My old friend Frederic Back is in LA for a rare visit. Frederic is one of the world's animation filmmakers whose work can make the most hallowed animation artists of Disney, Dreamworks and PIXAR fall over and kick up their heels in delight. Many moons have passed since we first shared a raclette wheel at Annecy in 1987.



Frederic, a multi-Oscar winner, is in town to dedicate a show of his work at the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences. On Sunday Aug 10th the Academy would celebrate the work of his music composer Normand Roger, and to dedicate his art show. On Tuesday John Lasseter will join him at SIGGRAPH for an evening show and screening of the Man Who Planted Trees. On Friday the Canadian Consulate here will host a formal luncheon reception at their residence. Frederic is a great conservationist and passionate champion for the environment. Check out his website http://www.fredericback.com If you've never met him or seen his work, you are missing something real special. Call oscars.org or Siggraph about the shows.



Welcome back to LALAland, mon ami Frederic'!

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Quiz: Who created the voice of Woody Woodpecker?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What is Cheerios named for? Mr Cheerio?
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History for 8/8/2008
Birthdays: Emiliano Zapata. Esther Williams, Gene Deitch, Dino DeLaurentis, Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, Keith Carradine, Deborah Norville, Mel Tillis, Dustin Hoffman is 70, Martin Brest, Peter Weir, Patricia Arquette, Japanese animation director Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell) is 57.

1588- THE GREAT PROTESTANT WIND- The bulk of the Spanish Armada was not destroyed by the English Navy but by a huge North Sea Typhoon that hit them off the coast of Northern Ireland. This is why if you want to view relics of the great Spanish galleons don't go to Cadiz or Tortuga, go to the Museum of Belfast. Supposedly the thousands of Spanish and Italian sailors marooned on the Irish coast intermarrying with the Irish population, who weren't crazy about the English either, created the racial strain Black Irish, or Celts with milk white skin and black hair and eyes.

1811- THE IRON CROSS- Before medals common soldiers were rewarded for bravery with a few gold coins. Washington and Napoleon made medals things soldiers dreamt of. General Gerhard von Gneisenau urged the King of Prussia to create a medal like the French Legion d'Honneur to reward all ranks in the German Army. At first the sulky King was against anything that led common soldiers to believe they were better than the common schweinhundts he felt they were, but he finally was made to give in. The new medal was based on the heraldic symbol of the Crusader order of the Teutonic Knights, a black cross formed by four arrowheads. The "Iron Cross" medal was created.
Goths, Surfers and Hells Angels rejoiced.

1876 - Thomas Edison patented the mimeograph, a forerunner of the Xerox process.

1944 - Smokey the Bear, named after NYC fireman Smokey Joe Martin born .

1945-Two days after the Hiroshima bombing, the Soviet Union declared war on the Japan and began landing troops in Manchuria, Korea and the northern Kurile Islands. The Japanese cabinet had hoped to avoid a total unconditional surrender by first negotiating a separate peace with Stalin, then using him to force a deal with the Anglo-Americans. But Stalin had his own ideas. Even today with Stalin dead and Communism long gone, the Russians still won’t give back the Kuriles.

1960 – Brian Hyland’s song "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-dot Bikini" hits #1.

1963 – THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY- In Buckinghamshire England a small group of masked men stopped the London to Glasgow express and stole 2.6 million pound sterling about $7.3 million U.S.. English police netted most of the gang, but the ringleader Ronald Biggs escaped. Biggs lived well in Rio de Janiero for thirty eight years and gave frequent interviews to British media. Old and sick, he finally returned to England and jail in 2001. “I just want one more pint in a pub” he sighed.

1963 – The Kingsmen release the song "Louie, Louie,". Many labeled it obscene, although no one is quite sure just what the song lyrics mean. In the 1980s Northwestern University staged Louie-Louie Marathons- 44 straight hours of Louie-Louie, played by punk bands, polka bands, marching bands, folk trios, and singing water glasses.

1966 -The Beatles' released "Revolver"
1973-Vice President Spiro Agnew vows not to resign. He resigned shortly afterwards.

1974 - Richard Nixon decided to resign the U.S. Presidency after Senator Howard Baker informed him his last supporting congressmen on the Senate Impeachment Committee intended to change their vote to yes for impeachment. Insiders say his last call before making up his mind was to Dixiecrat George Wallace, who told the President he could no longer count on the support of Southern white conservatives.

