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Blog Posts from January 2007:

January 31, 2007 weds
January 31st, 2007

Birthdays: Zane Grey,Franz Schubert, Tokugawa Ieyasu the Shogun, Sir John Profumo, Phillip Glass, Johnny Rotten, Ernie Banks, Norman Mailer, Nolan Ryan, Susanne Pleshette, Minnie Driver, Anthony LaPaglia, Tallulah Bankhead, Justin Timberlake is 26

Today is the Feast day of St. John Bosco, patron saint of Catholic Schools (AAARRGH!)

Happy National Dress up in a Gorilla Suit Day. First advocated by Don Martin, cartoonist for MAD Magazine.

1839- Englishman William Fox Talbot says Frenchman Louis Daguerre is full of pate' when he announces he had invented photography (1/7/39). Talbot declares HE invented it first. Actually a Belgian priest experimenting with capturing light on chemically treated glass or paper as early as 1817, Thomas Wedgewood in 1770 and Louis Niepce, with whom both Daguerre and Talbot were familiar. While the principles of capturing a shadow had been known for some time, no one had worked out how to fix the image so earlier attempts faded away in a few hours. Niepce' work predates both Talbot and Daguerre by about 10 years and constitute the earliest "photographic" images still extant. But Talbot and Daguerre are considered the fathers of Photography, provided you like history English or a’ Francais.

1925- Scotch brand invisible tape introduced by the 3-M Company.

1935- The Green Hornet premiered on radio.

1954- Howard Armstrong, the inventor of FM Radio, driven to despair by constant lawsuits with RCA Corporation over his patents, jumped to his death out of a hotel window. He first put on his hat, overcoat and gloves because he didn't want to be cold...(?) Armstrong loved heights and used to climb hundreds of feet in the air to meditate on top of his radio antennas. By 1977 his family won all the lawsuits. Today, most radio, television and air traffic communications are by FM band.

1968- The Seattle city council concluded that there was no legal means to curb hippies hanging out in the downtown U- District.

1978- Polish director Roman Polanski fled the U.S. for exile after being charged for having sex with a thirteen year old girl in Jack Nicholson’s house.

1989- LaToya Jackson posed nude for Playboy.


January 30, 2007 tues.
January 30th, 2007

Birthdays: Historian Barbara Tuchman, Gene Hackman, Phil Collins, Walt “Moose” Dropo, Olaf Palme, Vanessa Redgrave, Dick Martin, Louis S. Rukeyser, Dorothy Malone, John Ireland, Christian Bale, VP Dick Cheney

1931- Hollywood Premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights. Later at a dance at the Biltmore Hotel writer Herman Mankewicz (Citizen Kane, Duck Soup) got into a drunken fistfight with producer David O. Selznick (Gone With the Wind, Rebecca). You’ll never eat turtle-soup in this town again!

1933- HI-YO SILVER!! The Lone Ranger debuts on Radio. The Masked man was invented by the WXYZ station owner George Trendle and writer Fran Striker with absolutely no experience of cowboys or Indians. They just wanted a hero like Zorro with a strict moral code. He was later voiced by actor William Conrad who did the Rocky & Bullwinkle narration and the tv series Cannon.

1934- Artist Salvador Dali married Gala.

1946- The first US dimes with Franklin Roosevelt on the head were issued.

1956- Elvis Presley recorded Blue Suede Shoes.

1960- STRAVINSKY SPEAKS OUT. For years after the making of Fantasia, critics had pondered Igor Stravinsky's cryptic reaction to Disney's portrayal of his "Rite of Spring".
Disney p.r. said he was "speechless with admiration!" In a Saturday Review article of this date Stravinsky said Stokowski's editing of his music was 'execrable' and the visuals "an unresisting imbecility". His opinion still didn't stop him from selling the studio film rights to several other of his pieces including "The Firebird' in 1942. He needed the cash.

1961-H-B's the Yogi Bear Show.

1964-Writers John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion married. Dunne's uncle was the Jesuit priest whose 1947 analysis of corruption and the Hollywood union jurisdiction battles won him a one-way ticket to a mission in Death Valley.

1969- The rock band the Beatles last public appearance as a group. They tried to do a free concert in the London streets but were banned by police for fear of congestion and noise complaints. So they withdrew to a rooftop above their recording studio and played anyway. John Lennon ended the concert by saying: ‘Thank you very much on behalf of the band and myself and I hope we passed the audition.”


Today’s History note about young Walt Disney getting his first job got me to thinking about career paths. We all know about Walt Disney’s rise to fame and success, but is it what he always wanted to do?

In 1920 Walt first applied to several leading Kansas City newspapers for work as a cartoonist. At the time cartoonists like Winsor McKay, Raymond Outcault, Bud Fisher and George McManus were minor league celebrities. But he was turned down. Finally his brother got him in a commerical art company as an apprentice doing ads. After taking out of the lending library Edwin Lutz's manual on animation, he fell into the new technology and found a niche to make filmstrips. Later when he moved from Kansas City to Hollywood, at first he made the rounds and applied to all the studios for work as a director of live action moving pictures. He was turned down. So he went back to what he knew, making cartoons. And the rest was History…

Jules Verne first studied to be a lawyer, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle studied medicine, Josef Stalin studied for the priesthood, James McNeill-Whistler failed the entrance exam to get into West Point “ If I hadn’t identified phosphorus as a gas, maybe I’d be a Major General by now!” I applied to Disney three times and was turned down. I finished my eight years there as a director who looked at portfolios. I never knew I’d be writing so much, now I’m starting my third book. My English teacher at Meyer Levin Junior High School 285 in Flatbush is probably more surprised than me.

