Ellison, Christopher Lee, Joseph Feines, Richard Schiff is 64, Peri Gilpin, Paul Bettany is 48

1874- Prostitution was outlawed in Los Angeles central business district.

1895 - British inventor Burt Acres patented a film camera/projector

1930- HAPPY BIRTHDAY SCOTCH TAPE -Chemist Richard Drew of Saint Paul Minnesota invented cellophane tape, marketed by the 3M Company under the brand Scotch. It was called Scotch after the stereotype perception that Scots people are frugal with money, so it’s a good value. Three years later Drew invented Masking Tape as a way for car manufacturers to paint cars two tone.


1933- Disney’s cartoon “The Three Little Pigs” premiered, whose song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” became a national anthem of recovery from the Great Depression. 
Director of the short Burt Gillette left Disney afterwards to run the Van Beuren Studio in New York. 

1948- Walt Disney feature Melody Time released, featuring Pecos Bill. 

1949- Actress Rita Hayworth married Arab playboy Prince Aly Khan. Prince Aly Khan, 1911-1960, was born in Italy a son of dispossessed Pakistani royalty to the Aga Khan II. He lived his life as an international playboy, socialite and sportsman, making love to women from actress Rita Hayworth to Winston Churchill’s daughter-in-law Pamela Churchill-Harriman. Cole Porter wrote him into a song. He died when he crashed his sportscar in France

1961 – The first black light is sold

1969 – Construction on Walt Disney World Florida began.

1977-Punk band The Sex Pistols release their hit God Save the Queen, the Fascist Regime, in time for the Queen’s Jubilee year. She preferred the Beatles’ All You Need is Love.

1995- Actor Christopher Reeve was left paralyzed from the neck down after falling from his horse in an equestrian event in Charlottesville, Va.  He became a spokesman for stem-cel research, but his effort in the US was frustrated by powerful religious lobbyists. Christopher Reeves died in 2004.


Sunday, May 26, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 26, 2019


Birthdays: The Duke of Marlborough, Pope Clement VII the Medici Fox-1478, Mary Wollenstonecraft Godwin 1759- early feminist writer and mother of Mary Shelley, Alexander Pushkin, Isadora Duncan, Norma Talmadge, Paul Lukas, John Wesley Hardin the shootist, John Wayne, Al Jolson, Jay Silverheels (Tonto), Peter Cushing, Robert Morley, Peggy Lee, Sally Ride, Pam Grier is 70, Helen Bonham Carter is 53, Bobcat Golthwaite is 59, Matt Stone the co-creator of South Park

1897- A novel by a London theatre manager named Abraham “Bram” Stoker appeared in bookstores.  It was titled Dracula. 

1913- Actors Equity formed.

1933- Jimmy Rogers "the Singing Brakeman", considered the father of modern country music, died of tuberculosis at age 31. Shortly before his death he recorded a song called "TB Blues". 

1960- THE MOULIN ROUGE AGREEMENT- Las Vegas gambling casinos finally integrate. Frank Sinatra played a big part in lobbying the Vegas Mob guys to change with the times. The Moulin Rouge was the first completely integrated casino.

1962- The Isley Brothers single “Twist & Shout” released.

1969- John Lennon and Yoko Ono have their "Bed-In for Peace" news conference in New York. One of the more acerbic exchanges was one Lennon had with Lil' Abner cartoonist and curmudgeon Al Capp.
  
1995- Looney Tunes director Friz Freleng died at age 89.

1995- In a memo to Microsoft, founder Bill Gates declared the Internet the “most important single development” since the personal computer.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 25, 2019


Birthdays: Miles Davis, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Josef Broz Tito, Igor Sikorsky, Pontormo, Bennett Cerf, Claude Akins, Leslie Uggams, Bill Bojangles Robinson, Frank Oz (Richard Frank Oznowicz), Beverly Sills, Robert Ludlum, Anne Heche, Irwin Winkler, Mike Myers is 56, Ray Stevenson is 55, Ian McKellen is 80

1878- Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore premiered at the Savoy in London.


1911- Thomas Mann visited Venice Italy. On the Lido Beach he was inspired to write A Death in Venice.

