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May 31st, 2009 sun.
May 31st, 2009

Quiz: What were LaSalle, DeSoto, Nash, Maxwell and Duesenberg?

Answer to Yesterday’s Quiz Below: For all you WWII experts: if you took a Higgins Boat, where did it drop you off?
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History for 5/31/2009
Birthdays: King Manuel Ist of Portugal –1495, Walt Whitman, Fred Allen, Clint Eastwood, Don Ameche, Prince Ranier, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Ranier Fassbinder, Brooke Shields, Joe Namath, Richie Valens, Tom Berenger, Denholm Elliot, Peter Yarrow, Lea Thompson, John Bonzo Bonham of Led Zepplin, Colin Ferrell

1578- A farmer plowing a vineyard near Rome causes the ground to collapse beneath him revealing the long buried Ancient Roman CATACOMBS. Antonio Bosio studied them and writes in 1632 "Underground Rome".

1793- LA TERREUR- THE REIGN OF TERROR BEGAN- French extreme leftists the Jacobins named for their meeting place, near the monastery of St.Jacob- Danton, Robespierre and Marat take over the French Government. They declare anybody who doesn't agree with them to be counterrevolutionary dead meat. Robsepierre said: “Virtue without Terror is Impotence, Terror without Virtue is Criminal.” Marat said: "If we cut off 10,000 heads today, it saves us having to cut off 100,000 tomorrow!"
For a year they guillotined 17,000 people, including Madame DuBarry, the scientist Lavoisier, poet Andre Chenier and even fellow revolutionaries Danton and Camille Desmoulins. They also drowned hundreds in barges. Napoleon, Josephine, Roget Du Lisle -who wrote Le Marseillaise, even American Thomas Paine barely escape the blade. To their credit they enacted much needed social reforms, For the first time the public could enjoy the Royal art collections like the Louvre and the royal parks like the Luxembourg Gardens.

1837 - Joseph Grimaldi, England’s greatest clown (king of pantomime), died at 57. On stage since the age of 3 at Sadler-Wells, he never appeared in a circus ring. Instead, his act was stage pantomime. In tribute to him English clowns are known as “Joey’.

1873- SCHLEIMANN FOUND TROY. German archaeologist Heinrich Schleimann unearthed the horde of gold known as Priam's Treasure in a mound near Hysarlik Turkey. This proved this site was the Troy of Homer and the Trojan War was not a myth but a real historical event. There were actually 9 Troys on the site- from a Bronze Age village to a Late Roman Empire city. The Troy of the Trojan War was Troy number 4. It showed signs of destruction by fire.

1879- New York’s Madison Square Garden opened. Designed to resemble a Venetian Palazzo.

1884-Happy Birthday Kellogg’s Corn Flakes! Dr. John Harvey Kellogg of Battle Creek Michigan patents "flaked cereal and the process for making same." He felt whole foods like Corn Flakes could help gentle Victorian people curb their urge to sexual excesses. Hmm…should I mud wrestle Jessica Alba or have a bowl of corn flakes? Decisions, decisions.

1889-The Johnstown Flood. The South Fork Dam swollen by heavy rains burst and sent a 35-foot wall of water and debris over the town. 2,295 were killed.

1901-THE BOER WAR ENDS. English troops entered Praetoria; Boer survivors signed the Treaty of Vereeniging. Tranvaal President Kruger "Oom Paul"-Uncle Paul- fled to Holland. When the Queen of Holland appealed for help for the Boers, who were ethnically Dutch-German. The Kaiser was noncommittal. The leader of the second largest population of Germans, President Teddy Roosevelt of the United States, said, "It is right and natural that the larger nations should dominate the smaller."
On a troopship returning from South Africa volunteer doctor Arthur Conan-Doyle was told by a Welsh doctor of a legend of a big ghostly dog that attacked people on the moors of his home estate. Conan-Doyle thought this would be a swell story for his character Sherlock Holmes to solve. The Hound of the Baskervilles was the result.

1911- RMS Titanic launched from the Belfast shipyards. In a strange premonition of her eventual fate, she was never christened.

