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Blog Posts from January 2009:

January 7th, 2009 weds.
January 7th, 2009

Quiz: Whose foot became the measurement for THE foot? As in feet, inches.

Answer: What is the origin of the phrase- He’s on the level?
History for 1/7/2009
Birthdays: Jacques Montgolfier, Joseph Bonaparte- Napoleons older brother, St. Bernadette of Lourdes, Revolutionary War General Israel Putnam, Francois Poulenc, Butterfly McQueen, Adolph Zukor, Charles Adams, E.L. Doctorow, Jean Pierre Rampal, Millard Filmore*, Katie Couric, William Peter Blatty the author of Jaws, David Caruso, Nicholas Cage- originally Nicolo Coppola is 45


Millard Fillmore is famous, if you could call it that, as Americas most irrelevant president err…So far. This day the Millard Filmore Society has a banquet in his birthplace of Buffalo, N.Y.

1610- Galileo aimed his telescope into the heavens and first noted moons of Jupiter- Ganymede, Io and Europa.

1785- Aeronauts Jean Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries crossed the English Channel in a gas balloon. To keep from crashing before attaining the French coastline they had to jettison most of their equipment, including silk covered oars intended to use to row through the air. Blanchard even threw his trousers overboard to lighten the load.

1789-THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION -Meaning when the electors nominated by the various state legislatures cast their votes .The Electoral College is a remnant of this. Popular elections really didn't catch on until the 1820's. At this time only white, male, landowning literate, freeborn men could vote, so out of a population of 4 million about 160,000 voted; in England at this time only 10% of the male population could vote.

George Washington won overwhelmingly over John Adams and John Hancock.

The first election also produced the first sore-losers. Hancock, who after all was the leader of Congress all through the Revolution and had that really big signature, was so disgusted that when Washington paid an official visit to his home state of Massachusetts, Hancock snubbed him. John Adams was annoyed about being only Vice President of a country he felt he invented under a man he felt he created. He was the one who suggested the big Virginian with the bad teeth head the army. John Adams hoped his position of Vice President would evolve powers not unlike an English Prime Minister, with the President a powerless figurehead. But Washington's annoyance with Adams ensured he, and consequentially all future vice presidents, would have little serious work to do, uh...except for Cheney...

1839- Frenchman Louis Daguerre announces the invention of Photography.( Just three weeks later on the 31st William Fox Talbot will say HE invented it first ). Despite the controversy of credit, the Daguerrotype photgraphic process becomes the popular system worldwide in the nineteenth century. The image of Lincoln on the five dollar bill is from a daguerreotype.

1894-" The Sneeze" The first motion picture film to be copyrighted by Thomas Edison and his engineer Canadian W.K.L. Dickson

1924- George Gershwin completed his Rhapsody for Jazz Orchestra, popularly called the Rhapsody in Blue. Ira Gershwin came up with the name after seeing a museum show of Whistler paintings with names like "Composition in Grey, Nocturne in Green," etc.

1926- George Burns married Gracie Allen.

1927- The first private telephone call from America to England.

1929-With the approval of Edgar Rice Burroughs, artist Hal Foster began drawing the Tarzan comic strip.

1934 –The First Buck Rogers adventures starring Olympic gold medal swimmer Buster Crabbe.

1935- Roger Sherwood’s play the Petrified Forrest opened to smash revues at the Broadhurst Theater on Broadway. Leslie Howard got great notices, but the real find was an obscure hard drinking actor with sad eyes playing the gangster Duke Mantee – Humphrey Bogart. In the audience was Jack Warner of Warner Bros, who decided Mr Bogart might just make it in motion pictures.

1942-BATAAN-Gen. Homma's Japanese army attacked Gen. Douglas MacArthur's American and Phillipino last stand defense line on the Bataan Peninsula. From today until late April,the American's wage a desperate fighting retreat against overwhelming Japanese forces down the Florida-shaped peninsula, hoping for reinforcements from America that would never come. They sang:

"We're the battling bastards of Bataan,
No moma, no papa, no Uncle Sam.
No aunts, no uncles, sisters or nieces;
no pills, no planes, no artillery pieces.
We're the battling bastards of Bataan,
And nobody gives a damn.."

MacArthur his long life would never forgive Franklin Roosevelt for his lack of support for the Philippines. When he heard of FDR’s death in 1945, the general ungraciously quipped: " He never told the truth where a good lie would do..."

1943- Nicholas Tesla died. The inventor of AC current, rotary field motors and the Tesla coil, in his last years he had been experimenting with telegraphy and trying to develop a death ray for the US Army.

