Jews in American Popular Culture
July 29th, 2006
Dear Gang, My second book has gone up on Amazon for pre-order. I contributed the animation chapter to this ambitious work. It's three volumes and a bit more expensive than Drawing the Line, but hey, you're getting more authors and more info. Here is the link and the description in the catalog.
Paul Buhle (ed.)
Praeger Perspectives Volume 1: Film, Television, Radio, and Popular Art Volume 2: Theater, Music, and Literature Volume 3: Sports, Leisure, and Lifestyle
Book Code: C8793
Publication Date: 12/30/2006
List Price: $300.00 (UK Sterling Price: £170.00)
Availability: Not yet published. (Estimated publication date, 12/30/2006)
Media Type: Hardcover
Trim Size: 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Popular Culture » Popular Culture (General)
Interdisciplinary Studies » American Studies
Multicultural Studies » Jewish Studies
Description: Since they first began arriving in the United States in large numbers at the end of the 19th century, Jewish Americans have played a significant role in shaping American culture. The influence of the Jewish people is deeply and richly felt in many realms, including art, literature, politics, humor, and sports, to name just a few. The American film industry was pioneered by the likes of Adolph Zukor, Harry Cohn, and Jack Warner. Tin Pan Alley and Broadway gave the country George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Stephen Sondheim. Where would rock 'n' roll be without Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, and the Beastie Boys? Jews and American Popular Culture examines the influence of a highly creative and resilient people who have flourished despite the myriad forms anti-Semitism has taken since their earliest arrival.Chapters explore topics across a range of time periods and genres, including assimilation, stereotypes, and the Holocaust. In addition to examining the works of such compelling figures as Woody Allen, Philip Roth, Hank Greenberg, the Three Stooges, Allen Ginsberg, Wendy Wasserstein, and Ann Landers, a team of unparalleled scholars explains how a comparatively small, underprivileged group of people has managed to overcome great odds and wield wide-ranging influence on contemporary culture. Shut out of more traditional fields, Jews in the final decades of the 19th century and the opening decades of the 20th century embraced the new technologies of film, radio, and television, as well as new industries and areas of commerce, from the department store to novelty toy distribution. What resulted was an American culture shaped by a resilient minority population. From Betty Boop to Barbie, from The Honeymooners to Friends, the creative spirit of American Jews defines our culture. Edited by acclaimed author Paul Buhle, featuring the work of leading scholars and journalists, and presenting a never-before published comic strip by Harvey Pekar (whose life was featured in the film American Splendor), this definitive, comprehensive three-volume set represents the first-ever work of its kind.
July 29, 2006
July 29th, 2006
Birthdays: Alex de Tocqueville, Benito Mussolini, Grigori Rasputin The Mad Monk, Clara Bow, Natalie Wood, Paul Taylor, Sig Romberg, Dag Hammarskjold, Peter Jennings, Michael Spinks, Ken Burns, Booth Tarkington, Professor Irwin Corey, David Warner, Steven Dorff
1927-Dr Phillip Drinker and Dr Louis Shaw installed the first Iron Lung breathing apparatus at Bellevue Hospital in New York, giving Bob Clampett lots of ideas for sick jones in his Daffy Duck cartoons.
1936 - RCA shows 1st real TV program: dancing, a film on locomotives, a Bonwit Teller fashion show & monologue from the Tobacco Road radio comedy show.
1942- Orson Welles leaves Rio De Janiero after RKO fires him and stops production of "It's All True". They also have “the Magnificent Ambersons” re-cut to a more acceptable 90 minutes.
1948- Animation assistant Hank Ketcham had left Walt Disney Studio after the 1941 Strike. After a stint in the Navy cryptographic unit he moved to NY and tried selling cartoons to The New Yorker Magazine. While he worked his baby son Dennis drove his wife crazy. One day after the kid smeared the contents of his diaper across the dining room Mom exclaimed in frustration " YOUR SON IS A MENACE!" This gave Ketcham an idea. Today the comic strip "Dennis the Menace," premiered.
1962- The film “Dr No” premiered, introducing the world to the suave spy James Bond 007 played by actor Sean Connery.
1987- Ice cream makers Ben & Jerry announce the flavor Cherry Garcia, named for rock singer Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead.
