October 28, 2006
October 28th, 2006

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Birthdays: Elsa Lanchester, Cleo Lane, Charlie Daniels, Evelyn Waugh, Jonas Salk, Bruce Jenner, Joan Plowright, Bill Gates, Chef August Escolfiere the great French Chef who created Peche Melba, Charles Grovesnor the founder of National Geographic magazine, Joaquin Phoenix is 33

FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON ZEALOT & ST. JUDE- In the Middle Ages people mixed up St. Simon with St. Simeon the"Hobgoblin Saint" , and St. Jude ( The patron saint of Lost Causes) with Judas Iscariot- I guess they felt God made him a saint as a consolation prize. So today was considered a good day for conjurers, sorcerers, necromacists and other practitioners of the Black Arts. One 17th century sorcerer, Bruno of Prague, claimed he could summon up St. Jude this day to grant you a wish. But if you showed any sign of fear or hesitation, St. Jude would box your ears and disappear.

1726-Johnathan Swift published "Gulliver's Travels-"To Vex the World rather than Divert it."

1919- Congress overrides the veto of President Woodrow Wilson and passed the Volstead Act. The act gives enforcement powers to the Prohibition (XIX) Amendment forbidding the sale and consumption of alcohol. The Volstead Act gave government the power to seize and destroy alcohol and distilleries and shut down bars. This set the stage for the Roaring Twenties.

1929- Composer Irving Berlin scolded George Gershwin for his lack of patriotism that he unloaded his stocks and bonds. The Stock Market crashed the following day ruining Berlin but leaving Gershwin unscathed. Stick to Tin Pan Alley, Irv...

1962- THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS ENDED- Soviet Chairman Nikita Khruschev withdrew his nuclear missiles from Cuba in exchange for a promise from Kennedy not to invade Cuba and to withdraw missiles from Turkey -they were obsolete and had been planned for de-activation anyway. Kennedy told the U.S.public there was no deal made. Generals on both sides were furious. Gen. Curtis LeMay called it America's greatest defeat. But the world breathed a sigh of relief. And Fidel Castro? Well, nobody bothered to tell him. He came out of his bunker after he found out the news on the Voice of America broadcast that evening.

1963- First day of demolition of New York’s City Pennsylvania Station, a massive Beaux Artes Temple that signaled the triumph of the automobile over the train. It took three years to demolish and today is considered a cultural crime. The remade Pennsylvania station was an all underground facility. One writer said:” We used to enter New York like gods, now we come in like rats.” The anger over the destruction fostered the creation of the New York Landmarks Commission.


QUIZ:

What do Charlie Chaplin, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ronald Reagan, Igor Stavinsky, H.G.Wells, Dorothy Parker, Serqei Eisenstein and Rico LeBrun have in common? (answer below)

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B-Days: Captain James Cook, Theodore Roosevelt, Dylan Thomas, Nicolo Paganinni, Sylvia Plath, Roy Lichtenstein, John Cleese, Freddy De Cordova, Jerry-Curly Howard of the Three Stooges- nyuck, nyuck!, Bernie Wrightson the creator of Swamp Thing

1886-THE STATUE OF LIBERTY DEDICATED- Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was originally asked by Ferndinand deLasseps to create a huge statue of a woman to welcome Europeans sailing into the Suez Canal at Port Said. After that deal didn’t work out Bartholdi revamped the design for the Americas. The face looks like a classic Greek beauty but some insist it’s an image of the artist’s mother. This day Bartholdi’s masterpiece held up by Gustav Eiffel's superstructure was supposed to be unveiled at the American Centennial celebrations in 1876, but was a little over deadline, about ten years. President Cleveland had started giving his opening remarks when the curtain revealing the statue was dropped early and he was drowned out by cheers, boat whistles, cannon salutes and fireworks. Women Suffragettes rented a boat and floated alongside the parade bearing a large banner "She's beautiful but she can not Vote!"

1886-Musical fantasy "Night on Bald Mountain" premiered in Russia. Composer Modest Mussogorsky worked as a florist during the day and wrote music at night. He was convinced he couldn’t make a living otherwise.

