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Blog Posts from August 2006:

At times here in Sitoland I like to pass on some of my Wisdom of the Old Animators. I've picked up over the years.

Jack Schnerk was a well known animator in New York who worked at UPA and for John Hubley. He was one of the faster animators around. On Richard Williams film Raggedy Ann (1976) I once asked Jack what the secret was to being a fast animator? Jack replied " If you're doing a scene, and you have to get up and pee, finish the scene first. You'll get much faster."

Birthdays: King Ludwig II the Mad of Bavaria, Leonard Bernstein, Brette Hart, Lola Montez (flamenco dancing mistress of Ludwig I, King of Bavaria), Alan Pinkerton, Elvis Costello, Clara Bow, Ruby Keeler, Monty Hall, Van Johnson, Willis Reed, Frederick Forsythe, Wayne Shorter, Billy Ray Cyrus, Dr. Bruno Bettleheim, Rolly Fingers, Gene Simmons of KISS, Anne Archer, Animator and Film Director Tim Burton, Sean Connery is 77

1718- The FIRST BOATLOAD OF FRENCH COLONISTS LAND IN LOUISIANA- Sieur de la Moyne- Bienville established a fort and trading post on some high ground between the Mississippi and Lake Ponchartrain. He named the place for Phillip of Orleans, then ruling of France in the name of the child King Louis XV. The French and Dutch always had a problem with their American colonies, in that nobody wanted to leave home to live there. Voltaire called New France a land of Beaver, Bears and Barbarians. One solution the French thought up involved sweeping the streets of all the hookers, cutthroats and riffraff and shipping them all to America. Though it wasn't exactly "Pilgrim's Progress", this influx of cardsharks and sportin' ladies helped New Orleans quickly establish it's rep as one of the wildest towns of the New World.

1830- This is the day of the legendary race between the locomotive the Tom Thumb and a horse and buggy outside of Baltimore. The Tom Thumb weighing in at about a ton and developing a whopping one horse power. The boiler driven fan broke down near the end, The horse won. Still, the train’s performance was so impressive that the first U.S. railroad, the Baltimore & Ohio, shifted from horse drawn to steam railroad.

1835- The New York Sun newspaper ran the amazing story that British astronomer Sir William Herschel, the discoverer of Neptune, had observed little men living on the surface of the Moon! The story proved false but it boosted the sales of the paper.

1875- Matthew Webb became the first person to successfully swim the English Channel.

1967 – In Mississippi George Lincoln Rockwell, leader of American Nazi Party, was blown off the speakers platform with a double barreled shotgun. Although not as significant as the Martin Luther King or the Kennedy’s assassinations, it was another incident in the violent 1960’s. George Lincoln Rockwell was also a distant cousin of artist Norman Rockwell, although the artist was embarrassed to admit it.

1970- A young British singer named Elton John did his first US tour, opening at the Troubadour in LA.

1980- The premiere of the Broadway musical version of the classic movie 42nd Street. In a moment of Broadway melodrama producer David Merrick came out on stage and startled the cast and audience by announcing that the director of the play Gower Champion had died that very day. 42nd Street went on to be a smash hit. The play itself is about a Broadway director who works himself to death creating a hit musical. Gower Champion's wife Marge Champion, was divorced from Disney animator Art Babbitt, the creator of Goofy.

August 24, 2006
August 24th, 2006

History for 8/24/2006
Birthdays: Jorge Luis Borges, Marlee Matlin, Max Beerbom, Joshua Lionel Cowan the inventor of Lionel toy electric trains, Steve Guttenberg, Kenny Baker-R2D2 in Star Wars, Stephen Fry, Durward Kirby- T.V. announcer who sued the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show because of a prop device called the "Kirward Derby", Duke Kahanamoku-1890- Olympic medalist who popularized and promoted the Hawaiian sport of Surfing to California and Australia. Dave Chappelle

1847 - Charlotte Bronte finished the manuscript of her novel "Jane Eyre".

