Friday, February 28, 2020

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 28, 2020


Birthdays: Michel de Montaigne, The Marquis de Montcalm, Zero Mostel, Vasclav Nijinsky, Molly Picon, Gavin MacCleod, Bernadette Peters, Bubba Smith, Mario Andretti, Milton Caniff- the creator of Terry and the Pirates", Ben 'Bugsy' Siegel, Tommy Tune, Vincente Minelli, Linus Pauling, Dorothy Stratton, Frank Gehry, John Tarturro, Gilbert Gottfried is 65, Bernadette Peters is 72.
The 200th Anniv of the birth of Sir John Tenniel

1835- Dr. Elias Lohnnrot published the Finnish national epic poem Kalevala. It’s about the first man Vanjiamoimmen, who was born old and searched for the magical machine called the Samo, kept in a mountain with seven locks, guarded by seven wizards chanting Samo, Samo! Modern scholars cannot agree just what the heck the samo was, or what it did.

1882- The first college store opened, COOP, this one attached to Harvard.

1896- Robert Paul demonstrates a kinetograph to the Royal Institute. The British Cinema industry is born.

1916- Writer Henry James died. William Faulkner said, "He was the nicest old lady I ever met." 

1920- Evans vs. Gore – Al Gore’s grandfather.  The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the legality of the Income Tax amendments, saying:” The power to tax carries with it the power to embarrass and destroy. “ Isn’t that reassuring?

1920 Maurice Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin debuted.


1938- Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev toured the Walt Disney Studio, and performed his piece Peter and the Wolf for Walt and his composer Leigh Harline.
    
1940- At the Oscars ceremony Hattie McDaniel became the first black actress to win an Oscar for her supporting role in Gone With The Wind

1940- Richard Wright’s novel Native Son, about growing up black in America, first published.

1968- Former teen idol singer Frankie Lyman OD’s on heroin.

1975- A fog bank crossing the 91 freeway near Corona California caused a 300 car pile up.

1982- BP oil tycoon J. Paul Getty had died in 1976 the richest man on earth. Getty found his immediate family so annoying he left the bulk of his estate to his little Getty Museum in Malibu California. This day after all attempts of the family to challenge his will were exhausted, the Getty Museum was endowed with two billion dollars and immediately became the richest museum on earth. 

1983-The last episode of the television series M*A*S*H.  It was the single most watched TV episode in history.

2001- Seattle rocked by a 7.0 earthquake. That’ll stir your Starbucks!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Animation fun facts for Feb 27, 2020


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

1814- Beethoven’s 8th Symphony premiered.

1827- The first Mardi Gras celebration was held in New Orleans. Mardi Gras parties were first held by the French colonists of Mobile Alabama in 1709. From there, the custom spread to the Big Easy. 

1888- Prof. Edweard 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 Planets first premiered in London.


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

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 get 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."

1977- In Toronto, the Canadian Mounties busted Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, and his girlfriend Anita Pallenberg for heroin possession. The Stones agree to do two benefit concerts as punishment.


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. 

1994- Figure skater Nancy Kerrigan skipped the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer so she could begin her multi-million dollar endorsements with DisneyWorld. She blows it all later when she’s caught by a hot mike during a Disney parade saying: “This is all so corny. I can’t believe I’m doing this!”

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 25, 2020


Birthdays: Enrico Caruso, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Zeppo Marx, St. Louis (King Louis IX of France), Bobby Riggs, Carl Eller, Sir Anthony Burgess, Neil Jordan, Larry Gelbart, Tom Courtenay, Sean Astin is 48, Tea Leoni, John Foster Dulles, Neil Jordan is 69

Happy Mardi Gras - Fat Tuesday- The day before Ash Wednesday ushering in the Catholic season of Lent is the cause for wild parties in many cultures- Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Venice, Quebec and other cities. Carne-Vale is Latin for Goodbye to Meat, the Lenten fast.  The Mardi Gras custom in America started in Mobile Alabama around 1708, when explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville arrived at a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans, and named it "Pointe du Mardi Gras" when his men realized it was the eve of the festive holiday. It then went to New Orleans. It died out in more somber Victorian times but was renewed after the Civil War- so-' Lesse Le Bon Temps Rolle’! “Let the Good Times Roll!” 

