Hans Bacher back in BloggaLand
September 12th, 2008

Mein Leibe Kamerade Hans Bacher is launching a new blog site.


Hans and I shared vindaloo and second-hand smoke all through Beauty and the Beast, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and more. His book DREAMWORLDS is a must for anyone interested in motion picture art direction and design. Han's insights into the psychology of graphic design is comprehensive and enlightening.

Sept 12th, 2008 friday.
September 12th, 2008

Question: What does it mean when you call a law Draconian?

Yesterdays Question Answered Below: In 1970 Japanese robotics expert Mashiro Mori coined the term The Uncanny Valley. What is that?
History for 9/12/2006

Birthdays: Piero 'the Fatuous' DeMedici, King Francis Ist of France-1494, H.L. Mencken, Maurice Chevalier, Ben Blue, Jesse Owens, Barry White, Alfred A. Knopf, Ian Holm is 77, Hans Zimmer is 51, Rachael Ward, Michael Odaatje-author of The English Patient, Margaret Hamilton -"I'm mellllttinnng,,oooohh.." Joe Pantoliano, Jennifer Hudson is 26

1866-Theater producer Fred Niblo got stuck with a French ballet troupe stranded and broke after the New York Academy of Music burned down. So he combined the dancers with a rather mundane melodrama and created" The Black Crook" and invented the first true Broadway Musical. It ran for twenty years and was continually revived until 1925.

1940- In southern France near Montignac a pet dog fell through a crack in the ground into an underground chamber. When four boys follow in to retrieve the dog they discover the Lascaux Caves Ice-Age paintings, where, a Stone Age man traced his handprint in chalk is considered the world’s oldest signature.

1941-THE WALT DISNEY STRIKE ENDS- Everyone goes back to work after the NLRB, with a lot of behind the scenes pressure from the Bank of America, settled the dispute. Walt Disney had to recognize the cartoonists guild, give screen credits, double the salaries of low
paid workers retroactive to May 29th and re-hire animator Art Babbitt. When Walt Disney returned to LA from his South American trip and was told of the results of the settlement, he immediately got on a train to Washington to try and convince the feds to reverse the decision or get an injunction. He failed and Roy finally convinced him to stop fighting and recognize the Cartoonist Guild. Afterwards he insisted everyone on his lot be unionized, even the gardeners. Ironically within a few months the war would break out and artists who had been bitter foes would be compelled to work side by side in the U.S. Army Picture Unit.

1945- Young Captain Ronald Reagan was discharged from the US Army Signal Corps. He never left Hollywood but starred in movies, training films and USO benefits. Yet in his old age he acted the great war hero. Some annoyed veterans told me Marlena Deitrich in fishnet stockings and pumps got closer to the fighting than Captain Reagan ever did.

1954- Television comedian Ernie Kovacs married Edie Adams, the Muriel Cigar Girl. They married in Mexico and at the insistence of Kovacs used a priest who read the entire service in Spanish, a language neither of them understood.

1953- THE RED REDHEAD-? McCarthy investigators accuse top t.v. star Lucille Ball of being a communist. She and husband Desi Arnez immediately went and testified that Lucy’s grandfather was an old Socialist who routinely enrolled all his grandkids in the Communist Party as a birthday present. America wouldn’t stand to see their favorite t.v. family go down, so the matter quickly blew over. Years later Desi would condescendingly joke:" Lucy didn’t even know who the mayor of L.A. was. The only thing that was red about Lucy was her hair, and even that wasn’t real !"

1957- Market researcher James M. Vicary explains at a press conference the theory of Subliminal Advertising. His company proposed to unconsciously compel people to buy products by flashing messages at 1/24th of a second during movies. Even though the concept was discredited (givetomsitomoney) by the American Psychiatric Association (givetomsitomoney) a national panic ensued as people feared brainwashing.

1965- The Beatles release 'Yesterday'.

1966-"Gee Mr. French..." Family Affair premieres on t.v.

1966- The Monkees TV show premiered. Two young television executives- Bert Schneider and Sam Rafaelson, convince their network to make "A Hard Day's Night" for American television. Of the four kids in the make-believe band Mike Nesmith was the only real musician. Micky Dolenz was taught how to play the drums on the first day of shooting. Insiders nicknamed them "The Pre-Fab Four". Still, the show was a major hit, won Emmy Awards and all their albums went gold. The producers took that success and used it to finance the hit film "Easy Rider". Mike Nesmith later married into the Liquid Paper Company and used his fortune to help start MTV. I confess I had my own Monkees shirt, double row of buttons, puffed sleeves, cobalt blue with tiny red polka dots. Last Train to Clarkesville!

