October 4, 2006 weds
October 4th, 2006

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Birthdays: French King Louis X The Stubborn 1314, Richard Cromwell-“ Tumbledown Dick, “ President Rutherford B. Hayes, Frederick Remington, Jean Millet, Buster Keaton, Charlton Heston is 83, Susan Sarandon is 60, Armand Assante, Damon Runyon, Alvin Tofler, Anne Rice, Alicia Silverstone, Leiv Schreiber is 39

1846- The First American mayor of Los Angeles, a Lieutenant Gillespie, was apparently so harsh and racist to the population of Spanish Californians that they rose in revolt and chased him out of town. The Californios under their old Mexican General Andres Pico waged a guerrilla war against the U.S. army for the next few months.

1869-Henry J. Heinz begins his condiment company, bottling horseradish in a little shop in Pittsburgh. He was later called the Catsup King, -or Ketchup, if you prefer. One of the Heinz Company's greatest stunts was in the 1920s they placed a 40 foot tall electrified pickle on the corner of 23rd and 5th Ave. in Manhattan.

1931- Chester Gould's "Dick Tracy" comic strip debuts.

1943- Actor Clark Gable was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal for flying combat missions over Germany. It was said Gable took these deliberately dangerous missions instead of doing USO shows out of a death-wish in grief for his wife Carole Lombard, who was killed in a plane crash.

1950- The first Peanuts comic strip introducing Charlie Brown’s dog Snoopy.

1955- The Brooklyn Dodgers a.k.a. "Da Bums" win the World Series for the first time, and the only time they ever won it while inhabiting the precincts of Flatbush. The name Dodgers came from the fact that several main trolley car lines intersected in front of Ebbets Field on Atlantic Avenue. To get into the ballpark you had to cross this area dodging the traffic. So they were known as the Brooklyn Trolley-Dodgers, then Dodgers.

1957-SPUTNIK- Russia inaugurates the Space Age and first shoots an object into space orbit. A basketball sized satellite called" Sputnik-1" . Sputnik means Satellite and the word spawned pop words like Beatnik, Nudnik and Peacenik. Americans used to thinking of themselves as the leaders in all technology reacted with shock. Why weren’t we first? We were losing the space race! Senate leader Lyndon Johnson complained “I don’t want to sleep under a Commie Moon!” Wild rock & roll star Little Richard Penniman thought Sputnik was an omen of the end of the world and resolved to give up sex, drugs and rock & roll and become a Born Again Christian preacher. Good Golly Miss Molly!

1957-"Leave it to Beaver' debuts on CBS.

1971- Janis Joplin was found dead at the Landmark Hotel in Hollywood. She was 27 and died of a heavy drug overdose. Her song “Me and Bobby McGee” was as yet unreleased but soon topped the pop charts. Joplin left a considerable sum in her will for a party for her friends. The invitation read “ The Drinks are on Pearl”.

1986- On a New York street a man named William Tager walked up to CBS News anchor Dan Rather and mumbling “Kenneth, whats the Frequency?” started furiously punching Rather. He thought CBS was beaming microwaves at his brain and it was Dan’s fault. Who Kenneth is remains a mystery.


Recently I wrote a piece in AWN.com on the history of animation training. I mentioned the wonderful animation school in Paris called the Gobelins School and their relationship to the Euro group CARTOON. Ed Jones of ILM, Jacques Muller and I were guests of the Gobelins and Cartoon in 1988. I got a nice note from the schools director Eric Riewer.
typical French animation studio

Tom,
just to set the record straight, I would like to rectify some facts about Gobelins, l’école de l’image. The animation department was indeed founded by Pierre Ayma, a Frenchman and not a Belgian, back in 1974, and soon became the leading animation teaching institution in France and even in Western Europe. When Cartoon, based in Belgium, was created by the European commission’s Media organisation as its animation branch to help develop the animation industry in Europe and encourage animation projects, particularly TV series, Pierre Ayma was brought on board as a consultant because of his long experience in animation training.

Cartoon however, be it in 1998 or even before and for a few years after, helped finance adult training courses in some aspects of animation production (storyboard, backgrounds, scenario but not character animation) that was quite separate from the character animation two year course founded in 1974 – since 2005 it is a three year course - that was and still is based on strong drawing skills. So it was not exactly the Euro boost from Cartoon that made the Gobelins character animation department a leader in animation training, but Pierre himself and the strong support from the French studios who supplied many teachers, and its track record of training fine animators for studios around the world.