1916- The entertainment trade magazine Variety has the blurb: "Chicago has added recently to it’s number of so-called Jazz bands." Now jazz was around in black neighborhoods for years before, but the form was labeled Ragtime or Syncopation. This is the earliest known use in print of the word Jazz.

1947- The "You Bet Your Life" quiz show premiered on radio. "Say the Secret Word and Win Fifty Dollars". Comedian Groucho Marx had struggled after his brothers act the Marx Brothers broke up. In a live radio program with Bob Hope at one point Hope dropped his script. Before he could pick it up Groucho stepped on the pages, threw his own away and the two improvised their conversation. The result was much funnier that anything anybody had heard. The producer of the show was so impressed he hired Groucho and built a quiz show around him.

1962-BLACK SATURDAY- THE DAY THE WORLD ALMOST ENDED- Darkest day of the Cuban Missile Crisis, The US and Russia had enough nuclear weapons to destroy all life on planet Earth 22 times over, and this day they came closest to doing just that.
Soviet and American battle fleets were faced off in the ocean, at the Berlin Wall tanks were muzzle to muzzle, some with nuclear artillery shells. All B-52's were in the air waiting for the order to enter Russian air space, Russian subs off the U.S. coast with nuclear missiles trained on American cities, all code Red, DEF CON-2- TOTAL WAR status. At a signal from The White House the U.S. was poised to drop 7,000 nuclear weapons capable of killing 100 million people in an instant. Recently the Russians revealed that 64 hydrogen bombs were already operational in Cuba mounted on missiles that could hit Washington and New York in five minutes. Also 9 tactical nukes were under the direct control of two Soviet generals in Cuba, the only time that permission has ever been given. Then suddenly a Cuban anti-aircraft missile shot down an American U-2 spy plane, killing the pilot. John Kennedy complained to his staff:"Khruschev doesn't think I have the guts to push the button !" Attorney General Robert Kennedy almost in tears from the strain cried to Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin: "Things are moving beyond all human control!"
The Kremlin got a secret telegram from Fidel Castro in his underground bunker begging them to fire the nukes immediately, saying Cuba is proud to sacrifice itself on the ramparts of Socialism ( Fidel sent it from an underground bunker ). KGB director Yuri Andropov passed Castro's note on to Khruschev after he has red penciled question marks and exclamation marks all over it.( !!!??!?!? ) Khruschev decided to accept Kennedy's offer of a deal before the unthinkable happened. Khruschev also later mentioned that he received an appeal from philosopher Bertrand Russell that he credited with helping him make up his mind. After the crisis passed the Hot Line was set up between Washington and the Kremlin to try and ensure such misunderstandings wouldn’t happen again. Kennedy sent Khruschev a copy of Barbara Tuchman’s book the Guns of August, about how the world fell into World War One, when nobody really wanted to go to war.

1964- Sonny & Cher married. I got you babe!

1966- Bill Melendez's Peanuts t.v. special "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown'. This film was the last film score of jazz musician Vince Guaraldi, who created the unique sound of Charlie Brown cartoons.

1986- The NY Mets defeated the Boston Red Sox to win the baseball World Series.

2004- After not winning it for half the history of baseball, since 1918, the Boston Red Sox swept the Saint Louis Cardinals to win the World Series.
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ANSWER TO QUIZ

QUESTION:
What do Charlie Chaplin, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ronald Reagan, Igor Stavinsky, H.G.Wells, Dorothy Parker, Serqei Eisenstein and Rico LeBrun have in common?

ANSWER: They all once addressed assembled groups of Hollywood animators. Reagan and Parker spoke to union meetings,1952 and 1941 respectively. The rest were brought in by Walt Disney to talk to his crew.


October 26, 2006 thurs
October 26th, 2006

Our day at Laguna College of Design went off very well. My thanks to the students and Aubry Mintz and Larry Loc for inviting me!



Friday night we're going to see an special event. Phil Nibbelink, one of the Disney animators first trained by the Nine Old Men and director of the 1992 Fieval Goes West, has spent the last seven years animating a feature film by himself! Giving Bill Plympton at run at the title of World's Only Solo Feature Animator. Phils' film is done all in FLASH and self financed. It's premiering all over Los Angeles, as well as Northern Cal and points east. Check out http://www.romeoandjulietfilm.com or go

Date: October 27, 2006
Venue: Burbank Town Center 8
Location: 201 E. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91501

So if you want to support the Davids against the Goliaths, by all means go and bring your friends to the opening!