1916-The BATTLE OF JUTLAND. German and British battleships boom away at each other in the only major naval fleet engagement of World War I. Giant battleships called Dreadnoughts were the nukes of the turn of the century power game. Yet when the first and third largest fleets in the world finally grappled it was a tie. British Admiral Beatty was annoyed with the performance of his fleet: "Blast ! Why are all me bloody battlecruisers sinking?” But the German High Seas fleet went back into Kiel harbor and didn't emerge again for the rest of the war.

1928- The song “ Old Man River “sung by Pail Robeson came out as a single.

1948- The various guerrilla groups fighting for the new state of Israel, the Palmach, Haganna and Irgun, combine to officially become the IDF, the Israeli Defense Force,

1957- Malaya received its independence from Britain.

1958 - Dick Dale invents "surf music" with "Let's Go Trippin"

1962- Israel hanged Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann. His body was cremated and the ashes scattered in the sea.

1969-John Lennon and Yoko Ono record "Give Peace a Chance." It became the theme song of the Anti-Vietnam War movement. Because of this song and Lennon’s support of the Hippie protestors the Nixon White House kept a file on him. Lennon spent most of 1972-73 under a constant threat of 60-day deportation from the US. The Republican who suggested the INS revoke Lennons visa was Sen. Strom Thurmond.

1979- The nation of Rhodesia became the Republic of Zimbabwe.

1984- Martial arts movie star Steven Segal married soap opera star Adrienne LaRussa. But what Adrienne didn’t know was he already had a wife named Miyako Fujetani and two kids waiting for him in Japan. A few months after this he fell for another actress named Kelly LeBrock.

1985- John Sculley was a former exec from Pepsi brought in by Apple Computer companies founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak to help run the company. This day his solution to help the company run better was to fire Steve Jobs. Wozniak retired and Sculley eventually moved on. Today Steve Jobs runs the reinvigorated Apple as well as PIXAR and is on the board of the Walt Disney Company.

1989- "Skinhead Day at the Magic Kingdom" Disneyland refused to admit a rally of skinheads, Nazis and Klansmen.

1990- Television sitcom Seinfeld premiered based on a TV special about the standup comedian called the Seinfeld Chronicles. No Soup for You!

1995- A young Mexican-American Tejana singer named Selena was gaining a growing crossover appeal in pop music, and there seemed no limit. This day she was shot and killed by the Yolanda Saldivia, the president of the Selena Fan club.

1996- Despite grief over the assassination of Labor Prime Minister Ytschak Rabin, the Israeli public voted for the right wing Likud today, making Benjamin “Bibi” Netnayahu Prime Minister, and setting back the peace process once again.

2000- The first Survivor show premiered, shepherding in a new deluge of TV Reality shows.

2003- A dove got into the Pentagon and flapped around the Air Force Secretary's office on the 4th floor. Can we say- symbolic?
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Yesterday’s Question:For all you WWII experts: if you took a Higgins Boat, where did it drop you off?

Answer: A Higgins boat was the name for the small landing craft that dropped it's front and dropped you off on beaches like Omaha and Anzio.


May 30th,2009 sat.
May 30th, 2009

So, the Rueben Awards and Memorial Day are done, and you've already seen UP twice. Is there still anything to do in ToonTown LA now?

You Betchya! And Free Too!



The Art of Marc Davis is still at the Forrest Lawn Museum in Glendale until July 26th. Also the Golden Age of Comic Book show is still up at the Skirball Center in the Sepulveda Pass until August 7th.



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Quiz: For all you WWII experts: if you took a Higgins Boat, where did it drop you off?

Yesterday’s Quiz: To maintain their anonymity while based in a San Rafael industrial park, what did George Lucas' ILM call itself?
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History for 5/30/2009
Birthdays: Czar Peter the Great, Benny Goodman, Mel Blanc, Stepin Fetchit, Keir Dullea, Boris Pasternak, Irving Thalberg, Milt Neil, Howard Hawks, Gale Sayers, Michael J. Pollard, Wynonna

1431- At Place de Vieux-Marche’, in English controlled Rouen, St. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. She was only 19. Her last request was for a priest to hold up high a Crucifix so she could pray aloud above the flames. When one English knight watched the maid call out to Christ as she died he exclaimed in grief: "Brothers, we are lost because I think we have just killed a Saint! ".