1932- TOONTOWN SCANDALS. Former Australian prizefighter Pat Sullivan was the producer of the Felix the Cat cartoons, the first true animation star. Although animator Otto Mesmer actually created him, Sullivan's name is the only one on the titles. Felix was one of the top film stars of the 1920s. Lindbergh supposedly had a Felix doll with him in the Spirit of St. Louis and his body shape was the prototype of Mickey Mouse and dozens of other characters. While Mesmer quietly drew pictures Sullivan lived the fast life of a roaring twenties celebrity. 

Mrs. Marjorie Sullivan had been having an affair with her chauffeur. After a nasty scene when husband confronted wife and the chauffeur fled, Mrs. Sullivan mysteriously fell out of her window to her death. The scandal was front page news and Sullivan never got over it. He soon drank himself to death, which during Prohibition was difficult to do. Sullivan's death and his failure to get Felix into sound cartoons doomed his studio. Otto Mesmer went on to animate the first Broadway light signs but did not receive any recognition for his contributions to animation until he was re-introduced to the public at a Bob Clampett night at the Museum of Modern Art in 1975. Kid animators Eric Goldberg and Tom Sito were in the audience.

1956- Poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes met at a party in Cambridge England.

1956- Chuck Jones Bugs Bunny short “ Broomstick Bunny” with Witchy Hazel, premiered.

1957- Buddy Holly and the Crickets record "That'll Be the Day."

1971- Oh Calcutta, the first play with lots of actors shedding their clothes, premiered on Broadway at the Belasco.

1983- Famous playwright Tennessee Williams was found dead in a New York hotel room. He died when he choked on a nose spray bottle cap that fell into his mouth while he was using the spray. Others say it was a Pepsi bottle cap. He was 71.


1996- Dr Haing Ngor, the doctor who survived the Cambodian Killing Fields holocaust and won an Academy Award in a movie of the same name, was killed in a robbery attempt outside his Los Angeles home.

2004- Movie star conservative-Catholic Mel Gibson’s movie the "The Passion of the Christ" opened in North America. The film was criticized for its perceived anti-Semitism, it was the first movie in which Jesus spoke his real language –Aramaic. Pastors bought blocks of tickets for their congregations. The film earned nearly a billion dollars, most of the profit earned by Mel Gibson, who was the films sole investor. 

Monday, February 24, 2020

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 24, 2020


B-Dazes: Roman Emperor Hadrian, Winslow Homer, Arrigo Boito, Wilhelm Grimm (of the brothers Grimm), Honus Wagner- early 1900’s baseball player called the Flying Dutchman, Admiral Chester Nimitz, Edward James Olmos, Barry Bostwick, Michel Legrand, James Farentino, illustrator Zdzislaw Beskinski, Michael Radford, Billy Zane, Steve Jobs, Abe Vigoda. 


1711- Handels opera Rinaldo premiered in London.

 1852- Russian writer and hypochondriac Nicolai Gogol burns the second half of his masterpiece DEAD SOULS on advice of a religious mystic to atone for his sins. He died two weeks later of "brain fever".

1937- MGM studio announced it acquired the rights to L. Frank Baum’s book The Wizard of Oz, to be made into a movie for their new star Judy Garland.

1942- The radio service The Voice of America first went on the air.

1943- Fed up with the bad climate in the studio because of the Strike, master animator Bill Tytla resigned from the Walt Disney Studio and returned back east.

1987- US Robotics sold the first 56k modems.

1988- PARODY LAWS- The US Supreme Court upheld the right of public figures to be satirized by throwing out a lawsuit Rev Jerry Fallwell brought against Hustler Magazine owner Larry Flynt. Flynt published a gag page describing Rev Fallwell having sex with his mother in an outhouse. The Court ruled a public figure can be lampooned, so long as it is not portrayed as factual. 

1989- According to the David Lynch television series Twin Peaks this is the day Laura Palmer’s body was found and F.B.I. agent Dale Cooper came to town to investigate.

1996- Los Angeles Angel Flight reopened.


2008- Pixar’s Ratatouille won the Oscar for best animated feature.
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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 23, 2020


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 55, Dakota Fanning is 26.