1932-Mickey’s Revue, the first Disney cartoon that featured the character that would eventually be called Goofy.

1942- First day shooting on the film “Casablanca”.



1946- Chuck Jones cartoon Hare Raising Hare, where Bugs meets a large shaggy monster named Gossamer “ Monsters are such interesting people…”

1957- Sid Caesar's Your Show of Show's canceled after nearly a decade. The show used future star writers like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Woody Allen and Neil Simon.  They pioneered the executive strategy of producer Sylvester “Pat” Weaver to not let the show be owned by an entire sponsor, but the network would produce the show and would sell the sponsor commercial time in 30 second chunks. Pat Weaver’s daughter is Sigorney Weaver. Your Show of Showswas finally bested in the ratings by The Lawrence Welk Show.

1968- The Rolling Stones release the song Jumping Jack Flash

50 Anniv. 1969- John Schlesinger’s film Midnight Cowboy premiered. The first X-rated film to ever win the Oscar for Best Film. “ Hey! I’m walking here!”

1977- The premiere of George Lucas’ movie Star Wars. The movie opened on the 28th. After Universal passed, Twentieth Century Fox picked up the distribution but let the backend go to Lucas, because they didn't think the film would do any serious business. Even George Lucas didn’t expect the film to break even. Fox's market research department told studio head Alan Ladd Jr:  a. don't make this movie; no one will go see a science fiction movie; and b. change the title; no one will go see a movie with "War" in the title.  Fox executives had predicted the studios monster hit for that summer would be "Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry" with Peter Fonda and Susan George. 
Star Warswas a monster hit. It was like there were no other movies playing that summer. It sold out Grauman’s Chinese in Hollywood 50 weeks in a row. George Lucas became a seriously rich man and developed THX sound, digital animation and Industrial Light and Magic special effects. The film’s popularity ran so ahead of expectations, that at Christmas when you purchased a Star Wars game you got a box with a pink IOU note in it pledging to get you the game when they printed more. 

1979- Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic Alienopened. It featured the exotic designs of Swiss artist Giger, and John Hurt with a classic case of chest pains!

1983- Return of the Jediopened. It was originally Revenge of the Jedi, but George Lucas changed the name just a month before.





Friday, May 24, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 24, 2019


Birthdays: Jean Paul Marat, Queen Victoria, Walt Whitman, Emmanuel Leutze, Gary Burghoff, Priscilla Presley, Patti LaBelle, Tommy Chong of Cheech & Chong, Peter Ellenshaw, Kristin Scott Thomas is 59, Alfred Molina is 66, Jim Broadbent is 70, John C. Reilly is 54, Bob Dylan is 78

1830 –The poem "Mary Had A Little Lamb," was written.

1844- Samuel Morse sent the first telegraph message. From Washington to Baltimore it said: "What Hath God Wrought?" The message was from the Bible- Numbers 23:23.
Samuel Morse considered himself an artist first and did a little inventing to pay the bills. He heard a French inventor had speculated about the idea of telegraphy so he decided to build a working model and invented the Morse code system of representing letters with dots and dashes. Members of Congress and octogenarian former First Lady Dolly Madison were present at the ceremony.  By the decade’s end, twenty thousand miles of telegraph wire crisscrossed the country. 

1850- America’s first nationwide illustrated newspaper/magazine Harpers Weekly began.

1866 - Berkeley, California founded, named for George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne.

1929- The Marx Brothers first movie comedy” The Coconuts” premiered.

1935- The first Baseball night game- Reds vs. Phillies.


1941- Paramount Pictures seized control of the Max Fleischer Studio in Miami. They allowed Max and Dave Fleischer another 26 weeks to complete their projects in house but as Paramount employees. They had to sign “resignations in blank” to be exercised at Paramount’s discretion when the 26 weeks were up. Max and Dave quit by then anyway. The studio was re-organized as Famous Studio, and moved back to New York in Jan 1943. 

1949- The city of Shanghai was captured from the KMT by the communist Peoples Liberation Army of Mao tse Dong.

