August 17, 2006
August 17th, 2006

USC- Seminar Weds Night Oct 18th at 6:30Pm
UCLA- Oct. 23rd 7:30PM, Bridges Auditorium.
Cal St. Fullerton- Oct 30th
Laguna College of Design Oct 25
and Woodbury College to follow!
History for 8/17/2006
Birthdays: Davy Crocket, Mae West, Marcus Garvey, Sam Goldwyn- original name Schmuel Gelbfisz, then Sam Goldfish, Harry Hopkins, Monte Wooley, Maureen O’Hara, Boog Powell, Belinda Carlisle, Guillermo Vilas, V.S. Naipul, Jim Courier, Donnie Wahlberg, Sean Penn, Robert DeNiro is 63
1941-Walt Disney and his artists leave on a goodwill tour of South America, underwritten by a $70,000 government grant. President Franklin Roosevelt was worried that some South American countries might be sympathetic to Nazis forcing the U.S. to worry about her backdoor. Argentine president Juan Peron wanted to build a statue to Mussolini in Buenos Aires and many countries there had Wermacht advisors and offered safe harbors for Nazi U-Boats. So FDR sent Nelson Rockefeller to give the Latin American countries whatever they wanted to keep them out of the world war. Among other things they wanted Donald Duck. Federal mediators also felt they could better solve the Disney Studio Strike with Walt out of town. The American Federation of Labor had union picketers to greet Disney at several stops in Mexico and Buenos Aires, a fact not seen in the documentarys. The Three Caballeros and Saludos Amigos result.

1969- The closing day of the Woodstock Rock Concert, Three Days of Peace and Music. Jimmy Hendrix did his famous rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

1984- The Walt Disney Company informed it’s chairman Ron Miller that they wanted his resignation. Disney had released the BLack Hole, Condorman and Herbie Goes Bananas, and fallen to 14th in film box office by then. Miller’s only qualifications to run a conglomerate other than being Walt’s son-in-law was he was a tight end for the LA Rams. Within two years of the Michael Eisner regime taking power Disney was number one.

1985-The Hormel Meat Packing Strike, severely threatening the worlds supply of SPAM.

1992- Famed film director Woody Allen admits he is having an affair with Soon Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his long time lover Mia Farrow. He is 60 and she is 21. But as the unrepentant Allen states: “The Heart wants what it wants.”

From the Now-I've-Seen-Everything-Department, this from a friend in Berlin:

Adolf Hitler sitting on the toilet, in 3D animation, singing Gangsta rap!

I don't make the news, I just report it.

History for 8/16/2006
Birthdays: Otto Mesmer the creator of Felix the Cat, Myron Grim Natwick the creator of Betty Boop, Hal Foster the creator of Prince Valiant, Alex Raymond the creator of Flash Gordon, Kathie Lee Gifford, Bill Evans, Leslie Ann Warren, Angela Bassett, Julie Numar, Robert Culp, James Cameron, Bruce Beresford,Steve Carell, Madonna-real name Madonna-Louise Ciccone from Bay City Michigan is 48

Today is the Feast of St. Roch, who had a heavenly inspired dog to lick his sores and cure him of the Black Plague.

1877- BIRTHDAY OF THE WORD-"HELLO". In a letter dated today Thomas Edison wrote to the first president of AT&T about how people should initiate conversation on the new telephone machine. A genteel Victorian would think it impolite to speak until spoken to. Edison explained that the results of sonic tests proved the old English fox hunting call "Halloo!" was most audible over great distances. Alexander Graham Bell, an old navy man, always thought the right way to start a phone conversation was to say "AHOY!", but hello won out. It was the only English word Sioux Chief Sitting Bull ever learned. He loved to grab your hand and pump it vigorously while saying:" HELLO, HELLO!"

1896- Four miners find gold in Bonanza Creek in the Klondike. The Yukon Gold Rush begins.

1938- Blues legend Robert Johnson was poisoned by a jealous husband in Three Forks Mississippi.

1942- Happy Birthday Mighty Mouse. Terrytoon's short: "The Mouse of Tomorrow".

1954- First issue of Sports Illustrated.

1965- The AFL, American Football League offered it’s first expansion franchise to a new team called the Miami Dolphins. The AFL merged with the NFL in the 80s.