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Birthdays: Danton, Leon Trotsky, Vladimir (Bill ) Tytla - Disney animator who gave life to Dumbo, Grumpy and the Devil from Bald Mountain, Francois Mitterand, Domenico Scarlatti,Charles W. Post of Post Cereals, Bob Hoskins, The last Shah of Iran Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, Mahalia Jackson, Clive Barker, Bootsie Collins, Marla Maples, Dylan McDermott, Cary Elwes, Jaclyn Smith, Hilary Rodham Clinton, Pat Sito

1881-The GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL- The grudgefight between the Earp Brothers and the Clantons only lasted about two minutes but remains one the most famous fight of the Old West. The fight may have actually happened in front of McFly's Photo-Parlour, but the Tombstone Gazzette decided the OK Corral a block away sounded more macho. Deputy Marshal Wyatt Earp ,who died in 1929 a Los Angeles real estate speculator, told so many different versions of what happened that he's totally discredited as a witness today. Before the encounter, Morgan Earp had been discussing with his brothers whether there was a life after death. As Morgan lay dying, he looked up at his brothers and said:" I guess you're right Wyatt, I can't see a damn thing!"

1929- Henry Ford invited President Herbert Hoover out for a picnic at Greenfield Michigan to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the invention of Electricity. Greenfield was a theme park recreation of a pre-industrial American farm town Ford's innovations had done so much to change forever. Other guests include Thomas Edison, William Dupont, Henry Firestone and Madame Curie. During their picnic the President gets ominous news of a growing crisis on Wall St.. Hoover tells Ford not to worry, but later quietly advises his own broker to sell all his stocks. The Stock Market Crash happened three days later.

1947-HOLLYWOOD FIGHTS BACK.- Members of Hollywood's progressive elite tried to answer the McCarthy hearings and the blacklist with a nationwide radio broadcast "Hollywood Fights Back' -Starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, Katharine Hepburn, Danny Kaye, John Huston, Gene Kelly and Edward G. Robinson.
The event was a public relations fiasco. Nobel laureate Thomas Mann used his air time to launch into a longwinded intellectual defense of Communism. When word reached them that some of the Hollywood writers they were defending really were communists Bogart and Bacall felt they had been hoodwinked. "As politicians we stink!" quote Bogie.

1952- David Wolper’s documentary Victory at Sea with it’s majestic score by Richard Rogers first premiered.

1955- The Greenwich Village Voice, later called simply The Voice, first published.

1965- The rock band the Beatles received MBEs ( most excellent Member of the British Empire ) medals at Buckingham Palace. John Lennon later returned his as a protest.

1970- Doonesbury born. Yale law graduate Gary Trudeau was convinced by Jim Andrews his classmate now an editor at Universal Press syndicate, to recreate his funny comic he did in the campus newspaper .It's original name was 'Bull Tales".

1984-" I’LL BE BACK…" James Cameron’s sci-fi thriller THE TERMINATOR first released. Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered a Hollywod joke before this film made him a major star. An interesting what-if was that before Arnold was cast in the role of the cyborg assassin, the producers were first considering O.J. Simpson.

2028- Asteroid 1977 FX11 will pass within 600,000 miles of the Earth. In 1998 The Smithsonian announced the asteroid would hit the planet or maybe pass closer than the moon's orbit 30,000 miles, causing global meteorlogical convulsions. The following day the Jet Propulsion Lab and Mount Palomar Observatory announced a correction of the calculations to prove it will miss us by a wide distance. Stick around, we're gonna find out.


October 25, 2006 weds
October 25th, 2006

Birthdays: Pablo Picasso, George Bizet, Johann Strauss Jr.,Thomas MacCauley, Bobby Knight, Helen Reddy Minnie Pearl, Whit Bissell, Lyle Lovett. Leo G. Carroll, Bill Barty the famous Little Person celebrity, John Matusak, Julia Roberts, Nancy Cartwright the voice of Bart Simpson

Today is the Feast of Saints Crispin and Chrispinian- the patron saints of leatherworkers. They were supposed to be so holy that when the Roman prefect of Soisson saw his tortures were having no effect on them, he drowned himself. .. yet another case of low job satisfaction.

