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Yesterday the Motion Picture Academy held a symposium at the Huntington Library on Hollywood Between the wars.



There I had a chance there to meet Neal Gabler and Richard Schickel. It turns out Neal Gabler, the author of the big Walt Disney bio is a fan of DRAWING THE LINE, too! We had a very nice conversation and I was deeply flattered by his kind words about my book. I also had lunch next to William Randolph Hearst III. Rosebud! Good times too with Joe Adamson ( Tex Avery, King of Cartoons)

Lot's of interesting details by a battery of other historians, and some fun quotes.

My favorite was from Pauline Kael quoted by Gabler:" Hollywood is the only place where you can die from encouragement."

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Quiz: Why are some parts of a city called The Tenderlion?

Answer to Yesterday’s Quiz Below: What is a Screaming Meamie?
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History for 5/31/2008
Birthdays: Walt Whitman, Fred Allen, Clint Eastwood, Don Ameche, Prince Ranier, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Ranier Fassbinder, Brooke Shields, Joe Namath, Richie Valens, Tom Berenger, Denholm Elliot, Peter Yarrow, Lea Thompson, John Bonzo Bonham of Led Zepplin, Colin Ferrell

1578- A farmer plowing a vineyard near Rome causes the ground to collapse beneath him revealing the long buried Ancient Roman CATACOMBS. Antonio Bosio studied them and writes in 1632 "Underground Rome".

1669 -Samuel Pepys was forced to discontinue the diary he had kept from 1660 due to failing eyesight.

1759- Under pressure from religious groups, who considered them immoral, the Royal Colony of Pennsylvania banned theatrical plays. You could be fined 500 pounds for trotting the boards.

1790- The U.S. Congress passed its first laws protecting the copyright of written works. This law was lobbied for by Noah Webster, who later wrote the first American dictionary.

1793- LA TERREUR- THE REIGN OF TERROR BEGAN- French extreme leftists the Jacobins named for their meeting place, near the monastery of St.Jacob- Danton, Robespierre and Marat take over the French Government. They declare anybody who doesn't agree with them to be counterrevolutionary dead meat. Robsepierre said: “Virtue without Terror is Impotence, Terror without Virtue is Criminal.”
Until 1794 their Committee of Public Safety guillotined 17,000 people, including Madame DuBarry, the great scientist Lavoisier, poet Andre Chenier and finally even fellow revolutionaries Danton and Camille Desmoulins. They also drowned hundreds in barges. One method of execution was the Republican Marriage- that meant tying up a man and woman face to face then throwing them into the sea to drown. Napoleon, Josephine, Roget Du Lisle -who wrote Le Marseillaise, even American Thomas Paine barely escape the blade. Marat said: "If we cut off 10,000 heads today, it saves us having to cut off 100,000 tomorrow!" Robespierre kept a servant playing a little accordion in his office so he wouldn't have to listen to the screams and pleas of the condemned dragged off to execution. To their credit they enacted much needed social reforms, For the first time the public could enjoy the Royal art collections like the Louvre and the royal parks like the Luxembourg Gardens.

The modern concept of the restaurant also arises at this time. The name comes from a place to Restore-Your Health- Restaurant. In previous ages you could get a meal at an inn or public house, but it was never very good. The former chefs of great estates, now unemployed because their employer’s decapitated heads were in baskets, opened shops and cooked their grand cuisine for the average Jacques.

1837 - Joseph Grimaldi, England’s greatest clown (king of pantomime), died at 57. On stage since the age of 3 at Sadler-Wells, he never appeared in a circus ring. Instead, his act was stage pantomime. In tribute to him, all English clowns are known as “Joey’.

1873- SCHLEIMANN FOUND TROY. German archaeologist Heinrich Schleimann unearthed the horde of gold known as Priam's Treasure in a mound near Hysarlik Turkey. This proved this site was the Troy of Homer and the Trojan War was not a myth but a real historical event. There were actually 9 Troys on the site- from a Bronze Age village to a Late Roman Empire city. The Troy of the Trojan War was Troy number 4. It showed signs of destruction by fire.