1969- “ Hey Man, we’re gonna serve breakfast in bed for 500,000” So was hippy Wavy Gravy’s announcement on the second day of the Woodstock Rock Concert. He said this was the day Americans learned to eat Granola. It was ladled out en masse in paper cups and has been a diet staple ever since.
1976- THIRTY YEARS AGO-Apple Computers was founded by two college dropouts- Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, in a California garage.

1977- E-DAY in Memphis. 42 year old Elvis Presley, donuts and Pizza Hut box in hand died sitting on the toilet. That is, if you choose to believe he really died...?

1987- The Harmonic Convergence- Another one of these celestial events that the mainstream media trumpeted as the end of everything. All nine planets of our solar system were in perfect alignment and the subsequent gravitational forces were supposed to knock the Earth into the Sun or something or other that would send us to Hell in a Handbasket. So what happened? Bupkis.

1991- The original Shamu the Whale died of respiratory failure at age 16.

August 15, 2006
August 15th, 2006

courtesy Asifa/
I'd like to call to your attention the fellow who did the painting that graces the cover of my book DRAWING THE LINE. Patrick Mate' is a Frenchman who moved to Hollywood and animates for Dreamworks. His credits include films like Balto, Prince of Egypt, Sharktale and Over the Hedge. Once when animator Nancy Beiman was in town, Patrick and his wife Nina invited a bunch of us over for a party. When there I was impressed to see Patricks' other passion was doing paintings of famous people. He enjoys a form of stylized caricature similar to the caricaturist Kruger. I am thrilled to have his work on the cover of my book. His website had examples of his stuff as well as links to a number of other Invincible Gauls or animation.
History for 8/15/2006
Birthdays: Napoleon Bonaparte is 237, Samuel Coleridge, Sir Walter Scott,
T.E. Lawrence of Arabia, Ethel Barrymore, Huntz Hall,Bill Baird, Julia Child, Edna Ferber, Sir Robert Bolt, Rose-Marie, Linda Ellerbee, Oscar Peterson, Leon Theremin-inventor of that weird electronic musical instrument that is featured in all those 50s flying saucer movies, Maxine Waters, Nicholas Roeg, Ben Afleck is 35, Debra Messing is 39

778 AD.-Battle of Roncevaux or Roncesvalles. Legendary battle where Frankish Emperor
Charlemagne's top knights -the Palladins: Roland waving his sword Durandel,
Oliver and Ogier the Dane fell fighting the Moors. The battle was probably a small
rearguard skirmish with hostile Basques guerrillas but a poem about the incident
called the Song of Roland expanded it into an epic Christian battle against the
evil Moslem Moors, wizards and devils. The Chanson du Roland became top of the charts
in the Middle Ages. When William the Conquerer's Normans went into battle at
Hastings in 1066 William's minstrel Vailletan sang the Song of Roland at
full gallop while tossing his sword into the air and catching it like a parade drum major.

1057-Scottish king Macbeth is defeated and killed by Malcom III Canmore at the
battle of Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire. But did Burnham Wood move to Dunsinane?

1097- DEUS VOLT ! GOD WILLS IT! The First Crusade was announced at Clermont by
Pope Urban VII. Christian Europe decided that the Holy places in Jerusalem should
not be in Moslem hands. In his sermon the Pope addressed the assembled knights in
their native French:Christian warriors who continually seek pretexts for
war and rape Rejoice! If you must have Blood, then bathe in the Blood of the Infidels,
and Christ will count you among his Warriors! Soldiers of Hell, become Soldiers
of the Living God!
They sewed small strips of red cloth in a cross on
their left shoulders and began with a massacre of any Jews they could find. History is at a
loss to find any comparable social phenomenon. It took Islam a generation to understand
that this was a Christian Jihad (Holy war) declared on them. The Moslem Emirs were
just as feudally divided as the European warlords until they united under the brilliant
Kurd Sultan Sa' Allah-al-Dhin or Salladin.

1848 - M Waldo Hanchett patents the dental chair.Cartoonist Al Hirschfield liked to draw while seated in a dentist chair in his study.

1885- Sir Richard Burton completed his translation from medieval Persian of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights. There had been earlier attempts like a French edition in 1809, but Burton's edition introduced the west to Aladdin and his magic lamp, Sinbad the sailor and Sherherazahde.

1911- Proctor & Gamble introduced Crisco shortening.

1958 - Buddy Holly weds Maria Santiago.

