November 4, 2006
November 4th, 2006


Which artist never worked in animation?

a- Jack Kirby
b- Milt Gross
C- Frank Frazetta
D- Salvador Dali'
e- Jules Feiffer
f- Charles Addams

answer below-

Birthdays: Will Rogers, Walter Cronkite is 90, Art Carney, Loretta Swit, Martin Balsam, Gig Young, Darla Hood, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ralph Maccio,Andrea McArdle, Matthew McConnaghey,P-Diddy is 37 Laura Bush is 60

1913- William Mulholland's great aqueduct starts bringing water 200 miles from Northern California to L.A. by the force of gravity alone. Without the extra water L.A. would never have grown any larger than 140,000 L.A. Times estimate.

1927- HOWARD CARTER OPENED THE TOMB OF KING TUT-ANKH-AMON ( King Tut ). Other royal tombs had been opened before but they had always been cleaned out centuries ago by grave robbers. King Tut’s was the first unspoiled Pharoah’s tomb to be discovered in modern times. The site was discovered under a house built for workers excavating the tomb of King Ramses IV. There was King Tut's Curse guarding the door, and a few folks like Lord Carnaervon did go to an early grave: allegedly from scratching a zit and getting blood poisoning, legend has it the same zit was found on King Tut’s mummy. But Howard Carter, the man who broke the seal, rifled the tomb and did everything but stick his fingers in Tut’s ears, lived to a merry old age and even pocketed a few artifacts he didn't feel like sharing with the Cairo Museum. They were recently returned by an embarrassed family descendant.

1939- Packard introduced the first air-conditioned automobile.

1952- UNIVAC, the first electronic business computer, accurately predicted Dwight Eisenhower would win in a landslide. The first computer projected results for an election. Eisenhower was such a low key figure in politics that pundits referred to the White House as "The Tomb of the Well-Known Soldier'.

1955- In Arizona Willie Bioff, former IATSE union official, who tried to hijack the Hollywood unions (Including the Disney cartoonists) for Frank Nitti's gang, turns the key in his Ford pickup and explodes. He had turned informer and was in the Wittness Protection plan. He had changed his name to Bill Nelson and was a friend of Republican Senator Barry Goldwater.

1963- The Beatles are part of the Queens Royal Command performance in London. John Lennon tells the audience: “ Will the people in the cheap seats clap their hands?, and if the rest of you would just rattle your jewelry..”

1968- the first issue of Screw Magazine. Former reporter Jim Buckley and former industrial spy for the Bendix Corporation Al Goldstein named their magazine Screw after trying Hump, Love and being told they couldn't name it F**k.

1993- The Topanga-Malibu fires., Huge brush fires burn expensive homes in Malibu. The fires reached from the Santa Monica Mountains down to the ocean. Eyewitnesses said the 200 foot flames were reflected in the sky and water turning everything orange and the landscape looked more like Mars than Malibu.

QUESTION Which artist never worked in animation?

ANSWER- They ALL worked in animation.

a- Jack Kirby- Max Fleischers 1935-37
b- Milt Gross- MGM 1937
C- Frank Frazetta-Bakshi's Fire & Ice
D- Salvador Dali'-Disneys Destino 1953
e- Jules Feiffer- Terrytoons- 1957-58
f- Charles Addams- Max Fleischers 1936-37

Tonight is the Little Mermaid Crew Reunion.

Me as the Little Mermaid Mo-Cap Model. Don't hate me because I'm beautiful!

A Benefit to aid the ASIFA/Hollywood Archives.7:00PM at the Van Eaton Gallery at 13613 Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks east of Woodman. Ten dollars at the door.
Panelists include the writer-directors John Musker and Ron Clements, Sebastian animator Duncan Marjoribanks, Ariel animator Mark Henn and his key asistant Luriline Kohler, King Triton animator Andreas Deja, Ursula animator Ruben Acquino and CG supervisor Tina Price. I will moderate.

Don't be a Guppy, come on over and say Hi!


Birthdays: The Roman writer Lucan 39AD, John Montague the Earl of Sandwich and inventor of the same, Walker Evans, William Cullen Bryant, Stephen Austin, Bronco Nagurski, Andre' Malraux, Vincenzo Bellini, Bob Feller, Karl Baedeker author of the Baedeker guidebooks, Ken Berry, Michael Dukakis, Roseanne Barr, Astroboy creator Osamu Tezuka, animator/director Terry Gilliam

1503- MONA LISA- Leonardo Da Vinci was hired by a Florentine senator Francesco del Giocondo to paint a portrait of his third wife Madonna Elizabetha or Lisa. He fussed over the painting for four years and never gave it to Francesco, he said it was still unfinished and kept it for himself. Eventually he needed money so he sold it to the King of France and today it sits in the Louvre. Was her enigmatic smile because she had lost a child earlier that year and Leonardo was trying to cheer her up? He used to have musicians playing in the room when she posed. Or is she emblematic of Woman smiling at all the foibles of Men? One historian called Mona Lisa “ the Face that Launched a Thousand Reams Upon a Sea of Ink.”

