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September 26, 2007 thurs
September 26th, 2007

Birthdays: Thomas Nast- famed XIX Century cartoonist who drew the first image of Santa Claus and created the Republican elephant and democratic donkey, Arthur Penn, Meatloaf, William Conrad, Dick Schapp, Samuel Adams -brewer and patriot ,cartoonist George Cruikshank, Jayne Meadows, Wilford Brimley, Shaun Cassidy, Greg Morris, Amanda Detmer, Avril Lavigne, Gwynneth Paltrow is 35.

1771-Young artist Francisco Goya enters a scholarship competition sponsored by the Academy of Parma. He lost to some obscure artist named Bettino. Judges say about his work: "Crude and ugly colors".

1934- “ I’M SICK OF THIS CAT & MOUSE GAME!” shouted Gangster Baby Face Nelson as he was cornered by two FBI agents on a rural road south of Chicago. While his gang and wife looked on in amazement Nelson boldly walked out in the open, down the middle of the road, his tommy gun blazing away at the G-Men. He killed them both but not before he was riddled with 17 bullets. He died the next day and was left in a ditch.

1935-13 year old singer Frances Gumm of the singing Gumm Sisters signed an exclusive contract with MGM Pictures. Louis B. Mayer changed Frances name to Judy Garland.

1938- Bob Hope first sang “Thanks For the Memory” on his NBC radio show. It became a hit his movie appearance in the film “The Big Broadcast of 1938.”

1944- Evangelist Aimee Semple MacPherson died in hospital from an overdose of sleeping pills. She was 53. MacPherson was one of the most powerful evangelists of the 1920s with thousands of followers donating millions of dollars. Her continued success even after sex scandals prompted H.L. Mencken to declare that "there are morons per square mile in Los Angeles than any other place on Earth!"

1954- The Tonight Show premiered. Steve Allen hosted.

1961- Hanna Barbera's "Top Cat" show premiered. Do you remember the words to the theme song..? "Top Cat, the most effectual- Top Cat, who's intellectual: Close friends get to call him T.C., Providing it's with dignity. Top Cat, the indisputable leader of the gang... He's the Boss he's a pip, he's the championship, He's the most tip-top, Top Cat !"

1964- The Warren Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing President John F. Kennedy. Today despite two investigations 8 out of 10 Americans still believe Oswald was part of a conspiracy. Even Lyndon Johnson had his doubts. Documents pertaining to the case, like Oswald's tax returns, and how he could re-enter the U.S. from Soviet Russia without a passport after renouncing his citizenship, are still kept top secret. Evidence like President Kennedy's brain disappeared from the lab and witnesses to contrary theories kept dying by causes like car accidents and karate chops. The young attorney who argued the "magic bullet" theory -that one bullet went through JFK, bounced, zipped through Governor Connolly, zinged back through Kennedy ,etc, and turned up undented in the governor's hospital bedsheets- is still in the senate today-Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Spector. Maybe we’ll know more when the CIA’s papers on the assassination are published in 2029 and Jackie Kennedy’s memoirs are unlocked in 2060. Oh Boy, I can’t wait!

1977- Bob McKimson, Warner director of countless Foghorn Leghorn shorts, falls dead of heart failure in front of Friz Freleng and Yosemite Sam animator Gerry Chiniquy while having lunch. Animator Ben Washam told me McKimson was one of the finest Bugs Bunny draftsmen. That he could draw Bugs from toe-to-toe without have to make a preliminary rough sketch first. That final morning animator Art Leonardi had asked Bob for a souvenir drawing, Bob did him a Bugs Bunny but as he was leaving Art reminded him that he neglected to sign it. Bob said as he walked out "Oh, I'll get to it after lunch..."

1989- The Japanese corporate giant Sony purchased Columbia and TriStar Pictures, starting a wave of Japanese investment in Hollywood.

2003- Hours after the seasons final concert, in the middle of the night, the historic bandshell at the Hollywood Bowl was demolished. After a long legal fight with preservationists the historic 1929 structure designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that Gershwin and Stokowski played in was replaced with a new shell promising better acoustics.


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