1992- Anthony Perkins, the star of Hitchcock’s Psycho, died of HIV/AIDS. His widow, Berry Berensen the sister of actress Marisa Berensen, died in one of the hijacked airliners that plunged into the World Trade Center on 9-11.

2005- Disneyland Hong Kong opened.
Yesterday’s Question: In 1970 Japanese robotics expert Mashiro Mori coined the term The Uncanny Valley. What is that?

Answer: Mori noted that there is a point when robots and other synthetic life become so life-like, they start to creep people out. So we feel more empathy to R2D2 and the Robot from LOST IN SPACE, yet we don’t like the figures in BEOWULF or FINAL FANTASY.
I'm so pretty, oh so pretty...

Sept.11th, 2008 Thr
September 11th, 2008

Question: In 1970 Japanese robotics expert Mashiro Mori coined the term The Uncanny Valley. What is that?

Answer to Yesterday’s Question below: One of the most popular characters in the Alice in Wonderland is the Mad Hatter. Where does the idea of a Mad Hatter originate?

History for 9/11/2008
Birthdays: O.Henry, D.H. Lawrence, Brian DePalma, Hedy Lamarr, Lola Falana, Paul "Bear" Bryant, Tom Landry, Kristy McNichol, Lola Falana, Pinto Colvig the voice of Goofy & Pluto, Peter Tosh, Virginia Madsen, Amy Madigan, Moby

1297-First Battle of Sterling- William Wallace's Scottish rebel army inflicts a spectacular defeat on the English Army. They chop up the hated military governor the Earl of Cressingham and send dried strips of him throughout the shires.

1776- At Sandy Hook, New Jersey, American Congressional Peace representatives John Adams, Ben Franklin and William Rutledge sat down with British Commander General Lord William Howe and his brother Admiral Richard 'Black Dick" Howe. The Howe brothers were given special powers plenipotentiary by Parliament to grant amnesties and negotiate a settlement with the American rebels. But the talks went nowhere. Howe asked for their submission:" I feel for America as a brother and would lament should she fall." Ben Franklin responded:" We shall try our best to spare your lordship that mortification."

1777-THE BATTLE OF BRANDYWINE CREEK- General Sir William Howe kicks George Washington's rebel butt. What's even more embarrassing he fools Washington with the exact same tactics he defeated him with one year ago on Long Island. Washington is forced to abandon America's capitol Philadelphia to the enemy. Luckily the loose decentralized nature of the colonial union meant the conquest of the capitol was no great loss to the rest of the country except Pennsylvanians, while the capture of a Madrid or a Paris would effectively end a war with those countries. The Americans took the defeat in stride: "It's all well boys, we'll do better next time." Baron von Steuben’s drills were beginning to pay off. Lord Cornwallis commented:" Hmph! Damned rebels form up well..." At one point in the battle British officer Patrick Ferguson had an clear shot at a big rebel officer that rode by cooly shepherding his retreating militia. Ferguson decided not to shoot the brave man in the back. Only later he discovered the officer was George Washington.

1841- British artist John Reno invented oil paint in a tube.

1847- Stephen Fosters song “Oh Susanna” first published.

1914- W.C. Handy's Saint Louis Blues published, the first true Jazz recording to gain national popularity. Myron “Grim” Natwick, the cartoonist who would one day create Betty Boop and Snow White for Disney, did the artwork for the first music coversheet. For this he was paid one gold dollar.

1916- The Star Spangled Banner first sung at a baseball game at Cooperstown New York.

1916- Republican candidates win an overwhelming majority in local Maine elections prompting GOP leaders to boast "As goes Maine, so goes the Nation."

1939- Secret until recently, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt began a secret transatlantic correspondence this day with future Prime Minister Winston Churchill. FDR recognized a kindred spirit and made plans for when America and Britain would be drawn into a war to defeat Hitler. A secretary in the American embassy entrusted with decoding the messages was a secret Republican. He kept copies of the letters and planned to turn them over to FDR’s isolationist enemies to foil his re-election. But in 1940 Churchill’s MI-5 detected him and arrested him.