1593- English playwright Christopher Marlowe was stabbed to death in an argument over a restaurant check at the Bulls Tavern in Depford. Marlowe, whose plays included “Tamburlane” and “Dr Faustus", was one of Shakespeare's competitors and found time for some espionage on the side. Writer Sir Anthony Burgess theorized there may have been more spy-stuff to this case than not wanting to pay for ale & kippers. The murderer, Ingram Frizer, was quickly pardoned by Queen Elizabeth I and Marlowe was buried in an unmarked grave.

1630- King Gustavus Adolphus gave an emotional farewell speech to the Swedish Diet as he prepared to leave with his army for Germany. He had pledged to take up the Protestant cause in the brutal Thirty Years War then raging across Europe. Gustavus won many victories but he never saw Sweden again because he was killed in battle at Lutzen in 1632.

1787- THE CRUCIAL VOTE in creating the U.S. Constitution. The delegates of the thirteen states (actually twelve, Rhode Island refused to participate) had originally come to Philadelphia to iron out some bugs in the system called the Articles of Confederation.
On this day they were instead convinced to accept “the Virginia Plan” authored by James Madison and strongly backed by Alexander Hamilton. In effect, they voted to scrap the entire government used up till then and create a new strong central government with a two chamber Congress based on the Roman Senate and an elected chief magistrate called, at first, 'The Executive" and later the President. Later during a breakfast with Washington, Jefferson asked, “why did you agree to a two-house legislature?” Washington replied:” Why do you pour your tea on to your saucer?” To cool it” Jefferson replied. Washington said:” So hot laws from the House will be cooled in the Senate.”

1788- The great French philosopher Francois Voltaire died of uremic illness at age 84. He breathed his last cradled in the arms of Benjamin Franklin. He had been trying to write a chapter of a new dictionary, trying to keep himself going by drinking 20 cups of coffee a day. A great critic of the Catholic Church, he refused the Sacrament up to the last but was still smuggled away after death to be buried in sacred ground. In 1793 remains and Rousseau’s were moved to the Pantheon. In 1814 a Royalist ghoul broke into Voltaire and Rousseau’s tombs, stuffed their bones into a sack and threw them into a garbage dump. The whereabouts of his remains are unknown to this day.

1806- ANDREW JACKSON KILLS CHARLES DICKINSON IN A DUEL. -the hotheaded Jackson challenged Dickinson after he welched on horseracing bet and made insulting remarks about Jackson’s wife Rachel Jackson. In Long County Kentucky they faced off with pistols at ten paces. Dickinson got off a shot first. Eyewitnesses said you could see the puff of dust from Jackson's jacket where the bullet entered his ribs. Amazingly, instead of falling Jackson just coldly stood there. He then lifted his gun and drilled Dickinson dead. Jackson would carry the lead ball in his chest for the rest of his life, alongside two others earned in Indian wars. When asked why didn’t he forgive Dickinson and shoot wide, He replied: "I'd have killed him even if he had put a bullet in my brain!"

1821 - James Boyd patents Rubber Fire Hose.

1848 William Young patents the ice cream freezer.

1883- A rumor among the strollers on the Brooklyn Bridge that the bridge was falling causes a panic and 12 people are trampled. Young street kid Al Smith recalled being under the bridge and seeing a rain of bowler hats and parasols as the crowd pushed and shoved.

1899- Female outlaw Pearl Hart robbed the Globe, Arizona stagecoach. She was originally born in Peterborough Ontario.

1913-It’s Albanian Independence Day ! The Treaty of London signed, ending the First Balkan War and acknowledging the independence of Albania. The Second Balkan War started thirty days later.

1922- The Lincoln Memorial dedicated. The huge statue of Lincoln was carved by an Italian immigrant family in the Bronx. While President Harding talked a guest of honor was 86 year old Robert Todd Lincoln, Abe and Mary Lincoln’s only surviving child. A former Secretary of War, it was his last public appearance.

1927- In one of the more disturbing Memorial Day parades in New York City one thousand Ku Klux Klansmen and dozens of blackshirted Italian Fascists tried to march and got into fight with bystanders.

1930- The Lockheed Terminal rededicated as Burbank Airport.

1935 - Babe Ruth's final game, goes hitless for Braves against Phillies

1942- The British RAF launch the first of their 1000 plane bombing raids on Germany, this one flattened the city of Cologne.

1955- 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.

1961- Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo was ambushed in his Chevrolet. Shot five times, he was left dead in the street.