1879- New York’s Madison Square Garden opened. Designed to resemble a Venetian Palazzo.

1884-Happy Birthday Kellogg’s Corn Flakes! Dr. John Harvey Kellogg of Battle Creek Michigan patents "flaked cereal and the process for making same." He felt whole foods like Corn Flakes could help gentle Victorian people curb their urge to sexual excesses. Hmm…should I mud wrestle Jessica Alba or have a bowl of corn flakes? Decisions, decisions.

1889-The Johnstown Flood. The South Fork Dam swollen by heavy rains burst and sent a 35-foot wall of water and debris over the town. 2,295 were killed.

1901-THE BOER WAR ENDS. English troops entered Praetoria; Boer survivors signed the Treaty of Vereeniging. Tranvaal President Kruger "Oom Paul"-Uncle Paul- fled to Holland. When the Queen of Holland appealed for help for the Boers, who were ethnically Dutch-German. The Kaiser was noncommittal. The leader of the second largest population of Germans, President Teddy Roosevelt of the United States, said, "It is right and natural that the larger nations should dominate the smaller."

On a troopship returning from South Africa, volunteer doctor Arthur Conan-Doyle was told by a Welsh doctor of a legend of a big ghostly dog that attacked people on the moors of his home estate. Conan-Doyle thought this would be a swell story for his character Sherlock Holmes to solve. The Hound of the Baskervilles was the result.

1916-The BATTLE OF JUTLAND. German and British battleships boom away
at each other in the only major naval fleet engagement of World War I. Giant battleships called Dreadnoughts were the nukes of the turn of the century power game. Yet when the first and third largest fleets in the world finally grappled it was a tie. British Admiral Beatty was annoyed with the performance of his fleet: "Blast ! Why are all me bloody battlecruisers sinking?” But the German High Seas fleet went back into Kiel harbor and didn't emerge again for the rest of the war.

1928- The song “ Old Man River “sung by Pail Robeson came out as a single.

1958 - Dick Dale invents "surf music" with "Let's Go Trippin"

1969- John Lennon and Yoko Ono record "Give Peace a Chance." It became the theme song of the Anti-Vietnam War movement. Because of this song and Lennon’s support of the Hippie protestors the Nixon White House kept a file on him. Lennon spent most of 1972-73 under a constant threat of 60-day deportation from the US. The Republican who suggested the INS revoke Lennons visa was Sen. Strom Thurmond.

1985- John Sculley was a former exec from Pepsi brought in by Apple Computer companies founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak to help run the company. This day his solution to help the company run better was to fire Steve Jobs. Wozniak retired and Sculley eventually moved on. Today Steve Jobs runs the reinvigorated Apple as well as PIXAR and is on the board of the Walt Disney Company.

1989- "Skinhead Day at the Magic Kingdom" Disneyland refused to admit a rally of skinheads, Nazis and Klansmen.

1990- Television sitcom Seinfeld premiered based on a tv special about the standup comedian called the Seinfeld Chronicles. No Soup for You!

1995- A young Mexican-American Tejana singer named Selena was gaining a growing crossover appeal in pop music and there seemed no limit. This day her career was cut short when she was shot and killed by the Yolanda Saldivia, the president of the Selena Fan club. She said it was an accident.

1996- Despite grief over the assassination of Labor Prime Minister Ytschak Rabin, the Israeli public voted for the right wing Likud today, making Benjamin “Bibi” Netnayahu Prime Minister, and setting back the peace process once again.

2000- The first Survivor show in the USA premiered, shepherding in a new era of TV Reality shows.

2003- A wild dove got into the Pentagon and flapped around the Air Force Secretary's office on the 4th floor. Can we say- symbolic?
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Yesterday’s Question: What is a Screaming Meamie?

Answer: During World War One the Germans put a twisted strip of metal on the nose of their artillery shells. When fired, it gave it an eerie whistling sound as it flew through the air. It’s purpose was to undermine enemy will to fight through terror.
Later, the Screaming Meamie effect was used in Looney Tune cartoons.


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