April 8, 2007 Easter Sunday
April 8th, 2007

Birthdays: Gautama Buddha –as comemorated by Japanese custom-Kambutsue, Ponce De Leon, Mary Pickford, Yip Harburg - who wrote the lyrics to Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Betty Ford, Sonja Henje, Jacques Brel, Julian Lennon, Carmen McCrae, Shecky Green, Douglas Trumbull, Robin Wright-Penn, Patricia Arquette

HAPPY EASTER, Commemorating the time when Jesus Christ was crucified and after three days rose from the dead. For those of you who've always wondered why Easter moves around so much when the other holidays stay put, the Medieval Church wanted the festival of Jesus moved from any connection with the Jewish Passover. So Church doctors decided the Easter feast would be the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox-Spring. Makes sense to me..? The Resurrection story has roots in other cultures- Osiris in Egypt, Dionysius and Orpheus in Greece and Odin in Scandinavia all had death and resurrection myths about them.
Easter is named for Oster or Aster, German goddess of the East Wind, whose sacrifice was painted eggs laid at her altar. In 63 AD, Baodicea, The British warrior queen who battled the Roman legions of Nero, had on her flags the Great Moon-Hare, who was the servant of Oster. In 1680, a German writer named Georg Franck published a story of a fantastic rabbit who laid magic eggs and hid them for lucky children to find. How this all got mixed up with Ressurection of Jesus, you gotta ask Mel Gibson.

64AD est. – A painted advertisement found on a wall in Roman Pompeii stated the following: “ TWENTY PAIRS OF GLADIATORS sponsored by Decimus Lucretius Satrius Valens, lifetime priest of Nero Caesar and TEN PAIRS OF GLADIATORS sponsored by Decimus Lucretius Valens Minor (his son) will fight on April 8th –12th, There will also be a suitable WILD ANIMAL HUNT , THE AWNING will be opened. “
Ticketmaster, Visa, Mastercard accepted.

1476-In Florence Leonardo da Vinci is accused of sodomy with his 17 year old male model. He was acquitted in a preliminary hearing, but in his sketchbook he designed a lockbusting tool, just in case.

1876- Amiliare Ponchielli’s opera La Gioconda debuted. The ballet portion is famous as the Dance of the Hours.

1879- Milk first sold in glass bottles.

1911-Vitagraph releases Winsor McCay's short cartoon "Little Nemo" theatrically.

1933-The WPA- Works Progress Administration-later renamed the Works Projects Administration founded. It was the Franklin Roosevelt Administration’s massive jobs program to heal the Depression by putting unemployed people back to work doing public works. They built bridges, dams, roads, federal buildings .The WPA arts projects employed artists like Grant Wood, Berenice Abbott and Frank Stella and put on plays with Orson Welles and John Houseman. There was even a WPA Symphony Orchestra, employing out of work classical musicians, including two old Russian immigrants who knew Tschaikowsky.

1973- Famed artist Pablo Picasso died at 91. His last words were 'Drink to me'. On his night table was a comic book drawn by former Disney animator Vip Partch. Picasso along with Churchill are the Epicurean poster boys- symbols for those of us who want to eat, drink alcohol, smoke, make babies at 81 and die in your 90's.

1986- Actor Clint Eastwood was elected mayor of the town of Carmel, California.

1994- Grunge rocker Kurt Kobain’s body was discovered by a security system electrician three days after he committed suicide with a shotgun. Whew, somebody open a window!

April 7, 2007 sat
April 7th, 2007

For years now I've been saying there should be a good book on storyboarding. I starting writing one myself. But it's nice to see a professional artist and teacher of the calibre of Nancy Beiman has done the job justice. She covers a lot of the basics of storyboarding, character design and presentation. Her interviews with past greats T.Hee, Kendall O'Connor and Ken Anderson are worth the price alone. Go over to Amazon and check it out.
Nancy will be in LA thursday nite the 19th signing copies at the Van Eaton Galleries with other animation authors.
Birthdays St. Francis Xavier, William Wordsworth, Mongo Santamaria, Crazy Joe Gallo, Francis Ford Coppola, Walter Winchell, David Frost, Percy Faith, Daniel Ellsberg, Jerry Brown, Alan Pakula, Billie Holiday, Ravi Shankar, Irene Castle, Wayne Rogers, Olikirk Christenson-the inventor of Lego toys,Russell Crowe is 43, Jacky Chan is 53

1891- Showman P.T. Barnum died of old age. The last words of the man who invented kiddie matinees, the Greatest Show on Earth and coined the word “Jumbo” were "How were the box office receipts today?"

1927- An audience at the Bell Laboratory watched a three inch television screen broadcast an image of US Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover with sound.

1927- Abel Gances classic film Napoleon premiered at the Paris Opera. Gances active camera and wild editing were years ahead of their time, climaxed by a triptych of large images on three movie screens linked by synchronized projectors. One American man in the audience was inspired to invent the Panavision lens, used by many modern movies today.

