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Happy Halloween Oct 31, 2006
October 31st, 2006


I want to try to get to Book Soup on Sunset Blvd today because atist Ralph Steadman will be there at 7:00PM signing copies of his new book THE JOKES OVER, detailing his dealing with the recent suicide of Gonzo guru Hunter H. Thompson, his friend of 35 years.

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Birthdays: Jan Vermeer, John Keats,Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek, John Candy, Dale Evans, Jane Pauley, David Ogden Stiers, Dan Rather , Lee Grant, Ethel Waters, Juliet Low-founder of the American Girl Scouts, Rob Schneider, Vanilla Ice, Stephen Rea, Peter Jackson,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLLIE!

Ollie Johnston, the Last of the Disney Nine Old Men, is 94!

HAPPY ALL HALLOWS EVE- The night before the Feast of All Souls, beginning the Christian season of Advent, was confused in Medieval custom with one of the four Druid fire festivals, All Hallows. In Ireland it was called Samhein and in Scotland at this time all hearth fires in the land are extinguished then re-lit from the fire at the sacred grove. Add to this the early Church's attempt to eradicate the pagan custom of giving food to departed spirits -Greek Anthesterion in Feb., Roman Feralia and Lemuria in May- by moving the date to honor the dead to the Feast of All Souls on November 1st. Many cultures have customs of putting food offerings on doorsteps so invisible spirits would give you good luck. So today's the last night for the devil and other ghosties to romp before the Holiday Season (Advent) begins.

1931- First day of shooting on the MGM film Tarzan the Ape Man, with Olympic gold medal swimmer Johnny Weissmuller in the title role. Contrary to popular myth no one ever said “Me Tarzan, You Jane” in the film. MGM liked the films so much they never let Weissmuller star in any other type of film other than as Tarzan.

1938- In a speech President Franklin D. Roosevelt warned of big corporate tycoons who try to influence American politics. “ Organized Money is as great a threat to American democracy as organized mobs!”Boy, I'm sure glad that kinda stuff doesn't happen today!

1941-the sculpture group of U.S. Presidents on Mount Rushmore completed. Instead of just their heads, artist–designer Judson Borglum wanted the sculpture to go down to the figures waists but he died in early 1941 and with war on the horizon his son and chief engineer rushed to complete the heads as is.

1945- The "War of Hollywood" Ends. The CSU union strike, the film business's longest and ugliest, falls apart and many of the former members drift into IATSE locals.

1964- Today in a taped phone conversation FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover gave President Lyndon Johnson tips on how to spot a closet homosexual: “It’s a thing you just can’t tell sometimes…There are some people who walk kinda funny. That you might think are a little bit off or kinda queer..” We now know FBI director Hoover was gay himself.

1993- Rising young movie star River Phoenix overdosed and died on the street in front of the Viper Room night club in L.A after partying with Johnny Depp and Alicia Silverstone. The club is owned by movie star Depp and was once the Melody Room owned by Mobster Bugsy Seigel. Ironically as Phoenix was thrashing spasmodically people walked by unconcerned because it’s a common occurrence on the Sunset Strip.

Now, you vill go and buy Tom Sito's Book!

Happy Halloween Everyone!


October 30, 2006 MON.
October 30th, 2006

DID YOU KNOW...At the Walt Disney Studio in 1941 there were four animators of Japanese ancestry ( Nisei). On MAy 29,1941 all four went out on strike with their screen cartoonist union brothers and sisters. One of them Chris Ishii, later created the faux Snow White sequence in the 1977 Woody Allen film Annie Hall.
courtesy Colorado.gov
Chris Ishii being fingerprinted for induction into the U.S. Army at Camp Amache Colorado. He was interned there with other Japanese Americans. Chris later became a top artist at UPA and co-owned Focus productions. He worked on Unicorn in the Garden and Madeleine, and won two Clio awards for advertising. I met him while we both worked for Shamus Culhane. He and Shamus would exchange raunchy toasts in Italian whenever he came to drop off backgrounds.Chris once demonstrated for me his technique called "The Poor Man's Airbrush"- an old toothbrush dipped in paint and using your finger you flick paint spray on the background. Chris actually got some very subtle hues using this curious improvisation. Filmmaker, father and grandfather, Chris Ishii died in Dobbs Ferry NY, in 2001.