1930- Amadeo Gianini changed the name of his San Francisco based Bank of Italy to the Bank of America.

1963- THE FIRST ALL COSMONAUT WEDDING- Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in Space, marries cosmonaut Andrisyan Nikolayev.

1971- The first UNIX manual released. And I still can’t make heads or tails of them.

1971- Carly Simon married James Taylor.

1977- Disney's Pete's Dragon starring Helen Reddy and Red Buttons. “Passamaquody, Passamaquody..”

1979- T.V. sitcom Different Strokes premiered, featuring 2003 gubernatorial candidate Gary Coleman..

1990- GM's new car line the Saturn announced. The last Saturn was made in Oct. 2006.

1981- WALLY WOOD was one of the most influential cartoonists of the 1950’s and 60’s. His amazing versatility enabled him to draw everything from superhero comics to very cartoony to playfully naughty girls like Sally Forth. He drew EC Comics, the Mars Attacks series, Mad Magazine, Weird Science, THUNDER Agents and much more.
He had done a famous drawing of the Disney characters having sex that brought down upon him the wrath of the Disney legal dept. (I cna't show it but do a Google image search and you'll find it.) But hard living and deadlines took their toll. Suffering from a stroke, failing kidneys and on dialysis, this day Wally Wood put a 44 cal pistol to his right temple and pulled the trigger. Police say the bullet passed through his head and was lodged in the pillow.

November 2, 2006 thurs
November 2nd, 2006


What is ASIFA?

a- An Israeli underground militia.

b- An international animators society founded by UN charter in 1961.

c-A coffee supplement.

d-A male potency enhancement pill.

Birthdays: Daniel Boone, Pres. James Knox Polk, Jean Chardin, Luchino Visconti, Giusseppi Sinopoli, Burt Lancaster,Pat Buchanan, Steve Ditko, Ray Walston, Stephanie Powers, k.d.lang, David Schwimmer

this is Dio de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. It derives from the Aztecs, who believed the life you are living now is a dream, when you die you awake to your real life.

1904- London newspaper The Daily Mirror first published.

1917- Britain passed the Balfour Declaration, calling for a national home for Jews in Palestine. Sit Arthur Balfour was the British Foreign Secretary under David Lloyd George. Britain once considered Uganda and Argentina for a Jewish homeland before settling on Palestine, then a sleepy border province of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. Balfour had the powerful former prime minister Robert Lord Salisbury as his uncle. No matter how his fortunes rose or waned his uncle ensured his career path was steady. This originated the English slang term for having good connections:” So Bobs’ yer uncle.”

1920- Radio station KDKA in Pittsburgh began the nation’s first broadcasting with news of election results.

1930- Ras Tafari crowned Halie Selassie Ist, Ethiopian Emperor. The Jamaican movement Rastafarians are named for him.

1932- Young star Katherine Hepburn first shines in the film A Bill of Divorcement, co- starring with John Barrymore.

1937- Laguardia Airport opened. New York City’s first municipal airport.

1947- Howard Hughes pilots his monster wooden airplane, the "Spruce Goose" for it's only test flight, one minute over Long Beach Harbor. Two hundred tons, Eight engines, a wingspan longer than a football field, it was conceived as an aid to win World War Two but was completed two years after it ended.

1950- Writer George Bernard Shaw died at 94. His last words were:" Oh well, it will be a new experience anyway."

What is Asifa?

Answer b.- In 1961 Several leading animators including John Hubley (USA) Dusan Vukotic'(Yugoslavia) Paul Grimault(France), John Halas(UK),Fyodor Khytruk(USSR), Norman McClaren(Canada)and Marcel Jankovic'(Hungary) were granted a charter by the United Nations agency UNESCO to form chapters of a non-profit society to propagate interest in animation and sharing information across Cold War Boundaries. Because in the UN French was the common language of Diplomacy, They called it l' Association Internationale du Film d'Animation or ASIFA. Today there are ASIFA chapters all across the world. ASIFA/Hollywood was formed in 1965 by Bill Littlejohn, June Foray,Prescot Wright and Bill Scott. The Annie Awards were begun in 1972.