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.

1994 - Death of Baron Marcel Bich, Italian-born French engineer and industrialist who created an empire through his disposable BIC pens, lighters and razors.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: To maintain their anonymity while based in a San Raphael industrial park, what did George Lucas' ILM call itself?

Answer: The Kerner Company, named for their street, Kerner Blvd. Now they have moved to the Presidio in downtown San Francisco.


May 29th, 2009 fri.
May 29th, 2009

Quiz: To maintain their anonymity while based in a San Rafael industrial park, what did George Lucas' ILM call itself?

Yesterday’s question answered below: True or False? Chop Suey was not invented in China.
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History for 5/29/2009
Birthdays: King Charles II Stuart (the "Merry Monarch"), John F. Kennedy, J.G. 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 Benning, Melissa Etheridge, Rupert Everett, Bob Hope

526 AD -An earthquake destroyed the city of Antioch. Another major quake two years later caused rebuilding efforts to be abandoned. Once one of the largest cities in the ancient world, locals moved to the new settlement called Beirut.

1415- The Grand Council of churchmen at Constance trying to heal the Great Schism ordered the deposition of Pope John XXIII. John ran the Vatican like a mercenary captain, taxing everything including gambling and prostitution. It was said he had slept with 200 women including maids, matrons and nuns. He fled Constance disguised as a groom and was given sanctuary by Cosimo de Medici of Florence. Today he is counted an AntiPope, an illegal one, so Salvatore Roncalli in 1958 was given his number John XXIII.

1453- CONSTANTINOPLE CONQUERED BY THE TURKS- Sultan Mohammed II the "Scourge of Christendom" captured the capitol of the old Byzantine Empire. His great cherry wood cannons firing giant stone balls blew great holes in the city walls, proving the end of castles as serious defenses. When he knew the battle was lost, the Last Eastern Emperor of the Romans, Constantine XI Paleologus, sallied out sword in hand and went down fighting. His body was identified out of a pile of corpses only by the bejeweled purple shoes. As Mohammed II rode into the city in triumph he recited a Persian poem:" A spider weaves it's web in the palace of the Caesars, a shadow falls over the House of Amonhasarib". Legend has it that when he entered the great Basilica of Hagia Sophia he put is finger in a magic hole and caused the entire building to rotate and face Mecca. (?!)
Except for Spain, Christian Europe hadn’t given much thought to expansionist Islam since the Crusades. Now Turkey became the number one threat for the next 300 years. The Byzantine Empire’s loss did have one beneficial effect on Western Europe. All the fleeing Greek scholars and scientists with their arms full of the works of Plato and Aristotle would settle in European capitols and help spark the Renaissance.

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.

1765 - Patrick Henry historic speech against the Stamp Act, answering a cry
of "Treason!" with, "If this be treason, make the most of it!"

1780- THE WAXSAWS or TARELTON’S QUARTER- In the later part of the American Revolution the British Army tried encouraging Loyal Americans to fight their Rebel brothers. A British officer named Banastre Tarleton raised a hard riding company of American Loyalist dragoons to subdue unruly South Carolina. But Tarleton had a sadistic streak that made him go beyond the gentlemanly war of the era. At the Waxsaws in North Carolina Tarleton rode down a company of Virginia militia and slaughtered them as they tried to surrender. After the battle ended he ordered his men to comb the battlefield and bayonet the wounded. So he won the tactical victory but Butcher Tarleton’s tactics made more enemies than friends for his side. Many North Carolina hill country folk who had been sitting out the war lost kin at the Waxsaws and so joined the American side in droves. Knowing they may get “Tarleton’s Quarter” made many Minutemen fight harder rather than surrender.

1843- John C. Freemont began his second surveying expedition mapping out vast areas of California and Oregon and studying its geography. For this he was nicknamed the Pathfinder and later became the first presidential candidate of the new Republican Party.

1856- THE LOST SPEECH- Former Congressman Abraham Lincoln was called upon to deliver the adjournment speech to the convention inaugurating the new Illinois Republican Party. He had decided to abandon his strategy of mincing words about slavery and “hit it hard.”Lincoln delivered what many regarded as the best speech of his life, a speech better than the Gettysburg Address or “ With Malice Towards None” the Second Inaugural. And maddeningly for history we have no record of what he said. The newspapermen jotting it down shorthand were so amazed by what they heard that they stopped writing, confident they could share the notes of another later. Even Abe’s close friend Herndon, who was a prodigious note taker, gave up after fifteen minutes, admitting he “threw pen and paper away and was swept up in the inspiration of the hour”. The speech made Lincoln one of the rising stars of the party yet we don’t know anything he said that night.

