Birthdays-Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is 251, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Charles Dodgson-better known as Lewis Carroll, Eduard Lalo, William Randolph Hearst, Samuel Gompers, Jerome Kern, Skitch Henderson, Donna Reed, Bridgette Fonda is 43, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Kate Wolf, Ross Bagdasarian a.k.a. David Seville- creator of Alvin and the Chipmunks, James Cromwell, Alan Cumming, Mimi Rogers is 51

Today is celebrated as Thomas Crapper Day, when we recognize the inventor of the indoor toilet. Besides making life more comfortable his systems of valves and vents preventing waste odors and germs from re-entering the home. This did a lot to combat disease in the 19th century.

1900- Italian opera composer Guiseppi Verdi died. On his specific instructions, no music was played at his funeral.

1918- Warner Bros. Pictures incorporated. The Brothers Warner- Sam Albert, Harry and Jack were the sons of Jewish immigrants who had moved from Poland in 1882 and set up a bicycle repair shop in Ohio. Their first movie was Five Years in Germany. Throughout the 1920’s their little studio survived making pictures with dog star Rin Tin Tin. They called him the Mortgage Lifter, because the profits from his pictures paid their bills. Later they bought Vitagraph and gambled with the new Sound technology to become a major studio.

1925- IDITEROD- THE SERUM RUN BEGAN- At this time Nome Alaska was totally depended on supplies brought by sled dog teams. When a serious outbreak of diptheria threatened to become a major epidemic Alaska had only two airplanes and they were boxed up for the winter. Governor Scot C. Bone decided to get the vaccination serum to Nome by a relay of twenty mushers in the depth of winter, temperatures averaging around -40 degrees below zero farinheight. It normally took a dog sled twenty days to cover the 650 miles, but these men did it in 5 days 7 hours, limiting the epidemic to only 5 deaths.
This day the serum arrived by train at Nenana sealed in a metal cylinder wrapped in furs and was loaded onto the first dog sled. Wild Bill Shannon called out to his malamutes and mushed down the frozen Tanana river into history. The Iditerod dog race is today run in memory of this event.

1926- Englishman John Logie Baird demonstrated his televisor system- the first true television image.

1927- Charlie Chaplin’s short comedy The Circus premiered.

1944- WAS WALT A RED? Walt Disney donated money and may have attended a tribute to leftist cartoonist Art Young in New York. Art Young was a close friend of John Reed and Louise Bryant, founders of the American Communist Party. The F.B.I. noted the event was sponsored by the radical socialist newspaper The New Masses and other attendees included progressives like Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, Ernest Hemingway and Carl Sandburg.
Disney was already a founding member of the Hollywood Society for the Preservation of American Ideals, a grouping of conservative Hollywood celebrities meant to counteract the rampant Hollywood Liberals. Disney later became an F.B.I. informant, but like Reagan , it may have been after the F.B.I. reminded him of his attendance at this little soiree'....

1948- The Wireway Company announced the first tape recorder for sale using the new magnetic tape. It cost $150. Singer Bing Crosby was a major investor in the Ampex magnetic recording tape company.

January 26, 2007 friday
January 26th, 2007

More Advice from the Ancient Animators

UPA crew in 1957. Pete Burness is in the center is holding the Oscar for the short When Magoo Flew. Ed Friedman is in the back row, third from the left.Courtesy

"Directing Animation is Simple. Every Scene is Three Feet."
Ed Friedman (1908-2003)
Birthdays: First Lady Julia Dent Grant, General Douglas MacArthur, Stephan Grappelli, Angela Davis, Maria Von Trapp, Wayne Gretsky "The Great One" is 46, Eartha Kitt, Paul Newman is 82, Roger Vadim, cartoonist Jules Feiffer, Henry Jaglom, Anita Baker, Edward Abbey, Scott Glenn, David Straitharn, Ellen DeGeneres is 49

1911- Richard Strauss’ opera Die Rosenkavalier opens in Vienna. Kaiser Wilhelm was offended by the E.T. Hoffman story about aristocrats sleeping around with their servants. He called it "A dirty little play".

1934- Hollywood producer Sam Goldwyn bought the rights to L. Frank Baum’s book the Wonderful Wizard of Oz to develop into a movie.

1939- The first day of shooting on the film Gone With the Wind.

1967- THE BIG SNOW- The people of Chicago pride themselves on their ability to handle the toughest winters. But this day was one of the worst- 23 inches of snow in 27 hours, driven by 50 mile an hour cyclonic winds bring the city to a standstill.

1979- The Dukes of Hazard tv show premiered.

1983- the software LOTUS 1-2-3 premiered that helped make IBM’s PC into the most popular business computers in the US.

1984-HELP ME TITO! During the filming of a Pepsi commercial a magnesium flash ignited singer Michael Jackson’s jericurl hair gel causing him 3rd degree burns,

1988- Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical Phantom of the Opera premiered.

