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

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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.

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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”.


March 3, 2007 tuesday.
April 3rd, 2007

the web's famous Tron Man
There was a fun hoax in Hollweird for April Fools. A story flew around the web that the 1982 digital classic TRON had recently been classified by the Department of Homeland Security as revealing too much info about the Livermore Labs it was filmed in. That the government ordered all prints of the film rounded up and classified. Could it be true? After all, hadn't the goverment once put Rocky and Bullwinkle on an Enemies List, and an FBI agent accused the language of POGO to be secret Russian code?
But it turned out it was an April Fools gag. It gave everyone, including director Steve Lissberger, a good laugh.
http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2007/3/28/132751/380
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Happy Passover!
Birthdays: King Henry IV of England (1361), Washington Irving, William Marcy " Boss" Tweed, Sally Rand the Fan Dancer, Ma Rainey, Iron Eyes Cody, Wayne Newton, Doris Day, Robert Sherwood, Virgil Grissom, Marsha Mason, Amanda Byrnes, David Hyde Pierce, Melissa Etheridge, Marlon Brando Alec Baldwin is 49, Eddie Murphy is 45

In Ancient Greece the beginning of April was the Aphrodisia- the Festival of Aphrodite. Greeks would offer sacrifices to the Goddess of Love and some would visit the holy prostitutes in the great temple in Corinth. Gimme that Ole Time Religion…..

1367-The Battle of Navarette- during a lull in the Hundred Year War, Edward the Black Prince of England goes to Spain to help King of Aragon Pedro the Cruel press his claims against Navarre. He defeats a Franco-Navarrese force of knights and captures the great French knight Bertrand DeGuesclin (De-Gue-Klan). But when Edward refused to turn over his prisoners to Pedro so he could behead them ( why else have a nickname like Cruel ?), even refusing to hand over DeGuesclin for his weight in pure silver, Pedro refused to pay the Englishmen's wages and Edward went home broke and annoyed.
Another freelancer gets screwed....

1897-composer Johannes Brahms died.

1920- Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald got married.

1968- Stanley Kubrick's epic film "2001: A Space Odyssey" premiered. The N.Y. Times review said it was : " Somewhere between hypnotic and boring". Pauline Kael called it "monumentally unimaginative!" In a recent interview screenwriter Arthur C. Clarke said HAL the computer was not a coded reference to IBM . At the Oscars for that year Clarke and Kubrick lost the best screenplay award to Mel Brooks for the Producers.


April 2, 2007 mon
April 2nd, 2007

Birthdays: Frankish Emperor Charlemagne, Giacomo Casanova, Hans Christian Andersen, Marvin Gaye, Emile Zola, Max Ernst, Buddy Ebsen, Sir Alec Guinness, Frederick Bartholdi the creator of the Statue of Liberty, Emmy Lou Harris, Linda Hunt

1877- First man shot out of a cannon.

1943- Disney short 'Private Pluto' the first Chip & Dale cartoon.

1943-Happy Birthday SAT’s! This day Harvard Dean Henry Chauncey supervised the distribution to 316,000 High School seniors of the Army-Navy College Qualifying Test, later re-titled the Scholastic Aptitude Tests or SAT. This became a standardized test that manages every year to raise the stress level of seniors regardless of race, class or religion.
Go On To Next Page.

1974-While actor David Niven was speaking at the Academy Awards telecast a nude streaker ran past him on nationwide television. Mr. Niven, completely unflustered, dryly commented: "The only laugh that man will ever get is by stripping off his clothes and showing off his shortcomings. "

1978-The t.v. show "Dallas" debuts.

1993- Bullocks Wilshire department store with it's famous Tea Room closed.

1994-Disney chief executive Frank Wells is killed in a helicopter crash on a skiing trip. It’s been speculated that blowing snow off some high peaks caused a ice ball to be sucked into the copter’s air intake manifold. Clint Eastwood was supposed to be on that trip but couldn't make it. Billie Joel and Christie Brinkley had a similar scare with their helicopter on the same day. The death of the Disney CEO set in motion the events that would lead to Jeffrey Katzenberg forming Dreamworks and Michael Ovitz’s brief tenure as a mouseketeer and Michael Eisners eventual fall. In 1999 the Hollywood Reporter estimated that the little iceball cost the Walt Disney Company one billion dollars.

2004- Walt Disney Studio released HOME ON THE RANGE, which many feared would be the final Disney Feature done with pencils and paper.


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