July 28th, 2006
Siggraph is beginning this weekend in Boston. Since 1972 it's been the pentultimate gathering of Digital animation folks to share info, network and go crazy over new innovations. It is a Holy Day of Obligation for all CG geeks, the Eleusinian Mysteries of the Nerb set. I've been to a few and they are a lot of fun. Everyone trying to score admission to the coolest parties and a seat at the Electronic Theater. If you're near Beantown, be sure and check it out. Although, don't wear your NY Yankees shirt.
courtesy of UPApix.com
I heard from Karl Cohen in San Fransisco of the death recently of Libby Hilberman, wife and life partner of Dave Hilberman. She was in her late 80s, I believe. I first met them in 1991 when I helped organize a 50th anniv picnic of the Walt Disney strikers. In 2003 I talked to them extensively for my book. Dave was a Disney artist and UPA founder who had the distinction of being one of the few artists personally fingered by Walt Disney in testimony to the anti-Commie HUAC committee ( Oct 25th, 1947). Libby was an artist at UPA, Tempo and Disney as well, she and Dave endured harrassment, blacklisting in Hollywood as well as in New York until they settled in Palo Alto to teach. Despite all they always kept their spirits up and their dignity. They never compromised their principles when it would have been much more lucrative to cave in. In their old age this gave them a kind of inner peace that I found admirable. The satisfaction that they did the right thing, and because of it they made an impact on all of us. Because of people like Libby and Dave, animation artists in Cal have the highest standard of living and best conditions of any animators in the world. And I for one, thank them.
July 28, 2006
July 28th, 2006
Birthdays:Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, Richard Rogers, Marcel Duchamp, Rudy Vallee, Joe E. Brown, Jim Davis the creator of Garfield, Frank Yankovic the Polka King, Elizabeth Berkley the star of the film Showgirls, Earl Francis Tupper the inventor of Tupperware
1655- Poet, playwright and duelist Cyrano de Bergerac died in Paris. The famous
play about him and his big nose was written by Edmond Rostand in 1895.
1788-In England Master portrait painter Sir Joshua Reynolds visited the other master
British portrait painter Sir Thomas Gainsborough, who was dying or cancer. They
had been enemies for years, but now they made up. As Reynolds was leaving, Gainsborough said " Goodbye until we meet in the Hereafter, Van Dyck in our company."
1858- The French photographer Nadar went up in a balloon and took the first aerial
1948- In honor of the death of D.W. Griffith, all Hollywood studios observed three
minutes of silence.
1948- The Premiere of that utterly memorable film " ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET
FRANKENSTEIN." For you hardcore film trivia fans this film is the only other
time than the original Tod Browning movie that Bela Lugosi played Count Dracula
on film. After this Lou Costello, who was an ardent admirer of Senator Joseph MacCarthy,
insisted all his staff sign loyalty oaths. He fired the two writers of this movie
Robert Lees and Frederic Rinaldo, over their refusal to comply. Unfortunately for
Abbott and Costello they were their best comedy writers. They never had a successful movie
1971- Photographer Diane Arbus probed increasingly darker subject matter, circus
freaks, severe birth defects. This day she committed suicide by swallowing a bottle
of sleeping pills, then slitting her wrists.
1999- Mayor Willie Brown of San Francisco declared today Marylin Chambers Day, in
honor of the star of porn films like Behind the Green Door.
2061- The next predicted appearance of Halley's Comet.
Pencils Return to Disney
July 27th, 2006
Variety (July 27) and IMDB are reporting officially what insiders have been talking about for months: namely that John Lassiter has given the greenlight to John Musker and Ron Clements to create a hand-drawn animated feature at the Walt Disney Studios. They will develop the Frog Princess, and Alan Menken, the composer of the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, will provide the music. Gloria en Excelsis Deo! The trades are already pooh-poohing the effort, restating the latest corporate-think that traditional films will fail to draw audiences ( pun, I know...). But I think by the time the film will be done, in serveral years time, it would have been long enough from the days of the big 1990s musicals that this will seem novel. And like Leonard Maltin has said " The problem is nothing that another Lion King couldn't fix."
Not that I am against all CG animation, I'm directing a CGI film right now. It just would be good to see some balance. Let artists instead of the market have the choice of whether to tell a story 2D or 3D.
I salute Walt Disney management for their courage and wish Ron & John all the luck!