1978- The character of Odie the dog first met Garfield in Jim Davis’ comic strip.

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Yesterday’s Question: What is Cheerios named for?

Answer: General Mills created the new breakfast cereal in 1941. Originally called Cheery Oats, it was altered because of a copyright challenge. Another version of the origin is that the man who created it was inspired by the Italian town of Cheerigalia, which had been making grain cereals since ancient Roman times. Who first figured out its a great way to distract hungry toddlers is unknown.

I don't know who these people are, or why they are wearing Cheerios, but I think I worked on Ultimate Avengers on the poster behind them?




I learned today that the film I directed in Taiwan in 2006, ADVENTURES IN THE NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM was awarded Grand prize at the Tokyo International Animation Festival! The second prize was given to Ark, the film that won top honors at the 2007 SIGGRAPH. The film is 3D short about how the exhibits in Taipei's great art museum, the NPM, come to life after the museum is closed. It was a way to highlight the treasures of this great museum and introduce them to a new generation of art lovers.

Domo Arrigato to the Tokyo International Animation Festival.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmCP3Aep5XI&feature=related

My congratulations to Teddy Yang and all the Digimax gang!
Ho Shan Ku Faa!!

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Quiz: What is Cheerios named for? Mr Cheerio?

Yesterday’s answer below: Who is Bugs Bunny named for?
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History for 8/7/2008
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Constantius II, Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene, Mata Hari, Rassan Rolling Kirk, Dr. Ralphe Bunche, Nicholas Ray, Dr. Richard Leakie, Grandma Moses, Alan Page, The Amazing Randi, David Duchovny, Billy Burke aka Glenda the Good Witch " Come out, come out. wherever you are..." Garrison Keillor is 66, Stan Freeberg- radio star and voice of Pete Puma is 82, Animator Rudy Ising, Charlize Theron is 33

1674-The Bagel is invented in Vienna. Some say the hole is a tribute to the stirrup of Polish warrior king Jan III Sobieski, more likely the hole was just so a street peddler could stack them on a stick.

1834 -Death of Joseph Jacquard, French silk weaver who invented the first loom capable of weaving patterns. Some say that the cards used in the Jacquard Looms were the inspiration for the computer punch card, a way of transmitting data, whether pulses of light or lengths of wool.

1882- The legendary Hillbilly Feud in Kentucky between the Hatfields and the McCoys began, supposedly over a prize hog. Ellison Hatfield was stabbed 26 times and shot in the back by Tolbert McCoy. The Hatfields then rounded up three McCoys and shot them execution-style. Over the next forty years over100 men women and children from both families would be killed in the argument.

1914 – The famous poster of Lord Kitchner pointing and saying "Your country needs you," spreads over UK. James Montgomery Flagg later copied the poster for the American version with Uncle Sam in a similar pose. Lord Asquith commented that by now the elderly soldier Kitchener made "a better poster than a leader."



1919- the First Actor’s Equity Strike.

1928- The US Treasury issued a smaller leaner dollar bill. Before this dollars were two times larger and wider than the ones we now use.

1931 - Leon Bismarck "Bix" Beiderbecke, jazz trumpeter died at 29 of drink and drugs. Bix along with his idol Louis Armstrong was considered one of the first jazz musicians to popularize the solo-riff, where in the body of a song the soloist would depart from the arrangement and improvise like a cadenza in classical music. His family in Davenport Iowa were horrified that their son dropped out of school to associate with Negroes and become a musician. Even after Bix was famous he returned proudly home only to discover his parents had stacked up every record he sent them in a box under the stairs. They never listened to a single one.

1933-The first "Alley-Oop" comic strip.

1942- GUADALCANAL BEGINS-10,000 Marines land on the Japanese held island in the first U.S. offensive of World War Two. Americans at home had to learn names like Tulagi, Savo, Gaivutu-Tanonbogo, Chesty Puller and Washing Machine Charlie as their loved ones slugged it out for six months in one of the most brutal battles of the Pacific War. The evenly matched Japanese and Americans went at each other with everything from bayonets to battleships. So many ships were sunk in the island’s lagoon that they nicknamed it "Ironbottom Sound".