1941- In a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, aviation hero Charles Lindbergh revealed his dark side by accusing an "International Jewish conspiracy" of driving America into a European war. Lindbergh was one of the leading voices for isolationism in the US. Lindbergh had been wined and dined in Berlin and Hitler decorated him with Germany's highest civilian medal. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau told President Roosevelt "I am convinced this guy is a Nazi". After Pearl Harbor Lucky Lindy offered his services to the U.S. Air force as a combat pilot but his public image was ruined.

1951-METROPOLIS TO MOSCOW? Robert Shayne, the actor who played the Inspector Henderson character for television’s Superman show appeared before the House American Activities Committee accused of being a communist. He was led off the set by the FBI in handcuffs as Man of Steel George Reeves and Jimmy Olsen protested vigorously. He was eventually cleared of all charges but because of the Blacklist he gave up acting and went into real estate.

1960- Terrytoon's Deputy Dawg t.v. show.

1960- Nancy Sinatra married Tommy Sands.

1966- "Kimba the White Lion" debuts in the U.S.

1967-The Beatles began filming Magical Mystery Tour.

1971- The “Jackson Five” Saturday morning cartoon show.

1972- The BBC quiz show Mastermind first broadcast. The shows creator Malcom Muggeridge claimed he got the idea while a prisoner of the Japanese in Malaysia and in truth the show resembles an interrogation. Some postman from Neasden sits in a dark room with a single spotlight in his face while people shoot questions at him about the lesser known works of Thomas Hardy, etc.

1987-Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" wins MTV's Best Video Award.

1987-Reggae great Peter Tosh and two others are shot and killed by
thieves who were robbing his Kingston, Jamaica home.

2001- THE WORLD TRADE CENTER ATTACK – When New York’s Twin Towers were completed in 1974, they were the tallest office buildings in the world and a symbol of American financial power. Islamic terrorists had already tried to bring down the towers with a truck bomb in 1993. This day, terrorists hijacked three US domestic airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington DC. It was a beautiful, Autumn day and the second plane crashing into the World Trade Center was timed for maximum press coverage. The images looked improbably like a movie stunt rather than a real disaster. The planned multiple attack was organized by Osama Ben-Laden, a rogue millionaire whose family has close ties to the rulers of Saudi Arabia. He organized a multinational force of terrorists based in Afghanistan called Al Queda. Old President George Bush Sr. was having lunch with the brother of Osama while the planes were crashing. President George W. Bush was reading a kiddie book to some preschoolers, then he hid most of the day. The passengers of a fourth hijacked airliner United Flt. 93 were talking to their loved ones on digital phones and were told of the planes crashing into World Trade Center and Pentagon. So the passengers armed with trays and boiling water attacked their hijackers -. The last words heard from passenger Bob Beamer ,“We’re taking back the plane…let’s roll!” Flight 93 crashed in an uninhabited field outside of Pittsburgh before it could be used as a human bomb. Authorities now think that plane would have been used to crash into the White House. Back in New York City, after burning with aviation gas at 1500 degrees for over an hour the two giant WTC towers pancaked in on themselves and plunged to the ground on top of rescue workers and firemen. 3,000 died from 150 countries.
Yesterday’s Question: One of the most popular characters in the Alice in Wonderland is the Mad Hatter. Where does the idea of a Mad Hatter originate?

Answer: In the XVIII and XIX Centuries, people who made felt hats handled toxic chemicals like mercury. They absorbed much through their skin. As a result, hatters had a reputation for going insane. So being Mad as a Hatter was a common term when Lewis Carrol wrote his Alice in Wonderland Story. Sir John Tenniel drew his Mad Hatter to resemble Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Walt Disney’s Mad Hatter was based on vaudeville comedian Ed Wynn.

Cold Hard Flash Interview
September 10th, 2008

Aaron Simpson did a nice interview with me for his great website COLD HARD FLASH.
It is up now-



September 10th, 2008 weds
September 10th, 2008

Question: One of the most popular characters in the Alice in Wonderland is the Mad Hatter. Where does the idea of a Mad Hatter originate?