1961- In Providence Rhode Island a bunch of kids were stopped by police for driving a round a neighborhood store suspiciously carrying guns and masks. One 21 year old who did three days in jail for carrying a concealed weapon later became a pretty good actor- Al Pacino.

1966- A hippie group from what would become Silicon Valley, called the Grateful Dead, got their first gig playing a club called the Matrix. They would be one of the most successful rock bands in history, only breaking up after the death of their leader, Jerry Garcia in 1995.
Yesterday’s Quiz: What is the origin of the phrase- He’s on the level?

Answer: The symbol of the medieval guild that became the Freemasons was a builders level. Saying you were a member meant that you were honest, without quile and pure, on the level.

January 6th, 2009 tues.
January 6th, 2009

Amid Amidi on yesterdays' Cartoon Brew Blog did a thorough run down of all the cool new animation books that are going to weigh down our shelves and run up our Visa cards this year. Included is Disney Producer Don Hahn's two volumes of the lectures of Disney drawing tutor Walt Stanchfield.

Also John Canemaker's done a comparative history of two of Disney's great story artists, Joe Grant and Joe Ranft.

Check them out by going to my links.

Quiz: What is the origin of the term “ He’s on the level”?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Name the Three Kings. Los Tres Reyes
History for 1/6/2009
Birthdays: St. Joan of Arc, Mountain man Jedediah Smith, Tom Mix, Alexander Scriabin, Gustav Dore', Loretta Young, Earl Skruggs. Carl Sandburg, Danny Thomas, Nancy Lopez, John DeLorean, Alan Watts, John Singleton, Rowan Atkinson, Anthony Minghella

Happy Feast Of Epiphany, Twelfthnight and The Eastern Orthodox Christmas.
Today is the end of the twelve days of Christmas when the Magi, the three kings- Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, visited the Holy Family. The Magi were the priestly caste of ancient Persia and the Zoroastrian religion. They were believed to predate the Persians and come from the Chaldaeans, the people who invented the western branch of the science of astronomy. The Maya and Chinese were doing astronomy on their sides of the world. A lot of the Magi ritual concerned observation of the stars. Some astronomers theorize the Star of Bethlehem was a rare planetary alignment that created a bright spot the Magi weren't used to or a close orbit of Jupiter. Others have calculated that there was a supernova around 6 BC which is more or less the right time, Jesus birth is by modern estimate around 4 BC. or Four before Himself. In many countries the Three Kings, not Christmas, is when children get their presents, because that’s when JC got his.

1759- George Washington and Martha Custis marry. Washington first loved another woman who refused him, a Sally Fairfax who married a prominent English loyalist plantation owner. They fled to Europe when the Revolution began and never returned. When George married Martha she was a very rich widow, but beyond childbearing years. This might have been a factor in Washington's decision later not to be King of America, for he would have no direct heirs. Imagine the complications in the young democracy trying to establish this concept of an elective President if there was a George Washington Jr. to contend with.
-Or a George W. Washington?

1842- THE RETREAT FROM KABUL - This day15,000 British troops and their dependants march out of Kabul, Afghanistan on the road to Jellallabad. They were attacked by Afghan Ghilzais tribesmen all along the route through the Khyber Pass. Only one man, regimental surgeon William Brydon,survived because he got lost on the road.

1872- Millionaire robber-baron Big Jim Fisk was shot dead by Ned Stokes, his rival for the affections of beautiful actress Josie Mansfield. It was one of the big scandals of the Guilded Age.

1912- Scientist Alfred Wegener presented his paper to the German Geological Society in Frankfurt. In it he theorized that the Earth’s continents are not fixed in place but moving. He named it Continental Drift. This was dismissed as nonsense until after WWII when submarines charting the ocean floor discovered tectonic plates. Today it is accepted that the continents move at the speed with which you grow a fingernail. About 6 feet a century.

1919- Teddy Roosevelt died peacefully at Oyster Bay ,N.Y. at 60. He was never expected to survive childhood asthma, was wounded in Spanish American War, thrown 40 feet in a streetcar wreck, got a dangerous leg abscess while on safari, almost died of malaria in the Amazon and was shot by an assassin while giving a political speech, which he finished anyway. His daughter Alice said: " The problem with daddy is at every wedding he wants to be the bride and at every funeral the corpse."