1942-The first days aerial dogfights over Guadalcanal Japanese fighter ace Saburo Sakai won fame for shooting down his 58th,59th and 60th American planes. Then his Zero was badly shot up by Gruman F-4 Wildcats and Sakai was paralyzed on his left side and had one eye shattered by a bullet. Yet even in this state he managed to fly his smoking plane 500 miles to home base safely. In the air for 8 1/2 hours, he later said he would occasionally thrust a thumb into his eye wound to give himself a shot of pain to keep awake. Sakai survived, fought at Iwo Jima in 1944, volunteered for Kamikaze duty but flew back with honor when he could find no suitable targets. He survived the war and wrote a famous memoir- Zero Pilot.

1964-After the Tonkin Gulf Incident President Johnson asked for permission to act in Vietnam without a formal declaration of war. Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution 93-2 in the Senate and 410-0 in the House to accelerate the U.S. combat troops role in Vietnam. President Johnson used the hotline to the Kremlin for the first time to assure Premier Khruschev that the US did not plan to expand their role in IndoChina- (?) The American commitment goes from 30,000 to 450,000, trillions of dollars and eventually immolates Cambodia and Laos as well. Senator William Fullbright, later a great anti-war critic, was at this time an enthusiastic supporter. Congressman Mark Hatfield said : "I can’t get over the feeling we’re making a big mistake."

1970 - Christine Perfect McVie joins the band Fleetwood Mac.

1970 – The first computer chess tournament.

1974- French daredevil Phillipe Petit strung a tightrope between the two 110 story towers of NY’s World Trade Center and walked across it. As New Yorkers watched in amazement, Petit kept his concentration by carrying on a conversation with the buildings. In 2005 Animator Michael Sporn created an award winning film about the incident. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers.

1979- THE RUNAWAY WARS.-Hollywood Cartoonist’s Union strike against studios sending animation work overseas.

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Yesterday’s Quiz: Who is Bugs Bunny named for?

Answer: Looney Tune storyman Ben Hardaway was nicknamed Bugs, like famed Chicago Gangster Bugs Moran. When Hardaway requested a rabbit design for a new cartoon, designer Charlie Thornton made up a model sheet and labeled it Bugs’ Bunny.


August 6th, 2008 Weds
August 6th, 2008



Well, Boys & Girls, the warlords of PBS are crunching the numbers to see if we rate a second season of Click and Clack's As the Wrench Turns. We struggled to find a big audience in this current oversaturated media market. Just like 30 Rock, MadMen, Arrested Development and Star Trek the Next Generation got great buzz and critical appeal but took time to find an audience. The good news is I heard that our audience never diminished, but has stayed loyal since we premiered. This despite the PBS local affiliates sticking us all over the dial at all kinds of weird times. And for that CarTalk loyalty I am heartily grateful. Now we'll see if PBS thinks we merit more episodes. Well, let's cross our fingers and rub our Roger Rabbit's feet and hope for the best. Remember to watch tonight, and write PBS via the website and tell them you want more Click and Clack!

my crew can't wait to get back to work on a new season!

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Quiz: Who is Bugs Bunny named for?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What is a peripatetic?
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History for 8/6/2008
Birthdays: Alfred Lord Tennyson, Daniel O'Connell "the Liberator", Dutch Schultz, Louella Parsons, Lucille Ball, Robert Mitchum, Andy Warhol, Hoot Gibson, William B. Williams, Michelle Yeoh, Sir Freddy Laker, M. Night Shyamalan, Melissa George, Andy Messersmith, Soliel Moon-Frye aka Punky Brewster

1504 Birth of Matthew Parker, English cleric who became Archbishop of Canterbury under Elizabeth I and was responsible for formulating the 39 Articles - an apocryphal story is that his long nose and inquisitive nature gave rise to the term "Nosy Parker ".

1890- FIRST MAN ELECTROCUTED- Prison officials wanted a more humane way to execute badguys than hanging, after a 300 pound killer named Mad Jack Ketcham made everybody sick when the noose ripped his head off. So they turned to the miracle of the age, electricity. A spirited competition began between inventors Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse whether AC or DC current was more lethal. Lots of dogs and cats around their laboratories disappeared for test subjects. Edison wanted to call his device an "Automort" or "Electramort". When Edison knew he was going to lose the contract he suggested the inventor give his name to it." Joe will be Westinghoused at Midnight !"-etc. Finally it was simply the Chair or the Hot Seat. The first man in it, an axe murderer named William Kemmler, took several 17 second jolts to be sent off, his hair and jacket caught fire and his shoes melted and stuck to the floor.