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Birthdays: John Adams, Christopher Columbus, English playwright Richard Sheridan, Ezra Pound, Emily Post, Louis Malle, Henry “Da Fonz” Winkler, Charles Atlas, Ruth Gordon, Claude LeLouch, Dick Gautier, Louis Malle, Ted Williams, Grace Slick, Diego Maradona

1811- Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility published.

1938-"THE NIGHT THAT PANICKED AMERICA- 27 year old Orson Wells broadcast a radio update of H.G. Well’s story "The War of the Worlds". Despite periodic station announcements that it was only a fictional re-enactment, people across the U.S. go bonkers that an actual Martian invasion had landed in Grover’s Mill New Jersey. In Hollywood famed actor John Barrymore, drunk as usual, went over to his kennel of prize winning racing greyhounds and open their cage doors, saying: "Fend for yourselves!"

1963- The first Lamborghini 350GTV went on sale.

1973- The Carlin Case- Radical radio station WBAI in New York broadcast hippy comedian George Carlin’s routine about the “Seven Deadly Words” the naughty words you can’t say on the air. I can’t write them because children read this column but you all know what they are anyway. The FCC slapped a heavy fine and WBAI sued for free speech and the case made it to the Supreme Court. Today the High Court found for the FCC and those 7 deadly words remain banned from airwaves today. Aw, Sh*t!

1992- QUANTRRILL’S FUNERAL- The remains of William Clark Quantrill were buried in a cemetery in his birthplace of Dover Ohio. Quantrill’s Border Raiders were infamous during the Civil War for their guerrilla depredations in Kansas and Missouri. After being shot dead in 1865 an admirer dug up his bones and kept them. After passing through several hands the bones were put up for sale, displayed in a glass case and even used by Ohio State fraternities for their initiations. Billy Quantrill’s head was discovered in a refrigerator behind the tuna sandwiches and Coca Cola in the Dover Historical Society.

2002- Rap star of Run-DMC Jam Master Jay was shot dead in the lounge of his recording studio in Queens NY. The killer was never found.


October 29, 2006
October 29th, 2006

Birthdays: James Boswell, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Keats, Sir Edmund Halley, Louis Blanc, Fanny Brice, Joseph Goebbels, Richard Dreyfuss, Zoot Sims, Winona Ryder, Jesse Barfield, Kate Jackson, Bill Maudlin, Akim Tamiroff, Ralph Bakshi, Denis Potvin Neal Hefti-composer of the theme song for TV shows like Batman and the Odd Couple.

1618- Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded on his birthday. Raleigh was once Queen Elizabeths favorite, but by now he was getting on King James nerves by opposing the Kings peace overtures to Spain. Also Raleigh was implicated in a plot to keep James from attaining the throne. The king had him dangling on a commuted death sentence for treason for 15 years. Finally when Raleigh attacked Spanish settlements in Brazil against his direct orders that was enough. Off with his head! On the scaffold Raleigh thumbed the axemans blade. He joked:" This is sharp medicine, but it cures all ills." The man credited with introducing tobacco to Northern Europe, he puffed his pipe for one last time before putting his head on the block. His wife kept the severed head in her cabinet for the rest of her life.

1787- Wolfgang Amadeus’s opera DON GIOVANNI premiered in Prague. Mozart had partied the night before and after midnight sat down and wrote the overture. As the musicians were sitting down he ran from stand to stand handing out the music. Goethe and Schiller loved it . Giacomo Rossini called it “the Greatest of All Operas”. After Don Giovanni his lyricist Lorenzo da Ponte left Europe for America and settled down in New Jersey. His niece had an affair with the son of Francis Scott Key and married a general who was wounded at Gettysburg.