I myself took over the animation department in 1998, after Pierre Ayma had left the previous year because of poor health. ( Pierre Ayma died in 2004). I urge you to look at our website to see our latest student films.
www.gobelins.fr –Eric Riewer

Merci Eric, I shall check it out!

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Birthdays: Gore Vidal, Mikail Lermontov, Harvey Kurtzman the creator of Mad Magazine, Chubby Checker, James Herriot, Eleanor Duse, Emily Post, Leo McCarey the director of the Marx Brothers Duck Soup and many Laurel & Hardy shorts, Steven Reich, Dave Winfield, Tommy Lee, Neve Cambell

1226- Saint Francis of Asissi died at 44. He seldom bathed and he asked his followers to strip him naked so he could leave the world as he came in. Whew, open the window! They all sang his Canticle of the Animals, then he exclaimed 'Welcome, Sister Death." His gravesite was kept secret until 1818.

1855- American James McNeill Whistler arrived in Paris to study painting. He had tried to apply to West Point for a military career but failed the entrance exam. Years later he joking told friends "If I hadn't identified phosphorous as a gas I'd be a major general by now!'

1895-The Red Badge of Courage first published. Despite being one of the best books on the average soldiers experience author Stephen Crane was never in the Civil War or any army. He died of tuberculosis at age 26.

1910- English comedians Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel first arrive in the U.S. with a touring British vaudeville company.


1941- Warner Bros. THE MALTESE FALCON premiered. Screenwriter John Huston asked if he could direct an adaptation of this old Dashell Hammett hard boiled mystery, which had been already made into movies twice. This version became the most famous. The name was kept despite producer Hal Wallis wanting to change it to THE GENT FROM FRISCO. The starring role of Sam Spade was originally offered to George Raft, who turned it down. Jack Warner was amazed that homely looking little contract actor Humphrey Bogart had shown the potential to be a romantic leading man in 'High Sierra', now the Maltese Falcon established him as a major draw. Warner joked to Bogie about his looks in referring to his contentious arguments with his wife Mayo-"I don't know what women see in you, but the more pots and pans she hits you in the kisser with, the more the dames love you!" Peter Lorre who played Joe Cairo in the film, provided the inspiration of the future cartoon character Ren from Ren & Stimpy. "You fat, bloated idiot! I'll kill you!"

1955- Good Morning, Captain. The Captain Kangaroo kiddy Show debuted on television. Where's Mister Greenjeans?

1955- The Mickey Mouse Club TV show premiered. Remember Spin & Marty and Adventures in Dairyland? The young mouseketeers were chaperoned by Disney story artist Roy Williams. Williams was a strikebreaker in 1941 and reportedly was so pro-company that there is a legend that he is buried in Forrest Lawn in his Mickey Mouse Club sweat shirt and ears. The series was revived in the 1977 and 1990s. Notable mouseketeers include Annette Funicello, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling. Jessica Simpson was a finalist but didn't make the cut. “Who’s the leader of the Band that’s Made for you and me…?
Roy Williams, courtesy of reelfilm.com

1957-Walter Lantz's The Woody Woodpecker T.V. show debuts. Woody was a star of shorts since 1941.

1957- Jayne Mansfield met Greta Garbo and asked for her autograph.

1961- The Dick Van Dyke Show premiered. It made stars of Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore and was written by ex-Sid Caesar writer Carl Reiner and Rocky & Bullwinkle writer Alan Burns.

1967- Folksinger and union activist Woodie Guthrie died of Huntington’s Chorea at age 55. His family dumped his ashes in New York Harbor then went to Nathans on the Coney Island Boardwalk for hot dogs, Woody’s favorite.

1992-Controversial and bald Irish pop star Sinead O’Connor caused a fuss by tearing up a picture of the Pope on the show Saturday Night Live. She was later booed off stage during a concert at Madison Square Garden.

1995- After a long sensationalist trial turned into a media spectacle, celebrity O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the double murder of his second wife Nicole and pizza delivery man Ron Goldman. He was later convicted in a wrongful death suit brought in Civil Court by Nicole’s family.