1926- Gertrude Ederle swam the English Channel.

1926- Warner Brothers Studio premiered it’s motion picture sound on disk system.The film was Don Juan with John Barrymore the Great Profile. It didn’t really have much impact until they made the "Jazz Singer"with Al Jolson two years later.

1930- Judge Crater disappeared. The New York Supreme Court Justice had given no indication of any trouble but he had accrued huge gambling debts. The good judge had dinner with some friends at the Stork Club and told them he would join them later at the theater. He got into a taxi at 43rd street and vanished forever. It was the media sensation of the year.

1932- Top Broadway singer Libby Hollman "Statue of Libby" had married quiet millionaire Smith Reynolds and moved to his North Carolina estate. But life on the farm was boring so Libby brought her Broadway friends down to party. After one party she was missing for several hours and had grass stains on her knees. The couple quarreled and Smith Reynolds died of a gunshot wound to the head. No one was ever charged .

1945- HIROSHIMA.- At around 11:00 A.M. Capt. Tibbetts and his B-29 "Enola Gay" dropped one bomb and sent us into the Atomic Age. The uranium device was called the "Cosmic Bomb" by the scientists and "Little Boy" by the crew. Navy Secretary Admiral Leahy had said:" It's the biggest damn fool thing we've ever done. It'll never go off!" When it did go off one crewmember shouted:"Wow! Lookit that sonofabitch go! This war is over!!" The navigator wrote in his journal" My God! What have we done ?" The target city of Hiroshima was selected because it was undamaged up until then and the surrounding hills would concentrate it’s effect. The A-bomb killed around 130,000 people and continued to kill survivors with radiation and cancer. 50,000 people were vaporized outright leaving only shadows burned into the pavement. Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, the bomb's main designer, had built it primarily to stop Hitler -both the Nazis and Japanese had their own unsuccessful atomic bomb programs. He was still horrified by the results. He became a lifelong pacifist and was later persecuted as a commie for refusing any more help in developing nuclear weapons.

1962- Jamaica gained independence from Britain.

1970- THE HIPPIES ATTACK DISNEYLAND- A nationwide call for civil disobedience at the famous American-establishment tourist spot was called for August 6th. Called "Yippie Day" Yippies were considered more militant than Hippies. 750 long haired, denim clad moppets filtered into park. Once in they quickly massed, then invaded the Wilderness Fort in Frontierland. There they raised the Vietcong flag, passed marijuana to tourists and chanted "Stop the War! Free Charlie Manson!" They were finally expelled with great difficulty by park security and the Anaheim police. In the 1980’s Disney was almost invaded by Nazi skinheads but this time they were ready.

1973- Stevie Wonder involved in car crash, goes into a 4 day coma but eventually recovered.

1984- Carl Lewis won four gold medals in track & field at the Olympic Games in LA.

1998- A chubby White House student intern from LA named Monica Lewinsky testified to a Federal Grand Jury that she had sex with President Bill Clinton in a small room down the hall from the Oval Office. Hey, watch where ya put that cigar!

2001- One month before the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks the CIA presented President George W. Bush with a study. The report was entitled OSAMA BEN LADEN LIKELY TO ATTACK IN CONTINENTAL US. That the terrorists attack on the US was likely and they may use hijacked civilian airliners. President Bush thanked them then resumed clearing brush on his ranch in Crawford Texas. CIA chief George Tenant didn’t think it important enough to even show up. Later in 2003 after the 9-11 attack National Security adviser Dr. Condoleeza Rice was quoted in the press that " No one could predict terrorists would hijack civilian airliners and fly them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon."


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Yesterdays Quiz: What is a peripatetic?

Answer: Someone who moves around a lot. Speaking on the move. Named for Aristotle, who liked to lecture while wandering around in a garden.