1821- In a house in Rome’s Piazza de Espagna, 25 year old English poet John Keats died of tuberculosis. As he was dying he joked: ” I can feel daisies growing over me”. He instructed that his grave marker bear only the self-deprecating message” Here lies one Who’s Fame was Written in Water.”

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.

1942- A few weeks after Pearl Harbor, in the dead of night a Japanese submarine surfaced off the California coast and fired it's cannon at lights it thinks is a city.  In reality it's an oil refinery near Goleta, just north of Santa Barbara. The brief bombardment caused $150 dollars in damage. The sub breaks radio silence to report to Tokyo that " Enemy coast sighted. Los Angeles is in Flames." The incident fueled the panic Californians had that the West Coast was ripe for enemy invasion.  The incident was lampooned in the Steven Spielberg comedy "1941."



Saturday, February 22, 2020

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 22, 2020


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 is 49, Kyle McLachlan is 59, Rachael Dratch, Steve Erwin, Drew Barrymore is 45

1805- Birth in England of Sarah Flowers Adams, whose poetry is in the hymn “Nearer My God to Thee.”

1879- Frank Winfield Woolworth opened his first Five & Ten Cent-store in Utica, New York. F.W. Woolworths became a major national chain of stores.

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

1929- Grand Central Airport in Glendale dedicated. Los Angeles first major airport. 


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

Friday, February 21, 2020

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 21, 2020

Quiz: A famous British poster printed on a lot of mugs and t-shirts reads Keep Calm and Carry On. Where did that come from?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: How do you write next year in Roman numerals?
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HISTORY for 2/21/2020
Birthdays: Leopold Delibes, C. Brancusi, Anais Ninn, W.H. Auden, Hubert de Givenchy, Era Bombeck, Sam Peckinpah, Nina Simone, Robert Mugabe, Joe Oriolo, David Geffen, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kelsey Grammar is 65, Jennifer Love Hewitt is 41, Alan Rickman, Ellen Page is 33. Pebbles Flintstone is 56. 

1838- The first telegraph message sent by Samuel Morse "What hath God wrought?" He strung electric cables up and down several floors of his art studio using wood stretchers normally used for oil paintings. Morse was an artist and never wanted to be an inventor, he just did it to finance his painting.


1945- During the Battle of Iwo Jima, the Marines raise the flag on Mt. Suribachi. Associate Press photographer Joe Rosenthal takes the most famous image of the war. It's now the Marine monument at Arlington Cemetery. Actually, he photographed the second flag raising. The first was a small flag stuck on a piece of pipe to get the artillery below to stop shelling, and to give the Marines pinned down on the beach some hope. The second larger flag raising was done for the press. It was still plenty dangerous, two of the six flag raisers were later killed in battle that same day. Rosenthal almost missed the shot because he turned around momentarily to see if he was in the way of another cameraman.

1980- Ukrainian astronomer Ludmila Karachkina named a main belt asteroid for Walt Disney, asteroid 4017 Disneya. 





Thursday, February 20, 2020

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 20, 2020


Birthdays: Honore' Daumier, Nancy Wilson, Ansel Adams, Cindy Crawford, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robert Altman, Roger Penske. Phil Esposito, Jennifer O’Neill, Ivanna Trump, Mike Leigh, Lili Taylor, Sidney Poitier is 93


1925- Willis O’Brien’s silent movie The Lost World premiered. 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.

1980- Bon Scott, vocalist for the band AC/DC, was found dead in a friend’s automobile choked in his own vomit.

2005- First episode of Seth Green’s Robot Chicken premiered 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. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 19, 2020


Birthdays: Copernicus, 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 53, Hilary Duff 


1736- Georg Frederich Handel’s oratorio Alexander’s Feast premiered at Covent Garden.

1878- Thomas Edison patented the phonograph.

1913- Crackerjacks start putting toy prizes in every box. Legend has it the name Crackerjack for the caramel corn was named for the reaction of Teddy Roosevelt trying it for the first time- These caramel-corns are Crackerjack!

1915- L.A. Times publisher and land baron Harry Chandler was indicted with 8 other prominent Angeleanos for conspiring to start a new revolution in Mexico. The Mexican government had seized their large land holdings there for land redistribution, and this was their quaint little way of getting them back.