1945- First Pepe Le Pew cartoon, "Odorable Kitty". When the Warners producer who replaced Leon Schlesinger, Eddie Selzer, heard the plans to do a short about a skunk he thundered: "Absolutely Not! Nobody will like a cartoon skunk!" Chuck Jones recalled: "As soon as he said no, I knew we just had to do it." Selzer's final opinion:" Nobody'll laugh at that sh*t!" The short won an Oscar. Selzer later went on into network T.V.

1945- Navy Lt. George H. W. Bush married Barbara Pierce. Despite Barbara’s mother’s opinion of Bush “Singularly Unimpressive” Poppy Bush made Barbara First Lady and the mother of another president.

1949- Composer Leonard Bernstein noted in his diary that “JR (Jerome Robbins) called today with a novel idea- a modern version of Romeo and Juliet set in the slums.” At first the musical was going to be called East Side Story, then GangWay, finally West Side Story.

1956- Prince Rainier of Monaco announced his engagement to movie star Grace Kelly.

1962- Bob Clampett's Beany and Cecil the Sea-Sick Sea Serpent. This was the animated version of his popular puppet show.“So Long Kids,Wind Up Your Lids, We’ll look for You Real Soooooon.”

1975-“ Ease on Down the Road.-“ The musical The Wiz premiered on Broadway.

1993- Ballet star Rudolf Nureyev, the most famous male dancer since Nijinsky, died of HIV/AIDS.

1994- “WHY ME, WHY ME?” Shortly after a practice in a Detroit skating rink Olympic hopeful Nancy Kerrigan was attacked by a man trying to smash her knees with a steel pipe. The man Derrick Smith later confessed to the FBI that he was paid $6500 to do the deed by Jeff Gilhooly, the ex-husband and manager of Kerrigan’s rival skater Tanya Harding. Despite all the intense media coverage in the end Kerrigan got one Silver medal, Harding nothing and the Olympic gold in Figure Skating went to Ukrainian Oksana Baiul, who was later busted for drunk driving.

1995- In another great leap forward for trash journalism CBS anchor Connie Chung gets Kathleen Gingrich, the mother of Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, to call First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton a “bitch”. In an earlier time such gutter utterances would have been politely edited, but this was given wide national coverage.

1996- In Gaza, Hamas leader Yahya Ayyash called the Engineer, dialed his cellphone and it blew his head off. It was a remote control bomb set by Israeli intelligence Mossad. 100,000 attended Ayyash’s funeral.
Yesterday’s Question: Name the Three Kings. Los Tres Reyes

Answer: : Answer above- Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar or Baalshazzer.

January 5th, 2009 mon
January 5th, 2009

Bronny Barry and Joe Campana sent me this link to an old U-Tube clip of the production of the Flintstones in the heyday of Hanna & Barbera.

The artist seen drawing Fred is assistant Ron Westlund, funny to think the H&B building had to be preserved as an LA historic landmark!

QUIZ: Name the Three Kings. Los Tres Reyes.

Yesterday¹s Quiz answered below: Why are a group of artillery pieces called a battery?
History for 1/5/2009
Birthdays: Zebulon Pike, Stephen Decatur, Alven Ailey,J. Stuart Blackton (the first American animator, born in Lincolnshire, England ), W.D. Snodgrass, Jack Norworth -composer of " Take Me out to the Ballgame' , Konrad Adenauer, Astrologist Jean Dixon, Umberto Ecco, Yves Tanguy, Walter Mondale, George Reeves, Roger Spottiswoode, Hiyao Miyazaki, Robert Duval is 78, Dianne Keaton is 63, Spanish King Juan Carlos

1463- French poet Francois Villon was kicked out of Paris.

1477- THE BATTLE OF NANCY- The Duke of Burgundy Charles the Rash dreamed of turning his duchy between France and Germany into one of the great powers of Europe. In the process he managed to annoy just about all his neighbors with his constant wars. This day Charles found out why the Swiss are left alone by most European powers. Upon invading Switzerland his army was cut to pieces. His body was found naked in a ditch with his head stuck fast in a puddle of ice. two spears were sticking out of his butt. These were seen as being for insults sake.

1825- Writer Alexander Dumas fought a duel with the Chevalier Saint George, a black duelist from Martinique, who played violin so well he helped Beethoven write his Violin Concerto. Neither man was seriously hurt and Dumas went on to write the Three Musketeers. Saint George also once fought a duel with the enigmatic Monsieur d¹Eon, a transvestite who fought his duels in a womens¹ ballgown.