August 05, 2008 tues.
August 5th, 2008

Quiz: What is a peripatetic?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: In the Tom & Jerry shorts directed by Hanna & Barbera, when Tom yells out, who did that voice?
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History for 8/5/2008
Birthdays: Guy de Maupassant, Amboise Thomas, William- first black child born in British America, Neil Armstrong, John Huston, Robert Taylor, Conrad Aiken, Roman Gabriel, Selma Diamond, Patrick Ewing, John Merrick the Elephant Man, Loni Anderson, Bill Scott -the voice of Bullwinkle Moose, John Saxon,Jonathan Silverman

1667- Moliere’s famous comedy “Tartuffe” first played for the public. The next day the Parliament of Paris ordered the theater closed and it’s posters ripped down. The Archbishop of Paris threatened excommunication of anyone who saw it or performed it. It seemed the local religious community didn’t like all the jokes about a charlatan who steals everything from a family by pretending to be a man of the cloth. But the Sun King Louis XIV thought it was funny. He overruled the prelates and ordered the play resumed.

1769- Marching up the California coast Gaspar de Portola discovered the San Fernando Valley.( Oh ma Gaawd!) He came down out of the Sepulveda pass, made a left at Ventura Blvd. and went over to the Chumash village by a spring in Encino (now Encino park near Balboa Blvd.). There was an inversion (smog) layer even at this time. The original Indian word for the valley was “Valley of Smoke”.

1775 - 1st Spanish ship, the San Carlos, entered San Francisco Bay.

1847 -Author Herman Melville met Nathaniel Hawthorne. They went for a hike together in the Berkshires.

1864-“ DAMN THE TORPEDOES!” Admiral David Farragut at Mobile Bay. The Union Navy captured one of last Southern deep water ports. As the US warships in a line ran the heavy batteries of the rebel forts a ship in the lead exploded from a floating mine called a torpedo. This stacked up the ship traffic under the enemy guns like a shooting gallery . Admiral Farragut shouted “Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead ! “ he pushed his flagship the USS Hartford to the lead and gambled the remaining booby traps would be duds, they were. They also defeated the Confederate ironclad Tennessee, who’s captain Franklin Buchanan had commanded the Merrimac two years earlier. Even though Farragut had closed the port to Confederate ships the North wouldn’t spare troops to capture the city so Mobile itself didn’t surrender until four days after Lee surrendered to Grant in 1865.

1891- the American Express Company introduces Travellers Checks.

1910- The first Traffic Light set up on Euclid and 105th st. in Cleveland.

1924 Arf, Arf ! the first Little Orphan Annie comic strip drawn by Harold Gray.

1926 – Magician Harry Houdini stays in a coffin under water for one hour.

1927- Victrola Record producer Ralph Peer realized there might be a market for “Hillbilly Music” so he set up a makeshift recording studio above a furniture store in Bristol Tennessee and put an ad in the local papers for talent. In this one session he recorded future stars Jimmy Rogers the Singing Brakeman, The Carter Family, The Tennessee Mountaineers and Ernest Pop Stoneman. This session has been called the “ Big Bang of Country Music.”

1945- At Tinian airbase The atomic uranium bomb “Little Boy” is loaded onto the B-29 bomber Enola Gay after traveling by ship from Hawaii. The crew will take off at 5:00 am next morning.

1953- The film “From Here to Eternity” opened , starring Deborah Kerr, Burt Lancaster and Montgomery Clift. But the big story was Frank Sinatra’s Oscar winning performance as Maggio that signaled the turnaround in his slumping career.

1955- The Screen Actor’s Guild strikes Hollywood for television residuals. Between 1955 and 2000 SAG will hit the bricks at around seven times. Their president was Walter Pidgeon who had played Dr. Morbius in Forbidden Planet.

1957- American Bandstand featuring the eternally teenaged Dick Clark debuts on television.

1962- GOODBYE, NORMA JEAN. Marilyn Monroe found nude in bed, dead of barbiturate overdose. She was 36. Whether you think the starlet overdosed by accident, suicide, or was done in by the Mafia, the Kennedys, a Svengali like personal physician, lesbian physical therapist or space aliens is still a mystery. She made a call to Attorney General Bobby Kennedy’s office in Washington several hours earlier but was rebuffed. Her last call was to her hairdresser Mr. Guilaroff. She left the bulk of her belongings to her drama teacher Lee Strassberg and her funeral was organized by ex-husband Joe Dimaggio. Her Westwood cottage suite had a tile over the doorway which read :"All my troubles end Here."

1963- The US, Britain and USSR sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

1964 - Actress Anne Bancroft & Comedian Mel Brooks wed.

