August 24, 2006
August 24th, 2006

History for 8/24/2006
Birthdays: Jorge Luis Borges, Marlee Matlin, Max Beerbom, Joshua Lionel Cowan the inventor of Lionel toy electric trains, Steve Guttenberg, Kenny Baker-R2D2 in Star Wars, Stephen Fry, Durward Kirby- T.V. announcer who sued the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show because of a prop device called the "Kirward Derby", Duke Kahanamoku-1890- Olympic medalist who popularized and promoted the Hawaiian sport of Surfing to California and Australia. Dave Chappelle

1847 - Charlotte Bronte finished the manuscript of her novel "Jane Eyre".

1853 – Saratoga Springs hotel resort chef George Crum invented Potato Chips, or crisps to you Brits out there.

1939- Mr. Leslie Mitchell became the first British Television announcer.

1942- Walt Disney’s film Saludos Amigos received it’s world premiere in Rio De Janiero.

1951- Akira Kurosawa’s film Rashomon premiered at the Venice International Film Festival. The film won the Grand Prize and first showed the world that Japanese Cinema was a new force in the filmworld.

1973- One month after Bruce Lee’s death his last film Enter The Dragon opened in the US to wild acclaim. It renewed interest in the late star and spawned the Chinese Martial Arts craze in the US.

1993- LAPD announced an investigation of pop star Michael Jackson for possible child molestation. The investigation never led to any indictments but the publicity tarnished his image. Equally damaging to his public image were revelations of his eccentric lifestyle, like his keeping chimps and mannequins around the house to talk to and all the tap water and showers of his mansion spouting Evian water. Jackson was tried and acquitted of similar charges in 2005

1995- Microsoft's Windows 95 introduced.

1997- According to the 1984 James Cameron film The Terminator this was the day the Skynet computer system became self aware and began the War of the Day of Judgement.


Birthdays: French King Louis XVI, Jerry the Mouse's dancing partner-Gene Kelly, Keith Moon, Rick Springfield, Shelly Long, Barbara Eden, Alphonse Mucha, Vera Miles, River Phoenix, and animator Oscar Grillo, the greatest export to emerge from the Pampas since Beef Empanadas. Check out http://oscartoons.blogspot.com
Homage a'Agatha Christie. by Oscar Grillo, copywright OscarGrillo.com

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1617- The invention of the One Way Street (London)

1926- Screen idol Rudolph Valentino died in a New York hospital of an infection due to a burst appendix and bleeding ulcer. Today this condition could be controlled by anti-biotics, but they weren’t invented yet. He was always sensitive about criticism that he was secretly gay. One close friend cameraman Paul Ivano said Rudy was not only not gay but when making love to his wife he was so err..exhuberant… she passed out . The friend said Valentino appeared in his doorway naked and complained “ Paul, I think I’ve killed her!” Natasha Rambova, Valentino’s wife encouraged his public image of aggressive sexuality “Rudy looks best when he’s naked ”. But this didn’t fit into the American male’s self image of Tom Mix or William S. Hart, so the gay charge got under Rudy’s skin. One Chicago columnist called him a “Pink-Powder-Puff”. When Rudy came out of anesthesia still in great pain he muttered “So, how’s this for a Pink-Powder-Puff”? Then he died. He was only 30 years old. Women around the world went mad with grief. From L.A. to Budapest women committed suicide before his picture. In Japan two women jumped into a volcano.

1937- At the urging of the Stanford dean of engineering Bill Hewlett had his first meeting with David Packard. They called their company started out of their Palo Alto garage the Engineering Service Company, later Hewlett-Packard. Their first corporate job was for the Walt Disney Studio. Disneys bought some prototype sound equipment for their Fantasound Stereo system they planned for Fantasia. The Hewlett-Packard Company would one day be one of the biggest names in computers and their garage hailed as the birthplace of Silicon Valley.

1939-THE NAZIS-SOVIET PACT. Nazi minister Joachim Von Ribbentrop flew to Moscow and signed the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. This cleared the way for Hitler's attack on Poland. Many in the west saw this as Stalin's untrustworthiness, but the Russians said they were reacting to the lack of enthusiasm shown by the Western Democracies in stopping Fascism. Josef Stalin’s action for temporary tactical advantage destroyed the intellectual justification for Russia’s leadership of Global Communism. All though the 1920’s and 30’s Communism seemed to many the best hope for stopping the Fascist dictators and winning Civil and Labor rights. But when Moscow ordered all good Communists to stop criticizing Hitler they lost the sympathies of many on the Left. Americans, Britons and Zionist Jews, including many progressive thinking animators, resigned from the party in droves.

