June 11, 2007 mon.
June 11th, 2007

Birthdays: Ben Johnson, Richard Strauss, Jacques Cousteau, Nelson Mandela, Bartolomeo Vanzetti , Gene Wilder, Joe Montana, John Constable, Gustav Courbet, Vince Lombardi, Adrienne Barbeau, William Styron, Chad Everett, Hugh Laurie is 48

1928 - Alfred Hitchcock's film, "The Case Of Jonathan Drew," is released.

1934- the first Mandrake the Magician comic strip.

1936- Shy, quiet, 30 year old Texas writer Robert E. Howard had created the macho warriors Conan the Barbarian, Kull and single handedly defined the genre we call Sword & Sorcery. This day after he learned his mother was dying and would never regain consciousness, he went into his garage and blew his brains out. Some say he had an Oedipal fixation, others that he always intended to end his life and was waiting to spare his mother the pain. On his typewriter he left a short message: "All fled, all done, so lift me upon the pyre. The feast is over and let the lamps expire."

1937 –" Getta’ yu tutsie-frutsie Ice-a Creem!"the Marx Brothers' "A Day At The Races" premiered.

1939 – President Franklin Roosevelt hosted King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the White House. There the rulers of the British Empire ate Hot Dogs for the first time. Whether they in turn gave FDR some Marmite is an open question.

1959 – The US Postmaster General banned D H Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover as pornography. He was overruled by US Court of Appeals in March 1960. Did ya hear dat, John Thomas?

1964 - Chicago police break up a Rolling Stones press conference.

1964 - Manfred Mann recorded Do Wah Diddy Diddy

1966 - "Paint It, Black" by The Rolling Stones peaks at #1

1966 - Janis Joplin played her 1st gig in San Francisco.

1972-THE MOST PROFITABLE FILM IN HISTORY. The film Deep Throat premiered. The first full length blockbuster porn film. The film was shot over three days by an ex-hairdresser turned director. It cost $22,500 to make and grossed estimated $600 million. It became a counterculture cause celebre. Frank Sinatra screened a print for Vice President Spiro Agnew. Star Linda Lovelace later disavowed her career and claimed she did the sex scenes under duress from her husband Chuck Trainor. She died in a car accident in the 1980s. Today the term Linda Syndrome denotes former porn actresses who try to deny their past.

1977 - Main Street Electrical Parade premiered at Disneyland.

1979- John Wayne died after a long struggle with cancer. Many believed his condition began as a result of filming the movie "The Conquerer" near the Nevada Atomic Test site. Half the crew of that film including all the stars and director died of cancer. When Wayne made a final appearance at the Academy Awards two months earlier he had purchased a small size tuxedo to hide his emaciated frame, but he was still too thin even then so he filled it out by wearing a scuba wetsuit underneath

1984- In the freewheeling economy of the 1980’s tycoons conducted hostile takeovers of companies by buying a majority of their stock on margin. When Wall Street corporate raider Saul Steinberg announced he intended to target the ailing Walt Disney Company for takeover CEO Ron Miller paid him $23 million just to make him go away. The Disney shareholders are outraged at this payment of "greenmail’ and demanded Miller’s resignation, which some say was exactly as Roy Disney had planned.

1993 –Steven Speilberg’s "Jurassic Park" opened. The film set a box office record of $931 million. It was begun with modelers and puppeteers about to do the dinosaurs with clay and beeswax. But after seeing tests by Steve Spazz Williams and Richard Taylor using the new 3D CGI –computer graphic imaging software, Steven ordered all of ILM to do it digitally. Modellors put their wire armatures up on their monitors for old times sake.Jurassic Park clinched the digital takeover of Hollywood and set the standard for future digital special effects.


animation of Ken Harris

Jerry Beck on his blog Cartoon Brew recently pointed out a new website dedicated to Ken Harris, the former used car salesman who became one of the master animators of Warner Bros. cartoons. Check it out! http://www.masteranimator.com
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Birthdays: Saul Bellow, Judy Garland, Hattie McDaniel, Frederick Loewe (of Lerner & Loewe), F.Lee Bailey, Howlin’ Wolf, Maurice Sendak, Gina Gershon, Leilee Sobieski, Jean Triplehorn, Britain’s Prince Phillip, Elizabeth Hurley

1750- Francois Voltaire accepted the invitation of King Frederick the Great of Prussia to come live at his court. French King Louis XV commented : “ Now there will be one less nut in Versailles and one more nut in Berlin.” The friendship between Frederick and Voltaire is fascinating- night after night over dinner the enlightened gay despot matched wits with the commoner who was the greatest philosophical mind of the century. When Voltaire argued that the world would be better off with no religion or belief in God King Frederick retorted:” But my dear Voltaire, if you did away with God sooner or later common people would raise statues of you and pray to them.” But Frederick was still an absolute king. At times Voltaire’s arguments would get Frederick so angry that the Frenchman would flee fearing for his life. Frederick ordered the borders closed and sent a troop of cavalry to drag him back so they could finish their discussion.

