February 10, 2007 saturday
February 10th, 2007

Birthdays: Jimmy Durante the Great Schozzolla, Bertholdt Brecht, Leontyne Price, Roberta Flack, Bill Tilden, Lon Chaney Jr., Stella Adler, Mark Spitz, Boris Pasternak, Dame Judith Anderson,Donavan, Dr Alex Comfort author of the Joy of Sex, George Stephanopolos, Michael Apted, Jerry Goldsmith, Robert Wagner, Laura Dern is 40

1840- English Queen Victoria marries a minor German prince named Albert of Saxe Coburg-Gotha. It becomes a real love-match and they produce children who will occupy the thrones of Europe. Their common belief in strong moral values above all transform English society into something truly Victorian. Albert set men’s fashion trends like tuxedos, neckties and sideburns; he also introduced to Britain and later to America the German custom of Christmas trees. He also is the origin of the famous dumb joke: "Do you have Prince Albert in a can? Well, Let him out!! " yuk, yuk...

1846- After their temples in Navoo Illinois were burned by mobs, the Mormons under Brigham Young set off for their trek to Utah.

1862- After a hard night partying with fellow poet Swinburne, pre-Raphaelite Dante Rossetti returned home to find his wife dead of an opium overdose.

1863- Alanson Crane invented the Fire Extinguisher.

1920- Major League Baseball banned the spitball pitch.

1929- Elsa Lanchester married Charles Laughton.

1938- RKO screwball comedy with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant “ Bringing Up Baby” premiered.

1940-MGM's "Puss gets the boot" the first Tom and Jerry cartoon and the first collaboration of the team of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.

1949- The premiere of Arthur Miller’s play "Death of a Salesman".

1966- CBS co-ops broadcasting the senate Kennan Hearings on the conduct of the Vietnam War with reruns of "I Love Lucy'. CBS news division president Fred Friendly quits in protest.

1966-Jaqueline Susanne’s novel The Valley of the Dolls first published. Although critics considered it cheap and trashy- Time Magazine called it “Dirty Book of the Month” and Truman Capote called Susanne in her heavy sixties eyeshadow a “Truck Driver in Drag” Valley of the Dolls sold like wildfire. Its frank portrayal of single women enjoying casual sex and taking drugs was a big step in the sexual revolution of the 1960’s.

1993- Former black man Michael Jackson told Oprah Winfrey in a television interview that he wasn’t deliberately trying to whiten his skin but he was suffering from a rare pigment disease. And what about that nose?

1992- The children’s book- The Stinky Cheese Man debuted.

-In the News today- The Wall Street Journal online has an interesting article about how Steve Jobs may have handled Pixar stock options to encourage John Lasseter to re-up. This was around the time Eisner was trying to get John to jump ship and take over Disney Burbank, which has happened anyway, just without Eisner.

-Mark Mayerson printed a great quote by Don Graham from 1937 that could be applied to Mo-Cap today.
-Jerry Beck's Cartoon Brew has a report from the Disney stockholders meeting in Fla about the upcoming Disney feature films.
Can you say- Toy Story III?
Use my links page to go there.

I'll be flying to Boston this weekend to start work on a new TV series, announcement to come. Gotta pack my longjohns, I heard it's a bit nippy.
Birthdays: Constantine XI Paleaologos- the last Byzantine Emperor 1404, President William Henry Harrison, Samuel Tilden, Carmen Miranda, Alban Berg, Ronald Colman, Mia Farrow, Ernest Tubb, King Vidor, Mamie Van Doren, Roger Mudd, Illustrator Alberto Vargas, Carole King, Bill Veeck, Fred Harman, Joe Pesci is 64, Zhang Zhi-Yi., Painter Frank Frazetta, Mena Suvari is 28

1856- An early tabloid The London Illustrated News reported a live Pterodactyl dinosaur popped out of a rock and flew away when workers were excavating a railroad tunnel in Culmont France. Believe it or Not!

1964- Ed Sullivan introduced the English rock band the Beatles to the U.S. TV audience. It was a "Rrrreally Big Shewww!" ( Sullivan’s signature line)

1967- The" Lindsay Snowstorm". John Lindsay was the handsome if confused mayor of New York in the sixties of whom the Robert Redford character in "The Candidate" was partially based. He tried to cut budget expenses by stripping New York of it's snowplow fleet, thinking they were unnecessary. The city was immediately paralyzed by 14 inches of snow. Plows had to be brought from as far as Montreal. He should have listened to his young student intern, Jeffrey Katzenberg.