1947-President Truman’s daughter Margaret gave her first public singing concert. President Truman spent the following day personally telephoning and threatening music critics who dared to give her a bad review.

1953- David Mullany of Shelton Conn. invented the Whiffle Ball. He did it to help his son who was lousy at throwing a curve ball.

1994- Just when the Disney feature unit was basking in the unprecedented success of the Lion King, Jeffrey Katzenburg announced he was leaving Disney.


More Friz
August 22nd, 2006

- Wade Sampson has written a very nice piece in the blog on MousePlanet about Friz Freleng's stormy time working for Walt Disney in 1927. It has some good detail and reminiscence by Friz-
http://www.mouseplanet.com/articles.php?art=ww060816ws


- I showed that photo of the Elmer Fudd tattoo to my assistant. She laughed, then told me of a friend who recently had a tattoo made of Grandpa Simpson trying deperately to climb out of his butt. Hmpf. Maybe I'm getting old...


Aug 22, 2006
August 22nd, 2006

Question: We all recall Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) as the only time Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny occupied the screen together. Many famous cartoon characters from the Golden age of Hollywood were there. Can you name some famous characters who weren't? (answer below)

G*dDamn, the internet is a scarey place! Courtesy of Strangepersons.com
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Birthdays: George Herriman the creator of Krazy Kat, Dorothy Parker, Ray Bradbury is 86, Claude DeBussy, Johnny Lee Hooker,Deng Xiao Ping, Henry Cartier Bresson, Valerie Harper, Cindy Williams, Tori Amos

In Britain it is National Slacker Day: Stand Up for your Right to Sit Back Down!

565AD - St Columba reported seeing a dragon in Loch Ness.

1715 Handel's "Watermusic" premiered on the Thames River to mark celebrations
of the Peace ending the War of Spanish Succession.

1806- elderly French painter Jean Fragonard died of a cerebral seizure after eating
a large fruit ice on a hot day.

1849-The first aerial bomb attack. Austrian General Von Wintzingerode was at a
loss at how to get at the besieged Italian city of Venice. The Venetian lagoon was
too deep to wade across but was too shallow for battleships. Finally a Swiss mercenary
suggested filling hot air balloons with troops and flying them over the city to
drop explosives. Those little round black bombs with lit fuses you see in cartoons.
A dozen balloons filled with grenadiers were launched aloft, but before they could
do anything a stiff breeze blew them all to Yugoslavia. Doh!

1882- American showman P.T. Barnum bought the largest elephant in the London Zoo.
He created a new name for the beast- he called it a JUMBO. It was the highlight
of his circus for years and after it was hit by a freight train and killed Barnum
had its bones bleached and charged people admission to come look at it's skeleton.

1906 - 1st Victor Victrola manufactured, using Emile Berliners flat record turntable
system. The Victrola was so cheap and easy to use it became standard in many homes
and finished off any competition from Thomas Edison's rival talking cylinder system.

1927- 200,000 people protest in Hyde Park London and around the world for clemency
for convicted Italian immigrants Nicolo Sacco and Bartolomeo Vancetti. They were
socialists who were convicted of murdering a store clerk in Massachusetts and became
a radical cause-celebre. Letters demanding mercy came in from George Bernard Shaw,
Helen Keller, Picasso, the Pope and more. Woody Guthrie wrote folk songs in praise
of Sacco & Vancetti. The next day the State of Massachusetts electrocuted them
anyway.

1939- The first aerosol spray can.

1953-The French government closed the Devil's Island prison colony.

1984 - Last Volkswagen Rabbit produced.

Question: Can you name some famous characters who weren't in the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Answer: Tom & Jerry, Popeye, Bluto and Olive Oyl, Foghorn Leghorn, and Elmer Fudd, Speedy Gonzales. Some of it was that they had difficulty making deals for certain characters.Popeye, Bluto were scheduled to be pallbearers at R.K. Maroon's funeral. Foghorn Leghorn was to deliver the eulogy. The scene was finally cut. They paid all the rights for Elmer Fudd, but they just couldn't figure out where to fit him in.



Happy 100th Birthday Isadore Friz Freleng!1906-1995

Around the world today a blogathon is being organized by http://www.HellonFriscoBay.Blogspot.com Check out his site as well as CartoonBrew to read more about Isadore Friz Freleng. Here are some of my recollections.

-Friz was one of Walt Disney's first animators. He as one of the guys Walt brought out to Hollywood from Kansas City in 1923. But after one year he quit. He told us " The politics there were unbelievable. I never regretted leaving and never wanted to go back."

-He drove himself to work in a new white Mercedes convertable coupe with the license plate FRIZ. Once as an older man he was waiting at a light when two beautiful women crossed the street. One noticed his plate and cooed:" You're not Frizz." Freleng shyly noted that he was. The girl then smiled:" No, you're bald!"

