January 16,2007 Mea Culpas
January 16th, 2007

Congrads to PIXAR's Cars for winning the Golden Globe for Animated Feature. Now that the Globes have gone from a small award given without any fanfare to a full blown media night, I have a small request.

Can you please re-design that statue? I got to hold one when we won for Beauty and the Beast in 1991. What a lame statue! You can practically see the seam down the side. When you hold an Oscar or an Annie Award, you feel you're holding something significant. But the Globe looks like something you got at Spencer Gifts that used to say World's Greatest Golfer. Comon', you guys got the bucks. Time for a makeover.

Voting begins today on the Annie Awards. Check the ASIFA/Hollywood website to see if you are eligible to vote.

JANUARY is a time for reflection and penance. Many people have a copy of Drawing the Line now, and some have sent me very constructive notes pointing out some minor corrections. Thank goodness most were typos. So, in the interest of full disclosure, here are the nits that have been picked so far.

Ouch!Who was the voice of Screwy Squirrel?-Ouch!

In my acknowledgement, p.xxiii, I listed the Professor I worked with from CSUN’s archive at Larry Marshall, it is actually Robert Marshall.

Page 96- Mr. Deeds Goes to Town was produced by Columbia, not Paramount.

Page 319- IDT did not release 2005’s Hoodwinked, the Weinsteins Company did. .

Pete Docter's name is misspelled, as is Ed Catmull's.

Page 133-It is Angelina Jolie, not Angela Jolie.

I had stated that Ward Kimball and Walt Kelly were no longer close friends after the 1941 Disney strike, I came to this after discussing it with several friends of Ward’s. But reviewer Mark Mayerson rightly pointed out that Walt Kelly contributed an illustration and liner notes to one of Kimball's record albums with the Firehouse Five as well as writing the introduction to Kimball's book Art Afterpieces. ( MARK! How could you do this to me! I danced at your wedding!- just kidding..)

Page 199- I wrote that Paul Terry never allowed screen credit for anyone but himself ( a fact I found in Leonard Maltin’s Of Mice and Magic- Terrytoons, Page 133), but he regularly credited writers, directors and his musical director, though his animation artists did remain anonymous.

Page 193- I mentioned that some on the HUAC committee could be bought off. That a payment of $5000 got your dossier moved from the bottom of the stack to the top. That was a proofreading gaff, it should have read- $5,000 got your dossier moved from the top to the bottom, meaning it would never be read.

Page 235- Prof Dan McLaughlin kicked my butt about saying Simpson's director David Silverman went to Pratt Institute when he was a proud grad of the UCLA animation workshop, started by Bill Schull in 1947.
David began at Pratt, then transferred over to UCLA.

Page 329- John Lassiter created the short Andre & Wally-B at Pixar, Right now it reads like he did it before he joined them.

That's it for now. I did my best to catch most of them early, but some always slip through. It's what makes history a living science.
If you have any other notes, I’d love to hear from you. And maybe if I am extra good and say my prayers at night, the Infernal Fates might smile on my feeble efforts and grant me a second printing. Then I shall happily implement these notes.

Birthdays: Yukon poet Robert Service, Andre Michelin 1853 the pneumatic tire inventor, Ethel Merman, Dizzy Dean,, A.J. Foyt, Marilyn Horne, Sade, Michael Wilding, Eartha Kitt, Debbie Allen, director John Carpenter, Kate Moss is 33, Tsianina Joelson, Great animator-amigo Raul Garcia-Sanz is 49

1938- Benny Goodman brought the new Swing Music to staid old Carnegie Hall. Count Basie and Harry James joined in to get the tuxedoed crowd dancing in the aisles, then afterwards they all went uptown to the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem to watch Count Basies band square off against the legendary Chick Webb. After this triumph Benny Goodmans’ band would never be the same- Lionel Hampton, Harry James and Gene Krupa all split off to form their own orchestras."That band I had the night I played Carnegie Hall was the best I think I ever had." Goodman said later.

1940- Lee Francis, then Hollywood’s top madam, was busted for prostitution.

1942-Actress Carol Lombard and her mother died in a plane crash in the Sierra Mountains while returning from a war bond drive. Her husband movie king Clark Cable was so disconsolate that he joined an airforce combat squadron instead of doing USO work and took dangerous missions trying to get killed.

1954-THE WAR ON COMICS- Senator Estes Kevfhauer chaired a U.S. Senate subcommittee to study juvenile delinquency. They conclude that one of the contributing factors to adolescent moral decay was four-color comic books. The probe was sparked by the publication of a book called The Seduction of the Innocent. It charged among other things that Batman & Robin were gay because when not fighting crime, Bruce Wayne & Dick Grayson lounged around all day in silk pajamas! Despite testimony by Walt Kelly, Milt Caniff, Al Capp and Bill Gaines 350 comic book companies including the EC "Tales from the Crypt" label were driven out of business. The strict comics-code was established. The comic book industry, which had been selling one million books a month, never regained that level of prosperity in the US again.