The old saying goes If you want to make God smile, tell him your plans for the future.”
Career-wise, be certain about what you want to do and keep your eyes on the prize, but don’t be afraid to adapt as conditions change. We rarely make it to the finish line thinking as we did at the starting gate. There’s nothing wrong in that. Life is a big wild rollercoaster ride, and lets see where it takes us.

Have a good career, where ever you go!

Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks


January 29, 2007 mon.
January 29th, 2007

Congratulations to Don Herzefeldt, whose short Everything will be Okay won a jury prize for shorts at the Sundance Film Festival. It beat out live action as well as animated competitors.

Karl Cohen of ASIFA San Francisco just fowarded the news from Rome that famed Italian animator Emile Luzzatti has died. 1921-2007.
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Birthdays: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Thomas Paine, Oprah Winfrey, William Claude Dunkenfeld known as W.C. Fields, Victor Mature, Paddy Chayefsky, Tom Selleck, Heather Graham, Ed Burns, Greg Louganis, John Horsely (1817) the inventor of the Christmas Card-1842*

*Horsley was a Victorian artist at the Royal Academy in London who refused to draw nudes because it offended his morality. This earned him the nickname- Clothes Horsely.

1728-At this time all the rage in London was Italian Opera based on adaptations of Greek Mythology sung by castrated male sopranos. This day John Gay and Johann Pepuschs THE BEGGARS OPERA was first produced in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The play was a sensation because it was an opera in English using popular tunes of the time, and told the story not of gods or noble heroes, but highwaymen, bawdy girls and innkeepers.

1813- Jane Austin’s novel Pride and Prejudice first published.

1845- Edgar Allen Poe's poem the Raven first published. Nevermore.

1886-In Karlsruhe Germany, Dr. Karl Benz patented the internal combustion engine. To prevent gasoline explosions it utilized a fuel distribution system based on a ladies perfume atomizer spray ( the carburetor ). He called his horseless carriage at first a Motorvagen, but later names it after his partner Godfried Daimler’s daughter, Mercedes.

1920- WALT GETS A JOB- Nineteen year old Walt Disney, just out of the army, gets his first job as an artist. His brother Roy got him a job as an apprentice commerical artist at the Pesmen-Rubin Company of Kansas City. He did cartoon advertising for newspapers and slides for the local movie theater. There he also made friends with a shy artist with the Dutch name Ubbe Ette Iwerks,or Ub Iwerks.

1936- Dictator Benito Mussolini lays the first stone of Cinecitta’ Movie Studios.

1957- Patsy Cline recorded "Walkin' After Midnight."

1964- Stanley Kubrick's nuclear comedy "DR STRANGLOVE –OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB." premiered. It's use of hand held camera for action sequences and cutting inspired by the European New Wave ushered in a new style in Hollywood cinema. So, who was Tracey Reed? She played Miss Scott, George C. Scott’s bikini clad secretary and the only woman in the entire movie.


January 28, 2007 sunday
January 28th, 2007

Birthdays: King Henry VII Tudor, Colette, Jackson Pollack, Claus Oldenburg, Arthur Rubenstein, director Ernst Lubitsch, animator Connie Rasinski, Susan Sontag, Alan Alda, Barbie Benton, William Burroughs (1855) the inventor of the calculator, Mo Rocca, Elijah Wood is 26

1829- BURKE & HARE- In the early nineteenth century scientific experiments on cadavers were still outlawed as desecration of the dead so doctors secretly hired grave robbers to get them specimens to experiment on. Burke & Hare were the most infamous of Edinburgh's "ressurrectionists" because they didn't always wait for the subject to die, but murdered them in their boardinghouse. To Burke someone became slang for suffocating them. Doctors and later police became suspicious of the freshness of their specimens and Hare finked on Burke to save himself. On this day Burke was hanged before a crowd of thousands and his body later medically dissected. The notoriety of this case helped pass laws allowing doctors more legal use of mortal remains. Their story was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's story "The Body Snatcher."


1926- Composer Kurt Weill married his Pirate Jenny- Lotte Lenya.

1930- Warner Brothers Cartoons Born. Leon Schlesinger, the head of Pacific Art and Title, signed a deal with several unemployed Disney animators including Friz Freleng, who had left Walt to form their own studio but had been stiffed by their contacts. Schlesinger had connections with the Warner Bros. since he helped them secure funding for the 'Jazz Singer'. They create Leon Schlesinger's Studio Looney Toons, in imitation of Disney's Silly Symphonies. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and more result. Schlesinger sold out to Warners Bros. and retired in 1943.


1949- The Admiral Broadway Review premiered on television. The one and a half hour comedy review starred Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. The show was so popular Admiral was swamped for orders for new televisions and ironically was forced to cancel the show to focus on their production needs. The show was revived as Your Show of Shows, one of the great shows of early television.

1956- Young singer Elvis Presley first appeared to television audiences on the Dorsey Brothers Stage Show.

1978- Premiere of Hanna Barbera's the Three Robonic Stooges.

1982- Danny DeVito married Rhea Perlman.


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