1960- The Congo ( Brazzaville) declared independence from France. It had been renamed
Zaire for awhile but is back to the Republic of the Congo today.Remember at the end of Casablanca when Claude Rains says to Humphrey Bogart- "I have a cousin in the Free French garrison down in Brazzaville. I could arrange a passage..?"

1969-WOODSTOCK-Three Days of Peace and Music- The rock concert of the Century opened. The promoters, one of whom was heir to the Polident Denture Cream fortune, were hoping to host
50,000 people and launch a recording studio in the quiet New York farming town.
What they got was 500,000 hippies and the social phenomenon that defined the Age.
At one point the more conservative elements of the community got a court order to
block the land to be used, but farmer Max Yasgur offered his cow farm for the site.
Up till then in the tumultuous 1960s any gathering of young people that
big meant violence and riot, and at one point New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller threatened
to send in the National Guard. But the magic prevailed and there was no violence
outside of 200 bad acid trips and one heroin overdose.
Richie Havens was the first act to play, he did six sets and kept stalling because
the crowd was so immense they had to bring in the other bands by helicopter. When
he ran out of songs to sing Havens started riffing any thing he could think of the
top of his head. This way Havens created his most famous tune "Freedom"
with added in spirituals like "Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child".
Drugs, sex and rock & roll flowed freely. At one point someone put LSD into the drinking water of
the rescue helicopter pilot . He spent two hours flying in circles over the festival,
thinking he was traveling over one huge expanse of people. One hippy had spent the
entire night high on LSD. As he started to come down, the first thing he recognized
in the dawns early light was Sha-Na-Na on stage doing 50s Doo-Wop. He
thought he had been sent to Rock Hell.

Aug 14, 2006 Rules of the Game
August 14th, 2006

Bambi rains down Death from Above! Another reason why Canadians have such a bloodthirsty reputation. WWII Bomber nose art courtesy

You may have noticed recently I listed two days for the first showing of Walt Disney's Bambi. One of of pitfalls of the trivia game is what date to acknowledge. Before the 1980s movies had a Premiere opening at a first run theater, then ran for a month say in three or four theaters in New York, Chicago and LA, then had a second opening in general release, the 400 plus theaters around North America. A European film like Richard Lester's HELP! starring the Beatles, marks the date of a London Premiere, and an America premiere.

With inventions it gets worse: One date for Thomas Edison conceives the idea of the Light Bulb, another for the date he successfully tests it, another for his patent, another for the public announcement of the invention.

And of course, we also have to deal with the discrepancies in the calendar. The Gregorian reform calendar went into use in Italy and Spain 1582, but wasn't accepted in the Protestant countries for a hundred years and not in England until 1750! So all that history trips up historians on the 14 day difference in the two calendars.
Columbus discovered America on Oct 12, 1492, although he thought he did it on October 22nd 1492, Old Style.

So if I get a few dates crossed, please bear with me. Wasting the worlds energy broadcasting inane bits of film trivia is a dirty job, but someone has to do it.
hey, did mention I wrote a book?

History for 8/14/2006
Birthdays: Steve Martin is 61, Far Side cartoonist Gary Larson, Erwin "Magic" Johnson, Lina Wertmuller, David Crosby, California Banditto Triburcio Vasquez, Alice Ghostly, Buddy Greco, The 20's Parisian nightclub singer known as Bricktop, Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, Film composer James Horner, Wim Wenders, Emmanuele Beart, Halle Berry is 40

1928 - Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur's play" The Front Page," premieres in NYC. They later went on to become top comedy writers in Hollywood. MacArthur is the one who sent Hecht the famous cable from LA. "Hecht, some quick, fortunes to be made and the competition are idiots!- Mac" When MacArthur died he put on his tombstone the epitaph "Over My Dead Body!"

1935- President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the National Social Security Act. Considered the most successful US Federal social program ever, today there is great controversy over it’s financial overhaul. In 1972 young George W. Bush submitted a paper in his business class at Yale. It’s theme was that Social Security was a big commie mistake.

1956- The Marilyn Monroe movie "Bus Stop" premiered.

1965 - Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe" hits #1.FYI -their real names? Salvatore Bono and Cheriyn Sarksiian LaPierre.

1965- Jane Fonda married director Roger Vadim, who put the beautiful young blonde in naughty movies like Barbarella. His previous wife Bridgette Bardot was a beautiful young blonde that he put in naughty movies….hmm.