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered below: Presidential candidate John McCain claims his experience in the military makes him a better choice for president. We know about former generals Eisenhower & Grant, but which of these military heroes also wanted to be president, but failed? a) Gen. Douglas MacArthur, b) Admiral Dewey, c) Gen. Winfield Scott, d) General Custer?
History for 9/10/2008
Birthdays: Fae Wray, Yma Sumac ( Star of Brazilian jazz and crossword puzzles- real name Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo, from Ichocán, Peru. Descendent of Inca royalty), Ian Fleming, Raymond Scott (composer of songs Carl Stalling loved to score into Bugs Bunny cartoons) , Margaret Trudeau, Amy Irving, Arnold Palmer, Charles Kuralt, Jose Feliciano, Karl Lagerfield, Steven Jay Gould, Chris Columbus, Colin Firth is 48

1171- Salladin, the Vezir of Egypt, changed the religious practice of Egypt from Shiite back to Sunni Moslem. For this act, the Caliph in Bagdhad made the Kurd a Sultan, and he took up the war begun by Zenghi and Nur-Al-Din against the Christian Crusaders holding the Holy places in Jerusalem.

1224-The first Franciscan monks land in England. The are promptly arrested and sent to London in chains.

1526- The Turkish army of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent entered the Hungarian capitol of Budapest.

1608- Captain John Smith elected leader of the Jamestown Colony. This advances the common adventurer over the heads of several gentlemen like President Wingfield and Captain’s Martin and Newport. But since they first landed in April the rigors of the Virginia wilderness proved that Smith knew best how to run the colony.

1813- Commodore Oliver Perry defeats a British naval flotilla on Lake Erie. This battle and New Orleans prevented the War of 1812 from being a complete botchup by the U.S. considering we had our capitol burned and all our invasions of Canada defeated. Perry's victory message:" We have met the enemy, and he is ours." Commodore Perry shouldn't be confused with Capt. Robert Peary, the Polar explorer.

1846- Elias Howe patented the sewing machine.

1894- London taxi driver George Smith is the first man ever fined for drunk driving an automobile.

1907-The first Neiman Marcus dept. store opens in Dallas.

1940- During the Battle of Britain, Nazi bombs hit Buckingham Palace, just missing the Royal Family. The Queen later Queen-Mum said:"At last now I can look the East-enders in the face." RAF ace Sgt. Ginger Lacey volunteered to go up and get the bomber who did the bombing. In a London fog his Hurricane fighter caught up to the offending German Heinkell –111 bomber and shot it down., But his own plane was so shot up in the battle he had to bail out. His parachute caught in a tree and as Sgt, Lacey looked down he saw an old Englishman in a Home Guard helmet training a shotgun at him. He obviously thought he was a German. Lacey explained he wasn’t a Jerry but the old duffer remained unconvinced. He was preparing to fire when finally let loose a torrent of Anglo-Saxon invective "YOU STUPID GIT, YOU G*DDAM F**KING OLD WANKER! WAIT TILL I GET MY BLOODY ID CARD OUT, etc. The Old man then lowered his weapon with relief:" "Ere. He said:" Anyone who can swear like that can’t be a German.."

1953 - Swanson Foods sells it's first "TV dinner"

1955- the t.v. series 'Gunsmoke' premiered.

1963- The First New York Film Festival opened with Luis Bunuel’s The Exterminating Angel, and Woody Allen was probably there.

1966- H& B's Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossible's debut.

1968- Hanna Barbera's Space Ghost and Dino Boy' debut.

1977- The last execution in France by guillotine. Hamidas Djandoubi a Tunisian immigrant and convicted murderer.

1978- The Communist Premier of Bulgaria, Tobor Zhivkov, asked the Soviet KGB to do something about dissident Georgyi Markov who was making embarrassing broadcasts to Bulgaria on London's Radio Free Europe. After a broadcast Markov left the BBC offices and strolled across Waterloo Bridge. A man bumped into him and poked him in the shin with his umbrella tip. He excused himself and moved on. Markov grew sick and died within 24 hours on this day. A tiny pellet smaller than a pinhead carrying poison was injected into Markov by a hypodermic needle concealed in the umbrella tip.

1981- Picasso's painting Guernica is at last returned to Spain.

1993- The TV series The X Files premiered. The truth is out there.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Presidential candidate John McCain claims his experience in the military makes him a better choice for president. We know about former generals Eisenhower & Grant, but which of these military heroes also wanted to be president, but failed? a) Gen. Douglas MacArthur, b) Admiral Dewey, c) Gen. Winfield Scott, d) General Custer?

Answer: All of them. Custer told his Crow scouts that after he smote the Sioux, he planned to go East and become the next Great White Father; When MacArthur lost the nomination to Eisenhower, McArthur said Ike was “ The best damn orderly I ever had.” Admiral Dewey was indignant he even had to campaign.