1752- BEN FRANKLIN FLIES HIS KITE- The wizard of Philadelphia was not the actual discoverer of electricity, Leyden Jars and Volta's experiments predate him. He did make the connection between lightning and electric currents and created the lightning rod and the first electric battery. He didn't tell anyone about the kite experiment until 15 years later for fear people would think him a silly fellow. There’s a famous painting of Ben with his kite being assisted by his young child William. In actuality William was about thirty at the time and during the Revolution he became Royalist Governor of New Jersey and couldn’t stand his old man.

1776- The great English actor David Garrick went on stage for the last time, playing in a benefit for the Decayed Actor’s Fund. Hmm, I wonder if could start a Decayed Animator’s Fund….

1847 –The Chicago Tribune begins publishing

1902 - Patent for the window envelope granted to H F Callahan.

1910- The first Krazy Kat comic strip- Cartoonist George Herriman was doing a strip for Hearst called "The Family Upstairs". He was amused at the idea of a friendship between a cat and a mouse. So Herriman put them in the corner playing marbles while the family quarreled. First an office boy and later editor Arthur Brisbane suggested they have their own strip. The immortality of the denizens of Coconino County follows, loved by the likes of H.L.Mencken, e.e.cummings and Jacques Kerouac. Krazy herself explains:"It's wot's behind me that I am."



1926- Artist Antonio Gaudi was run over by a streetcar while crossing in front of his famous cathedral in Barcelona. Begun in 1886 The Cathedral Sacreda Familia is still scheduled for completion- in the year 2035.

1944- A USO troop was entertaining soldiers in Normandy from the back of a truck but they needed a piano player. They called out to the audience if anyone could play. A shy cattle rancher’s son from Modesto California came up and played so well his colonel ordered him out of the line to form his own G.I. band. Dave Breubeck’s jazz career began.

1957- “Tom Terrific and Manfred the Wonder Dog” cartoon debuts on the Captain Kangaroo show.


1980- Comedian Richard Pryor had been doing so much Cocaine even his dealers were worried about him. This day he exploded in flame while trying to freebase cocaine and ran screaming down his street. Another version of the story said he tried to commit suicide by pouring tequila on himself and setting it alight. During his long recovery in the Sherman Oaks burn unit his nurse once put on the news and he watched CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite report his death. `He thought to himself: "If Walter Cronkite said I died, it must be true !" He recovered but developed Muscular Dystrophy in the late 1990s.

1995-110,000 people jam Central Park in New York to see Disney's Pocahontas, the largest audience ever to attend a single movie premiere.


no, not me, Orson Welles on the radio. I look more like Orson in his Paul Masson Wine ad era than during the Radio-Days, alas.[

Amid Amidi listed this yesterday on his website Cartoon Brew-

A few weeks ago, Mark Lynch of New England public radio station WICN ran two hours of interviews with animation authors on his radio show Inquiry: one hour with Neal Gabler for his book Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, half an hour with Tom Sito and his Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions From Bosko to Bart Simpson and half an hour for my Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in Fifties Animation. The interviews can be listened to online through the end of of June. I have to admit, I was a bit tentative about doing such a long chat about the book, but the host Mark Lynch quickly put me at ease with his excellent interview style and solid understanding of the book’s material. Thanks to Mark for devoting such a big chunk of airtime to discussing cartoons.

http://www.wicn.org/programs/archive.htm#inquiry

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Birthdays: Ernesto "Che" Guevara- Serna, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Cole Porter, John Bartlett of Bartletts Familiar Quotations, Boy George O’Dowd, Les Paul, Burl Ives, Lash LaRue, Happy Rockefeller, Robert MacNamara, Major Bowes, Carl Neilsen, Donald Trump, Jerzy Kosinski, Pierre Salinger, Steffy Graff, Marvin Kalb, Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, physicist who formulated Coulomb's Law, Dr. Alois Alzheimer the German physician who was the first person to describe the disease named after him, Michael J. Fox is 47, Johnny Depp is 45, Natalie Portman is 27

1860- DIME NOVELS & PULP FICTION. Mr. Erastus Beadle (don’t you love 19th century names?) published the first dime novel, Maleska, Indian Wife of the White Hunter by Anna Stephens. Sometimes called the Penny Dreadfulls, pocket-sized stories printed on cheap pulp paper became popular reading. They fantasized the West, extolling two-gun chivalry and virtuous maidens, roaring desperadoes and wild savages. This early form of mass media made celebrities out of fringe yahoos like Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, Pawnee Bill, Billy the Kid and Belle Starr.