1950- Married movie star Ingrid Bergman shocked American morality by having an open love affair with neorealist film director Roberto Rosselini. This day they were finally married but the outcry of conservatives about this “Apostle of Degradation” was such that her image needed a makeover. So she played Saint Joan of Arc.

1954 - IBM announces vacuum tube "electronic" brain, a computer that could perform 10
million operations an hour.

1958 – United Press & International News Service merge into United Press International.

1989- In Los Angeles, a spectacular fire destroyed the Art-Deco-Moderne all-wood landmark, the Pan Pacific Auditorium. 

1991- Tri-Star Pictures $75 million-dollar flop "Hudson Hawk" opened.
 Star Bruce Willis, whose own salary was $17 million, blamed the film’s costs on union filmworkers’ salaries. He would return to his car after a day’s shooting to find it covered with animal excrement. The film almost sank his career. Willis’ next two films, "Death Becomes Her" and 'Pulp Fiction", he did for scale. In 2000 he gave a $100,000 dollar donation to the SAG/AFTRA strike fund.

1991- Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louiseopened. 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 23, 2019


Birthdays: Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Scatman Crowthers, Rosemary Clooney, Artie Shaw, Alicia de Larrocha, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Melissa McBride, Drew Carey is 61, Joan Collins is 86

1785- Ben Franklin invented bifocal glasses.

1931- In Max Fleischer's Silly Scandals, the girl character first seen in Dizzy Dishes is first called Betty Boop.

1941-Hollywood union boss George Brown and assistant Willard Bioff (also a Frank Nitti bagman) were indicted on federal racketeering charges. Brown had been a Chicago operative and it was said 'he could drink 100 bottles of beer in one day". Their main contact among the Hollywood studio heads was Nicholas Schenck, the chairman of Loews Theaters and a head of MGM. Willie Bioff had tried to help Louis B. Mayer defeat the screen actors guild and hijack the Disney animator's union. After their jail time Bioff blew up in his car after turning government witness and Brown 'disappeared...' Nicholas Schenck meanwhile was pardoned by President Truman himself.

1969- The Who released their rock opera Tommy. 

1982- the TV special Computers are People Too!, first aired. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 22, 2019


Birthdays: Sir Lawrence Olivier, Mary Cassatt, Richard Wagner, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, T. Bone Pickens, Judith Christ, Irene Pappas, Paul Winfield, Richard Benjamin, Susan Strassberg, George Baker, Paul Winchell, Tommy John, Naomi Cambell, Dr. Robert Moog –inventor of the first music synthesizer, Ginnifer Goodwin is 41

1915- The San Fernando Valley voted to become part of Los Angeles. 


1925- First day of shooting on Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis.

1954- Bob Dylan’s Bar Mitzvah. Maseltov!

1955-The Golden Age of Radio ended when after 22 years the Jack Benny show was canceled. Once the top broadcast show in the nation, Benny went into television.

1966- Bill Cosby became the first African-American to win an Emmy Award for starring in a television series- I-Spy.

1967- T.V. children's show Mr. Roger's Neighborhood debuted.

1973- Scientist Bob Metcalfe of Xerox PARC patented the Ethernet.

1985- Top Disney animation director Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman, who directed the Jungle Book among other films, died in a car crash following lunch at the Smoke House in Burbank.

1992- The film Encino Man premiered, with Brendan Frazier and Pauly Shore.

2001- Ted Turner and Jane Fonda divorced.

2002-The Ayatollahs of Iran outlaw Barbie dolls. They denounce Barbie as "agents of subversive Zionist Western propaganda."

2004- The heir to the Spanish throne Prince Felipe of Asturias married a TV news anchorwoman. The first commoner in the Spanish Royal family.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 21, 2019

Birthdays: Plato, Fats Waller, Albrecht Durer, Andre Sakharov, Armand Hammer, Raymond Burr, John Hubley, Dennis Day, Sen. Al Franken, Harold Robbins, Judge Reinhold, Larry Terro called Mr. T. is 69

1892- Leoncavallo's opera "I Pagliacci"debuted at La Scala in Milan.

1908 - 1st horror movie “Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde” premiered in Chicago.

