BACK to Blog Posts

Some Wisdom of the Masters-

This time of year a lot of animated feature films are finishing up or going into OT to finish up. Ratatouille, Surfs Up the Simpson's Movie are all done, and more to come. A word from an Old Vet of over twenty features.

Take a rest between the pictures.

I know you don't want to lose your position, and maybe you don't want to risk the loss of income. But take it from me, it's some of the best advice I ever got. Not only are you physically tired, your mental battery is running on empty as well. The Disney guys used to say for animators on down take two weeks or more, dept. supervisors and directors should take a month off. Live action folks know this trick. They can do the 18 hour shoots and living in a trailor on location, because they plan in a few weeks off afterwards.

Great poster by R. Crumb that I thought about often when I killed myself on a project

I remember my crew on Osmosis coming off of the Iron Giant and looking absolutely fried. When I finished my last scene on Who Framed Roger Rabbitt I got the flu the next day and was on my back for a week.

So don't be a hero or martyr. Rest, detox and recharge. You family will enjoy the novelty of seeing you home, and your stuff will look much better when you return.

Birthday: George Orwell (real name Eric Arthur Blair ), Marc Charpentier, Lord Louis Mountbatten, Cajun musician Clifton Chenier, Sidney Lumet, Walter Brennan, Willis Reed, George Abbott, Carly Simon, June Lockhart is 81, cartoonist Alex Toth, Jimmy Dyne-o-Mite Walker, George Michaels, Mike Myers the voice of Shrek

1630 – The Fork introduced to American dining by Plymouth Gov Winthrop.

1835- Antoine Baron Gros was a celebrated painter under Napoleon and a friend of David and Ingres. But politics and tastes change. In a royalist postwar France dominated by Delacroix and Gericault Baron Gros lived on forgotten and melancholy. This day the 64 year old artist drowned himself in the Seine.

1857- Writer Gustav Flaubert goes on trial for pornography in his first novel Madame Bovary. He escaped conviction and went on to his next book Salambo the Carthaginian princess who strangled herself with her own hair. Don’t try this at home girls!

1876- CUSTER'S LAST STAND called by the Sioux the Battle of the Greasy Grass- George Armstrong Custer and 300 of his 7th Cavalry are wiped out by Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and the combined Sioux, Cheyenne nations (approximately 1,700 warriors).
There had been defeats of the Whites like this before: Fetterman's Massacre, The Little Rosebud Battle, but nothing captures the imagination like the Little Big Horn. And for Native-Americans it marks the last coming together of the tribes and the last great victory .The Ogalala Sioux, Hunkpapa, Miniconjou, Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne all united to resist the violation of their sacred Black Hills. No U.S army commander ever expected so many different tribes could unite and field thousands of warriors at once. Custer trusted in his audacity. "Custer's Luck". The boy general –just 23 years old in the Civil War, he was always at the head of his men in costly, reckless attacks yet personally suffered nothing more severe than the flu. Now at age 36 his luck ran out.
Accounts by natives were sketchy and no one is sure just how Custer died. The last white soldier who saw him alive was a courier sent away with a message " Benteen, come up quick. Big Village. Bring packs". The trooper was an Italian immigrant named Giusepppi Martini who couldn’t speak English. The famous image of Custer standing to the last with Old Glory in hand was made up by an artist named Paxton for an Anheuser-Busch beer advertisement in 1877. One Crow Indian scout who escaped said Custer was the first casualty and that his being shot down panicked the troopers. Others say the last they saw of Custer he was crawling on all fours with blood trickling down his mouth. He was found in a pile of bodies with a bullet wound in the left side and one in the temple. The Indians didn’t even know they had killed Yellow Hair until told way later. The tribes afterwards dispersed and headed for Canada. The only 7th Cavalry survivor was Commanche, Capt. Mile’s Keough's horse. He was treated with honor by the army and fed a bucket of beer every payday for the rest of his life. Custer was hallowed with martyrdom. Ulysses Grant was quiet about the affair but privately thought it a badly botched operation. Sitting Bull was more blunt- "The soldiers were fools, they rode to their deaths." Mrs. Libby Custer lived until 1937 and met FDR. The last living eyewitness of the battle, Mrs. Kate Bighead of the Cheyenne who was taken on the battlefield by her mother at 4 years old, died in 1959.

Errol Flynn in They Died With Their Boots on. Looks good but probably not accurate.

1970- Toi Yo ta Hoooo! Richard Wagner's opera Die Walkure premiered in Munich.

1908- Famed New York architect Stanford White was having dinner at Madison Square Garden (back when it was still a garden, on Madison Ave. and still square) when he was shot to death by millionaire Harry Thaw, the husband of his mistress Evelyn Nesbitt. The eccentric Thaw was obsessed by Stanford White, hiring detectives to follow the artist and report his amorous pursuits and he would only date women who had dated White first. Thaw’s defense attorney’s got him aqquitted of murder by reason of temporary insanity.
So instead of the electric chair Harry Thaw spent a few years in a mental home living on squab flambe' and champagne. He was cheered by the crowd when he was freed. The key defense witness was 22 year old Mrs. Evelyn Nesbitt-Thaw, one of the beautiful "Gibson Girls’. She gave juicy details of her kinky relationship with White, like the red velvet swing she would ride in the nude over the admiring architect’s head. After Thaw was released he divorced her. Before Evelyn died of old age in 1967 she admitted that the only man she ever really loved was Stanford White.The incident was the basis for I.L.Doctorow's novel "Ragtime".

1910- First performance of Stravinsky's ballet "Firebird" by Diagheilev and his Ballet Russe. Stravinsky later used to refer to the Ballet dancers as "A bunch of knock-kneed Lolitas".

1940- Young actor Ronald Reagan married actress Jane Wyman.

1951- After losing a power struggle between himself and Dory Schary, Louis B. Mayer announced he was stepping down as head of MGM. Mayer in his time was the most powerful man in Hollywood. He kept an all white office modeled after Mussolinis in Rome. His penchant for putting relatives in charge of the company’s departments caused the joke that MGM stood for Mayer-Ganz-Mishpochen, Yiddish for Mayer-And-His-Whole-Family.

1951 - 1st color TV broadcast-CBS' Arthur Godfrey from NYC to 4 cities

1967- The "Our World" Beatles concert, the first television event to try a worldwide satellite linkup. They sing and record "All You Need is Love" live in front of an audience of 400.

1968- Pierre Elliot Trudeau elected Prime Minister of Canada. For the next twenty five years he and his flower-child wife Margaret will be one of Canada’s most colorful leaders.

1997- Disney's animated film Hercules released.