1918- Louella Parsons began her Hollywood Gossip column. Louella became one of the most powerful and widely read columnists in Hollywood’s golden age. Stories say Louella got as much pull as she did in the Hearst newspaper empire for helping cover up the killing of director Thomas Ince and also trying to stifle the release of Orson Welles’ film Citizen Kane.

1934- Happy Birthday Donald Duck! Walt Disney's short cartoon"The Little Wise Hen".



1934- The film the Thin Man with William Powell. Myrna Loy and Astor the dog premiered.

1941- First day shooting on the film, the Maltese Falcon. It was John Huston’s first directorial effort the budget so cheap star Humphrey Bogart had to provide his own wardrobe.

1950- After all appeals fail the first of the Hollywood Ten, screenwriters Dalton Trumbo, Philip Dunne, Alvah Bessie, Waldo Salt, Edward Dymtytrk, David Ogden Stewart, Ring Lardner and John Howard Lawson are sentenced to prison. In the L.A. Municipal Jail one felon greeted the leftist writers with a smile and said: "Hi Ya, Hollywood Kids!”

1953 - Elvis Presley graduates from LC Humes High School in Memphis, Tennessee.

1973- The thoroughbred horse Secretariat ridden by Ron Turcott won the Belmont Stakes, taking the first Triple Crown since Citation did it in 1948. He won it by an amazing 31 lengths! Secretariat was sired by Bold Ruler, the 1957 Preakness winner. The Triple Crown is three high stakes races each progressively of greater length than the previous-The Kentucky Derby 1+1/8th miles, The Preakness 1+1/4 miles and the Belmont Stakes 1+1/2. Secretariat becomes the only non-human to appear on Greatest Sports Legends of the Twentieth Century lists.

1976 – Chuck Barris’ the" Gong Show" premieres. Where’s Jean-Jean the Dancing Machine?

1992- Congress passed the Internet Communications Act, opening up the Internet to the public. At this time, when only defense contractors used it, the Internet had 50 websites; by 2000, it had 77 million websites, now in the hundreds of millions.

2160 - Montgomery Edward Scott, called Scotty or Mr. Scott, born in Aberdeen, Scotland, the engineer of the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek. “ Cap’n, Ah dunno know how much more the engines can take!”


June 8th, 2007 friday
June 8th, 2007

Birthdays: Robert Schumann, Frank Lloyd Wright, Barbara Bush, painter Leroy Neiman, Joan Rivers is 74, Emmanuel Ax, Alexis Smith, Nancy Sinatra, Boz Scaggs, Jerry Stiller, Dana Wynter, Juliana Margulies, Scott Adams (the creator of Dilbert) is 50.

1786- A New York newspaper advertised a Mr. Hall was now selling the Italian confection called Iced Cream. First reference to Ice Cream in the United States.

1889 –The Red Car cable cars begin service in LA.

1889 - Start of the Sherlock Holmes Adventure "Boscombe Valley Mystery"

1900 - Start of Sherlock Holmes story the "Adventure of 6 Napoleons"

1912- Carl Laemmle forms Universal Pictures Studio.

1942 - Bing Crosby records "Silent Night".

1946- Bob Clampett's cartoon 'Kitty Kornered' ,the first Sylvester the Cat cartoon ,debuted.

1948 - "Milton Berle Show" Uncle Miltie- premiered on NBC TV.

1950- Universal pictures released 'Winchester '73', the first film in which the star James Stewart negotiated for a back end percentage of the profits. Stewart's agent was Lew Wasserman, the head of MCA and mentor of Steven Speilberg.

1954- During the Army-McCarthy Anti-Communist hearings, in front of a live television audience, attorney Joseph Walsh takes apart Senator Joseph McCarthy for stooping to accuse a junior law partner in Walsh’s office for once belonging to a socialist organization. Walsh’s dramatic cry gained national prominence “ Finally Senator, have you no shred of decency?” McCarthy was censured by Congress and was politically finished.

1962- Twentieth Century Fox fired starlet Marilyn Monroe for her erratic druggy behavior on the set of “Something’s Got to Give”and cancelled the picture. Monroe went into a tailspin that would lead to her suicide four weeks later. Even after her death Fox then sued her estate for $80,000.