1923- The musical Running Wild opened on Broadway, introducing the dance craze the Charleston.


1929-BLACK TUESDAY-THE STOCK MARKET CRASH AND THE GREAT DEPRESSION BEGINS. The falling stock crisis which had been gaining momentum since early September finally culminates in the greatest one day collapse of the U.S. Economy. Millions of people who weren't ruined by last Thursday’s crash were ruined today. One third of all U. S. banks failed- 2,500. Eyewitnesses to that day all remember the strange low roar echoing through the glass canyons of Wall street, it was the continuous moans of thousands of investors being simultaneously ruined. Businessmen jumped to their deaths from windows. Two executives held hands as they jumped because they had a joint account. The chairman of General Motors William Durant finished his life managing a bowling alley in Chicago.
The Union Club wallpapered it's bar with worthless stock certificates. Venerable firms like Morgan and Leahman Brothers allowed 'apple-breaks' for their brokers to go out on the street and supplement their incomes by selling apples. By years end all U.S. industry was working at 17% of capacity and unemployment would soon soar to 55% in many major cities. The newly built Empire State Building was nicknamed the "Empty State Building".
The Hoover Administration, which espoused the traditional Republican hands-off attitude towards Wall Street, watched in horror as every trick known to financial wizards like Rockefeller and Lamont failed to stop the slide. People questioned whether capitalism itself was now a failure. Hoover's Vice President Charles Curtis, (for whom the nickname "Goodtime Charlie" was invented) continued to party while things collapsed. He responded to hungry, unemployed people protesting during his speech that they were all "Too damn dumb" to understand economics. His sister socialite Dolly Curtis said that she felt that the Depression, such as it was, maybe was already ending . This prompted one newspaper to run the headline:' DOLLY CALLS IT OFF!"
If there was any good to all this, the collapse ushered in the Progressive Franklin Roosevelt administration who created Social Security, Unemployment Insurance and the climate where unions like the Animation unions could grow.

1938-"SALUD CAMERADE !"The Farewell Parade in Barcelona of the International Brigade. 40,000 men-young intellectuals, German and French anti-fascists groups all united to help in the Spanish Civil War. The losing Spanish Republic had gambled that if they sent the International fighters home Franco would remove his Nazis and Italian allies . It didn't work. Their story was glamorized by writers like Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell.
Ironically many Americans who fought in the Lincoln Brigade were denied advancement in the U.S. Armed forces when World War Two began. The army labeled them "Premature Anti-fascists".

1957- Louis B. Mayer dies. His last words were: "Nothing Matters..." The head of MGM Studios lorded over Hollywood like a monarch, made and broke moviestars, ordered Judy Garland fed a steady stream of narcotics and had his office redesigned all white to resemble Mussolini’s , whom he admired. Humphrey Bogart was at his funeral. When asked if he was close to Mayer, Bogie replied:" Nah, I'm just here to make sure he's dead !"

1975- Years of bad management had brought New York City close to bankruptcy. This day President Gerald Ford announced that the United States Treasury would not help New York City out of it’s fiscal problems with any special loans. Although he reversed his position soon afterwards New Yorkers remembered his attitude. The New York DAILY NEWS paper’s headline “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD!” remained in people’s minds as they voted overwhelmingly for Jimmy Carter.

1994- A emotionally disturbed Colorado upholsterer named Francisco Duran fired a Chinese AK-47 machine gun at the White House. He told authorities a multi-colored Alien told him to kill President Clinton in order to disperse a cosmic mist that had been over the White House for a thousand years. Pretty amazing mist, since the White House is only 200 years old. Bill Clinton –The First Bubba, was watching football on t.v.