1859 –Illinois Congressman Abe Lincoln says in a better documented occasion "You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of time, but you can't fool all of the people all of time"

1908- Teddy Roosevelt signed the first ban on child labor in the U.S.

1911 -The Brickyard is born. The first running of the Indianapolis 500.

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

1914-THE COLONEL REDL AFFAIR- In the years before World War One the Great Powers of Europe spent vast sums on spies and agents to discover each other's future war plans. The period was known as the “soft war” not unlike the Cold War of a later generation. Coloneloberst Redl was on the Austro-Hungarian General Staff but was passing information on to Russian Intelligence. He was exposed by an Italian double agent who was also his male lover. According to the Austrian military code of honor Redl was forced by his fellow officers to shoot himself. An eccentric man, his apartment was filled with life-size mannequins in chairs. Hungarian director Istvan Szabo made an award winning film about Redl with Klaus Maria Brandauer in 1986.

If you haven't seen this, it's a terrific movie.

1932- The" BONUS MARCHERS "announce their march on Washington D.C. Men who joined the army during the Great War were promised a huge extra bonus to be received in 1945. But by 1932 the Great Depression had so ruined people's lives a movement was started by a Portland Oregon veteran named Captain William Waters to have a bill in Congress to get their bonus early. Veterans would lobby congress by mounting a poor people's march on Washington. People's marches of this sort had happened before, like "Coxey's Army" in 1896, the Civil Right's march in 1964, and the Million-Man March in 1995.

1942- JOHN BARRYMORE- The great dramatic actor, the first American to dare to play Hamlet in England, died of his vices at age 46. 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.

Drew Barrymore's granddaddy.


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.

1952- Edmund Hillary and Sherpa guide Tenzing Norga become first men to reach the top of Mt. Everest.

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 Bride of Frankenstein, and The Invisible Man) drowned himself 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 lover made his suicide note public. His head had struck the pool’s bottom as he jumped in causing the bruise.

1978 - Bob Crane, (Donna Reed Show, Hogan-Hogan's Heroes), died at 49 under mysterious circumstances. He was found in a Tucson hotel room surrounded by pornography bludgeoned to death by a camera tripod. The murder was never solved.

1987 –Eccentric pop singer Michael Jackson attempted to buy the nineteenth century remains of Joseph Merrick, 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.

2003- The BBC aired a news expose alleging that Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government “sexed up” or exaggerated the proof of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction to justify the unpopular invasion of Iraq. The documentary named a shy government researcher named Dr David Kelly as the perpetrator. He committed suicide as a result. An official enquiry into the affair a year later cleared the PM and his government, and made the directors of the BBC resign.
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Quiz: True or False? Chop Suey was not invented in China.

Answer: True, Chop Suey was invented in San Francisco in the 1890s. Chow Mein, the other signature Chinese-American dish, does have equivalents back in China.


May 28th,2009 thurs
May 28th, 2009

Quiz: True or False? Chop Suey was not invented in China.

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: What is a Pyrrhic Victory?
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History for 5/28/2009
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 64.

1358-THE JACQUERIE- In the Middle Ages the oppression of the peasantry coupled with the Black Death and the Hundred Years’ War reaches the breaking point and major peasant revolts begin to break out across Europe. In Italy they’re called the Ciompi, in England Wat the Tyner’s revolt, and outbreak today in France was called the JACQUERIE (after "poor Jacques" or peasant). The outraged peasants burned manor homes and castles and massacred nobility without any real plan. To English and French knights class meant more than national feuds, so they took time out from their Hundred Years’ War to join together to chop up the uppity peasants.

1494- The official "birth" of Scotch - though it had been around for a long time, on this date, the Scottish Exchequer records a purchase of malt by a friar to make "aqua vitae", the first written reference to spirits in Scotland. Hoot Man!

