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..


October 23, 2006 Mon
October 23rd, 2006

souvenir photo from the evening, with a cover drawing by Mad artist Sergio Aragones.

Last Saturday I attended a tribute to the legendary cartoonist Jack Davis. The California Chapter of CAPS, the Cartoon Art Professionals Society hosted the dinner and presented Jack with a lifetime achievement award. It is called the SERGIO, after Sergio Aragones, who by interesting cooincidence won the second lifetime award that evening. Jack is a Georgia native but he flew out for the event. It was a stellar night, cartoonists like Daryl Cagle, Dean Yeagle, Gregg Evans, Scott Shaw, Mike Kazaleh, Tony Bancroft, Nik Ranieri and Bruce Morris. Best wishes came in from Stan Sakai, Arnold Roth, Mort Drucker, LA Mayor Villarigosa, Jay Leno and former US Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.

A number of people were encouraged to display their Jack Davis originals in their collection. It made for a pretty impressive retrospective. It included famous TV Guide covers, posters like the original artwork for Woody Allen's film Bananas and a 6 foot stand up poster of Frankenstein that was an order through the classic magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland.

Thanks and congratulations to President Chad Frye for a great evening.
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Birthdays; Johnny Carson, Adlai Stevenson, famous soccer player Pele, not so famous Bolshevik Zioniev, Weird Al Yankovic, Dwight Yoakham, Gore Vidal, Michael Crichton-author of Jurassic Park, Chi-Chi Rodriquez, Sam Raimi,director Ang Lee, director Phillip Kaufman, porn actress Jasmine St. Claire, Gummo Marx- the unfunnny Marx Brother

42 BC- Battle of Phillipi- The forces of Marc Anthony and Octavian defeated the Republican legions of Brutus and Cassius in Greece. Marcus Brutus and Cassius Longinus, who had assassinated Julius Caesar two years earlier, committed suicide on the battlefield.

1928- A financial consortium led by Wall Street banker Joseph Kennedy Sr. buys the Keith Albee theater circuit and merged it with the Radio Company and the Orpheum theaters to form Radio-Keith-Orpheum or RKO pictures. After Joe Kennedy met with the other Hollywood moguls he told a friend-”They’re just a bunch of Austrian Pants Pressers! I can take their businesses away from them!” Kennedy made a quick killing then got out of the picture business in 1930, just before the Depression dropped his studios stock value. RKO made films like King Kong, Fort Apache and Citizen Kane before merging into Desilu in 1957.

1930- The first Miniature Golf tournament held in Chattanooga Tenn.

1935- New York gangster Dutch Schultz was rubbed out. The erratic Schultz (real name Arthur Fleigenheimer ) had announced to the other mob bosses that Federal prosecutor Thomas Dewey was getting too close so he would kill him. To the syndicate killing such a high profile fed was going too far and would bring the wrath of Washington down on them, so Lucky Luciano decided it was easier to take care of the Dutchman. Schultz was having dinner at the Bob Treat Porkchop House in Newark with his crooked accountant "Abadaba" ( a corruption of Abracadabra ) when he excused himself to go to the mens room. Hitmen followed him and pumped 6 slugs into him while at the urinal. Gee, I hope he zipped up.....

1940- Shooting on the film Citizen Kane wrapped.

1971-Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida opened.

1983- Jessica Savitch was one of the first women journalists to break the barrier for women getting the top anchor jobs in network news broadcasting. This day she died in a car accident.


October 22, 2006 sun
October 22nd, 2006

Birthdays: Sarah Bernhardt, Timothy Leary, Franz Liszt, Doris Lessing, Joan Fontaine is 89, Derek Jacobi, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Goldblum, Annette Funicello, Brian Boitano, Catherine Deneuve is 63

1883- First performance at the New York Metropolitan Opera House. It was Gounod’s Faust with soprano Christine Nillson and tenor Italo Campanini.

1903- Tom Horn, considered the Last of the Western Outlaws, was hanged in Wyoming for the murder of Willie Nickel. The era of the gunslinger ends with him.

1938-THE BIRTHDAY OF THE XEROX COPY- Chester Carlson working with an amateur chemistry set behind a beauty parlor in Astoria Queens creates the first xerox copy. He took his invention to Edison, G.E., RCA and IBM who all rejected it. Finally a little firm that produced photographic paper for Kodak called the Haloid Company bought it. They later changed their named to Xerox.

1939- The first televised football game- The Brooklyn Dodger's 23 Philadelphia Eagles 14.