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 a graphic 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.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

ANIMATION FUN FACTS FOR FEB 18, 2020


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 87, Jack Palance, Milos Forman, Bobby Bachman of the Bachman Turner Overdrive, Gahan Wilson, Johnny Hart, Matt Dillon is 56, John Travolta is 66, John Hughes, Dr. Dre

1564- Michelangelo Buonarotti died just 6 days before his 89th birthday. He was carving yet another Pieta a few days before his death. 

1842- Two hundred of New York City’s high society and top politicians held a banquet in honor of the visiting English author Charles Dickens. Dickens spent the evening depressing everyone with talk about his tour of the cities prisons, slums and poorhouses.

1854- McSorley’s Ale House opened on 7th St in New York City. And it is still open, the oldest bar in the city.

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 and The Stuntman were shot there.


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

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


Monday, February 17, 2020

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 17, 2020


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 58, Denise Richards is 49, Paris Hilton is 39, Michael Jordan is 57, Hal Holbrook is 95!, Joseph Gordon Levitt is 51

1673- MOLIERE DIED. The great playwright was suffering from tuberculosis and was in failing health, but he insisting on playing the lead in his final play "The Imaginary Illness". This night when asked to rest, he responded" There are fifty workman here who won’t get paid if we don’t play". He played Argan, a hypochondriac who imagined himself dying. 
In the final act he uttered the word "Juro I swear," and was seized with a violent coughing fit. He covered with a joke and finished the play, but later was carried home where he died. The local priest refused to come and give him Last Rights because his play Tartuffe made fun of priests. Moliere was one of the greatest playwrights and poets of the age, and Frenchmen equate him with Shakespeare.

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 classic 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.

1987- Soviet premiere Mikhail Gorbachev revealed President Ronald Reagan's preoccupation with space aliens: "At our meeting in Geneva, the U.S. President said that if the earth faced an invasion by hostile extraterrestrials, the United States and Russia could join forces to repel such an invasion. I shall not dispute the hypothesis, though I think it's early yet to worry about such an intrusion..."

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


Sunday, February 16, 2020

Animation Fun FActs for Feb 16, 2020


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 63, Ice-T is 62

1842- British General Charles Gordon took command of the Ever Victorious Army in China to combat the Taiping Rebellion. The Ever-Victorious was a force of mercenaries recruited by an American named Stone to help the Manchu Emperor defeat his enemies western style. The leader of the Taipings, Zsu Wang Ti, had told his followers he was the son of Jesus Christ come to Earth to lead them to victory. Gordon’s army soon destroyed the Taipings, and Tzu committed suicide by eating as much gold leaf as necessary. 

1848- Frederic’ Chopin played his last concert in Paris. Slowly dying from incurable 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. They added it to the iPhone in 2007. Within ten years Polaroid and Kodak were filing for bankruptcy. 




Thursday, February 13, 2020

Animation FunFacts for Feb 14, 2020


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 49,  Margaret Knight the inventor of the flat bottom paper bag still in use in supermarkets today.  The character Lara Croft, is 52. 

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

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.

1990- As the Voyager 1 spacecraft was leaving our solar system, Dr. Carl Sagan had the spaceship look back and take a family photo of our planet system, 3.7 billion miles away. A few faint dots on a distant sunbeam.

1991-Meg Ryan married Dennis Quaid.

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 13, 2020


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 87, George Segal is 86, Peter Gabriel, Jerry Springer is 74, Stockard Channing is 75, Kelly Hu, Mena Suvari

1867- The Blue Danube Waltz by 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 not 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 strip 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 completing The 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. 
At the end Victor Fleming had one more tantrum when Selznick proposed giving Wood and Cukor equal co- screen credit. Yet despite it all, Gone with the Wind became a box office success. For many years critics and polls declared the greatest Hollywood movie ever made. A decade after its release, Clark Gable went up to David O. Selznick at a party and said: "Maybe I'm wrong about disliking you David, 'Gone With the Wind' keeps getting re-released and keeps me a star."Selznick once said:” My biggest fear is that all I shall ever be remembered for is producing Gone With the Wind.”


