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John Garfield grabs the controls in 1943's Air Force.

When Thelma Schoonmaker was accepting her oscar for best editing for Martin Scorcese's 2004 THE AVIATOR, she mentioned that she made her her first connection with Marty when they both professed their love of old black & white Hollywood movies run on local metromedia TV stations.

From the late 1940s until recently local stations around the country had a library of film classics, dumped on them for a song by collapsing Hollywood dream factories. In New York we had Million Dollar Movie on WOR, Chiller Theater on WPIX on Saturday nights, and Battleground on WNEW on Sunday afternoons. In LA we had Elvira with her horror show and I'm sure your part of the country had it's own versions.

To the studios maybe they it was just housecleaning old films, but for many of us it was a course in film theory and history. At any time you could turn your dial ( before remotes) and see such Hollywood classics as RUGGLES OF REDGAP, BRINGING UP BABY, SANDS OF IWO JIMA, A DAY AT THE RACES or WHITE HEAT. The finest of old Hollywood with no cable fees.

Nowadays these time slots are filled with endless repeats of Fresh Prince of Bel Air or Fear Factor. You have to go out of your way to find Turner Classic Movies or ACM to see any great old films. I mourn the loss to new generations of film fans of such an opportunity. Animator Art Babbitt, the creator of Goofy, said to be an animator is to be a student of everything. Learning to appreciate the skill and technique of the old black & whites is a good first step.

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Birthdays: Henry Clay, Lily Pons, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Hancock, Monserrat Caballe', Ann Miller, Tiny Tim, Shannon Dougherty, Andy Garcia, Claire Danes, David Letterman is 61, Cheetah-the chimp in the Tarzan movies is 75!

1911- Cartoonist Winsor McCay opened his vaudeville act with his "Little Nemo" animated short.

1912- A fragile little London theater manager and failed author named Bram Stoker died. His seven books and several plays made little money in his time, but a decade later his novel called Dracula made him world famous.

1954- "ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK' recorded by Bill Haley and the Comets- arguably the first true Rock & Roll hit.

1961-THE FIRST MAN INTO SPACE- No, it was not John Glenn, you poor dupe of Capitalist Propaganda! It was Soviet Major Yuri Gargarin aboard Vostok 1.

1992- Euro-Disney, now called Disneyland Paris, opened. It attracted only 50.000 visitors the first year, about ten times less than what was expected, but it has since crawled back to solvency- barely.

1995- To celebrate David Letterman’s 49th birthday, actress Drew Barrymore climbed up on his desk and flashed her breasts at the bucktoothed talkshow host.


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