Life a Funny thing...
September 25th, 2006

While I was joking about the Billy Beer, the suds made and endorsed by President Jimmy Carters brother in the late 1970s, it reminded me of my great lost opportunity. I was living with a friend in Reseda across the street from old Filmation Studio and I went to buy a sixpack of Billybeer when it first came out. I knew it would be valuable some day. Other Presidents had brothers, Nixon, LBJ, Kennedy, but none had done a stunt like coming out with his own beer. A sixpack at Vons cost me $1.75. Nearby a sixpack of A&W rootbeer cost $1.87.
Sadly though, before I could store this treasure in a hermetically sealed vault, I had to leave the apartment and move back to NY to freelance for Hanna & Barbera. The sixpack was just too bulky to fit in my luggage so into the dumpster it went.

Years later I saw in an antique magazine that $1.75 sixpack of BillyBeer going for $1,500. and climbing. DOH!

I'm not making that mistake again.

September 25th, 2006
September 25th, 2006

Okay Shipmates, time once again to play-

Which One a deez People Never Did a Voice in a Cartoon?

a-Gary Shandling
b-Phil Silvers
c-Buddy Hackett
d-Sammy Davis, Jr
e- Zero Mostell
f-Johnny Carson

answer below

Birthdays: William Faulkner, Jean Phillipe Rameau, Mark Rothko, Dmitri Shoshtakovich would be 100!, Sergei Bondarchuk, Phil Rizzutto the Scooter, Bob MacAdoo, Heather Locklear, Scotty Pippin, Christopher Reeve, Mark Hamill, Glen Gould, Barbera Walters, Red Smith, Aldo Ray, Will Smith is 38, Michael Douglas 62 & Catherine Zeta-Jones-37

1513- Vasco Nunez de Balboa emerged from the Panamanian rainforest to view the great expanse of the western ocean. He calls it "Pacific" the "Peaceful Ocean." He was later beheaded.

1690- The first American newspaper published in Boston; " Publick Occurances Both Foreign and Domestick, Issue Number One" There was no number two because the Lord Governor of Massachusetts colony promptly closed it down.

1789- James Madison proposed a series of ten amendments be added to the new Constitution guaranteeing basic personal freedoms, the BILL OF RIGHTS. This day it was approved by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. Madison did not study law in college, but here he was dictating the basis of all American law to Congress, 147 lawyers.

1828- Simon Bolivar the Liberator is confronted by assassins sent by his own vice president to kill him. They break in on him while he was in bed with his mistress, Manuela Spenz. Bolivar does not fight nor flee, he just stared them down, and the sheer force of his gaze compelled the cutthroats to flee.

1840- Slavery outlawed in California- except.....Indian children were bought and sold for another ten years.

1887-The first Sears Catalog published.

1888- The beginning of the Sherlock Holmes adventure the Hound of the Baskervilles. Sir Arhtur Conan-Doyle got the idea for the story on the boat home from the South African Boer War. A fellow volunteer doctor told him about his home in Wales and legends of a large ghostly dog that roamed the moors.

1890- Spurred on by the writings of John Muir and John Wesley Powell, Congress created Yosemite National Park in California.

1911- Groundbreaking in Boston for Fenway Park.

1918- Brazil declared war on Austria. This was seen as purely ceremonial, the Great War was just about over.

1919- President Woodrow Wilson suffers a stroke after a speech at Pueblo, Colorado. For two months he lingered paralyzed while the Nation was run by first lady Edith Wilson. No one told the public or the Vice President. Their are many interpretations of how the government was run in those weeks. Edith claimed to be passing on Wilson's wishes to the government from his sickbed, but many thought Wilson was too incapacitated even for that and she was just doing it herself.

1933- Young writer John Huston was driving drunk on Sunset Blvd when he struck and killed a pedestrian. His father Walter Huston was a top movie star so to avoid scandal MGM head Louis B. Mayer paid $46,000 bux to cover it up. John Huston went on to become a great Hollywood director and screenwriter.

1953- Alfred Hitchcock wrapped filming on his only 3D film, Dial M for Murder.

1965- The Beatles TV cartoon show premiered. It was created in England not with the real Beatles voices, but sound-a-likes.

1974- THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT.- Scientists first warn that increased use of florocarbons and aerosol sprays will cause Ozone Depletion and global weather changes.

1984-THE RUBBERHEADS STRIKE- Disneyland workers including the actors who stroll the park in big Mickey and Goofy heads go on strike.