1786- French explorer the Comte de Purvoise became the first European to set foot on the Hawaiian Island of Maui. "The climate of Mowhee is quite delightful." He wrote. Then spending only three days there he hurried his ship on to the Northwest coast of America.

1853- THE CRIMEAN WAR BEGAN- England and the French Empire declare War on Russia over Russia’s trying to beat up Turkey and annex the Bosphorus. England and Russia spent the nineteenth century in a tactical struggle for supremacy in Central Asia not unlike the Cold War the Soviet Union fought with America after World War Two. The name for the Anglo-Russian duel was "the Great Game". It only heated up once, producing such artifacts as the Charge of the Light Brigade, Balaclava Helmets and Florence Nightingale. Roger Fenton also followed the army to the Crimea as the first war-photographer.

1892- The Sierra Club formed.

1928 - Dodge Brothers Inc & Chrysler Corp merged.

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. He has studio security officers escort Babbitt off the lot (a custom that still happens today.).


That night in an emergency meeting of the Cartoonists Guild, Art’s assistant on Fantasia, Bill Hurtz, made a motion to strike and it is unanimously accepted. Bill Hurtz will later go on to direct award winning cartoons like UPA’s "Unicorn in the Garden" and the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. 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 but hard feelings remained down to this very day.

1948- During the Israeli War of Independence the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem surrendered after a long siege by the Arab Legion. The Legion was a force organized and led by a British officer Sir John Bagot- Glubb or Glub-Pasha. The main Jewish community was in west Jerusalem but the Holy places of the Old City were in the eastern part. Jews lost the Wailing Wall until retaken in the Six-Day War of 1967.

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

1960- George Zucco 60, a character actor who specialized in horror movies like Blood from the Mummies Hand, 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.

1961 -Amnesty International, a human rights organization, is founded. It was the result of an Appeal for Amnesty, written in the London Daily Observer by a British author who read of several Portuguese students who were arrested because they were overheard making a toast to Freedom in a café.

1977- " MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU." George Lucas' space fantasy film STAR WARS opened. This blockbuster was the first film where the filmmaker retained the licensing rights for merchandise instead of the distributor, known in Hollywood as the 'backend deal'. Several studios including Universal passed on the film because the prevailing wisdom was sci-fi films didn't make money. 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 think the film would 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 Wars was a monster hit. It was like there were no other movies playing that summer. George Lucas became a seriously rich man and developed THX Dolby 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.

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.

1987- A young German student named Matthias Rust rented a Cessna airplane in Helsinki, and flying low to avoid radar flew into the heart of the Soviet Union. Evading a forest of missiles and anti-aircraft weapons, he landed his little plane in the middle of Red Square in the Kremlin. The ensuing furor and humiliation cost many Russian generals their jobs.

1998- Saturday Night Live comedian Phil Hartman was shot to death by his wife Brynne as he slept. She was a heavy drink 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 ticking for 45 minutes.

2005- Actress Lindsay Lohan was photographed passed out in her car shortly after a hearing for a previous DUI.
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Yesterday’s Question: What is a Pyrrhic Victory?

Answer: A victory in which you lose more than in a defeat. Named for Greek King Pyrrhus of Epirus, who lost so many men in one battle, he exclaimed:” One more such victory and I am undone!”


Young Filmmakers Beware!

It's fun to get your short film up on the web on sites like YouTube and let your friends across the country see it.



I was talking today with members of the Board of Governors at the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences. We were discussing the problem of young filmmakers who can't wait to get their short films up on the web.

They told me that Academy rules state that if you put a short on the web, especially on a pay per view site, YOU CAN FORGET ABOUT ENTERING IT IN THE ACADEMY AWARDS AND STUDENT ACADEMY AWARDS. To the Motion Picture Academy,being on the web is the same as running your movie on TV, which would also disqualify it. Films for Academy consideration first have to be shown in theaters or entered in film festivals that are academy sanctioned. Even then, some film festivals like to put the winners of their competition on the web. This would disqualify you too.

Of course, if trying for an Oscar is not a priority to you, then do as you like. But if it is, please check Academy rules before you agree to let your film be put on line. http://www.oscars.org

When I get more info, I'll pass it on. Meantime, good luck.
I'd hate to see all your hopes and hard work be disqualified on a technicality.

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Question: What is a Pyrrhic Victory?