1854-THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE- BALACLAVA- the climactic battle of the Crimean War in which Britain and France sent armies to help Turkey fight off Russia.
During the battle Lord Raglan watched from his mountaintop the Russians on another mountaintop (their army was arranged on the hillsides like a fork with it's prongs pointed at the English and French). They were trying to pull some field artillery out of the way of the advancing Brits. So Raglan sent Lords Lucan and Cardigan orders to send the Light Brigade to capture these few cannon before they got away. Lord Cardigan (who always insisted his officers drink champagne for breakfast) wasn't on a mountaintop but deep in a valley and all he could see was the whole heavily fortified Russian army in front of him. Then he got Raglan's command: "-Charge the Guns!" To cap matters the messenger Captain Nolan was angry with Cardigan so he refused to explain the order.

So the 600 of the Light Brigade charged right into the whole Russian Army alone. It all took about 8 minutes. One survivor recalled seeing a Sergeant Talbot get his head struck off by a cannonball but his body stayed galloping in the saddle another 30 yards, lance still positioned under his arm. Fired on from three sides the Light Brigade took the first lines of cannon and could have pierced the Russian center if they had been followed by reinforcements, but everyone just watched in stunned silence.. The French commander gave orders for his Chausseurs d'Afrique to storm one other position which was the only positive result of the day. Lord Cardigan led his brigade through the first line of guns then immediately turned back “It is not the job of commanders to grapple with common soldiers.” One problem the Light Brigade had that never made it into any movies was when they finally reached the Russian gunners they were wearing their heavy wool winter coats that were too thick for Wilkinson sabers. The horsemen slapped their swords harmlessly against their shoulders and backs.
The Light Brigade staggered back accomplishing nothing, 3/4 of their men killed, and inspiring a really swell poem by Tennyson. The 17th Lancers went in with 250 and came out with 17 men. In a delightfully British moment, the Brigades 2nd in command, his clothes torn up by bullets, blackened with gunsmoke and a horrible saber gash across his face, said to Lord Cardigan: "Sir, shall we have another go?"

1891- THE SECRET OF THE LOST DUTCHMAN MINE- An old German (Deutsche) immigrant miner named Jacob Walsh lay dying after a lifetime digging in the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. Before he passed on he told those around him he had discovered a fabulously rich gold mine and killed his partners to keep the secret. As proof he gave them the 45 pounds of pure gold in his trunk and said there was ten times that amount in the mine. He died leaving tantalizing vague clues like " I can see the military road from my mine, but those on the military road can't see me.." 125 people died or went mad looking for the Lost Dutchman Mine but to this day it has ever been found.

1903- New York’s New Amsterdam Theater opened with a gala performance of A Midsummer’s Night Dream. The New Amsterdam boasted all Art Nouveau decoration, the first theater in a steel girdered building and a new style of floating balcony that didn’t obstruct the view with support pillars, an effect to be copied by movie houses throughout the world. The Great Ziegfield staged his great Follies there and in the rooftop garden theater for only the cream of New York society. The theater fell into decrepitude and in the 1970’s was a porno house, but the Walt Disney Company restored it to it’s Gilded Age glory in 1996.

1917- Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, in a lecture announced his firm belief in spiritualism, divination, fairies and communication with the dead. He called it the New Revelation. “The chasm between this life and the next is not insurmountable.” Other British intellects think Sir Arthur had gone a bit potty.

1920- King Alexander of Greece died from blood poisoning after being bit by his pet monkey.

1921- Bat Masterson, Quebec born gunfighter, marshal of Dodge City, gambler, Indian fighter and outlaw, died over a typewriter as a sports reporter for the New York Morning Telegraph while covering a championship prize fight. He was 67.

1946- President Harry Truman declared a postwar “Housing Emergency” that led to the development of the suburban track house.

1957- Gangster Al Anastasia, head of "Murder, Inc." walked into Arthur Grosso’s Barbershop in the Park Sheraton Hotel for his usual shave and haircut. He trusted Arthur enough to allow him to cover his face with a hot towel. While he was relaxing this way Grosso backed away and two hitmen sent by Vito Genovese came in and started shooting Al full of bullets. The murderers were never found.
courtesy of this week in gangland.
1960- The Accutron Watch went on sale today. The first watch using an electronic power cell instead of a wound mainspring.