ANSWER TO QUIZ- which one a deez people never did a voice in a cartoon?

a- Gary Shandling was Verne in Over the Hedge ( 2006)
b- Phil Silvers, ill, retired and legally blind, could still use his famous voice in Nelvana's The Day the Earth Won the Playoffs (1980)
c- Buddy Hackett was Scuttle in Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989). I was in an office next to the sound editors, and I had to listen to hours and hours of his improv outtakes, Oij!
d- Sammy Davis Jr voiced the head rat in Hanna Barbera's Heidi's Song (1982)
e-Zero Mostell was the voice of the pelican in Watership Down (1977)
So the answer is
f- Johnny Carson.

Sept 24, 2006 Sunday
September 24th, 2006

Birthdays: Roman Emperor Vitellus, Duke Albrecht Wallenstein, Chief Justice John Marshall, Francis Scott Key, Jim Henson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Raft, Chief Joseph, Sheila MacCrae,, Anthony Newley. Phil Hartman, Mean Joe Greene, Linda MacCartney, Pedro Almodovar

1906- Teddy Roosevelt designated Devils Tower Wyoming as our first national monument. Like all conservationists Teddy’s desire to preserve natural resources was blocked by Congressmen lobbied by rich developers. So he circumvented Congress and created sanctuaries like Devils Tower and Pelican Island by Presidential Executive Order.

1936- Babe Ruth's last appearance in a baseball game. Yankees lost to Boston 5-0.

1936- Noel Coward's play 'Private Lives' opened.

1938- Bob Clampett's cartoon "Porky in Wackyland" ( Foo!)

1938- Tennis champion Dan Budge won the US Open in Forrest Hills. Budge became the first person to win all four major tennis meets in one year- Wimbledon, French Open now called Roland Garros, Australian Open and US Open

1941- This day the Japanese Consul in Honolulu was instructed by the Imperial War Ministry to quietly begin gathering information about the US Fleet in Pearl Harbor.

1944- President Franklin Roosevelt had been criticized by Republican Congressmen for wasting money in needless wartime excesses. This day he defeated his critics with humor when they accused him of sending a Navy destroyer to the Aleutian Islands just to retrieve his lost Scottie dog Fallah. He said in a speech” Now I am used to personal attacks, My family is used to personal attacks, but Fallah- isn’t.(laughter) He’s Scottish, you know….and he hasn’t been the same dog since.”
1953-UPA's "Unicorn in the Garden" directed by Bill Hurtz, based on the cartoon style of James Thurber.

1953- The movie "The Robe" premiered, Richard Burton, Victor Mature and Jean Simmons, but Jay Robinson steals the movie with a deliciously over the top performance as mad emperor Caligula. The Robe was the first movie in CinemaScope. It's success was part of a wave of 'Sword & Sandal" epics and fostered many imitation wide screen processes- Superama,VistaVision, Dynarama, WarnerVision, TotalScope-etc. Paramount had experimented with VistaVision starting in the '30's. A colleague bought a number of their prototype cameras, beautiful pieces of machinery, no two exactly alike. There had been earlier experiments with wide screen - Abel Gance's 1925 Napoleon, which used three 35mm images shown simultaneously, and Cimmarron, which was a true wide screen 70mm film starring a very young John Wayne, released in 1930. It was superceded by 1967 by the more advanced Panavison lense. Today in Hollywood we still call a wide screen picture a "Scope" picture.

1955- President Eisenhower suffered a major heart attack while playing golf. Secretary of State Allen Foster Dulles and other White House staffers run things without even telling Vice President Nixon.

1960- The "Howdy Doody Time" children's show cancelled after a thirteen year run. The show remains a pivotal memory in the minds of thousands of American baby-boomers who grew up in the fifties. As the last song and the last credits rolled by, just before the cameras switched off, Clarabell the mute clown goes up to the lens and in a haunting voice said; "Goodbye, Kids."

1968- T.V. show "60 Minutes" debuts. Mike Wallace was pared with Harry Reasoner. The show was originally aired Tuesday nights at 10PM and fared poorly in the ratings. When it was moved to Sundays at 7:00PM it became a weekly institution.

1977- The TV series “The Love Boat “debuted.

1988- The GodFather of Soul Music James Brown gets a little crazy sometimes. This day he burst into his office complex in Georgia waving a pistol and shotgun and demanded everyone stop using his washroom! After locking the bathrooms he led police on high speed chase through Georgia and South Carolina, only stopping when the cops shot out his tires. He rode the rims till they collapsed. James Brown did 2 years for being under the influence of drugs. Hay!