1939-"The Ugly Duckling" the last Disney Silly Symphony short cartoon.

1949-Musical "South Pacific" debuts. Some Enchanted Evening…

1970- The film Midnight Cowboy with Dustin Hoffman and John Voight won the Best Picture Oscar. The first x-rated film to do so.

1990- The Cincinnatti Contemporary Art Center opened a show of the photographs of Robert Maplethorpe that the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC cancelled. Maplethorpes explicit depictions of gay and s/m lifestyles shocked neoconservative critics of government national endowments for the arts. A media debate on whether government should subsidize or censor art raged and Dennis Barry the museum director was tried for obscenity. His acquittal was seen as a victory for free expression but the argument cast a pall on future funding of controversial art.

1998- Pop star George Michael was busted after exposing himself for gay sex to an undercover policeman in a public park men’s room in Beverly Hills.

1998- Lead singer for the Plamatics, Wendy O.Williams, committed suicide with a shotgun. The outrageously mohawked punk rocker was known for stunts on stage like destroying her amplifiers with a chainsaw, skydiving in the nude, autoeroticism with a sledgehammer and crashing a flaming public school bus into a wall of television sets.

2155- According to the show Babylon 5 today marked the first contact between humans and the Cenauri Alliance.

April 6, 2007 Good Friday
April 6th, 2007

When I started in animation, the only way you could hope to study some great animation was by sharing pirated xeroxes from stuff in the Disney morgue. Now all this cool stuff is available on the The ASIFA Animation virtual Archives. The estates of Les Clark, Mike Lah, Herb Klynn, Grim Natwick, John K. and many more have donated priceless art.

This week the Archives scored a new coup when the estate of famed cartoonist Milt Caniff donated a thick stack of Terry and the Pirates dailies. They feature Caniff's superb inking, research and the kind of detail you just can't get into comic strips now.

Last month the Archives recorded it's largest number of hits yet, over 160,000. This moves it into Pam Anderson type numbers. Big Congrats to Steve Worth and all the volunteers.
Check it out. http://www.animationarchive.org

Birthdays: Raphael of Urbino, Sacajawea, Ram Dass, Butch Cassidy, Gustav Moreau, Lowell Thomas, Merle Haggard, Billy Dee Williams, George Reeves, Michelle Phillips, Andre Previn, Barry Levinson, Roy Thinnes, Zak Braff is 34, John Ratzenberger
1520- Renaissance artist RAPHAEL died at 37 on his birthday. Vasari wrote of the great artist: " He pursued pleasures and love affairs without moderation. On one occasion he went to excess, and returned home with a violent fever whereof he died soon after." Michelangelo, Leonardo and Titian lived to great old age. Raphael dying at 35 was considered a tragedy, burning out from overwork.

1906-THE FIRST ANIMATED FILM- Cartoonist James Stuart Blackton created sensation when Edison filmed him doing sequential drawings and they seemed to come alive. The film was The Humorous Phases of Funny Faces. Blackton made a fortune, lost it and was hit by a bus in 1941. But his animated antics paved the way for Mickey, Bugs, Bart, Gollum and Laura Croft.

1931- The Little Orphan Annie radio show premiered. Remember kids to drink your Ovaltine and get out your de-coder rings.

1933- the Screen Writer's Guild, later the WGA, formed. It took about seven years for them to unionize screenwriting in Hollywood. Jack Warner called them : "Communists, Radical Bastards and Soap Box Sons of B*tches !" David O. Selznik, who prided himself on running a writer-friendly studio, when told of the Guild's formation told them: "What? You put a picket line in front of my studio and I'll mount a machine gun on the roof and mow you all down !!" Despite these protestations the Guild today represents all Hollywood writers.

1951- Happy Birthday AstroBoy! According to the 1951 comic book by Osamu Tezuka, today Professor Elephant completed the little boy with the suction cup feet and pointed hairdo. Originally called Tetsuwan Atomo, he was named Astro Boy when Mushi Prod released the animated version theatrically in 1961.

Remember when machine guns came out of his butt cheeks?

1956- Elvis Presley signed his first movie deal with Paramount Pictures.

1974- ABBA, a new disco phenomenon from Sweden is introduced to the world when they win a Eurovision song contest. Mama Mia!

April 5, 2007 thurs
April 5th, 2007

Birthdays: Plato, Swineburne, Booker T. Washington, Josef Lister, Bette Davis, Nadar, Jean Fragonard, Disney animator Hicks Lokey, Nguyen Van Thieu, historian Robert Bloch, Gale Storm, Washington Atlee-Burpee the mail order seed king, Spencer Tracy, Frank Gorshin, Melvyn Douglas, Walter Huston, Nigel Hawthorne, Peter Greenaway, Gregory Peck, Roger Corman. Agnetha Faltskog of ABBA is 57, Colin Powell is 70

To the ancient Romans this was the Feast Day of the Goddess Fortuna Virilis, or Good Fortune.