1922- On the Road to Moscow, the first political cartoon to win a Pulitzer prize. The cartoonist Rollin Kirby, was passionate about Prohibition. He had a regular character to extol temperance named Mr. Dry. When Prohibition was repealed in 1933 Kirby killed off Mr. Dry in print.

1933- Woolie Reitherman’s first day at Walt Disney Studio.


1945- BOGEY LOVES BABY-Humphrey Bogart married Lauren Bacall on a friend’s farm in Ohio. He was 48 and she was 21. Her real name was Betty Persky, but she passed for wasp. So when the publicity photographers came, they were under strict instructions from Jack Warner to frame out of the shots Bacall’s more Jewish-looking relatives.

1952- Actor John Garfield died. Some say he died in the midst of wild fornications; in truth he died in his sleep of heart failure aggravated by stress and alcoholism. He was 39. The matinee idol of “The Postman Rings Twice” and “Kid Galahad” was too politically left for the conservative postwar age. When a young stage actor he had run guns to the IRA, later he supported progressive union movements, anti-fascism and desegregation. His outspoken politics got him blacklisted in Hollywood, his friends deserted him and he was ruined.

1952- Famed writer Lillian Hellman testified before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee HUAC, but refused to name names. “I cannot cut my conscience to fit the fashions of the day.” She escaped a contempt of Congress wrap but she was blacklisted and at one point was working the makeup counter in a department store.

1972- A Hungarian lunatic shouting I am Jesus Christ, attacked Michelangelo’s statue La Pieta with a hammer. He is the reason why today we can only enjoy this beautiful sculpture from behind 3 inch thick bulletproof glass.

1980 – Star Wars “The Empire Strikes Back" premiered.

1983 - David Bowie's "Let's Dance," single goes #1. The tracks featured a then little known guitarist named Stevie-Ray Vaughn.

1992- Tonight Show host Johnny Carson did his last show “I bid you a very heartfelt goodnight.” Johnny spent his remaining years in privacy, even refusing an invitation to appear at the NBC 75th anniversary spectacular.

2017- In Nassau County NY was the final performance of Ringling Bros, Barnum & Bailey Circus. The Greatest Show on Earth had been a tradition for 146 years.




Monday, May 20, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 20, 2019


Birthdays: Honore Balzac, Jimmy Stewart, Leon Schlesinger, William Fargo of Wells Fargo, Moshe Dayan, Henri Rousseau, Dave Thomas, Ted Bessell (Donald to Marlo Thomas’ “That Girl”), Japanese baseball great Sadaharu Oh, Antony Zerbe, Bronson Pichot, Joe Cocker, Cher is 73, Busta Rhymes

1830 - D Hyde patented the fountain pen, replacing the goose quill. 

1891- Thomas Edison demonstrated an early prototype of kinetoscope- a motion picture machine- to his wife's friends at a party. The footage was of engineer W.K.L. Dickson and his associates dancing. That night Edison wrote a letter about his movie machine to photographer Eadweard Muybridge: " I doubt it will ever have any commercial value.."

1916- Artist Norman Rockwell sold his first painting for a Saturday Evening Post cover.

1926 - Thomas Edison says Americans prefer silent movies over talking pictures. He also thought the flat record disc could never replace the cylinder.

1937-The Cinema Editor's Guild started.

1975- In a small warehouse in Van Nuys California, George Lucas assembled an effects crew to create the film Star Wars. It is the birth of Industrial Light & Magic, or ILM. 

1979- The last Saturday Night Live show done by the original cast. Many of them had their 5 year contracts up and they wanted to do something else. Plus producer Lorne Michaels was feuding with NBC chairman Fred Silverman and wanted to leave. So goodbye Lorne Michaels, Gilda Radner, Lorraine Newman, Garret Morris, Bill Murray and Al Franken, Hello Jean Doumainian and Joe Piscopo! Lorne Michaels came back to the show a few years later and has produced it ever since.

1984- Hanna Barbera’s “The Smurfic Games”.

