March 27, 2007 tues.
March 27th, 2007

Birthdays: Patty Smith Hill- 1868- The composer of the song Happy Birthday to You, Edward Steichen, Gloria Swanson, Sarah Vaughn, Maria Schneider, Mies Van der Rohe, Snooky Lanson, Wilhelm Ronthgen the discoverer of X-Rays Nathaniel Currier of Currier & Ives, cellist Mtisislav Rostropovich, Michael York, is 65, Quentin Tarantino is 44, Mariah Carey is 37

The ancient Egyptians called today Smell the Breeze Day.
The Ancient Romans called today Washing Day, the origin of our concept of Spring Cleaning.

1790- The invention of modern shoelaces!

1908- Bud Fisher's comic strip Mutt & Jeff born.

1940- “Rebecca,” the first American movie by Alfred Hitchcock opened.

1952-U.P.A.’s cartoon “Rooty-Toot-Toot”premiered. It’s music score was by jazzman Phil Monroe, the first African American to receive a screen credit for scoring a movie.

1952- “Singing in the Rain” starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor premiered.

1973- In one of the more celebrated stunts in Hollywood history, when Marlon Brando won an Oscar for his role in The Godfather he sent a buckskin clad model named Sashin Littlefeather to refuse the award and deliver a protest about treatment of Native Americans.

1978- The first draft script of the film Norma Rae completed. The film dramatized the life of Christa Lee Jordan, a mill worker who was blackballed by the J.P.Stevens millworks for wanting a union.

1996- Fearful of MAD COW DISEASE- The European Community banned the export of beef from Britain for one year.

March 26, 2007 Mon
March 26th, 2007

QUIZ: What do actors Jack Nicholson, Beverly DiAngelo and Roger Moore all have in common? Answer below.

B-Days: Harald von Braunhut 1926- the inventor of Sea Monkeys, Robert Frost, Chico Marx, Conde Nast, Tennessee Williams, Alfred Houseman, Joseph Cambell, Erica Jong, Bob Elliot of Bob & Ray, Duncan Hines, Bob Woodward, Leonard Nimoy is 76, Alan Arkin, James Caan is 68, Diana Ross, Martin Short, Catherine Keener, Keira Knightley is 22

1199- English King Richard Lionheart died of blood poisoning from an arrow scratch. He was 42. Since he shunned the company of women and never made a son, his brother evil Prince John became king. After returning from the Crusade and getting ransomed from prison in Austria Richard embarked on a campaign of regaining lands in central France he lost to the French while he was away. He received his fatal wound while attacking a small castle named Chalus in Limousin.

1811- Poet Percy Shelley thrown out of Oxford College for writing a pamphlet that argued God didn’t exist.

1827- Ludwig van Beethoven dies at 56. Six people visited him while he was sick, 20,000 attended his funeral in Vienna. Romantic legend says he died at the violent peak of a thunderstorm raising his fists skyward in a last act of defiance to God and the elements, but in actual fact he died peacefully in his sleep. He lived in an abandoned monastery given him as public housing by the Austrian government along with a small pension. He constantly complained about his poverty so that the Philharmonic Society of London sent him 1,500 gold English pounds from a benefit concert. After his death they found around 20,000 gold pieces hidden in cupboards and pots. He despised Kings and aristocrats as parasites but when a government heraldic agency challenged his right to have an aristocratic "Van" before his name he sued them in court.

1832- Artist George Catlin began his first trip to the West. He departed up the Missouri River on the American Fur Trading steamer the Yellowstone. Catlin’s paintings of Plains Indians became famous.

1900- The Happy Hooligan comic strip.

1909- The U.S. Board of Censorship created.

1920- This Side of Paradise, the first novel published by a young Minnesota writer named F. Scott Fitzgerald. F. Scott Fitzgerald was a descendant of Francis Scott Key, writer of the Star Spangled Banner.

1937- A statue of Popeye the Sailor unveiled at the Crystal City Texas Spinach Festival.