1896- A Vienna newspaper announced the invention by Dr. Wilhelm Roentgen of a machine that produces "X-Rays" to see inside the body. In England, scientist Lord Kelvin, who invented the Celsius temperature scales, declared x-rays a " ridiculous hoax "

1896- Josef Pulitzers’ New York World began printing the Sunday Yellow Kid comic strip with a yellow color on his shirt. The strip gave the name to the sensationalist tabloid press 'Yellow Journalism".

1914- The Ford Motor Company shocked the captains of American Industry by raising it¹s wage rates for work shift from $2.40 a day to $5.00 a day and adopting the new 8 hour work day. Henry Ford¹s idea was ³when workers have more money they buy cars². The idea worked and sales of cars quadrupled and the economic climate of Detroit boomed.

I wonder what Henry Ford would have thought of today¹s companies who lay off thousands of workers and move plants overseas to make their stock rise, then seem perplexed by the stagnant rate of consumer spending?

1921- Famous Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton was preparing one last expedition to the South Pole. This day on his ship anchored in South Georgian Island Bay, he complained he felt ill. He said to his doctor ³Oh, what do you want me to give up now?² then he fell over dead of a heart attack. He was 47.

1924- William Chrysler introduced his first automobile featuring an all steel chassis frame instead of wood. He created it for the failing Maxwell Car Company and in 1925 changed the name to the Chrysler Car Company.

1925- Nellie Taylor Ross was inaugurated as the Governor of Wyoming, the first woman to hold such an office.

1933- First day of construction on San Francisco¹s Golden Gate Bridge.

1933- Calvin Coolidge died peacefully. The laconic Coolidge was so low key and stand offish that he was a favorite target for political writers. H.L.Mencken said "Being fanatical for Coolidge is like being fanatical for double entry Bookkeeping". Will Rogers said:" The convention nominating Coolidge was so dull there was a call to open up the Churches early to liven things up". Dorothy Parker had the final word. When told that Coolidge had died she replied:" How could you tell?"

1934- Both the American and National Baseball Leagues agreed upon a standard size for a baseball.

1953- Samuel Beckett¹s play Waiting for Godot ( En attendant Godot ) first premiered in Paris.

1959- Buddy Holly released his last single, It Doesn¹t Matter Anymore.

1959- The first Bozo the Clown TV show premiered on TV. Larry Harmon invented and played the famous children¹s clown.

1961- “Hello Wilbur” Mr Ed the Talking Horse appeared on TV for the first time.
Veteran Western actor Chill Wills provided the voice.

1968- A Boston grand jury indicted famous baby doctor Benjamin Spock for conspiring to abet violation of draft laws. The great scientist had come out as a vocal opponent of U.S. participation in the Vietnam War. "I helped them be born. I'm not going to abandon them now."

1970- Soap opera “All My Children” premiered.

1979- EMI Records ended their contracts with the punk band the Sex Pistols. They felt their outrageous behavior had gone just too far.

1980- The first Hewlett Packard Personal Computer or PC goes on the market.

1998-At the Heavenly Valley Ski Resort former pop singer turned Neocon Congressman Sonny Bono died, when he skied headlong into a tree.
Yesterday¹s Quiz: Why are a group of artillery pieces called a battery?

Answer: The original purpose of cannons were to batter down castle walls and fortress gates. The French term Batterie became the term for a unit of cannon, anywhere from 3 to 6.

January 4th, 2009 sunday
January 4th, 2009

Quiz: Why are a group of artillery pieces called a battery?

Yesterdays Quiz answered below: Which space mission won the Space Race, between the U.S. and Soviet Union? Apollo 8, Apollo 13, Apollo 11, Gemini 1…?
History for 1/4/2009
Burthdaze: Sir Issac Newton, Emile Cohl the first animator, Louis Braille, General Tom Thumb, Jane Wyman, Jacob Grimm of the Brothers Grimm, Sterling Holloway the voice of Winnie the Pooh and Kaa, Francios Rude, Dyan Cannon is 72, Floyd Patterson, Don Shula, Barbara Rush, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Julia Ormond is 41

1642-English King Charles Ist, egged on by his pushy French queen Hennrietta Maria, attempts to squash his uppity Puritan enemies in Parliament with one stroke. He personally marched troops into the House of Commons and demanded the arrest of five ringleaders, John Pym, Sir Arthur Hazelrig and others. They had already fled. When he ordered the Speaker of the House to identify the men, the speaker bowed and politely refused: "Sire, I have neither eyes to see nor lips to speak say as this House biddeth me". The King left empty-handed and the people of London raining garbage and abuse down on him. He quit London to travel north and raise troops. The English Civil War is recorded as beginning in September, but from this moment on King Charles considered no other remedy but force.