1993 - Max Klein, the inventor of Paint by Numbers sets, died at 77. President Eisenhower once passed out paint-by-numbers sets to his senior cabinet so their paintings could adorn the West Wing offices. Imagine seeing on your wall an original artwork by Richard Nixon or Curtis LeMay! 

1994- Walt Disney released Aladdin II, the Return of Jaffar.Done overseas at ¼ the budget of the original, it’s nevertheless success spawned the industry of Disney direct-to-video sequels, called “cheapquels” by some animators. 

2003- In 1977, when Walt Disney's the Rescuers was being completed, the artists for a joke added a Playboy picture into a pan shot. Going by at 1/24th a second, they were confident nobody would ever spot it. Later in the 1990s, when Rescuers went to VHS video, they edited out the controversial frame. But when it was time in 2003 to rerelease on DVD, the Studio apparatchniks went back to the original 1977 negative, without ever bothering to consult any of the artists. We could have warned them. but no. So on May 20, 2003, nine million copies of the Rescuers DVD hit the stores, with the ensuing out cry, firestorm, and embarrassed apologies you can imagine.



Sunday, May 19, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 19, 2019


Birthdays: Malcolm X- born Malcolm Little, Ho Chi Minh- born Ngyun Tat Tanth- Ho Chi Minh means the Enlightener, Giovanni Della Robbia, John Hopkins, Lord Waldorf Astor, Dame Nelly Melba, Frank Capra, Wilson Mizner, Elena Poniatowska, Jim Lehrer, Nora Ephron, Grace Jones, Peter Mahew, Mad cartoonist Don Martin, Nancy Kwan, Pete Townshend, Joey Ramone, Jimmy Hoffa Jr, Andre the Giant, Polly Walker, and Tom Sito, aka me, your author.

1897- Writer Oscar Wilde was released from prison after doing two years of hard labor. The experience broke his health and he never completely recovered. He did use his experiences to write his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaolin 1898.

1927- Sid Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood opened. Ushers and doormen were dressed in imported Mandarin robes, and wall hangings were painted by young artist/actor Key Luke. Sid Grauman was the showman who also invented the Hollywood premiere with spotlights and limo's pulling up to red carpets, etc.

1934- Mickey Mouse short cartoon Gulliver Mickey.

1956- Cecil B. de Milles film " The Ten Commandments" premiered. Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter and Edward G, Robinson.

1956- The Disney film Pollyanadebuted, making a star of Haley Mills.

1958- The film “ The Attack of the 50 Ft Woman”premiered. A drive-in favorite.

1960 - DJ Alan Freed is accused of bribery in the radio payola scandal, the first scandal to hit the new world of Rock & Roll.

1962- Giant birthday party and rally held for President John F. Kennedy in New York's Madison Square Garden -his birthday was actually the following week. What made it memorable was Marilyn Monroe in a dress so tight she had to be sewn into it, singing her sexy version of the Happy Birthday song

1992- The completion bond company seized Richard Williams unfinished masterpiece Cobbler and the Thief. They had the film’s remaining sequences completed by another studio and released as Arabian Nights. 

1997- Matthew Broderick married Sarah Jessica Parker. 


1999- George Lucas’ much anticipated film Star Wars Episode One the Phantom Menacepremiered, the first Star Wars sequel in 20 years. It was the first major film premiere to be projected digitally, two theaters in New York and two in Hollywood. It featured Jarr Jarr Binks, a character so annoying, that web sites like www. I Want Jarr-Jarr to Die-Die.Com soon racked up tens of thousands of hits.

2000- Walt Disney film Dinosauropened.

2005- Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sithpremiered.

2006- Dreamworks animated film ‘Over the Hedge’premiered.


Saturday, May 18, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 18, 2019


Birthdays: Pope John Paul II, Grover Cleveland, Ezio Pinza, Czar Nicholas II, Omar Khayam, Walter Gropius, Reggie Jackson, Margot Fonteyn, Robert Morse, Perry Como, Dwayne Hickman aka Dobie Gillis, Big Joe Turner, Richard Brooks, Miriam Margolyes, Chow Yung Fat is 64, Tina Fey is 49, Robert Morse is 88


1940- John Halas & Joy Batchelor founded Halas & Batchelor, for many years the predominant animation studio in England.