October 28, 2006
October 28th, 2006

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Birthdays: Elsa Lanchester, Cleo Lane, Charlie Daniels, Evelyn Waugh, Jonas Salk, Bruce Jenner, Joan Plowright, Bill Gates, Chef August Escolfiere the great French Chef who created Peche Melba, Charles Grovesnor the founder of National Geographic magazine, Joaquin Phoenix is 33

FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON ZEALOT & ST. JUDE- In the Middle Ages people mixed up St. Simon with St. Simeon the"Hobgoblin Saint" , and St. Jude ( The patron saint of Lost Causes) with Judas Iscariot- I guess they felt God made him a saint as a consolation prize. So today was considered a good day for conjurers, sorcerers, necromacists and other practitioners of the Black Arts. One 17th century sorcerer, Bruno of Prague, claimed he could summon up St. Jude this day to grant you a wish. But if you showed any sign of fear or hesitation, St. Jude would box your ears and disappear.

1726-Johnathan Swift published "Gulliver's Travels-"To Vex the World rather than Divert it."

1919- Congress overrides the veto of President Woodrow Wilson and passed the Volstead Act. The act gives enforcement powers to the Prohibition (XIX) Amendment forbidding the sale and consumption of alcohol. The Volstead Act gave government the power to seize and destroy alcohol and distilleries and shut down bars. This set the stage for the Roaring Twenties.

1929- Composer Irving Berlin scolded George Gershwin for his lack of patriotism that he unloaded his stocks and bonds. The Stock Market crashed the following day ruining Berlin but leaving Gershwin unscathed. Stick to Tin Pan Alley, Irv...

1962- THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS ENDED- Soviet Chairman Nikita Khruschev withdrew his nuclear missiles from Cuba in exchange for a promise from Kennedy not to invade Cuba and to withdraw missiles from Turkey -they were obsolete and had been planned for de-activation anyway. Kennedy told the U.S.public there was no deal made. Generals on both sides were furious. Gen. Curtis LeMay called it America's greatest defeat. But the world breathed a sigh of relief. And Fidel Castro? Well, nobody bothered to tell him. He came out of his bunker after he found out the news on the Voice of America broadcast that evening.

1963- First day of demolition of New York’s City Pennsylvania Station, a massive Beaux Artes Temple that signaled the triumph of the automobile over the train. It took three years to demolish and today is considered a cultural crime. The remade Pennsylvania station was an all underground facility. One writer said:” We used to enter New York like gods, now we come in like rats.” The anger over the destruction fostered the creation of the New York Landmarks Commission.


QUIZ:

What do Charlie Chaplin, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ronald Reagan, Igor Stavinsky, H.G.Wells, Dorothy Parker, Serqei Eisenstein and Rico LeBrun have in common? (answer below)

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B-Days: Captain James Cook, Theodore Roosevelt, Dylan Thomas, Nicolo Paganinni, Sylvia Plath, Roy Lichtenstein, John Cleese, Freddy De Cordova, Jerry-Curly Howard of the Three Stooges- nyuck, nyuck!, Bernie Wrightson the creator of Swamp Thing

1886-THE STATUE OF LIBERTY DEDICATED- Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was originally asked by Ferndinand deLasseps to create a huge statue of a woman to welcome Europeans sailing into the Suez Canal at Port Said. After that deal didn’t work out Bartholdi revamped the design for the Americas. The face looks like a classic Greek beauty but some insist it’s an image of the artist’s mother. This day Bartholdi’s masterpiece held up by Gustav Eiffel's superstructure was supposed to be unveiled at the American Centennial celebrations in 1876, but was a little over deadline, about ten years. President Cleveland had started giving his opening remarks when the curtain revealing the statue was dropped early and he was drowned out by cheers, boat whistles, cannon salutes and fireworks. Women Suffragettes rented a boat and floated alongside the parade bearing a large banner "She's beautiful but she can not Vote!"