1964- At a football game Minnesota Viking defensive back Larry Marshal scooped up a fumble and ran 66 yards into the end zone. Except, it was his own goal line. DOH!


October 24, 2006 tues.
October 24th, 2006

The Evening with Tom Sito at UCLA last night was a great success. There was a good crowd and many books sold. We told stories, watched cartoons, laughed and generally raised hell. My thanks to all who attended.

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Birthdays: Roman Emperor Domitian, Bob Kane the creator of Batman, Moss Hart, Jiles Perry Richardson better known as the Big Bopper, F. Murray Abrahams is 67, Enkwase Mfume, Y.A. Tittle, Sara Josepha Hale 1788- who wrote the poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb", Kevin Kline is 59

1836- Mr. Alonzo D. Phillips of Springfield, Mass. received a patent for the first book of matches in the U.S. However the laboratory of the English scientist Robert Farraday had invented matches in 1829.

1861-The Last Pony Express ride. The idea was romantic, but a financial dud and only operated about two years before being replaced by stage, rail and telegraph.

1901- Anne Taylor becomes the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and live to talk about it. She attempted the stunt for a cash prize she used to get a loan to buy a ranch in Texas.

1902- Author Arthur Conan-Doyle was knighted by King Edward VII. He received the award not for his literary accomplishments but for his volunteer services during the just concluded Boer War. It was also said the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was one of the few books the King ever managed to read from cover to cover.

1929- BLACK THURSDAY- THE PRELUDE TO THE GREAT CRASH- The Bear Stock Market that had seen prices dropping steadily since September 5th turned into a panic as dependable stocks prices like General Motors dropped through the floor. $11.5 billion dollars was lost in one day. Vacationing Winston Churchill picked that day to visit the Stock Exchange and later saw someone jump to his death past his Waldorf Astoria window. Basically what happened was people had bought stock on Margin, which meant you could buy ten thousand dollars worth of stock with just one thousand dollars. As the collapse occurred your broker would call you and demand the other nine thousand bux immediately or he would sell off everything you had. So in minutes you were broke. Thousands of small time investors from Groucho Marx, Irving Berlin to General Blackjack Pershing were wiped out in minutes. It took every major banker and financier on Wall Street together dumping millions of dollars of emergency funds to stop the slide.
It was the worst day in American financial history, but it turned out to be just a mild prelude to Black Tuesday coming the following week. Ironically that night in a Broadway show the new song "Happy Days are Here Again' had it's debut. When the stage manager thought it inappropriate, the show's director snapped: "Play it for the Corpses !".

1937- At Piping Springs NY Composer Cole Porter suffered an accident while horseback riding that broke both his legs. Even after 26 operations he never regained their full use and one was amputated in 1958.

1938- The Fair Labor Standards Act established the 40 hour workweek as the law of the land. The 40 hour week that thing few of us see nowadays.

1945 the United Nations Charter ratified.

1945- Vikdun Quisling was shot by firing squad. Quisling was a Nazi sympathizer who governed occupied Norway. His name in the forties was synonymous with traitor or Benedict Arnold, and used in a lot of Bugs Bunny cartoons.

1947- Walt Disney testified to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC) as a friendly witness. He accused members of the Cartoonists Guild and the League of Women Voters –which he mistakenly called the League of Women Shoppers as being infiltrated by Communists "Seeking to subvert the Spirit of Mickey Mouse'. He named layout artist Dave Hilberman- "I don't know if he is a Communist, but I know he has no religion in him, and I know he visited Moscow once."

1948- Bernard Baruch while testifying to Congress about the worsening relations between the US and Russia coined the term "cold war". "Although the war is over we are in the midst of a cold war, and it is getting hotter."

1969- Hollywood Producer Robert Evans married young actress Ali McGraw.

1973- Henry Kissinger negotiated a ceasefire ending the Yom Kippur War between Israel and Egypt. In the armies opposing one another on the Nile were two future Walt Disney Imagineering artists- on the Israeli side Eytan Poznanski, and on the Egyptian side Hani al Masri.

1975- The Musical play A Chorus Line opened..


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