1976- The filming of Francis Ford Coppolla's Apocalypse Now was disrupted when the Philippines was hit by a major typhoon. Francis rides out the storm cooking pasta, smoking pot and listening to records of La Boheme.

1995- Elizabeth Montgomery, the star of Bewitched,died of colon cancer at age 62.

2001- Dreamworks animated SHREK opened. The voice of Shrek was originally planned to be Chris Farley but the obese comedian died of a drug overdose and was replaced by Mike Myers. I’m serving Waffles!

2003 Pixar’s Finding Nemo opened.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 17, 2019


Birthdays: Sandro Botticelli, Eric Satie, Ayatollah Khomeni, Edmond Jenner, Archibald Cox, Sugar Ray Leonard, Maureen O'Sullivan, Howard Ashman, Craig Ferguson, Bill Paxton, Ralph Wright- the original voice of Eeyore, Alan Kay-inventor of the laptop computer, Dennis Hopper, Enya is 58- born Eithne Patricia Ni’ Bhraonain

1826- Artist-Naturalist John James Audubon departs for England ”in deep sorrow” because he could find no publisher in America for his masterpiece the “Birds of North America”.

1845 - Rubber bands were patented by Stephen Perry of Mssrs Perry & Co, vulcanized rubbermanufacturers of London.

1890 - Comic Cuts, 1st weekly comic newspaper, published in London.

1924- Marcus Loew of the Loew's theater chain buys Metro Pictures and combines them with Sam Goldwyn and Louis B. Mayer’s studio to form Metro Goldwyn Mayer.

1931- Dancer James Cagney became a tough guy movie star when the Howard Hawk’s film The Public Enemydebuted. “I wish you wuz a wishing well… so I could tie a bucket to ya and sink ya!”

1938 - Radio quiz show "Information Please!"debuts on NBC Blue Network.


1941- The Looney Toon Lockout. Producer Leon Schlesinger tried to forestall the unionization of his Bugs Bunny cartoonists by locking them out. After a week he relented and signed a contract with the cartoonist guild. Chuck Jones called it “our own little six-day war.”

1965- At a hotel in lower Manhattan, Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke shook hands and agreed to write a sci-fi movie, with an accompanying novel. 
First called How the Solar System was Won, because How the West Was Wonwas a popular film then. Then Journey Beyond the Stars,the title finally became- 2001: A Space Odyssey.

1967 – Bob Dylan's 1965 UK Tour is released as film "Don't Look Back"


1971 - Stephen Schwartz' musical "Godspell," premiered off-Broadway.

1973 - Stevie Wonder releases "You are the Sunshine of my Love"



Thursday, May 16, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 16, 2019


Birthdays: Tamara de Lempicka, Lily Pons, Richard Tauber, Henry Fonda, Liberace- real name Wladziu Valentine Liberace, Jan Kiepura, Edmund Kirby-Smith, Gabriela Sabbatini, Thurman Thomas, Margaret Sullivan, Olga Korbut- the original adorable little Olympic Gold Medal gymnast, Debra Winger is 64, Tori Spelling, Janet Jackson, Woody Herman, Studs Terkel, Ivan Sutherland is 81, Pierce Brosnan is 65.

1879- Dvoraks’ Slavonic Dances premiered.

1929- The First Academy Awards ceremony at the Rose Ballroom of the Roosevelt Hotel. They gave out two best picture winners. One was to William Wellman’s “Wings”. The second for “unique and artistic merit” went to F. W. Murnau’s Sunrise. The Academy originally wanted to give the Best Actor Oscar to the dog Rin Tin Tin, but the reconsidered when reminded about what kind of message that would send. So they gave it to Emil Jannings. Janet Gaynor got the first Best Actress. The ceremony was originally a dinner party with some industry business conducted. The ceremony then took about 15 minutes.

1946- the musical Annie Get Your Gun starring Ethel Merman premiered on Broadway.

1965 – the birthday of Spaghetti-O's later known as Spaghettios.

1972- Hollywood Cartoonists local 839 voted to expel Business Agent Larry Kilty for misappropriation of funds. Guilty-Kilty.