2003- The Siegfried and Roy magic show in Las Vegas comes to an end after a large Bengal Tiger attacks Roy Horn and tears his throat open in front of an audience. Most thought it was part of the act. This tragedy had an impact upon the Dreamworks animated show Father of the Pride, which featured the ambiguously gay lion tamers as stars.


Oct 2, 2006 mon
October 2nd, 2006

Birthdays: King Richard III, Nat Turner, Mohandas K. Ghandi known as the Mahatma- the Great Soul, Spanky MacFarland, Julius Marx known as Groucho Marx, Bud Abbot, Moses Gunn, Graham Greene, LeRoy Shield -composer of the music in the Hal Roach short comedies, film critic Rex Reed, Donna Karan, Gordon Sumner known as Sting is 55 ,Lorraine Bracco- Dr Melfi in the Sopranos, Tiffany, Kelly Ripa

Happy Yom Kippur, Happy World Farm Animals Day

1608- Dutch lens grinder Hans Lipperschei sent to the States General in the Hague a plan for an invention to see enemies at great distances. It used a tube with concave lenses on one end and convex lenses on the other. The Telescope. Another Dutch lens maker asked for a similar patent. But it was Italian scientist Galileo Galilei who read their doctoral papers and a year later invented his own telescope. He was the first to train it on the Universe.

1925-The first bright red Leyland doubledecker omnibuses appear on London streets.

1928 - This was a busy day at Victor Records Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. DeFord Bailey cut eight masters. Three songs were issued, marking the first studio recording sessions that made Nashville known as Music City, USA.

1933- Library of Congress musicologist John Lomax met with an Arkansas chain gang convict Hudlan Ledbetter, who everyone called Leadbelly. He recorded work songs of his called "the Rock Island Line, Midnight Special and Irene Good Night.'. Leadbelly became world famous and recorded his own versions 3 years later. Lomax died in 2002.

1937 - Ronald Reagan, just 26 years old, made his acting debut this day with Warner Brothers release of "Love is in the Air".


1950- Charles Schulz's "Peanuts" comic strip debuts. Good ol' Charlie Brown was the name of a fellow post office worker all the guy's liked to play jokes on. Schulz's idea 'little folks' was initially rejected by all the major comic syndicates. Three months before the strip was accepted his girlfriend broke off their engagement. He had left his job at the post office and she was convinced he would never amount to anything. At the time of his death Charles Schulz had mountains on the moon named for his characters and was arguably the most successfull visual artist in the world.

1954- Elvis Presley is fired from Nashville's Grand Ol' Opry Show after one performance. He was told :"Son, you ain't a' going no where. Go back to driving a truck!"

1955 - "Good Eeeeeeevening." The master of mystery movies, Alfred
Hitchcock, presented his brand of suspense to millions of viewers on CBS on this night.

1957- Raintree County, the first film in Panavision.

courtesy of bijoucollectibles.com
1958- The Huckleberry Hound Show.

1959- The television show the Twilight Zone debuts. Producer/writer Rod Serling had fought network execs for months that a mystery-suspense show could compete with all the Doctor and Cowboy shows on TV. He originally wanted Orson Welles to be the host of the show but Welles asked for too much money. So Serling decided to host it himself. He personally wrote 90 episodes. Twilight Zone is a term airline pilots used for the area when both the clouds and ground are invisible from view and you lose your bearings.

1967- San Francisco Police raid the Haight-Ashbury home of the rock band the Grateful Dead, busting everyone for possession of narcotics.

1977 - After a month following what appeared to be an attempt to steal the body of Elvis Presley from Forest Hill Cemetery, both Presley's and his grandmother's bodies are moved to Graceland.

1978- Future tv star Tim Allen was busted in Kalamazoo Michigan for selling cocaine.

1985- Actor Rock Hudson died of AIDS. The first major celebrity to die of the disease.


Oct. 1, 2006 Sunday
October 1st, 2006

So, sometimes folks ask me Hey Sito! How do you know all dis stuff? I have been a history fan who's been collecting trivia for many years. For instance I'm currently polishing off a biography of Chiang Kai Shek and the warlord period in 1930's China. Maybe when your full time job is fantasy, reality is where you go to relax.