1968-"You did it! You Finally did it! Oh, Damn you all to Hell!!" the film the Planet of the Apes with a naked Charlton Heston premiered.

1971- The Sylmar Quake (6.8) rocks L.A.

1989- In testimony before the New Jersey State Senate World Wrestling Federation officials including President Vince McMahon admit that the sport of wrestling is purely entertainment and no one actually gets hurt. I’m shocked, shocked!

1990- Singer Del Shannon, who had a hit with the 1961 song Runaway, shot himself with a 22 rifle. Del Shannon was supposed to replace Roy Orbison in the Travelling Wilbury's, the group that featured Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynn. Orbison had died the previous year of heart failure and the Wilburys were starting to rehearse with Del Shannon. After Shannon's suicide, the group decided to disband.

1996- German World War Two figther ace Adolf Galland died at age 86. While other aces had skulls or dice painted on their planes, Galland preferred a Mickey Mouse on the tail of his Messerschmidt. Ach Adolf, ist dat der RAF on your tail? Nein, izt der Disney Legal Department! Himmel!

2001- Actor Tom Cruise filed for divorce from his wife actress Nicole Kidman.

February 8, 2007 thursday
February 8th, 2007

Jerry Beck reminds us, ASIFA-Hollywood's annual event, The Annie Awards, are being bestowed this Sunday in a star-studded presentation at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. VIP tickets are sold out, but I've been told there are still a few general seats available. The pre-show reception starts at 3pm, the award ceremony begins at 5pm and the gala post-event party (this year in a tent behind the theatre) starts around 7:15pm. I can't make it this year because I have to fly to Boston, but I predict winners like
Best Features-Cars, TV Show Samurai Jack, Short- Dreams and Desires,
and lots of other stuff. Enjoy!

Birthdays: Jules Verne,James Dean, William Tecumseh Sherman, composer John Williams, animator Ivan Ivano-Vano, Lana Turner, Jack Lemmon ,Alejandro Rey, Ted Koppel, Nick Nolte, Buck Henry, Gary Coleman, Robert Klein.
Happy Birthday to Yoouuu..

1608- Fire burns down what there is of Jamestown, most of the colonists remaining food supply, and their Alan Mencken sheet music.

1672- THE SPECTRUM- Earlier in 1666, Sir Issac Newton bought a little prism stone at Stourbridge Fair. It inspired him to think about the principles of light. On this day he presented his paper to the Royal Society “New Theory about Light and Colors”. Newton discovered the Spectrum. That white light is not light devoid of color but made up of all colors which when broken up in a prism always assume the same spectral pattern Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.

1864- Abraham Lincoln visited Matthew Brady's Photo Studio and posed for the photo's that would one day be on the Penny and Five dollar bill.

1893- THE FIRST RECORDED STRIPTEASE -discounting Salome’ of course. At Paris's famed Moulin Rouge, an artist's model named Mona decided to get an edge in a beauty contest judged by art students by disrobing to music while walking up and down the stage. She was arrested and fined 100 francs and the students rioted over her arrest. Vive le France!

1915- THE BIRTH OF A NATION or The Clansman premiered at Clunes Auditorium in Los Angeles. Film pioneer and son of a Confederate veteran, D.W. Griffith's racist movie was considered for years the first American feature length film. Only recently, the discovery of a 1913 Richard III film predates it. It is thought nowadays that Griffith was making a personal statement by the film, truth is there was a flood of Civil War films to mark the 50th anniversary of the conflict and the book the Clansman by Thomas Dixon was a hot property. President Woodrow Wilson ( another son of the South ) called it :"History written with a thunderbolt and I’m afraid all too true." Birth of a Nations’ inflammatory imagery and this politically incorrect Presidential endorsement helped a rebirth of the long dead Ku Klux Klan and caused a marked increase in lynchings of African-Americans. But despite the film’s unfortunate politics its technique influenced world cinema and established once and for all the feature film length as the standard for all future motion pictures. It’s original running length was 3 hours. D.W. Griffith in latter years lost his fortune and became a drunken has-been. Watching him at Chasen's Restaurant, in the 1940’s, beg MGM studio head Dore Schary for work, inspired Billy Wilder to write SUNSET BLVD.