1853 – Saratoga Springs hotel resort chef George Crum invented Potato Chips, or crisps to you Brits out there.

1939- Mr. Leslie Mitchell became the first British Television announcer.

1942- Walt Disney’s film Saludos Amigos received it’s world premiere in Rio De Janiero.

1951- Akira Kurosawa’s film Rashomon premiered at the Venice International Film Festival. The film won the Grand Prize and first showed the world that Japanese Cinema was a new force in the filmworld.

1973- One month after Bruce Lee’s death his last film Enter The Dragon opened in the US to wild acclaim. It renewed interest in the late star and spawned the Chinese Martial Arts craze in the US.

1993- LAPD announced an investigation of pop star Michael Jackson for possible child molestation. The investigation never led to any indictments but the publicity tarnished his image. Equally damaging to his public image were revelations of his eccentric lifestyle, like his keeping chimps and mannequins around the house to talk to and all the tap water and showers of his mansion spouting Evian water. Jackson was tried and acquitted of similar charges in 2005

1995- Microsoft's Windows 95 introduced.

1997- According to the 1984 James Cameron film The Terminator this was the day the Skynet computer system became self aware and began the War of the Day of Judgement.

Birthdays: French King Louis XVI, Jerry the Mouse's dancing partner-Gene Kelly, Keith Moon, Rick Springfield, Shelly Long, Barbara Eden, Alphonse Mucha, Vera Miles, River Phoenix, and animator Oscar Grillo, the greatest export to emerge from the Pampas since Beef Empanadas. Check out
Homage a'Agatha Christie. by Oscar Grillo, copywright

1617- The invention of the One Way Street (London)

1926- Screen idol Rudolph Valentino died in a New York hospital of an infection due to a burst appendix and bleeding ulcer. Today this condition could be controlled by anti-biotics, but they weren’t invented yet. He was always sensitive about criticism that he was secretly gay. One close friend cameraman Paul Ivano said Rudy was not only not gay but when making love to his wife he was so err..exhuberant… she passed out . The friend said Valentino appeared in his doorway naked and complained “ Paul, I think I’ve killed her!” Natasha Rambova, Valentino’s wife encouraged his public image of aggressive sexuality “Rudy looks best when he’s naked ”. But this didn’t fit into the American male’s self image of Tom Mix or William S. Hart, so the gay charge got under Rudy’s skin. One Chicago columnist called him a “Pink-Powder-Puff”. When Rudy came out of anesthesia still in great pain he muttered “So, how’s this for a Pink-Powder-Puff”? Then he died. He was only 30 years old. Women around the world went mad with grief. From L.A. to Budapest women committed suicide before his picture. In Japan two women jumped into a volcano.

1937- At the urging of the Stanford dean of engineering Bill Hewlett had his first meeting with David Packard. They called their company started out of their Palo Alto garage the Engineering Service Company, later Hewlett-Packard. Their first corporate job was for the Walt Disney Studio. Disneys bought some prototype sound equipment for their Fantasound Stereo system they planned for Fantasia. The Hewlett-Packard Company would one day be one of the biggest names in computers and their garage hailed as the birthplace of Silicon Valley.

1939-THE NAZIS-SOVIET PACT. Nazi minister Joachim Von Ribbentrop flew to Moscow and signed the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. This cleared the way for Hitler's attack on Poland. Many in the west saw this as Stalin's untrustworthiness, but the Russians said they were reacting to the lack of enthusiasm shown by the Western Democracies in stopping Fascism. Josef Stalin’s action for temporary tactical advantage destroyed the intellectual justification for Russia’s leadership of Global Communism. All though the 1920’s and 30’s Communism seemed to many the best hope for stopping the Fascist dictators and winning Civil and Labor rights. But when Moscow ordered all good Communists to stop criticizing Hitler they lost the sympathies of many on the Left. Americans, Britons and Zionist Jews, including many progressive thinking animators, resigned from the party in droves.