1975 - Wings release "Listen to What the Man Said" in UK

1979- Shooting wraps on Steven Spielberg’s movie 1941.

1980 - Brian May of rock group Queen collapses on stage with hepatitis.

1980 - Paul McCartney releases "McCartney II" album.

1981 - "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes hits #1 for next 9 weeks. The elderly movie legend was not impressed:” Kim Carnes does not have eyes like me!” quote Bette.

1986 – the film "Top Gun," directed by Tony Scott and starring Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis premiered.

1990- Jim Henson died of viral pneumonia at Bellevue Hospital in NYC. He was 53. 

1996- One of the lamest moments in TV writing. On Dallas, Pam Ewing encounters her husband Bobby Ewing in the shower although he had been dead for one year. The incident meant the entire previous season had only been a bad dream.


2009- Pixar’s film UP premiered.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for MAy 15, 2019


Birthdays: Lyman Frank Baum, Claudio Monteverdi, Richard Avedon, James Mason, Joseph Cotten, George Brett, Jasper Johns, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Jean Renoir, Richard Daley Sr., Trini Lopez, Charles Lamont, director of Abbott & Costello Go to Mars, country singer Eddy Arnold, Chaz Palmintieri is 66, Lainie Kazan is 78, Joe Grant

1703- Charles Perrault died.Perrault 1628-1703 was a retired minister to French King Louis XIV, who wrote stories for children under the title Mother Goose. He created Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Puss in Boots. 


1863- Edouard Manet first displayed his Dejeuner sur l’Herbeat the Salon des Refuses in Paris. The painting is of two modern clothed men having a picnic with two nude women by a river bank. The women aren’t mythical goddesses or muses but just bare, naked ladies. This shocked Paris society and Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugene called it “Immodest and obscene”. Its revolutionary simple subject matter heralded the rise of Impressionism.

1874- Mexican Bandito Turbico Vasquez hanged. His last words were “Pronto!” The wild hills north of Newhall California where he hid out are today named in his honor-Vasquez Rocks. They are the site of numerous film shoots like original Star Trek episodes.

1903- While on a tour of Yosemite, President Teddy Roosevelt slipped away from his entourage to camp out alone under the stars with naturalist John Muir. 

1905- From a public auction of railroad land, the town of Las Vegas Nevada founded.

1927- The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel opened for business. Named in honor of Teddy Roosevelt.

1946- The first Tommy’s Burger stand opened in Los Angeles.

1963 - Peter, Paul & Mary won their first Grammy for, “If I Had a Hammer”.

1967- Paul McCartney first met his first wife Linda Eastman.

1968 - Paul McCartney & John Lennon appear on the Johnny Carson Show to promote
Apple records, Joe Garagiola is substitute host. 

1970 – The Beatles' last album, "Let It Be," is released in US


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 14, 2019


Birthdays: Thomas Gainsborough, George Lucas is 75, Thomas Wedgewood, Francesca Annis, David Byrne, Jack Bruce, Bobby Darin, Tim Roth is 58, Robert Zemeckis is 68, Kate Blanchett is 50 

1842 - 1st edition of London Illustrated News.

1942- Walt Disney composer Frank Churchill, who wrote "Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf", shot himself at his piano at home. 


1944- In the comic strip Dick Tracy, the longtime Tracy nemesis Flattop was killed.

1951 - Ernie Kovacs Show, TV Variety debut on NBC. Kovacs was a great pioneer in the video medium who loved creating surreal images and pantomime blackout skits.

1955- Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park Cal, today’s Silicon Valley, was founded by peace activist Roy Kepler. Keplers’ books was a hangout for Stanford computer scientists, Hippies, and creators of the Whole Earth Catalog. The Grateful Dead and Joan Baez played there, Prof Douglas Englebart the inventor of the computer mouse, would pop in for coffee, and kids like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak would ride their bikes over to check out the new computer books.

1976- Keith Relf of the rock group the Yardbirds, was electrocuted while playing his guitar in his bathtub.

1968 - Beatles announce formation of Apple Records.