1968 - Rolling Stones release "Jumpin' Jack Flash".

1968- James Earl Ray, the man accused of assassinating Martin Luther King, was arrested in London, England.

1969 - "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," last airs. The show was cancelled by CBS, not for bad ratings, but because its format highlighted liberal and anti-Vietnam War performers like Buffy Saint-Marie, Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger. Producer Tommy Smothers was constantly battling nervous network executives to let Seeger sing songs like “Big Muddy” a direct criticism of U.S. war policy. Finally when former President Lyndon Johnson personally called CBS chief Bill Paley to complain, the show was yanked. When writer/singer Mason Williams learned the Smothers Brothers Show was cancelled, he planned to make an enormous pie to throw at the eye logo on the CBS building, but they threatened to sue him for trespassing if he actually staged the stunt...

1982-Legendary Negro League Pitcher Satchel Paige dies at 79. I once talked to a Disney security guard named Mitchel Carter who saw Paige pitch a game in the Detroit Negro league. Mitch said Satchel was so hot he loaded the bases, then ordered the fielders into the dugout because he felt like striking out the whole side, which he proceeded to do. When the Major League color barrier was broken in 1947 Paige started his new career at 42. He pitched a World Series game for Cleveland 1948 and in 1965 was stilling pitching shutout innings in major league games at age 59!

1983 – The films "Trading Places," & "Gremlins," premiered.

1984-Ivan Reitmans’ film "Ghostbusters" premiered. In 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell, West German politicians tried to get the wildly partying crowd to sing the national anthem Deutschlandlied. But they got drowned out by the crowd happily singing “Who Ya Gonna Call? GHOST-BUSTERS!!”

1984- Donald Duck officially became a member of the Screen Actors Guild- SAG.

1986- NBC was bought by General Electric. David Letterman joked about now having to interview toaster ovens on his show.

2002- Forest Service ranger Terri Barton was trying to burn a letter from her estranged husband. The blaze she started became the Haywood Fire, the worst forest fire in Colorado History. The fire destroyed 103,000 acres and almost burned down the city of Denver.


June 7, 2007 thurs.
June 7th, 2007

Birthdays: Beau Brummel, Paul Gauguin, Chick Corea, Tom Jones, Jessica Tandy, James Ivory, Virginia McKenna, Liam Neeson, Prince

1769- Frontiersman Daniel Boone reached Kentucky by charting a way through the Cumberland Gap. Though they seem quaint hills today in Colonial times the Allegheny Mountains presented an insurmountable barrier preventing further movement west from the colonies of the Atlantic coast. Boone’s achievement was the first penetration of this wall. Daniel Boone was once asked if he ever got lost. “ Nope” he said: “But I was bewildered once.”

1776- In the Continental Congress representative Richard Henry Lee stands up and proposes a resolution calling for American Independence. " Be it Resolved that these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States." This began the fateful debate that lasted until July 2nd. John Adams calculated that at this time only one third of the American public was for full independence, one third was for reconciliation with Britain and one third was fence sitting.

1860- Workmen in San Francisco began laying track on Market Street for a light rail system, the famous Cable Cars.

1932- During the Great Depression about one third of the independent banks in the U.S. failed. On this day Hollywood was affected because the First Bank of Beverly Hills went under, erasing the assets of many important Hollywood figures.
Greta Garbo lost one million dollars overnight. Louis B. Mayer, ever one to capitalize on a situation, offered her an advance if she would sign an exclusive 7 year contract with MGM. Garbo's back was to the wall so she signed, but then got her revenge in her own way- namely she immediately went on a 6 month vacation to Europe and took a lesbian lover named Mercedes DeAcosta whom she tongue-kissed in public.

1954- Scientist Alan Turing was considered one of the fathers of the digital computer. His developments influenced computer research throughout the 1940s, and he predicted one day computers would be able to think like humans. But when Turing was revealed to be gay he had to chose jail or medical treatment in a mental hospital. Medical procedures to “cure” homosexual inclinations could include electro-shock, lobotomy and narcotics. This day after a humiliating examination Alan Turing committed suicide at age 42.

1955- The t.v. quiz show The $64,000 Question premiered.

1975- Happy Birthday VCR’s ! This day Sony announced the first home videotape playing system, the Betamax. They were about $25,000 each but we were promised as they became more popular the price would come down. Today they average around a hundred bucks.

1993- Rockstar Prince celebrated his birthday by changing his name to that funny symbol no keyboard can reproduce and no one can say. In 2000 he switched back to Prince.


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