1962- Television pioneer Ernie Kovacs died when he plowed his Corvair into a tree at Beverly Glen and Santa Monica Blvds. Kovacs had a fondness for all night poker and vodka parties. Friend Jack Lemmon said Ernie was so fanatical for a good card game that once when over a friend's house no table large enough could be procured for a game, Kovacs ordered the front door taken off it's hinges and a tablecloth thrown over it so they could all play.

1962-First day of shooting on the film Dr No.

1974- Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws first published.

1995- The UPN Network (Universal-Paramount Network) began telecasting.

Birthdays: Dr. Martin Luther King, Moliere, Gamal Abdel Nasser, outlaw Cole Younger, Charro, Matthew Brady, drummer Gene Krupa, Lloyd Bridges, Mario Van Peebles, Josef Broyer the mentor of Sigmund Freud, Margaret O’Brien, Aristotle Onassis, Captain Beefheart, Dr. Edward Teller “father of the H-Bomb” is 99.

Happy Druid New Year

1936-THE DGA- Several top Hollywood directors including Lewis Milestone, Ruben Mamoulian and William Wellman meet at King Vidor’s house and pledge $100 dollars each to form the Screen Director’s Guild, later the Director’s Guild of America. It was a risky thing to do, previous attempts to form a directors union were broken up with threats by the producers of perpetual blacklisting. Final recognition and contracts were signed between the studios and President Frank Capra in 1940. One provision insisted on in the contract was that the director’s credit be the final name in the opening titles before the movie began. And so it remains.

1947-”THE BLACK DAHLIA”- One of the most lurid murder cases in Los Angeles history. A little girl playing in a vacant lot discovered the remains of high priced prostitute Elisabeth Short, 22, who used to work the Biltmore Hotel. She was named the Black Dahlia because of the black pullover sweaters and black lingerie she favored. Her body had been sawed in half and completely drained of blood, and the initials 'BD' carved on her thigh. She showed signs of torture before death. The murderer was never found. The incident was the basis for a movie called “True Confessions” with Robert DeNiro and in 2006 Brian de Palma did a film. The last detective on the case died in 2003.

1974- Eeehhhhhh-The first episode of Happy Days premiered with Ron Howard as Richie Cuningham and Henry Winkler as Da Fonz.

I gotta note from Mark Kausler this morning, who asked after reading my last blog if Bill Littlejohn was okay. I had listed him among the animation illustrium now gone hence. I reassured him, fear not, old Pres. Littlejohn is alive and well. Antran Manoogian the ASIFA President talked to him the other day and I talked to him today. Although well over ninety and on a walker, his voice was clear and his mind sharp. He said he was dissappointed animated features didn't get five Oscar nominees this year because the disqualification of Arthur and the Invisibles. The Academy rules stated that a film has to have over 70% of the main character be animation to qualify.

Another friend I spoke to joked about the big live action directors like Zemeckis, Besson and Cameron who want to be animators. We agreed that if they want to make animation so bad, they should make our same salary! That will cure them of the notion.

January 14th , 2007 sunday
January 14th, 2007

Went to the final judging for the short films animation Oscar yesterday. While we don't know who the nominees are yet, congrads for the great work the ten finalists put in- Joanna Quinn, Bill Plympton, Don Herzfeldt and the redoubtable teams at Pixar and Blue Sky. Roger Allers with a crew of Disney 2D folks and more, artists from Denmark, Belgium and Hungary.

Guide Dog,with the gracious permission of the big Ol' PLymptoon man hisself.

I recall my first time going to these screenings. Sitting in the audience as judges were such august animators as Marc Davis, Friz Freleng, Bill & Fini Littlejohn, Leo Salkin, Herb Klynn, Saul Bass, Bill Hertz, Duane Crowther and more. Now all but memory, but their spirit lives on.

Birthdays: Benedict Arnold, Faye Dunaway, Hal Roach, Raymond Outcault the cartoonist of the Yellow Kid and Buster Brown, Cecil Beaton, John Dos Passos, Lawrence Kasdan , Andy Rooney, Julian Bond, Steven Soderbergh is 44, LL Cool J, T. Bone Burnet, Emily Watson, Sterling Holloway the voice of Winnie the Pooh “oh bother…”

350 a.d.- The feast day of Saint Hilary of Poitiers- Saint Hilary may have been the father of church music. In exile in Phyrgia he noticed pagans sang hymns to their deities, so he composed the first Christian musical hymns. The Haleleiuyah Chorus, Ave Maria and “Drop Kick Me Jesus Through the Goalposts of Heaven” would follow in due time.

1952-The NBC "Today" show debuts with Dave Garroway, Jim Fleming and J. Fred Muggs the chimp.

1954- actress Marilyn Monroe married baseball great Joe DiMaggio.