In 1992 at Walt Disney Studio Scott Johnston helped me set up my first data files on each day, then Peter Schneider's assistant Stacy Slossy suggested I sent out an e-mail to friends with a daily gazette. The rest, is history...
Me at the memorial for the LA Times Bombing- see below, courtesy of the LA Grim Society


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Welcome to Month Number 8, Octubrius to the Romans. In 138 AD the Roman Senate wanted to rename month eight Faustina, after the wife of the Emperor Antoninus Pius. But being a rare modest empress, she declined the honor.

Birthdays: Vladimir Horowitz, Julie Andrews is 70, Walter Matthau, Richard Harris, Phillipe Noiret, James Whitmore, Pres.Jimmy Carter is 81, Everet Sloane, Rod Carew, Stanley Holloway, Tom Bosley, Chief Justice William Rheinquist, Max Morath, Mark McGuire, Randy Quaid, Cindy Margolis

326 A.D. Emperor Constantine the Great bans sentencing criminals to Gladitorial schools, effectively ending Gladitorial Combat. Games continued on a little while longer using prisoners of war but all the fun and professionalism had gone out of it. The last recorded bout in Rome was in 407 AD. According to the historian Jerome Carcopino the person slaves feared more than the Gladiator trainer (Lanista) or the pimp (Leno) was the Theater Manager! You may survive the brothel or arena, but in plays audiences thrilled to special effects like when Hercules burns himself alive on his funeral pyre, the manager substitutes a slave for the actor and really set him on fire!

1857- Gustav Flaubert's Madame Bovary premiered in magazine installments. Flaubert was tried for pornography but acquitted.

1880- John Phillip Sousa was named leader of the Marine Corps Band and began his career as the March King.

1903- First World Series of Baseball. The Boston Pilgrims had lost the first game today to the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-3, even though Cy Young was the starting pitcher. But Boston went on to win the series in best of nine games. Yes, that’s not a typo, There was no 1904 World series because the owners couldn't agree on a format.

1908- Ford announces the Model "T" the "Tin Lizzie" the first mass-produced affordable car. It was called the Model T because it took Twenty prototypes to perfect it. The Model T cost $825 dollars and paid on installments with as little as 10 dollars down. It’s top speed was 45 miles and hour and 15 million were sold. When they asked Henry Ford what color should it be, he replied: "Any color so long as it's black.' The auto goes from being a rich mans plaything to something every home could afford.

1911- A bomb blew up the L.A. Times building, killing 23 people. The Times had a hostility to unions and two union organizers the McNamara Brothers were arrested. Despite having Clarence Darrow as a lawyer they were convicted, possibly because halfway through the trial the brothers confessed . As the MacNamaras were hanged they shouted 'Hurrah for Anarchy!'

1932- Babe Ruth's "Called" Home Run. Ruth was hitting against a Chicago Cubs pitcher when he pointed with his bat towards right field. He then swung his bat and hit a home run over the right wing bleachers.
courtesy putnampit.com
1937- After heavy lobbying by millionaire publisher William Randolph Hearst the first Federal law banning Marijuana goes into effect. The law was sought chiefly by southwestern states who wanted to have an excuse to deport Mexican immigrants. Plus Hearst had many powerful paper manufacturers behind him who wanted wood pulp to be the chief source of paper products rather than hemp, which grows like a weed.

1945- Looney Tunes director Frank Tashlin left the cartoon business to work full time at Paramount doing live action movies. He wrote for the Marx Brothers and later directed the Dean Martin Jerry Lewis comedies.

1947-THE BIRTH OF THE BURBS- William Levitt's postwar dream, a planned community of affordable pre-fab homes on the outskirts of New York, called Levittown, is born. Mr. and Mrs. Bladykas move into the first 2 bedroom house, which cost $7,990 bucks. The first true suburb. The word Suburb is from Subura, the ghetto of Ancient Rome.

1962- Johnny Carson takes over the Tonight Show after host Jack Paar in a rage walks of the set and resigned. Paar was annoyed at network censors for censoring a comedy sketch.

1966- Largest demonstrations in China of Mao's Cultural Revolution.

1968-George Romero's weird film "Night of the Living Dead' premiered.

1982- Disney's EPCOT opens. Walt Disney's orginal concept was for a planned community that he personally would oversee, but little of the original plan remained.

1987- The Whittier Earthquake rocks L.A. 5.9 on the Richter Scale killed 8 and caused millions in damage.

1992 -the Cartoon Network starts. Cartoon Network reintroduced classic Hanna Barbera cartoons to a new generation and made funky shows like Space Ghost Coast-To-Coast a hit.