Hey! The February 2007 Issue of Animation Magazine ( the one with Happily Never After on the cover), has a special pullout supplement called SCHOOL GUIDE 2007. On Page a8 is a list of the magazine's suggestions of what should be essential reading for all animation students and die hard fans. And guess who made the list?

Drawing The Line, thats who!

They write: Here's a fascinating book that helps you understand the history of how animation workers struggled to get fair treatment from their bosses.

Other books on the list include Frank & Ollie's Illusions of Life: Disney Animation; Richard Williams' Animators Survival Kit, Tezuka School of Animation, Animation Writing by Jean Ann Wright, The Aardman Book of Filmmaking, Jerry Beck's Animated Movie Guide, Neil Gabler's Walt Disney bio, Tony White's Animation from Pencils to Pixels, and Amid Amidi's Cartoon Modern

I heartily agree. Thanks so much to editor-in-chief Ramin and Jodie and all the Animation Magazine gang.

January 25, 2007 Thurs.
January 25th, 2007

Birthdays: Temujin called The Genghis Khan, "Prince of Conquerers", Benedict Arnold,Robert Burns, Somerset Maugham, Virginia Woolf, US Vice President Charles “Goodtime Charlie” Curtis, Edwin Newman, Jean Image, Dean Jones, Ava Gardner, Etta James, Corazon Aquino, Tobe Hooper

1824- Artist Theodore Gericault was famous for his paintings of horses. This day he died, from a fall off a horse.

1890- Newspaper reporter Nelly Bly ( Elizabeth Cochrane ) of the New York World is welcomed home after traveling around the World in 72 days. The stunt was inspired by the Jules Verne story Around the World in 80 days, which had became a hit stage play.

1947- Mobster Al Capone died at his home in Florida at age 48. Imprisoned in Alcatraz Prison since 1932 he was released because of ill health, his mind was being slowly destroyed by untreated syphilis. When another hood was asked if Al would resume leadership of the Chicago rackets he replied:” Big Al is nuttier than a fruitcake.” Capone lived his final days in seclusion at his estate on Biscayne Bay.

1959- Disney's " SLEEPING BEAUTY " opened. Despite earning the fifth highest box office for that year it finished $5 million behind what it cost to make. The animation staff had swollen to it's largest to finish the production. It’s disappointing box office soured Walt Disney on feature animation. His low budget films like the Shaggy Dog and his TV shows were doing much better. Walt confessed to animator Eric Larson:" I don't know if we can do this anymore, it's just too expensive." After the film was finished the studio had a massive layoff, dropping from 551 to just 75. Artists employed since "Bambi" and earlier found pink dismissal slips on their drawing tables when they came to work. Staff level will not return to these same levels until 1990.

1960- Actress Diana Barrymore, the daughter of John Barrymore, overdosed on sleeping pills. The Barrymore family that had dominated the American theater since the 1850’s had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse. Ancestor after ancestor drank themselves to death. Current leader of the family Drew Barrymore recovered after seeking rehab at age 12.

1961- John F. Kennedy has the first televised Presidential press conference.

1970- Robert Altman’s groovy movie M*A*S*H premiered.

History for 1/24/2007
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Publius Hadrian AD117, Carlo Broschi called Farinelli the Castrato-1707, Pierre De Beaumarchais, Ernest Borgnine is 90!, Swedish King Gustavus III, Frederick II the Great, Edith Wharton, Mary Lou Rhetton, John Belushi, First Disney director Wilfred Jackson, Daniel Auteuil, Natassia Kinski

1927- The Pleasure Garden premiered, the first film directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

1942- Producer David O. Selznick signed young star Jennifer Jones. He became infatuated with her and left his wife, the daughter of Louis B. Mayer to marry Jones.

1961- Warner Bros. cartoon voice actor Mel Blanc had a terrible auto crash. He lingered in a coma for several weeks. The way the doctor brought him around was to say: “Hey Bugs Bunny! How are we today?” Blanc replied in character:”Ehhh…fine,doc!”

1972- Japanese soldier Soichi Yokoi was found in the jungles of Guam unaware that World War Two had ended 27 years earlier. He had stolen a radio and listened to the news. But he thought the stories of Americans in Korea and Vietnam were just propaganda. He was returned to Japan a healthy, if somewhat confused hero.

1983- Hulk Hogan pinned the Iron Sheik to win his first World Wrestling Federation title.

1984- Apple announced the first Macintosh Computer. It went for $2500.

1986 -Voyager 2 spacecraft flies by Uranus. A friend of mine was in the visitor's gallery at The Jet Propulsion Laboratory as the data began to roll in from the space probe. He saw one man break up the entire room of Nobel-prize winning professors into hysterical laughter with the childish pun :”Here is the latest data on Gas Emissions from Uranus..."

2006- The Walt Disney Company acquired CG animation studio PIXAR. Apple and PIXAR head Steve Jobs and Ed Catmul get a seat on Disney Board and director John Lassiter becomes creative head.