1957- Humphrey Bogart died of esophageal cancer at age 57. When he was buried at Forrest Lawn Lauren Bacall put in with his ashes a solid gold whistle inscribed with the famous line from "To Have and To Have Not"- 'If you ever need me, just whistle.' The group of friends around Bogie and Bacall were nicknamed ‘The Rat Pack” . After Bogart’s death Frank Sinatra became the focus and his circle made the Rat Pack famous.

1964- Hanna & Barbera's ' The Magilla Gorilla' cartoon show. Won't you, buy him; take him out and try him,Go-rilla for sale...."

1967- Hippies in San Francisco hold the first “Be-In” in Golden Gate Park.

1972- Norman Lear’s hit comedy series Sanford & Son premiered. Starring Red Fox, it was based on the English show Steptoe & Son.

1990- Matt Groenings the Simpsons, which had been run as a series of blackout vignettes on the Tracey Ullman Show, now debuted as its own regular prime time series. Cowabunga!

January 13th, 2007 Saturday
January 13th, 2007

Just got my copy of my second book, Jews and American Popular Culture from Praeger/Greenwood press. Thanks to everyone who aided me with the project, including John Canemaker who lent me a cool drawing of Friz Freleng done by Chuck Jones in 1976.

Today members of the Hollywood Animation and Short Films community will gather at the Motion Picture Academy for what's called The Branch Screening. It's when we decide on the nominees for this years short film Oscar. Those rooting for a particular film, time to rub your rabbits foot, finger your worry beads or whatever you do.
Birthdays: Sophie Tucker, Gwen Verdon, Robert Stack, Charles Nelson Reilly, Brandon Tartikoff, Armie Archerd, Julie Louise Dreyfus, Orlando Bloom is 30

1847- Gen. Andres Pico signed the capitulation of Campo de Cahuenga (the little park next Universal studios today), surrendering the Mexican state of Alta-California to U.S. General John Fremont. Fremont, nicknamed "The Pathfinder" was the first Republican candidate for President in 1856 and when the Civil War began he was a General until the confederates made a fool of him and he dropped from public view. During the Civil War Andres Pico served in the Yankee force that defeated an attempted Confederate invasion of California. I guess he figured one change of flag in a lifetime was enough.

1854- The Accordion is patented. polka fans rejoice!

1906- The first ad for a radio appeared in an American Science Magazine. It boasted an effective range of over one mile !

1925- THE FIRST CALIFORNIA GURU- Indian spiritual teacher Abrahamansa Yogananda , then called “The Swami” settled in Los Angeles and gave his first lecture to an audience in LA Philharmonic Hall. He founded the Malibu Self-Realization Center in 1950.

1929- Wyatt Earp died at 81 of prostate cancer in Los Angeles. After careers as a gunfighter, buffalo hunter, Dodge City marshal, prizefight referee, Yukon gold prospector and faroe dealer he finished in L.A. speculating in real estate. He liked to stroll onto Hollywood western movie sets to give advice to Tom Mix and William S. Hart on how they did it in the Old West. He was buried in San Francisco's Jewish Cemetery because his third wife, ex-saloon hooker Sadie Marcus was of that faith. On the subject of the Gunfight of the OK Corral in 1881 he told so many different versions of what happened that his account is considered unreliable.
Wyatt Earp would have died totally forgotten but in his last years he was interviewed by a journalist named Stuart Lake who published a best selling biography in 1931 called Wyatt Earp, Frontier Marshal. After that the movies and TV took up his name to make him the most famous lawman in western history, which would have been a surprise to him.

1942- In the late evening the German U-Boat U-123 sailed into New York Harbor. The German captain was amazed that although they were at war the Americans had made no defensive arrangements. The city wasn’t even blacked out, but still illuminated brightly.

1943- Movie starlet Frances Farmer was dragged screaming in a straightjacket out of a Hollywood Hotel and committed. She screamed Rats! Rats! and listed her occupation on her arrest record as “c**ksucker”. Her career was ruined and she spent years in asylums but it’s inconclusive whether she had actually suffered mental illness or it was her mother overreacting to her sullen, tempermental nature.

1957-THE FRISBEE- Two former World War Two pilots, Warren Fransconi and Walter Morrison invented he plastic platter in a San Luis Obisbo home. Originally called Flying Saucers and Pluto’s Platters they got the name Frisbee when they demonstrated it at Yale University. The students there were used to flipping pie platters at each other from the local Frisbee Pie Company, so when they played with the new disc they cried “Frisbee, Frisbee!” which seemed to Warren and Walter a better name. When Morrison died in 2002 his family obeyed his last request- and I’m not making this up- to have his body cremated and his ashes mixed with plastic and molded into a Frisbee.

1958- Actress Jayne Mansfield married weightlifter Mickey Hargitay. Their daughter was Marisa Hargitay

1979- The Young Men’s Christian Association filed a lawsuit against the outrageously gay rock group the Village People over their hit song “YMCA”.

1985- Carol Wayne, an actress who played dumb blonde roles on shows like Johnny Carson, drowned while swimming in Mexico. She was 41.

2002- President G.W. Bush almost choked on a pretzel while watching football on TV.