1943- Just outside of Chicago gangster Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti took a walk down a railroad track, took a swig of bourbon, put a 32mm pistol to his head and pulled the trigger. He first waved to get the attention of some track workers so they could witness that he was taking his own life and was not the victim of another gangster. The successor to Al Capone was going to be indicted the next day on Federal charges of racketeering and he knew they had enough to put him away for a long time. The one who put Frank in this predicament was not Elliot Ness but Willie Bioff, the Hollywood gangster who tried to hijack the Disney animators Strike. Willie was doing time in Alcatraz for racketeering and flipped to get out early.

1959- Writer Dashell Hammett died.

1975 - The Who’s rock opera "Tommy" premiered in London

1977 - Elvis Costello releases his 1st record "Less Than Zero"

1982 - Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder release "Ebony & Ivory" in the UK

1997- Turner Animation's film 'Cat's Don't Dance" featuring the last film work of Gene Kelly. He was consulted on the dance sequences.

2228 - According to Star Fleet records- James T Kirk, captain of Federation Star Ship Enterprise (Star Trek) was born.
QUIZ: What do actors Jack Nicholson, Beverly DiAngelo and Roger Moore all have in common?
ANSWER: They all once worked in an animation studio- Ms DiAngelo was a painter, Moore an assistant and Jackie a PA.

Robin, what have I done?!
March 25th, 2007

Karl Cohen of ASIFA/ San Francisco sent me this link of unintentionally funny panels . It's got some pretty funny stuff in some classic old comic panels. Check it out.

March 25, 2007 sun
March 25th, 2007

Birthdays: English King Henry II Plantagenet, Joachim Murat, Gudson Borglum the sculptor of Mount Rushmore, David Lean, Gloria Steinhem, Mary Flannery-O’Connor, Arturo Toscanini, Aretha Franklin, Bela Bartok', Howard Cosell, Bonnie Bedelia, Anita Bryant, Simone Signoret, Elton John is 60, Sarah Jessica Parker is 42.

In the medieval calendar this was Lady Day, when street lights no longer had to be lit after dark.

1911- THE TRIANGLE SHIRTWAIST FIRE- 145 seamstresses, mostly teenage Jewish immigrant girls, burn to death in a terrible fire. They could not escape the flames because their employer padlocked them into their sweatshop so they wouldn't take so many breaks. The pavement was littered with girls who jumped ten stories to their death rather than burn while a helpless crowd looked on in horror. They would hold hands and leap to their deaths together. The factory owners were never charged with any crime. They soon opened another clothes factory that was also cited for fire safety violations. The tragedy was a major cause of the formation of the ILGWU, now called UNITE, and the first job safety laws. One of the eyewitnesses to the horror, Frances Perkins, later became Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor. The last survivor of the fire died in 2001 at age 107.

1932- Motion Picture Academy President William deMille, brother of Cecil B., started a 'Squawk Forum", inviting film industry workers to air their grievances with their studio heads. (and this way they won't ask for their own union ). The first boss on the hot seat was MGM's Louis B. Mayer. He was greeted with boos, insults and catcalls, mostly from writers. In a short time the forum devolved into a shouting free for all. Mayer furiously stormed out and proceeded to fire and cut the pay of all those Metro employees he could remember were there. The Squawk Forum idea was abandoned.

1933- Nazis Minister of Propaganda Josef Goebbels offers famed director Fritz Lang a job. Fritz said he’d think about it, then immediately packed his bag for Hollywood.

1944- During World War Two a British pilot bailed out of burning plane and when his chute failed to open he fell 18,000 feet. In a freak ocurance he hit a wet beach that broke his fall. He but suffered only a broken ankle. English film director Michael Powell made the strange incident the basis of a fantasy film with David Niven called "A Matter of Life and Death", released in the US as "The Big Staircase"

1953- NUMBER 10 RILLINGTON PLACE.-A new tenant to this modest flat in London made an awful discovery- behind the walls were the bodies of 4 women with one more buried under the pea patch. The previous tenant Jack Christie confessed to the murders and was executed. Christie became the most infamous British serial killer since Jack the Ripper.

1954- RCA began mass production and marketing of color television sets. At the time the set cost as much as an automobile -$1,000, 12 inch screen and there was very little programming in color.

1955- US Customs seize a shipment of 258 copies Alan Ginsburg’s poem Howl printed in the UK on the grounds it was obscene." I saw some of the finest minds of my generation destroyed by madness." Next year when Lawrence Ferlinghetti of San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore printed the poem he was arrested.

