For the time being, please don't try to reach me at my G7 address,
You can use my normal contact on this site, or e-mail the union and they'll forward it on to me.

Dear Gang,

The first links to the second book I worked on is now up. Jews in American Popular Culture is the first comprehensive study of this one peoples contributions to American arts and media. I contributed the chapter specifically covering Animation, with some nice illustrations lent me from the collections of John Canemaker and Howard Beckerman.

check it out.

July 10th Monday
July 10th, 2006

Birthdays: John Calvin, Marcel Proust, James McNeill Whistler, Carl Orff, Camille Pissarro, Adolphus Busch the founder of Budweiser beer, George DiChirico, Jacky "Legs" Diamond-a gangster who was shot so many times it was said he could attract a magnet, Arlo Guthrie, Jake “Raging Bull” LaMotta, Joe Shuster- one of the creators of Superman, Fred Gywnne, David Brinkley, Arthur Ashe, Camilla Parker Bowles

1040 - Lady Godiva goes for a ride on horseback in the nude to force her husband, the Earl of Mercia, to lower taxes on the poor.

1099- The magical-mystical knight of Spain Rodrigo de Bivar, called El Cid, died at the castle of Valencia. The Cid had taken a loosely written promise from King Alfonso of Castile that he could keep any territory he took from the Moors, and used it to build a private army, capture the city of Valencia and rule it as an independent prince. Nine years after his death his wife Ximena surrendered Valencia to the Almohavid Moors, but the legend of El Cid Campeador, the Conquerer-Champion lived on.

1925- THE SCOPES MONKEY TRIAL-Tennessee school teacher John Thomas Scopes went on trial for violating a state law forbidding the teaching of evolution to children. Scopes was defended by famed lawyer Clarence Darrow sent by the ACLU, the prosecutor was William Jennings Bryan. The trial evolved (forgive the pun) from a small claims misdemeanor to a debate on Charles Darwin’s theory itself. This day the media descended upon the little town of Dayton Tennessee, which had hoped to attract attention for its slumping economy. It was the first trial broadcast live on Chicago radio WGN nationwide. Hundreds of spectators attended from hillbillies with squirrel rifles, a chimpanzee in a suit called Mr. Joe Mendy to famous newspaper columnist H.L. Mencken, packing 4 bottles of bootleg scotch and a typewriter. Darrow humiliated Bryan in the debate but Scopes was found guilty and fined. The ban on teaching evolution remained on the books in Tennessee until 1967. Evolution is still under attack in the U.S. today, now by the issue of Intelligent Design. Even I got some work out of it.

1950 - "Your Hit Parade" premieres on NBC (later CBS) TV.

1953- NIKITA KHRUSCHEV takes power in Moscow. After the death of Josef Stalin there was the inevitable shuffle of bureaucrats jockeying for top job. Commissars Bulganin, Malenkov and Molotov tried to hold power but the little bald Ukrainian with the big smile had the last laugh. At a secret meeting of the Presidium Khruschev arrested Laventi Beria, Stalin's dreaded chief executioner. Beria, a pervert who liked black silk sheets, underage girls and personally torturing prisoners, broke down and wept for his life before he was shot. Khruschev was more merciful with his other rivals: Bulganin was made manager of a Siberian power station, Molotov was made ambassador to Outer Mongolia. Comrade Khruschev held power until 1964. His earthy humor, like taking off his shoe and banging it on the table to get the attention of the United Nations General Assembly was great material for political cartoonists.

Oscar Grillo
July 9th, 2006

I've been impressed by the number of excellent animation artists who are using the blog as a direct conduit to the public. Free at last to come out from behind the Oxberry Camera, they are exhibiting some wonderful examples of their work. One of my favorite blogs is an old friend from London named Oscar Grillo.

Oscar Grillo was originally from Argentina but has lived in London for the past thirty years. He and his partner Ted Rockley came out of Dragon Studios and formed the animation powerhouse Klacto (orignally Klactovistane) where they did some of more daring and innovative animated spots on European TV, as well as award winning shorts like Seaside Woman, based on the song by Paul & Linda MacCartney.

Oscar is one of the great designers in our medium. He has several blogs where he invites us to share in his unique world view and view his inspirations.

Often he will post his wonderful personal drawings, professional work and influences. They can be as diverse as a visual essay on the frame composition of Fritz Lang to an article in the London Times where a a man from Lincolnshire asked "Why don't my fish fart?"

Outrageous, opinionated and iconoclastic, but nevertheless never boring. Bravo Oscar!

History July 9, 2006
July 9th, 2006

Birthdays: Ottorino Respighi-composer of the Pines of Rome in Fantasia 2000, David Hockney, Samuel Elliot Morrison, Kelly McGillis, John Tesch, Chris Cooper, O.J. Simpson, Courtenay Love is 42, Tom Hanks is 49

1980 - Walt Disney's the "Fox & The Hound," released. The first film Walt Disney had no input on. Although the film has brief screen credits it marks the torch being passed from the Nine Old Men golden age generation to the modern generation of animators. A complete personnel roster would include Tim Burton, John Lassiter, Bill Kroyer, Don Bluth, Lorna Cook, Henry Sellick, Brad, Bird, Steve Hulett, John Musker, Glen Keane and many more. It was the last film project of Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Woolie Reitherman and Ken Anderson. (actually, Reitherman and Anderson continued on a bit longer on a project called Catfish Bend, but it was never made.)

1993-Starting with the film Jurrassic Park, Industrial Light & Magic completes it’s transition to digital technology by shutting down it’s Anderson Optical Printer. The Optical Printer system of mattes had been the way Motion Picture visual effects had been done since Melies in 1909, but the Digital Revolution had changed everything.