1998 - Last episode of sitcom Seinfeld on NBC (commercial fees were $2M for 30 seconds) Elderly singer Frank Sinatra died shortly after watching it.




Monday, May 13, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 13, 2019 mon.

Birthdays: St. Sergius of Radonez 1314, Sir Arthur Sullivan, Cyrus McCormick, Stevie Wonder, George Braque, Daphne DuMaurier, Joe Louis, Richie Valens, Gil Evans, Beatrice Arthur, Harvey Keitel is 78, Dennis Rodman, Clive Barnes, Disney animator Burnett “Burny” Mattinson is 84, Steven Colbert is 54

1956- Actor Montgomery Clift was disfigured in a car crash. He had to have his jaw wired until it could heal.

1965 - Rolling Stones record "Satisfaction"

1965- In a DC nightclub, the Ramsey Lewis Trio recorded live “ The In Crowd”, one of the last jazz singles to crossover and become a hit pop song. 

1966 - Rolling Stones release "Paint it Black"

1992- Police arrest the manager of Comic Book Heaven in Sarasota Florida on seven counts of "displaying materiel harmful to minors", i.e. comic books.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 12, 2019


Birthdays: Dolly Madison, Dante Rossetti, Frank Stella, Florence Nightingale, Tom Snyder, George Carlin, Wilfred Hyde-White, Emilio Estevez, Ron Zeigler, Farley Mowat, Ving Rhames, Bruce Boxleitner, Katherine Hepburn, Yogi Berra

1938- “The Adventures of Robin Hood” starring Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, Olivia DeHaviland, Claude Rains and Eugene Paulette premiered. The swashbuckling film then cost a whopping $2 million dollars to make! The light brown horse Maid Marion rode in the movie was later bought by singing cowboy Roy Rogers and renamed Trigger.

1962- First day shooting on Frederigo Fellini’s film 8 1/2. When screened for American Producer Joe Levine, Levine took the cigar from his mouth and growled-” Frederigo, what da hell did that movie mean? ” Fellini shrugged –“I dunno”.

1963- Folksinger Bob Dylan walked out of a taping on the Ed Sullivan Show. He objected to CBS censors wanting to cut his number making fun of extra Right-Wing extremists like the John Birch Society.

1971 - Rolling Stone Mick Jagger weds Bianca Macias at St Tropez Town Hall.
They later divorced and Bianca became a famous habitue’ of trendy discos and fashion magazines.


1971- Tor Johnson died of a heart attack at age 68. Swedish wrestler turned actor, Tor’s preferred role was the bald eyeless zombie in classics like Plan Nine from Outer Space and Bride of the Monster.

1977- A small Westchester radio station WENW hired a thin, gawky, college grad as a DJ- Howard Stern. US radio would never be the same.

1982- The comic strip 'Marvin' debuted.




Saturday, May 11, 2019

Animation Fun Facts for May 11, 2019


Birthdays: Salvador Dali', Jean Jerome, Chang and Eng Bunker-the original Siamese Twins-1811, Baron Munchausen, Irving Berlin, King Oliver, Martha Graham, Dr. Richard Fenyman, Mort Sahl, Foster Brooks, Denver Pyle, Henry Morgenthau, Doug McClure, Randy Quaid, Natasha Richardson, Rev Louis Farrakhan, Albert Hurter,

 Margaret Kerry the model for Walt Disney’s Tinkerbell is 90!



1945-After Nazi Germany surrendered, the Nazi-collaborator governor of occupied Norway, Josef Treboven, committed suicide by sitting on a stick of dynamite. When Wile E. Coyote does it, its funny. But Norwegian Nazis? Pretty messy.

1956 - Pinky Lee Show last airs on NBC-TV.

1968 - actor Richard Harris attempted a singing career, releasing the song "MacArthur Park".

1972 -On the Dick Cavett talk show Beatle and peace activist John Lennon said his phone had been tapped by FBI. It turns out it he was, but at the time we all thought he was just paranoid from too many drugs.

1981- The musical play CATS opened in London.

1981- Bob Marley died of brain cancer at age 36. Marley and his group the Wailers, made Jamaican Reggae mainstream in pop music.