I just got my copy of Neal Gabler's new biography of Walt Disney, WALT DISNEY: THE TRIUMPH OF THE AMERICAN IMAGINATION. I have enjoyed Gablers past works like EMPIRE OF THEIR OWN, HOW THE JEWS CREATED HOLLYWOOD. A few years ago I attended a lecture he gave on that topic at the Motion Picture Academy and I found him a most engaging speaker.

Of course, since my interests right now are associated with my own book DRAWING THE LINE, I immediately flipped to the chapter on the 1941 Strike. Those of you who already have my book recall I said the Disney Strike story was like Kurosawa's Rashomon, where different realities clash, depending upon who was telling the story. Gabler had the complete cooperation of the Disney Studio archives, which I had not. I was worried if that might slant his recitation of events towards the Walt version of things.

But my concerns were soon put to rest. I think his narrative was more even handed than I had first expected. He did stay more on how things were effecting Walt than his artists, but after all, his book is about Walt while mine is about the artists. He got some great anecdotes that showed Walt with warts and all. I like the one where Walt threatened to throw Art Babbitt out the front gate if he didn't stop the union organizing. He filled in a few missing pieces in the puzzle for me.

If I have any nits to pick, it is that Gabler is doing as best he can as an outsider writing from a distance. He does not have much experience with unions and the inner workings seem alien to him. He does not understand that the management- organized Disney Federation of Cartoonists was a company union from its inception, a very old anti-labor tactic. Unless I'm reading it wrong, he made it seem like Babbitt invented the Federation himself, out of fear of the gangster Willie Bioff's intervention. He also failed to mention that Walt and Lessing's threats to fire Art Babbitt and the strikers were violation of Federal Law.There was no mention of the nationwide boycott declared by the American Federation of Labor, the ancillary strikes by the Editors and Publicists and the Technicolor engineers.

Neil Gabler also commits the error many writers do when covering animation, of isolating our world for specific focus. We of ToonTown are not isolated in a bubble, immune from the outside. The Hollywood animation community was very aware of events all around them. After the studio wage cuts of 1937 and the Wagner Act of 1935, that ruled that all American workers have a right to form unions, all Hollywood was wild for organizing. Editors in 1935, Writers 1936, Directors 1939, Actors 1937, Backstage groups fought for jurisdiction with citywide strikes in 1933, 1937 and 1945. Animators in NY had already held strikes in 1935 and 1937. So, is it any surprise that Hollywood animators would want one too, in 1938?

The Walt Disney Strike was not just about a few disgruntled Mickey artists seduced by a chip-on-his-shoulder Babbitt and Herb Sorrell, the labor Mephistopheles. It was Walt and his management team against the rest of the animation business. Artists from Warner Bros, MGM, Walter Lantz, George Pal, and Columbia and their families, even their children, walked pickets up and down Buena Vista right alongside their Disney brothers and sisters. They were supported by actors, cooks, Lockheed mechanics, newspaper printers, screenwriters like Dorothy Parker, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and more. All understood it was everyone's fight.

And Chicago gangster Willie Bioff did not come out of nowhere. Like Neil, I also don't have an exact date for the moment Bioff met Disney. Although he was considered a minor player, Walt Disney was invited to the regular meetings of the major Hollywood studio heads to discuss what was best for the industry. Movie-Moguls like Louis B. Mayer, Joseph Schenck and Barney Balaban had been dealing with Willie Bioff and doing business with him for years. He was their preferred "union-expert." It is possible that Walt, Roy and attorney Lessing may have made his acquaintance then.

Finally, I would take exception to bringing up the old commie charge, that the top union guys were all communists. I write in my book that in the heady atmosphere of the social conscious 1930's, if you were against Segregation, against Hitler, against Child Labor, and for worker safety laws, minimum wage and unemployment insurance, then sooner or later you would have attended a Communist Party USA meeting. Many American Jews at first applauded the Soviet regime that overthrew the hated Russian Czar, whose Cossacks persecuted their fathers and mothers and drove them to America. After Stalin signed the 1939 Non Aggression Pact with the Third Reich, many American progressives resigned from the party. But the label stuck, especially in the socially conservative McCarthy Era. Dave Hilberman never told me he was a communist party member. Often the topic was meant to distract from the central issues of the unhappy artists with their management.

All that said, I am enjoying Neil Gabler's book. It seems the perennial sport of film people is to throw rocks at each other's research. But my humble pinpricks don't in any way diminish my admiration for a great piece of scholarship. So far I especially like the retelling of the inside story of the pressure on the crew to finish Snow White.
Walt Disney, The Triumph of the American Imagination is a great read.

Welcome to November, Roman Month #9-Novembrius.