1725- American colonist Benjamin Franklin first arrived in London.

1861- As the Civil War was breaking out, Missouri inaugurated it’s new Governor, Claiborne Jackson. Gov. Jackson in his inaugural speech declared Missouri would stand by her sister slaveholding states in the Confederacy, but the city dwelling people of Missouri had a different idea. They were for the Union. The farming population were pro Dixie. Already wracked by years of violence Missouri would collapse into an anarchy of roving paramilitary gangs robbing, hanging and shooting the innocent. Bushwhackers and Redlegs. Missouri suffered more than any state in the US. One tenth of the population would die or move away.

1881- Johannes Brahms Academic Festival Overture premiered in Breslau. Modern audiences would recognize it as the theme song to National Lampoons Animal House.

1885- The first appendectomy operation.

1904- The Supreme Court ruled that Puerto Ricans are not aliens but American citizens. Full citizenship rights were still delayed until 1917.

1904, Thomas Edison's movie crew filmed the electrocution of an elephant. Topsy, was being destroyed by its owners after she killed three men in as many years. (The third was a man who fed her a lit cigarette.) The event was a public spectacle to a paying audience of 1500 people at Coney Island, where the elephant had actually helped build the attraction. Edison was the consultant chosen to arrange the electrocution after feeding Topsy cyanide-laced carrots had failed to kill her.

1943- Josef Stalin named Time Magazines Man of the Year.

1946- Terrytoons "The Talking Magpies" the first Heckle and Jeckle cartoons.

1954- Young truck driver Elvis Presley went into Sun Records recording studio in Memphis. He plunked down $4 to record two demos for his mothers’ birthday. " Casual Love Affair" and "I’ll Never Stand in your Way". The studio technician was impressed enough to play the demo for his manager who called back Presley for an audition.

1956- In the Peanuts comic strip Charles Schulz first had Snoopy stand up on two legs.

1956- Walt Disney had lunch with his old nemesis Max Fleischer, now retired. The meeting was arranged by Max’s son Richard Fleischer, who was working for Disney directing Twenty Thousand Leagues. Although everyone had a nice time, Richard later admitted he found the whole event depressing. Seeing his dad humbled:” It was like seeing David vanquished by Goliath..”

1960- Writer Albert Camus was killed in a car accident. He was 46.

1964- The Boston Strangler murdered his last victim, 19 year old Mary Sullivan. The family of Albert DeSalvo, the man who confessed and was convicted as the Strangler, still claim today that he was innocent because the pattern of this killing didn’t match the others.

1973- In San Francisco scientists from several top food companies like Proctor & Gamble, Heinz and Del Monte began work inventing the Universal Product Code, or the Bar Code now seen on everything you buy. The first product to sport the bar code was Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum.

1973- President Nixon informs the Senate committee investigating the Watergate break-in that he refuses to yield to them his taped conversations, citing "executive privilege".

1995- Georgia Republican Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House of Representatives. In the Washington atmosphere of congenial deal making, Gingrich was the philosopher of the scorched earth, no-compromise style of politics. Even after he stepped down, and Obama is calling for reaching-across-the-aisle, this philosophy is still very much in politics today.

1997- Spoon bending psychic Uri Geller predicted a UFO would land in Tel Aviv. Israelis watched the skies, but in the end, nothing appeared.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Which space mission won the Space Race, between the U.S. and Soviet Union? Apollo 8, Apollo 13, Apollo 11, Gemini 1…?

Answer: This was a bit of a tricky one. Apollo 11 did indeed land on the Moon, but Apollo 8 was the first manned craft to reach the moon. It was the one that orbited but didn't land and Jim Lowell read from Genesis on Christmas Night. After Apollo 8, the Russians admitted defeat, and announced they were shifting their efforts to unmanned probes of Mars.
So Apollo 8 is actually considered the mission that won the Space Race.

January 3rd, 2009 sat
January 3rd, 2009

Karl Cohen of ASIFA/San Francisco sent me an amusing website.

Instead of Walk Like an Egyptian, try this link and Draw Like John Whitney.

John Whitney Sr(1917-1995)was considered the Father of Computer Animation. His experiments with WWII army surplus gunsights in the 1950s became the forerunner of the tools we use today to make Shrek, Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda.

I'm not sure if this person was aware he was channeling Whitney, but the kaleidoscope images are reminiscent of Whitney's CATALOG (1961), and James Whitney's LAPIS(1975). It's a bit fast, but amusing.