1886-Musical fantasy "Night on Bald Mountain" premiered in Russia. Composer Modest Mussogorsky worked as a florist during the day and wrote music at night. He was convinced he couldn’t make a living otherwise.

1916- The entertainment trade magazine Variety has the blurb: "Chicago has added recently to it’s number of so-called Jazz bands." Now jazz was around in black neighborhoods for years before, but the form was labeled Ragtime or Syncopation. This is the earliest known use in print of the word Jazz.

1947- The "You Bet Your Life" quiz show premiered on radio. "Say the Secret Word and Win Fifty Dollars". Comedian Groucho Marx had struggled after his brothers act the Marx Brothers broke up. In a live radio program with Bob Hope at one point Hope dropped his script. Before he could pick it up Groucho stepped on the pages, threw his own away and the two improvised their conversation. The result was much funnier that anything anybody had heard. The producer of the show was so impressed he hired Groucho and built a quiz show around him.

1962-BLACK SATURDAY- THE DAY THE WORLD ALMOST ENDED- Darkest day of the Cuban Missile Crisis, The US and Russia had enough nuclear weapons to destroy all life on planet Earth 22 times over, and this day they came closest to doing just that.
Soviet and American battle fleets were faced off in the ocean, at the Berlin Wall tanks were muzzle to muzzle, some with nuclear artillery shells. All B-52's were in the air waiting for the order to enter Russian air space, Russian subs off the U.S. coast with nuclear missiles trained on American cities, all code Red, DEF CON-2- TOTAL WAR status. At a signal from The White House the U.S. was poised to drop 7,000 nuclear weapons capable of killing 100 million people in an instant. Recently the Russians revealed that 64 hydrogen bombs were already operational in Cuba mounted on missiles that could hit Washington and New York in five minutes. Also 9 tactical nukes were under the direct control of two Soviet generals in Cuba, the only time that permission has ever been given. Then suddenly a Cuban anti-aircraft missile shot down an American U-2 spy plane, killing the pilot. John Kennedy complained to his staff:"Khruschev doesn't think I have the guts to push the button !" Attorney General Robert Kennedy almost in tears from the strain cried to Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin: "Things are moving beyond all human control!"
The Kremlin got a secret telegram from Fidel Castro in his underground bunker begging them to fire the nukes immediately, saying Cuba is proud to sacrifice itself on the ramparts of Socialism ( Fidel sent it from an underground bunker ). KGB director Yuri Andropov passed Castro's note on to Khruschev after he has red penciled question marks and exclamation marks all over it.( !!!??!?!? ) Khruschev decided to accept Kennedy's offer of a deal before the unthinkable happened. Khruschev also later mentioned that he received an appeal from philosopher Bertrand Russell that he credited with helping him make up his mind. After the crisis passed the Hot Line was set up between Washington and the Kremlin to try and ensure such misunderstandings wouldn’t happen again. Kennedy sent Khruschev a copy of Barbara Tuchman’s book the Guns of August, about how the world fell into World War One, when nobody really wanted to go to war.

1964- Sonny & Cher married. I got you babe!

1966- Bill Melendez's Peanuts t.v. special "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown'. This film was the last film score of jazz musician Vince Guaraldi, who created the unique sound of Charlie Brown cartoons.

1986- The NY Mets defeated the Boston Red Sox to win the baseball World Series.

2004- After not winning it for half the history of baseball, since 1918, the Boston Red Sox swept the Saint Louis Cardinals to win the World Series.
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ANSWER TO QUIZ

QUESTION:
What do Charlie Chaplin, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ronald Reagan, Igor Stavinsky, H.G.Wells, Dorothy Parker, Serqei Eisenstein and Rico LeBrun have in common?

ANSWER: They all once addressed assembled groups of Hollywood animators. Reagan and Parker spoke to union meetings,1952 and 1941 respectively. The rest were brought in by Walt Disney to talk to his crew.


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