Sept 30, 2006 Flat Foot Floogie
September 30th, 2006

Today Oscar Grillo in London sent me a painting in his inimitable style, accompanied with a cut of music. Today it was a Swing era tune by Slim Galliard popular with G.I's in World War Two called Flat Foot Floogie (1938). It jogged a memory for me.

courtesy Londondance.com
http://www.museeq.com/ram/CON22318-4.ram

My father George Sito loved Flat-Foot Floogie with the Floy, Floy and used to sing it in our family car in the 1960s. When a young teenager he was a real Jitterbug. He had a Zoot Suit with the Reet-Pleat, pants worn high above the waist and a long key chain and Pork Pie hat with obligatory ostriche feather. He was from a Polish immigrant family of ten children and had to drop out of school when his father died to work in a factory near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He kept his zuit soot in a locker for fear his co-workers would laugh at his ridiculous outfit. But after work he would go out to bars and do dance demonstrations for money, twirling and throwing girls in the air.

He's 85 now and retired, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard area is now all upscale Yuppie restaurants, I'm told. But when such a melody as Flat Foot Floogie comes on, he smiles and recalls the days when it was Awlreet, Awlreet, Lay me some skin, Jackson!

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Birthdays: William Wrigley the Chewing Gum king 1868, Truman Capote, Eli Weisel, Lester Maddox, Buddy Rich, David Oistrach, Deborah Kerr is 85, Angie Dickinson, Marylin McCoo, Len Cariou, Johnny Mathis, Rula Lenska, Eric Stolz, Monica Bellucci, Jenna Elfman is 35

1791- Mozart's opera "Die Zauberflotte, The Magic Flute" premieres at Emanuel Schiknader's theater in Vienna. One of the theories about Mozart's death was that he enthusiastically put so much FreeMason's secret ritual into the Magic Flute that the Masons did him in for violating their secrecy. The Papageno-Papagena duet when they meet at the end was Schiknader's idea. Mozart gave pyrotechnical trills to the coloratura aria of the Queen of the Night, but privately he laughed at such singing, calling it “Cut Up Noodles”.

1846- Dr. William Morton first pulled a tooth using ether as an anesthetic.

1868- Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women first published in installments.

1919- The Fleischer Brother's first Out of the Inkwell cartoon featuring Koko the Clown. Koko was rotoscoped- meaning traced from live action like Motion Capture is done today. Dave Fleischer put on the clown suit, created by their mother and was filmed by his brother Max. Dave joked that if the cartoons failed he could use the suit to change careers.

1930- Death Valley Days show premiered on radio, sponsored by Twenty mule Team Borax powder. When it moved to television in the 50’s the host was Ronald Reagan.

1935- George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess premiered at the Colonial Theater in Boston.

1947- The first World Series Game on Television- New York Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 5-3. Gillette and Ford paid $65,000 to sponsor the entire series.

1952- This Is Cinerama, showcasing the widescreen film process, opened in theaters.

1955-James Dean (24) dies when his Porsche Spyder crashed head on into a pickup truck on Highway 41 outside of Paso Robles, .California. He was driving 85 mph at dusk without his headlights on and two hours earlier had been given a ticket for speeding. Until now the American public had only seen him in one movie- "Rebel Without a Cause" and some t.v. work. Giant and East of Eden had yet to be released, yet the legend endures to this day. In an errie coincidence Dean filmed a public service announcement promoting automobile safety. His last lines were:”Remember, the life you save may be mine!”

1960-Hanna Barbera's "The Flintstones" debuts. For six seasons in prime time the inhabitants of 301 Cobblestone Lane, Bedrock, was one of the most successful tv series ever. Originally going to be named the Flagstones, then Gladestones, before Flintstones. Ed Benedicts' designs with Alan Reed as the voice of Fred, Jean Van Der Pyl the voice of Wilma, Mel Blanc doing Barney and Bea Bernadette doing Betty. Trivia: Wilma became the first character on television to appear visibly pregnant. Lucille Ball went through her pregnancy on TV in 1953, but she was not allowed to be seen as such, covered with a lot of big clothes and filmed from the neck up.


1982- The TV comedy Cheers premiered. The Beacon Street Bar in Boston where everybody knows your name. It made stars of Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson, Kirstey Alley and Kelsey Grammar.


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