Yesterday’s Question: What is a Papist?
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History for 5/27/2009
Birthdays: James 'Wild Bill' Hickock, Julia Ward Howe, Aemelia Jenks-Bloomer, Dashiell Hammett, Vincent Price, Dr. Henry Kissinger is 86, Leopold Goldowsky (the inventor of Kodachrome film), Hubert H. Humphrey, Herman Wouk, Christopher Lee is 86, Harlan Ellison, Joseph Feinnes. Richard Schiff, Peri Gilpin, Paul Bettany is 38

595 a.d. Today is the Feast day of Saint Augustine of Canterbury, who saw children in the slave docket and when told 'Those are Angles"-The barbarian tribe that England is named for. Augustine replied: Non Sunt Anglicai, Sunt Angelis”- Those are not Angles, those are Angels". Augustine of Canterbury should not be confused with the Saint Augustine of Hippo, who wrote the Confessions and said:" Lord, help me to be Chaste.... But not just yet."

1647-The first witch execution in Salem Massachusetts. Contrary to popular perception, more witches were hanged or crushed with stones than burned.

1647- Peter Stuyversant inaugurated as Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam. The one legged old soldier was a staunch Calvinist who was sent to “clean up the town”.

1703- Czar Peter the Great laid the cornerstones for his new capitol Saint Petersburg. The Baltic Port was called at one time Petrograd and Leningrad but was changed back to the original name in 1989. It was the capitol until Lenin moved it back to Moscow in 1917.

1831- Mountain man explorer Jedediah Smith killed fighting Commanches.

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 pain cars two tone.



1933- Disney’s cartoon“The Three Little Pigs” premieres, whose song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” becomes a national anthem of recovery from the Depression.
It was also a favorite song of Adolph Hitler. Disney animators were especially proud of the quality of the character animation. Director of the short Burt Gillette left Disney after wards to run the Van Beuren Studio in New York.

1935- The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Franklin Roosevelt’s National Recovery Act (The NRA) program. Roosevelt responds by trying to stack the court with judges more to his liking. He referred to them as 'The Nine Old Men', a sobriquet Walt Disney would borrow in 1949 for his animators.

1937- San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge opens.



1941- The German battleship Bismarck finally sunk by massed Royal Navy ships and torpedo planes. The British sailors of the battleship HMS Prince of Wales helped the German sailors out of the water saying:”Now you, one day it may be us.” In December their ship was sunk by the Japanese.

In 1981 I heard CBC radio interview with the last surviving flag-deck officer of the Bismarck , a Baron von Mullenheim-Rechburg, who had just published a memoir. The radio interviewer asked him:" When did you get the idea to write this book? He replied:" When I was floating around in the burning water..." The interviewer then asked incredulously" Then why did you wait forty years? He replied casually:" Well...you know, things come up..."

1942- Top Nazis in occupied Czechoslovakia Reynhard Heydrich was assassinated by the resistance who tossed a bomb into his car. Hitler angrily responded by ordering the SS to select a Czech village at random and destroying it. They picked Lidice; they leveled it and murdered all its inhabitants.

1949- Actress Rita Hayworth married Arab playboy Prince Aly Khan.

1961 – The first black light is sold

1969 – Construction on Walt Disney World Orlando began.

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

1991- The Milwaukee police question serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer after finding a distraught, bleeding young Laotian immigrant in the street. The boy was struggling to shake off the effect of date-rape drugs given him by Dahmer. After deducing that it was merely a lovers quarrel, the police returned the boy to Dahmer, who later killed and ate him.

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 national effort was stymied by powerful religious lobbies. Reeves died in 2004.

1997- President Bill Clinton liked to appease his critics by appointing conservative judges despite popular perception of him as a super-Liberal. This day this practice came back to bite him when the conservative Supreme Court of William Rheinquist unanimously rejected Clinton’s plea that a President should not be subject to a private law suit while in office. A woman named Paula Jones with heavy funding from the religious right wing of the Republican Party was suing him for sexual harassment. The Supreme Court paved the way for the Paula Jones case to proceed making it possible for the grand jury testimony and subsequent impeachment trial to proceed. Clinton was later found in contempt of court by a judge for lying in the Jones inquiry.
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Yesterday’s question: What is a Papist?

Answer: A derogatory name for Roman Catholics used by English Protestants since Henry VIII’s time.


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