1242-" THE BATTLE ON THE ICE" Lake Pripous. Alexander Nevsky the Prince of Novgorod defeated the German monastic knights The Order of Sword Brothers. These warrior-monks had been sent by Rome to combat pagans in the Baltic lands but after everyone had become Christian they had switched their attention to "Greek Orthodox-Schizmatics". In 1939 Sergei Eisnestein did the famous film Alexander Nevsky about the battle with a musical score by Sergei Prokoviev.

1869- Daniel Bakeman, recorded as the last surviving minuteman of George Washington’s Revolutionary army, died at age 109. A man who looked George Washington in the face lived long enough to be photographed by Matthew Brady.

1874- Johann Strauss Jr.’s operetta Die Fledermaus premiered in Vienna.

1887- Lord Acton wrote: “ Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

1923- Lois Armstrong, King Oliver and the Creole Jazz Band took a train from Chicago to Richmond Indiana to record Chimes Blues. Satchmo’s first record.

1930 -James Dewar invented the Twinkie. Dewar ate two every day of his life and called them “The best darn-tootin idea I ever had!” As an experiment in 1996 five top French master chefs were given the assignment of trying to recreate a Twinkie. They all failed.

1931- Fox Film Company dropped their option on young star John Wayne as a dud not going anywhere. Wayne eked out an existence doing cheap westerns for Republic and Monogram until John Ford made him a star in 1939’s Stagecoach.

1945- The first Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoon.

1965- Julie Andrews had created the role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady on Broadway. But when filming the motion picture the studio decided she was not a big enough star so they used Audrey Hepburn with a dubbed singing voice. But Ms Andrews had her revenge .At the Academy Awards My Fair Lady won Best Picture and Rex Harrison best actor but Julie Andrews won the best actress Oscar for Mary Poppins.

1963- The Lava Lamp invented by Dr Edward Craven Walker.

1976- Eccentric Millionaire Howard Hughes died at age 76. Hughes had inherited his fathers tool company at 17 and built the mighty Hughes aircraft empire and RKO pictures. But after surviving several test plane crashes he became addicted to pain killers and became increasing withdrawn from the world. He died a strange shut in, long haired and living on a diet of drugs.

1994- Grunge rock star Kurt Kobain shot himself.

2030- FIRST CONTACT- According to Star Trek this is the day Professor Zephram Cochran adapted an old World War Three ICBM and invented the Warp Drive, enabling the Earth to begin deep space exploration, and during whose maiden flight he made the first contact with an alien race- from the planet Vulcan.

April 4, 2007 weds
April 4th, 2007

My wife Pat just pointed out that my newsflash had the Van Eaton date down as Feb 19th, when it's actually April 19th. Doh!
That's why animators need checkers.

Birthdays: Roman Emperor Caracalla, animation and film pioneer Edweard Muybridge, Maya Angelou, Frances Langford, Irv Spence- Tom & Jerry animator, Gil Hodges, Arthur Murray, Muddy Waters, Cloris Leachman, Dorothea Dix, Elmer Bernstein, Bijan, Robert Downey Jr is 42, Barry Pepper, Heather Graham, Heath Ledger is 28

If you were a Roman today is the first day of the Megaleasian Festival in honor of Lunus the Moon god. Party! Par-tee!

636AD- Today is the Feast Day of Saint Isadore of Seville, the Patron Saint of the Internet.
Check out http://www.catholic.org/saints

1850- The City of Los Angeles was incorporated under U.S. law.

1932- Louisiana Senator Huey Long tells Congress that 80% of America’s wealth was controlled by 20% of its population. According to Business Week in 1997 80% of America’s wealth was owned by 2% of its population and the top 175 richest people on Earth collectively own 50% of all the total wealth of the planet. According to the 2006 issue the 23 richest people in America own more than the bottom 150 million.

1952-CARTOON COMMIES- Nationally syndicated columnist Walter Winchell accused the owners of a New York commercial animation studio, Tempo Productions, of Communist sympathies. One of the owners was Disney Layoutman Dave Hilberman, who was a union organizer and was the only artist personally denounced by Walt Disney to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. The F.B.I. began investigating Tempo and their Madison Avenue clients quickly pulled their business. Tempo closed, laying off 50 artists. Mr. Clean, Markie Maypo and the Hamm’s Beer Bear were once again safe from Red subversion.

1954- Arturo Toscanini , who had been making music since the 1880’s, conducted his final concert. His NBC recording Studio H in 1975 became the home of Saturday Night Live.

1958- Screen goddess Lana Turner and her gangster lover Johnny Stompanato had a violent argument that ended when Turner’s teenage daughter plunged a large kitchen knife into his chest. She was acquitted as justifiable homicide and some rumors maintain the daughter was covering for her mother’s actions. It was whispered Hollywood society ladies had nicknamed Stompanato’s male organ Oscar for it’s size.

1967- Van Nuys premier head shop Captain Ed’s Heads & Highs first opened for business.

1984- In George Orwell’s novel 1984 this is the day Winston Smith started a secret diary and first wrote the dangerous thought-crime “Down With Big Brother”.