1962- Twentieth Century Fox mogul; Daryl Zanuck fired long suffering director Joe Mankiewicz off of the editing of the spectacle Cleopatra. Mankiewicz had shot a 6 hour movie he wanted shown as two films. Zanuck wanted one big movie at half that size. After a lot of embarrassing feuding in the press Zanuck rehired Mankiewicz and he recut Cleopatra,. It became one of the biggest flops in Hollywood History.

1962- After it looked like a news leak would make the news public anyway, President John Kennedy goes on national television and tells the American public about the CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS. 54 B-52 bombers with 4 Hydrogen bombs each took off to fly within two hours of their Soviet targets. 134 Titan missiles were armed.
Both sides wrestled with the temptation to do a 'First-Strike', meaning the side that hit first without warning just might knock out enough of the enemies nukes to limit the damage and “megadeaths” to his own side. Secretary of State Dean Rusk recalled: "I'd wake up in the morning and the first thing I'd think was, I'm alive, Khruschev didn't do it today."
In Moscow Khruschev grimly joked:" With the time difference Kennedy works while I sleep and I work while he sleeps, hmph, maybe soon we'll both be sleeping..."

1962- At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis a stand up comic named Vaughn Meador recorded a comedy album called The First Family. It made lighthearted fun of John F. Kennedy and his White House. The record became the fastest selling hit of the pre-Beatles era, 7.5 million copies. Jackie called Meador a rat but JFK thought it was funny and gave out copies as Christmas presents, even though he said Meador’s impersonation sounded more like Ted Kennedy than him. The day after the assassination comic Lenny Bruce got up on stage. Everyone worried what the iconoclastic comic might say. Bruce sucked a long drag on his cigarette and said:"Mannn, Vaughn Meador is really screwed!"
courtesy lifeinlegacy.com

1967- In Oakland black militants Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and H.Rap Brown form the Black Panther Party of Self Defense.


October 21, 2006
October 21st, 2006

Animation Quiz:

What character was not drawn over live action? (answer below)

a-Gulliver in Max Fleischer's Gullivers' Travels
b-Tom Hanks as Santa Claus in Polar Express
c-Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
d- Alice in Disney's Alice in Wonderland.

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Birthdays: Katushika Hokusai, Dizzy Gillespie, Whitey Ford, Alfred Nobel, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Carrie Fisher, Patty Davis (Ronnie Reagan's daughter), Benjamin Netanyahu, Sir Malcolm Arnold, Manfred Mann, Sir Georg Solti, Angus MacFadyen, Ken Watanabe, Charles Knight-1874, the artist who's extensive research on dinosaurs and early man made his illustrations shape our idea of what the stone age looked like. His murals adorn the Field Museum in Chicago and the Museum of Natural History in NY.

Today is the FEAST OF SAINT URSULA AND THE ELEVEN THOUSAND VIRGINS, one of the sillier medieval legends. Supposedly on the way back from a pilgrimage to Rome the saintly daughter of a Mercian (English) king had spurned the attentions of the King of the Huns so he massacred her and all eleven thousand of her handmaids.
Earliest accounts of the incident say she had only ten servants.

1492- San Salvador. Christopher Columbus writes on this day in his diary about the new land he is exploring: " We must have found Eden. I think men shall never see this place again as we have seen it." Within 50 years of Columbus's discovery, the Indian tribe that welcomed him on the beach, the Taino, were extinct.

1879- Thomas Edison announced the invention of the Light Bulb. After experimenting with dozens of different type filaments in a vacuum Thomas Edison perfected the light bulb with carbonized cotton . He and his crew stared at the glowing bulb for 40 hours to make sure it was really worked.

1932- The film Red Dust premiered. It made stars out of Clark Gable and Jean Harlow.

1959- Six months after the death of Frank Lloyd Wright his last creation the Guggenheim Museum in New York City opened.

1972- Curtis Mayfield’s soundtrack theme to the movie “Superfly” debuted at Number #1 in the Billboard charts.

1985- San Francisco Mayor George Mosconi and openly gay City Supervisor Harvey Milk are shot dead by clerk Dan White. White got off on an insanity plea using the "Twinkie Defense" that junk food raised his blood sugar to such an extent that he went nuts. He served a 5 years in prison, moved to Orange County and committed suicide which some say is redundant.

2003- The Great California Brush Fires. Hot dry wind and a lost hunter ignited the worst brush fires in California history. Ten fires from Ventura County to Tijuana Mexico burned hundreds of thousands of acres for two weeks, destroyed 3000 homes and killed 20. The smoke clouds were visible from outer space.
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Answer to Quiz
Which Character was drawn over live action?

courtesy awn.com

c- Jessica Rabbit. A green suit stand-in handled live action objects but otherwise she was all drawn from the minds of animators Russell Hall and Roger Chiasson.


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