Birthdays: Benevenuto Cellini, Marie Antoinette, President Warren Harding, Stephen Crane, Marcel Ophuls, Larry Flynt, Walter Matthau, Fernando Valenzuela, Lyle Lovett, Willie D, Rick Allen of Def Leppard, Jenny McCarthy

To the ancient Romans this was the Feast of Homona, Goddess of the Harvest. Her offerings were bright apples, a staple of the Roman diet. In the Early Christian Church they changed the name to the Feast of All Souls Day. The custom of bobbing for apples at Halloween comes from the pagan ritual.

1512- Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Ceiling is unveiled to the public for the first time.

1604- William Shakespeare's play "Othello the Moor of Venice" first performed.

1835- Davey Crockett, after losing his bid for re-election to Congress tells his Tennessee voters:" You can all go to Hell, I'm going to Texas!"

1895- Emil and Max Skladowsky set up a Bioscope Projector in Berlin's Wintergarden. Birth of German Cinema.

1920- The first issue of American Cinematographer.

1938- At Pimlico in Maryland this day was the famous horse race between War Admiral and Sea Biscuit, the two finest thoroughbreds of the age. War Admiral was sleek and aristocratic, sired from the blood of the great champion Man of War. Sea Biscuit by contrast looked ungainly and lame. But in the end The Biscuit he won the race by three lengths. The race was heard live on radio by one in three Americans.

1939- Rockefeller Center in New York City opened.

1946- THE FIRST NBA BASKETBALL GAME- The first professional game was the New York Knicks 68, the Toronto Huskies 66. The first basket was scored by Ozzie Sheckmann.

1968- The Motion Picture Ratings System introduced-"G,M, R, and X"- Later PG, PG-13, R and NC-17".

Happy Halloween Oct 31, 2006
October 31st, 2006

I want to try to get to Book Soup on Sunset Blvd today because atist Ralph Steadman will be there at 7:00PM signing copies of his new book THE JOKES OVER, detailing his dealing with the recent suicide of Gonzo guru Hunter H. Thompson, his friend of 35 years.

Birthdays: Jan Vermeer, John Keats,Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek, John Candy, Dale Evans, Jane Pauley, David Ogden Stiers, Dan Rather , Lee Grant, Ethel Waters, Juliet Low-founder of the American Girl Scouts, Rob Schneider, Vanilla Ice, Stephen Rea, Peter Jackson,


Ollie Johnston, the Last of the Disney Nine Old Men, is 94!

HAPPY ALL HALLOWS EVE- The night before the Feast of All Souls, beginning the Christian season of Advent, was confused in Medieval custom with one of the four Druid fire festivals, All Hallows. In Ireland it was called Samhein and in Scotland at this time all hearth fires in the land are extinguished then re-lit from the fire at the sacred grove. Add to this the early Church's attempt to eradicate the pagan custom of giving food to departed spirits -Greek Anthesterion in Feb., Roman Feralia and Lemuria in May- by moving the date to honor the dead to the Feast of All Souls on November 1st. Many cultures have customs of putting food offerings on doorsteps so invisible spirits would give you good luck. So today's the last night for the devil and other ghosties to romp before the Holiday Season (Advent) begins.

1931- First day of shooting on the MGM film Tarzan the Ape Man, with Olympic gold medal swimmer Johnny Weissmuller in the title role. Contrary to popular myth no one ever said “Me Tarzan, You Jane” in the film. MGM liked the films so much they never let Weissmuller star in any other type of film other than as Tarzan.

1938- In a speech President Franklin D. Roosevelt warned of big corporate tycoons who try to influence American politics. “ Organized Money is as great a threat to American democracy as organized mobs!”Boy, I'm sure glad that kinda stuff doesn't happen today!

1941-the sculpture group of U.S. Presidents on Mount Rushmore completed. Instead of just their heads, artist–designer Judson Borglum wanted the sculpture to go down to the figures waists but he died in early 1941 and with war on the horizon his son and chief engineer rushed to complete the heads as is.

1945- The "War of Hollywood" Ends. The CSU union strike, the film business's longest and ugliest, falls apart and many of the former members drift into IATSE locals.

1964- Today in a taped phone conversation FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover gave President Lyndon Johnson tips on how to spot a closet homosexual: “It’s a thing you just can’t tell sometimes…There are some people who walk kinda funny. That you might think are a little bit off or kinda queer..” We now know FBI director Hoover was gay himself.

1993- Rising young movie star River Phoenix overdosed and died on the street in front of the Viper Room night club in L.A after partying with Johnny Depp and Alicia Silverstone. The club is owned by movie star Depp and was once the Melody Room owned by Mobster Bugsy Seigel. Ironically as Phoenix was thrashing spasmodically people walked by unconcerned because it’s a common occurrence on the Sunset Strip.

Now, you vill go and buy Tom Sito's Book!

Happy Halloween Everyone!