-He was the model for Yosemite Sam. Although the basic design owes a bit to the film Ruggles of RedGap(1935), in which the Charlie Ruggles character was based on the real Colonel Samuel Colt, who in his rich old age like to fire off his sixguns in the air in restaurants and courtrooms. But many mannerisms were pure Friz. Animators copied his temper tantrum at the moviola when a scene didn't come out the way he wanted. He would put his head down, stomp his feet and growl "oooooooooohhhhhhhhh!"

-Chuck Jones loved to tell us the story how he first met the Warner Brothers, the owners of their studio. Chuck said that Sam Warner came up to him and said:" I don't what the f*ck you guys do, only that we make Mickey Mouse!" Once Chuck told me the followup to that famous line. Chuck said before he could announce his astonishment at the mans ignorance, Friz jumped in:" Yes we do, thank you." Friz saw no reason to disturb the man's happy delusion, especially if it meant the brothers Warner continued to leave the cartoon unit alone.

-I later personally saw Friz's application of realpolitick. I was with English animator James Baxter at an event for John Halas at the Motion Picture Academy. I had just introduced James to an animator who although a fellow countryman of his, was a much more boisterous character. When Friz Freleng walked up to us this man announced "LOOK TOM, IT'S WALTER LANTZ!!"
Now, my mother taught me to always respect the opinions of my elders, and at times many of the elderly bald, bottle-brush mustachioed animators looked similar, but in this case I knew that was Friz because I had served with him on numerous judging committees. I said:" You know, I do believe that is Friz Freleng". The big fellow waved off my concern. Stomping up to Friz and pumping his hand vigorously, he declared:" NAH, I'VE KNOWN HIM FOR YEARS! TOM, I'D LIKE TO MEET WALTER LANTZ, CREATOR OF WOODY WOODPECKER AND CHILLY WILLY!" And then Friz, his weltanschaung unperturbed, answered with a twinkle in his eye" How do you do." We all giggled about it afterwards.

-It's hard to pick a favorite Friz short but I love Back Alley Oproar (1948). With Sylvester getting to torture Elmer by refusing to let him sleep. I also love You Oughta Be In Pictures (1940), a witty mixture of live action and animation where Porky has a contract dispute with boss Leon Schelsinger. Leon is really played by Leon, but the WB guard at the gate is storyman Ted Pierce, with his voice dubbed in by Mel Blanc.

Friz did the first Speedy Gonzales shorts. Speedy was based on a real man, animator Frank Gonzales. It seems that Warners had a daily quota of drawings you were expected to do before you could leave your desk. Frank always wanted to be the first up because he wanted to go flirt with the ink & paint girls. The other artists started calling him speedy. In 1953 the studio requested some new characters Chuck, Friz and designer Hawley Pratt came up with the design. Frank Gonzales married and had a long happy career, retiring in 1986. Although elderly and bent over, we still called him Speedy.

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Birthdays: King Phillip II Augustus of France- 1165,Aubrey Beardsley, Count Basie, Wilt (Wilt the Stilt) Chamberlain, Bugs Bunny director Isadore "Friz" Freleng would be 100, Kenny Rogers, Matthew Broderick, Peter Weir is 62, Kim Catrall is 50, Carrie Anne Moss is 39

1887- Mighty (Dan) Casey struck out at his last at bat with the NY Giants. The poem was written by Ernest Thayer in 1906 and the Disney cartoon short in 1948.

1911- Ex -waiter Vincenzo Perruggia walked into the Louvre and stole the Mona Lisa. After trying to fence it for two years he tried to ransom it back. In 1913 he was arrested and the painting recovered.

1929-Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo marry.

1926- Pardon Us, the first comedy short featuring the new team of Laurel & Hardy. Studio head Hal Roach put the Scottish Stan Laurel and Georgia born hoofer Oliver Hardy together and they became one of the greatest comedy teams in film history.

1944- Moviestar James Cagney, star of Yankee Doodle Dandy, cleared of charges of Communism. The accusations probably had less to do with Cagney's politics and more to do with his union activism and his fighting in court the restrictive personal contracts studios put their stars under.

1968- RUSSIAN TANKS CRUSH THE "PRAGUE SPRING' -Soviet forces destroy Alexander Dubchek's experiment of "Socialism with a Human Face." The directors of the French Sci fi classic Fantastic Planet were having sequences animated in Prague. Because of the expense of flying they drove scenes back and forth through the border. The French director admited:" It was difficult explaining to suspicious Russian border guards exactly what an animation exposure sheet (dope sheet) was. We were stopped and searched frequently. "


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