1966- Caesar’s Palace Hotel & Casino first opened to the public. This was the first of the super-resort casinos, with a total theme park design and three times the space and accommodations of anything yet seen on the Vegas Strip. It’s success ushered in an accelerated era of building for Las Vegas casinos.

1966 –It a moment of youthful indiscretion Beatle John Lennon says his band the Beatles are now more popular than Jesus. This flippant comment provoked a firestorm of nationwide protest among conservative elements in the US. Beatles albums were publically burned in the streets. Lennon apologized, then suggested that they were being crucified over the comment. McCartney rush up to the mike to insist that that wasn't the choice of words they preferred.

1967- Bobby Gentry released “Ode to Billy Jo”.

1980- The Osmond Brothers break up.

1984- Welsh actor Richard Burton died of cerebral hemorrhage at 64. With a tumultuous career and sometime marriages to Elizabeth Taylor the hard drinking Burton was the most famous English thespian of his day. But unlike Olivier and Geilgud, he was never knighted. As I recall, the monarchy objected to their portrayal, when Burton starred in a miniseries on Winston Churchill.

1984- Joan Benoit won the first Women’s Olympic Marathon.

1986 - It's revealed painter Andrew Wyeth had secretly created 240 drawings &
paintings of his neighbor Helga Testorf, in Chadds Ford, Pa

1994- JUDGE KENNETH STARR appointed by Congress to be special prosecutor to investigate wrongdoing by President Clinton in his Whitewater financial dealings. When the Whitewater affair proved a cold lead he came upon the Travelgate, Paula Jones and the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal. Yet Starr never garnered much public support because his probe was perceived as a political vendetta. Rather than seem to be impartial Judge Starr was an declared enemy of Bill Clinton’s politics. And his blunt tactics brought up disturbing memories of McCarthyism- like his ordering the arrest of a D.C. bookshop owner who refused to hand over his receipts and berating jurors who deadlocked over two counts against Clinton’s law partners. After $54 million spent, Congress voted impeachment of the President for his sexual peccadilloes and lying under oath. But that was defeated and Clinton served out his term. Judge Star became president of Pepperdine College in liberal Malibu Cal.
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Yesterdays’ Quiz: In the Tom & Jerry shorts directed by Hanna & Barbera, when Tom yells out, who did that voice?

Answer: Bill Hanna himself. Bill and Joe auditioned actors all day and didn’t get the sound the way Bill kept demonstrating it. Finally Joe said” Bill, why don’t we just use yours?” And so it remained.




The Creative Talent Network and Samuel French Bookshops invites you to join Eric Goldberg at a reception and booksigning in Studio City this Wednesday August 6th from 7pm-9pm to celebrate the publication of "Character Animation Crash Course". This event is free of charge and great for students of animation to get an opportunity to meet Eric Goldberg and for pros to re-connect. Food and drink will be served.

Samuel French Theatre and Film Bookshop
11963 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 762-0535
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Quiz: In the Tom & Jerry shorts directed by Hanna & Barbera, when Tom yells out, who did that voice?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: Why is a signature called a John Hancock?
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History for 8/4/2008
Birthdays: Percy Bysshe Shelley, Nicholas Conte' 1777-inventor of the modern pencil and the conte'-crayon, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, William Pater, Richard Belzer, Franco Corelli, Elizabeth-England's late Queen Mum, opera tenor, Roger Clemens, runner Mary Decker-Slaney, Billy-Bob Thornton, Barack Obama is 47

1693 – “ Come quickly Martin, I am tasting stars!”monk Dom Perignon invented the Method Champagnoise to create champagne.

1735- N.Y. newspaper editor John Peter Zenger had been writing articles criticizing the Royal Governor for corruption. Past governors of New York, Maryland and North Carolina colonies were known fences for Caribbean pirates like Captain Kidd and Blackbeard and pocketing monetary bonds set up for colonial defense. This day German born Zenger's newspaper was shut down, and he was arrested for 'Seditious Libel". His later trial and acquittal was seen as the first great victory in America for Freedom of the Press. Today the Governor would just call Zenger's corporate employer, who would fire him.