Sept 23, 2006 HAPPY AUTUMN
September 23rd, 2006

Birthdays: Euripides-484BC, Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Mickey Rooney, Julio Inglesias, Bruce Springsteen, Walter Pidgeon, Louise Nevelson, Jason Alexander, Mary Kay Place, Harry Connick Jr

1642- The first commencement ceremony at Harvard College.

courtesy of the Scotsman.
1779- "I HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT !" Captain John Paul Jones on the U.S.S. BonHomme Richard defeated the larger British H.M.S. Serapis in an epic sea duel off Cape Falmouth, England. The two ships grappled each other side by side, pounded away with heavy cannon and fought hand-to-hand. The ships were so close that men could jump through the gun portals from one ship to another. At one point Bonhomme Richard was burning from stem to stern, sinking and all her guns out of action. But John Paul Jones refused to give up. The American crew thought their pint-sized Scots captain had lost his reason. When gunnery Ensign Grubb tried to haul down the Stars & Stripes Jones knocked him down with a pistol butt. English Captain Pearson overheard Jones arguing with his officers about surrender and called aloud "Sir, do you strike your colors, sir?" That’s when John Paul Jones shouted his famous retort: "I have not yet begun to fight!"
To make matters worse the other American ship in the area the USS Alliance was manned by a jealous captain named Launnay. He ordered a broadside fired into the Bonhomme Richard! Launnay hoped that by helping the Englishman kill Jones he could then finish off the Briton and take all the credit for the victory. Jones personally ran over to a ten pounder cannon whose crew had been killed, loaded it and fired it himself, bringing down the Serapis’ mainmast.
Finally it was English Captain Pearson who gave up. The Bon Homme was so shot to pieces it sank so the victors had to ride home on the Serapis. The point of the battle for Jones was trying to raid a British merchant convoy, and the convoy got away, but the symbolic victory to Americans and French was significant. John Paul Jones became a legend on the English Channel. In 2002 the wreck of the Bonhomme Richard was discovered 7 miles off the English coast and is being explored.

1846- The planet Neptune discovered by Johann Gottleib Gala.

1912- "Colin Collects a Debt" ,Max Sennet's first film comedy featuring the Keystone Kops.

1921- The Band-Aid self adhesive bandage introduced. A scientist at Johnson &Johnson invented it for his wife who kept cutting herself in the kitchen. Supposedly the skin tone color, which doesn't seem to match anybodies skin, was her skin coloring.

1933- At a dedication ceremony Adolf Hitler broke ground for the construction of Germany’s Autobahn system- 1400 miles of modern freeway. One story says Hitler himself conceived the idea since he was a lifelong auto enthusiast. But that is untrue. German designers as early as 1913 were inventing the road features common to today’s motorists- the Blending Lane and Clover Leaf, Fast Lanes and meridian divided roads.

1939- At the World’s Fair in New York a time capsule was buried not to be opened until the year 6939. It contains a Bible, a mail order catalog and newsreels of President Franklin Roosevelt.

1962- H& B's show 'the Jetsons' premiered. It was the first ABC show to be presented in color. Jane! Stop this Crazy Thing! Jane!

1964- Marc Chagalls paintings on the ceiling of the Paris Opera House unveiled.

1969- the film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" premiered. Written by William Goldman and directed by George Roy Hill. It made fortunes for stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford, who later started and independent film festival called Sundance.

1984-Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Frank Wells met the Disney Animation Dept. and are pitched storyboards for the film Basil of Baker Street, later called the Great Mouse Detective. Eisner dictates memos to start the television animation division. Up to now their thinking had been to dismantle the animation department and earn income from the licensees of the existing library. Roy Disney was instrumental in insisting the animation division remain.

Sept 22, 2006 heroes
September 22nd, 2006

We heard this week of the deaths of two great film artists:

Gerald Brach 1926-2006 was Roman Polanski's regular screenwriter/collaborator. He wrote Repulsion 1965, The Fearless Vampire Killers 1967, Tenant 1976 and Tess 1979. In addition the Frenchman also wrote Jean De Florette and Manon Des Sources 1986, The Name of the Rose 1986 and the Bear, 1987.

Sven Nykvist1922-2006 Called the Master of Light, he was one of the greatest cinematographers to ever squint into a lens. A longtime collaborator with Ingmar Bergman, his credits include Cries and Whispers, Persona, Fanny and Alexander, as well as Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Sleepless in Seattle.

Happy Rosh Hashannah.