1957- FIFTY YEARS AGO-The Rome Treaty establishing the European Economic Community.

1960- Thirty five years after it was written and published in Europe an American judge rules that D.H. Lawrence's novel 'Lady Chatterley's Lover" was not pornography and could finally be sold in the U.S.. Not porn ? Whaddaya think of that, John-Thomas ?

1960- The Moulin Rouge Agreement. After a lot of agitation and arm twisting from Frank Sinatra the owners of the Las Vegas casinos agree to integrate. It was so named for the Moulin Rouge Casino, which up to then had been the only casino that allowed black and white patrons to mix freely.

1966 - Beatles pose with mutilated dolls & butchered meat for the cover of the "Yesterday & Today" album, It was later pulled.

1967 -The Who & Cream make their US debut at Murray the K's Easter Show.

1969 John Lennon and Yoko Ono began their week-long "love-in" for peace in the bed of Room 902 of the Hilton Hotel, Amsterdam.

March 24, 2007 Saturday
March 24th, 2007

I just got a wonderful letter from a person in Paris, France. With his permission, I want to share it with you.

Dear Tom Sito,

I got your email address through my good friend Didier Ghez with whom I have shared my passion for Disney and animation in general for many years.

I have just finished reading your book, Drawing the Line, and I wanted, not only to congratulate you for it but also to thank you for having opened a whole new field regarding the history of animation. I had always heard only one side of the (in)famous 1941 strike and thought that unionism had had dire consequences for Disney and that, after it, it was never the same. Of course, it was never the same but that was not the strikers' only fault.

As you wrote in your conclusion: "I don't think you can truly understand the evolution of the American animated film without knowing the story of the animated union. [...] I think Herb Sorrell, Bill Littlejohn and Moe Gollub had just as big an impact on the animation industry as Walt Disney and Chuck Jones". How true. And how necessary it was to - at last - present a empathic view of those who dared challenge the big studios and the big bosses.

I do not have lesser respect for Walt Disney (and other animation geniuses) but I gained a greater respect for the animators and artists and technicians who just wanted to be, in Shamus Culhane's words, "somebody".

Thanks again

Sébastien D.

Birthdays: Steve McQueen, Ferlingetti , Ub Iwerks (the first Disney animator), John Wesley Powell, Harry Houdini aka Eric Weiss, Edward Weston, Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle, Clyde Barrow of Bonnie & Clyde, Bob Mackie, Robert Carradine, Laura Flynn-Boyle, Alyson Hannigan, animator Joe Barbera

1912- Sir Arthur Conan-Doyles adventure novel The Lost World, first published in magazine installments. It set the standard for all the Land-of-the-Dinosaurs stories.

1934-The Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour debuted on radio. It became a national craze to see who could be a future star. Frank Sinatra was among their finds. The show eventually moved to television and later spawned the Ted Mack Amateur Hour, Chuck Barris the Gong Show, Star Search and American Idol.

1939- The film the Hound of the Baskervilles premiered with actors Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson . They became the most famous interpreters of the characters and went on to make a dozen more films.

1943 - The first Japanese anime’ feature "Momotaro's Sea Eagles" premiered.

1955- Tennessee William's "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" debuts at Broadway's Marosco Theater. Barbera Bel-Geddes was the first Cat and Burl Ives was " Big Daddy".

1958- Elvis Presley inducted into the Army.- G.I. Blues!

1962- No one had been a more loyal supporter of President John F. Kennedy than Frank Sinatra. The singer got his Ratpack friends to stump for the candidate and even got Mafia money to support a man who’s brother Bobby was busy busting the rackets in Congress. But the President was warned that association with such a known libertine would cost him family values votes one day. So when Kennedy next visited Palm Springs he not only refused an invitation to stay with Sinatra but he did stay with more wholesome singer Bing Crosby, a Republican! Sinatra in a rage took a sledgehammer to the extra guest cottage he was preparing for JFK and broke off his friendship with JFK’s brother-in-law actor Peter Lawford.

1973- In Buffalo a drunk fan bit rock singer Lou Reed on the ass.

2005- A Colorado Rockies baseball game was called off on account of bees. The bee swarms were attracted by the coconut oil in the pitchers hair gel.