Quiz: Which space mission won the Space Race, between the U.S. and Soviet Union?
Apollo 8, Apollo 13, Apollo 11, Gemini 1…?

Yesterdays question answered below: In Chuck Jone’s cartoon Inky and the Mynah Bird, composer Carl Stalling gave the birds a theme from a famous piece of classical music. What is it?
History for 1/3/2009
Birthdays: Marcus Tullius Cicero, John Paul Jones, Victor Borge, Zazu Pitts, Sergio Leone, Hank Stramm, Bobby Hull, Robert Loggia, Maxene Andrews of the Andrews Sisters, Ray Milland, Anna Mae Wong, Steven Stills, J.R.R. Tolkein, Victoria Principal, Mel Gibson is 54.

1777- BATTLE OF PRINCETON- After the Christmas victory at Trenton George Washington’s little army gives the main British army the slip, wheels around behind them and surprise attacks another redcoat regiment at Princeton New Jersey. Years before young student Alexander Hamilton had failed the entrance requirements to study at Princeton University and instead went to Kings College, later renamed Columbia. Now artillery major Hamilton had a pleasure rare among rejected college applicants- that of being allowed to fire a few cannon rounds into the college’s admissions building.

1868- the MEIJI RESTORATION- In Japan the Tokugawa family had ruled as Shoguns since winning Japans internal civil wars in1603, keeping the Emperor as a figurehead. On this date a revolution occurred when radical samurai seized Kyoto Palace and overthrew the Shogunate. Japan would be under the direct control of the Emperor and Japan would now end her enforced isolation and modernize her society. The Emperor Meiji would also move the capitol from Kyoto to Yedo, already being called Tokyo.

1871- Henry Bradley patents Oleomargerine in the U.S.. It had been demonstrated in the Paris Exhibition of 1867 as a butter that didn't spoil, so it could be used by armies in the field.

1899- An editorial in the New York Times refers to the horseless carriage as an “Automobile”. This is the earliest known use of the word.

1925-Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini suspended democracy and his black shirted followers declared him Il Duce, or the leader. He became dictator of Italy.

1926- General Motors introduced the Pontiac brand of automobile.

1933- MGM hired producer David O. Selznick to produce movies. His father-in-law Louis B. Mayer set his salary at $4000 a week. Newspapers joked “The Son-In-Law Also Rises”

1946- Lord Haw-Haw ,William Joyce, the English voice of Nazi radio propaganda broadcast from Berlin, was hanged for treason. English Fascist Joyce was actually born in Brooklyn but moved to England at an early age. He was nicknamed Lord Haw-Haw because of his stuffy upper class accent.

1952-The T.V. series DRAGNET premiered today. “The story you have seen is true, the names have been changed to protect the innocent.” Star Jack Webb produced and wrote most of the scripts and oversaw the deadpan acting style.”Just the facts, Mam..”

1958- Howard Rushmore was the editor of Confidential, one of the most ruthless scandal magazines in show business. This day for reasons never explained Rushmore murdered his wife then took his own life in the back of a NYC taxicab. Today Howard Rushmore would probably be considered a serious journalist.

1959-FIFTY YEARS AGO- Alaska became the 50th state.

1967- Jack Ruby, real name Jacob Rubenstein, the murderer of Lee Harvey Oswald, died of lung cancer in prison. To the end he was refused a meeting with Congress where he claimed he could discuss his patriotic motives for killing Oswald. Retired Mafia don Bill Bonano said Ruby being Jewish and not Sicilian, was the type of hood the mob used for clean-up jobs. That he was a soldier for Chicago boss Sam Giancana. Others say Ruby was just a two bit hood who claimed he was more important than he actually was.

2004- The first of two Mars Rovers landed safely on Mars and began transmitting photos. JPL Mission leader announced "We're Back...We're on Mars.." Originally only supposed to last 90 days, the rovers are still working today.

2004- After partying hard all New Years in Las Vegas, 22 year old pop singer Britney Spears married friend Jay Alexander for a laugh. Later after she woke up, she realized the jokes on her. Because the marriage was legal. She annulled it a day later. Alexander, who listed himself as unemployed, was soon seen driving around rural Louisiana in a $90,000 BMW.
Yesterdays question answered below: In Chuck Jone’s cartoon Inky and the Mynah Bird, composer Carl Stalling gave the birds a theme from a famous piece of classical music. What is it?

ANSWER: Fingal’s Cave by Felix Mendelssohn.