1928- Englishman John Logie Baird transmitted a still television image across the Atlantic from England to Hartsdale New York. It was a still image of a woman.

1961- Nebraska teenager and future movie star, Nick Nolte was busted for the first time. He was accused of selling fake Draft cards so his friends could buy alcohol. He was arrested for drunk driving in 2003.

1966- The Vatican closed its office of censorship.

1967- Georgy Girl by the Seekers goes to #1 in pop charts.

1994- Jack Nicholson destroyed the windshield of a neighbor's car with a golf club, screaming “You cut me off!” He settled the matter out of court.

2002- The death of Sheldon Allman. He was 77. Sheldon was the lyricist of television songs like George of the Jungle and Mr. Ed .” A Horse is a Horse Of Course, Of Course”

Air -Lift
February 7th, 2007

Feeling blue? Try turning up the stereo, and air-conducting on

Camille Saint-Saens Symphony # 3 the Organ Symphony, Third Movement ( the melody was used in the first Babe film)

Mozart's Piano Concerto # 17, Third movement.

Anton Bruckner's choral Te Deum, opening.

Now, Life is Good!

Wow. It was a great night at Sid Graumann's Hollywood Egyptian last night for the LA premiere of Randy Olsen's documentary on Intelligent Design- Flock of Dodos. The halls that once rang with the voices of Chaplin and Garbo now had dancing Dodos and fundamentalist school board members clashing with Harvard biologists.
Filmmaker Randy Olsen and me

The theater was packed and I saw a lot of old friends from the American Cinemateque. Randy had me up on stage with him, his producers and his mom, the indominatable Muffy Moose. He was generous in his thanks to me for the animation I did for the film. Dodo's was well received and there was a good Q&A afterwards. This kicks off a series of screenings nationwide in colleges to mark DARWIN DAY on Monday, the 198th birthday of Charles Darwin.

Dodos,Darwin and me. Click to enlarge

Randy leaves to show the film tomorrow in Seattle, where the Discovery Institute is headquartered. They are the leading conservative funding organization dedicated to propagating the teaching of Intelligent Design over Evolution. They've already sent out press releases attacking the film. Randy will be back and we'll do another screening and panel at USC on Sat.
Flock of Dodos will air on SHOWTIME in May.http://www.flockofdodos.com

Birthdays: St. Thomas Moore, Eubie Blake, Sinclair Lewis, Larry "Buster" Crabbe, Laura Ingalls Wilder writer of Little House on the Prairie, Gay Talese, GI-Joe (the toy), James Spader is 47, Chris Rock is 42, Eddie Izzard is 45, Ashton Kutcher is 29

1910- The Town of Hollywood annexed into the City of Los Angeles.

1940- Disney's classic "Pinnochio" opened nationwide.

1960- JFK PARTYS WITH THE RATPACK-Before he created the Peace Corps and Camelot, presidential candidate John Kennedy needed to relax and raise some hell. So in total secret he helicoptered down to Las Vegas and spent this night at the Sands Hotel with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and his brother in law, actor Peter Lawford. These men were famous for their all-night Rat Pack parties, heavy drinking, party girls, poker and more. Sinatra introduced Kennedy to a party girl named Judith Cambell Exner, who would claim JFK as a lover at the same time as she was sleeping with Sam Momo Giancana, the don of the Chicago Mafia. In the wee dawn hours Kennedy slipped away to continue his race for the White House.

1964- THE BRITISH ROCK INVASION BEGAN. Thousands of screaming fans welcome THE BEATLES to New York for their first U.S. Tour. The last music out of England to be taken seriously by Americans was the Lambeth Walk, now the UK announced itself as a powerhouse of rock & roll. For a Brit to do Rock & Roll in America was as audacious as an American reciting Shakespeare in Stratford, but the welcome for the Beatles was so overwhelming that other bands like the Rolling Stones and Herman’s Hermits soon followed. Local New York disc jockeys Cousin Brucie and Murray the K wiggled to the front of the crowds and got a national audience by following the young musicians around. The crowds of teenagers were so excited they mobbed a Rolls Royce in front of the Warwick Hotel where the Beatles were staying just because they figured a Rolls Royce would be something they drove in. They actually used taxicabs.