1776-The nice printed up Declaration of Independence we all recognize was officially signed. The declaration approved on July 2nd and published on July 4th was the rough draft. Today John Hancock signed that big flowing signature "So old King George won't need his spectacles". Today a nickname for a signature is a John Hancock. It was a gutsy thing to do, the signatures would be their death warrants if the rebellion was crushed. Ironically if you asked Hancock for a pinch of snuff his snuffbox was an engraved gift from King George III he received during a visit to London ten years earlier.
During the War of 1812 when the British burned Washington D.C. the Declaration was hidden under a doorstep in Baltimore. It later hung in a sunlit window for 30 years which bleached it’s print almost to invisibility. Today millions are being spent on restoration efforts like encasing it in pure helium.

1782- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart married Constanze Weber, the aunt of composer Karl Maria Von Weber. Mozart had first proposed to Constanze's sister but she chose another.

1792- The FRENCH REVOLUTION HEATS UP. Since the fall of the Bastille two years earlier France and King Louis XVI had tried to work as a constitutional monarchy guided by the Marquis de Lafayette. But Louis only played the system for time while negotiating with his royal relatives in Germany and Austria to send armies to help him put his peasants in their place. By now the French nation had enough. Mobs stirred to anger by radicals like Danton and Marat marched on the Tuilieries Palace demanding justice. The King Louis XVI's Swiss bodyguard opened fire on them . The enraged peasants tore the guards to pieces and looted the palace, sticking soldier's ears on the kings desk. The king and queen tried to escape out the back door but were grabbed by the mob. A flag was made from a Swiss red uniform coats- the very first Red Flag of Revolution. Lafayette later fled into exile and was imprisoned. Standing in the street watching all this was a young unemployed lieutenant named Napoleon Bonaparte. He later wrote that if King Louis had the nerve to appear on a horse at the head of his supporters he could have still triumphed. Napoleon's final opinion: " Quel con!”- “What an Asshole!"

1892-" Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks, when he saw what she had done, gave her father forty-one.", etc. In Fall River Mass, Andrew and Abbie Borden were found brutally murdered and their daughter Elisabeth was accused. Ms. Borden pleaded innocence and cited a long history of abuse from her parents .She was acquitted but the murderer was never found. When Lizzie died peacefully in 1927 she left $30,000 to the ASPCA.

1918- Young corporal Adolf Hitler was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class for bravery. He was quite proud of it and wore it on his uniform for the rest of his life. The German officer who recommended Hitler, and pinned his medal on was Captain Hugo Gutmann, a Jew.

1922- In honor of the passing of Alexander Graham Bell, all 13 million telephones in the United States observed three minutes of silence.

1925- Conrad Hilton opened the first Hilton Hotel in Dallas Texas.

1942- The Bing Crosby-Fred Astaire-Marjorie Reynolds film the Holiday Inn released. The film featured Irving Berlin hit songs like White Christmas and Easter Parade but is hardly ever shown anymore because the Lincoln’s Birthday skit featured the cast in embarrassing minstrel blackface, singing “bout Massa Lincoln”.

1944- British pilot T.D. Dean uses his plane to bump the wing of a German V-1 Flying Bomb, causing it to flip over off course.

1944-Acting on a tip from a neighbor, the Gestapo discovered and arrested 16 year old Anne Frank and her family in their hiding place in an Amsterdam warehouse. All were sent to Auschwitz. Only her father Otto survived.

1956- Elvis Presley released his version of the Big Mama Mabel Thornton song " You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog".

1964- The TONKIN GULF INCIDENT. North Vietnamese gunboats attacked the U.S.S. Maddox and the Turner Joy patrolling off their coast. The US claimed they were in international waters but the Pentagon Papers revealed that the Maddox was deliberately sent close to the shore to provoke the Vietnamese. The Maddox's captain testified he was 30 miles offshore when in reality he was 3 miles. For months the CIA had been conducting hit and run naval raids on the Vietnamese coast, but that was all still top secret. Although the U.S. already had advisors in the Vietnamese civil war for years this incident provided the legal pretext President Lyndon Johnson needed to escalate U.S. involvement up to 450,000 combat troops and trillions of dollars. Johnson had told his press attache' Bill Moyers:" Bill, if this Vietnam thing comes off I'll go down as one of the great presidents of this century, if not I'll be the goat.".....

1984- Actor Johnny Depp opened his own club on the Sunset Strip called the Viper Room. The original club on that site had once been owned by mobster Bugsy Sigel.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Why is a signature called a John Hancock?

Answer: Look above at 1776.


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