1947-President Truman’s daughter Margaret gave her first public singing concert. President Truman spent the following day personally telephoning and threatening music critics who dared to give her a bad review.

1953- David Mullany of Shelton Conn. invented the Whiffle Ball. He did it to help his son who was lousy at throwing a curve ball.

1994- Just when the Disney feature unit was basking in the unprecedented success of the Lion King, Jeffrey Katzenburg announced he was leaving Disney.

More Friz
August 22nd, 2006

- Wade Sampson has written a very nice piece in the blog on MousePlanet about Friz Freleng's stormy time working for Walt Disney in 1927. It has some good detail and reminiscence by Friz-

- I showed that photo of the Elmer Fudd tattoo to my assistant. She laughed, then told me of a friend who recently had a tattoo made of Grandpa Simpson trying deperately to climb out of his butt. Hmpf. Maybe I'm getting old...

Aug 22, 2006
August 22nd, 2006

Question: We all recall Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) as the only time Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny occupied the screen together. Many famous cartoon characters from the Golden age of Hollywood were there. Can you name some famous characters who weren't? (answer below)

G*dDamn, the internet is a scarey place! Courtesy of
Birthdays: George Herriman the creator of Krazy Kat, Dorothy Parker, Ray Bradbury is 86, Claude DeBussy, Johnny Lee Hooker,Deng Xiao Ping, Henry Cartier Bresson, Valerie Harper, Cindy Williams, Tori Amos

In Britain it is National Slacker Day: Stand Up for your Right to Sit Back Down!

565AD - St Columba reported seeing a dragon in Loch Ness.

1715 Handel's "Watermusic" premiered on the Thames River to mark celebrations
of the Peace ending the War of Spanish Succession.

1806- elderly French painter Jean Fragonard died of a cerebral seizure after eating
a large fruit ice on a hot day.

1849-The first aerial bomb attack. Austrian General Von Wintzingerode was at a
loss at how to get at the besieged Italian city of Venice. The Venetian lagoon was
too deep to wade across but was too shallow for battleships. Finally a Swiss mercenary
suggested filling hot air balloons with troops and flying them over the city to
drop explosives. Those little round black bombs with lit fuses you see in cartoons.
A dozen balloons filled with grenadiers were launched aloft, but before they could
do anything a stiff breeze blew them all to Yugoslavia. Doh!

1882- American showman P.T. Barnum bought the largest elephant in the London Zoo.
He created a new name for the beast- he called it a JUMBO. It was the highlight
of his circus for years and after it was hit by a freight train and killed Barnum
had its bones bleached and charged people admission to come look at it's skeleton.

1906 - 1st Victor Victrola manufactured, using Emile Berliners flat record turntable
system. The Victrola was so cheap and easy to use it became standard in many homes
and finished off any competition from Thomas Edison's rival talking cylinder system.

1927- 200,000 people protest in Hyde Park London and around the world for clemency
for convicted Italian immigrants Nicolo Sacco and Bartolomeo Vancetti. They were
socialists who were convicted of murdering a store clerk in Massachusetts and became
a radical cause-celebre. Letters demanding mercy came in from George Bernard Shaw,
Helen Keller, Picasso, the Pope and more. Woody Guthrie wrote folk songs in praise
of Sacco & Vancetti. The next day the State of Massachusetts electrocuted them

1939- The first aerosol spray can.

1953-The French government closed the Devil's Island prison colony.

1984 - Last Volkswagen Rabbit produced.

Question: Can you name some famous characters who weren't in the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Answer: Tom & Jerry, Popeye, Bluto and Olive Oyl, Foghorn Leghorn, and Elmer Fudd, Speedy Gonzales. Some of it was that they had difficulty making deals for certain characters.Popeye, Bluto were scheduled to be pallbearers at R.K. Maroon's funeral. Foghorn Leghorn was to deliver the eulogy. The scene was finally cut. They paid all the rights for Elmer Fudd, but they just couldn't figure out where to fit him in.