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

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

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 12, 2020


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 40, Josh Brolin is 52.


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.


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.


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 11, 2020


Birthdays: Thomas Edison, Leslie Nielsen, Eva Gabor, Tina Louise-Ginger on Gilligan’s Island is 86, Rudolph Firkusny, Joe Mankiewicz, Sidney Sheldon, Burt Reynolds, Sergio Mendes of the band Brazil 67, Al Eugster, Brandy Norwood, Bobby Picket -who recorded the Monster Mash, Jennifer Aniston is 51, Sheryl Crow is 58



1936- Famed German Expressionist animator Oscar Fischinger 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-laureate   husband Ted Hughes was in bed with another woman when he got the news. Hughes wrote stories for his children like The Iron Giant to explain death and loss.

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

1995- Disney Studios planned neighborhood suburban community Celebration opened.

2000- Disney’s The Tigger Movie premiered.

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 9, 2020

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 9, 2020


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 77, Zhang Zhu-Yi, Disney animator Bill Justice, Frank Frazetta, Mia Farrow is 75, Mena Suvari is 41, Ciaran Hinds is 67, Jerry Beck.

1856- An early tabloid The London Illustrated News reported a live Pterodactyl dinosaur popped out of a rock and flew away when workers were excavating a railroad tunnel in Culmont France. Believe it or Not!

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 film history. He was so popular, even young Adolf Hitler was advised to change his mustache, because he looked too much like Chaplin.

1945- The US Air Force drops tons of incendiary bombs on Tokyo, destroying the city in a firestorm and killing 130,000, more people than Hiroshima 90,000.


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)

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.



Saturday, February 8, 2020

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 8, 2020


Birthdays: St Proclus of Constantinople 412AD, Jules Verne, Dmitri Mendeleev- inventor of the Periodic Table of Elements, James Dean, William Tecumseh Sherman, animator Ivan Ivano-Vano, Lana Turner, Jack Lemmon, Alejandro Rey, Ted Koppel, Nick Nolte, Gary Coleman, Robert Klein, Seth Green, composer John Williams is 88


1864- Abraham Lincoln visited Matthew Brady's Photo Studio and posed for the photo's that would one day be on the Penny and Five-dollar bill. 

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 national 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. 

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 Girl by 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 park California Adventure opened.

2007- Anna Nicole Smith, centerfold, pole dancer, heiress and reality TV star, died from an overdose of prescription drugs. She was 39.
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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 7, 2020


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 60, Chris Rock is 55, Eddie Izzard is 58, Ashton Kutcher is 42

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.

1939, Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep was 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. 

Local New York disc jockeys Cousin Brucie and Murray the K wiggled to the front of the crowds and got a national audience by following the young musicians around. The crowds of teenagers were so excited they mobbed a Rolls Royce in front of the Warwick Hotel where the Beatles were staying just because they figured a Rolls Royce would be something they drove in. They actually used taxicabs.

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







Monday, February 3, 2020

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 3, 2020


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 77, Morgan Fairchild is 70, Nathan Lane is 64

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 in the USA.

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

1959 "The Day the Music Died" The first Rock & Roll tragedy. Top pop stars Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and  J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson died in plane crash. They were on tour and Holly chartered the small plane so they could get to Fargo, North Dakota in time to get his shirts cleaned. 

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 super-sniper 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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Sunday, February 2, 2020

Animation Fun Facts for Feb 2, 2020

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 71, Shakira is 43

Happy Groundhog Day. This morning if Paxatawney Phil sees his shadow, it means 6 more weeks of winter. 

1709- William Dampier was a reformed buccaneer who wrote books about his travels. This day while cruising the South Seas he rescued a man named Sir William Selkirk, who had been marooned on an otherwise uninhabited island for four years. It seems Selkirk had gotten into an argument with the captain of a Chilean schooner who left him there. It was a wise move, because the captain was crazy and his ship was later lost with all hands. Upon returning to London, Capt. Dampier mentioned the incident to his friend, writer Daniel DeFoe, who used it to create his most memorable novel- Robinson Crusoe.

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

1870- The first international news agency. Reuters, Havas and Wolf News Agencies agree to pool their resources.

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

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 people in 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.