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Blog Posts from August 2006:

August 31, 2006
August 31st, 2006

Bill and Sure Kroyer.courtesy
As we are recalling the terrible events of Hurricane Katrina last year, we in the animation community would like to pause to salute the unheralded work of Sue Kroyer. Sue is an animator and teacher who has worked for Walt Disney, Bluth, Warner Bros and Richard Williams, she also teaches at LMU and Woodbury College. Sue had been involved in animal rescue in Southern Cal for years, but a year ago when she heard about the tens of thousands of stranded family pets in the New Orleans area, instead of shaking her head she acted. She and her friends filled up a car with supplies and drove to Louisiana. Sleeping in a camp in the sweltering heat they did volunteer work for two weeks saving and boarding hundreds of pets left for dead by the floods. When possible they reunited them with their owners, even owners evacuated to Houston and Oklahoma. In return she asked for nothing and didn't care who knew. But the people of New Orleans and Mississippi will remember. For your compassion, initiative and courage,
Bravo Sue!
Birthdays: Caligula 12AD., Commodus 161AD, Amilcare Ponchielli, Eldridge Cleaver, Buddy Hackett, James Coburn, Itshak Perleman, Van Morrison, Arthur Godfrey, Debbie Gibson, Richard Baseheart, Rocky Marciano. Alan J. Lerner, Daniel Shorr, Dan Rather, Maria Montressori (of the Montressori Method of education), Daniel Saroyan, Richard Gere, Chris Tucker

1829- Giacomo Rossiini's opera Guglielmo Tell debuted in Paris. The William Tell overture was heard for the first time- Hi Ho Silver! and lots of cartoon chases.

1887- Thomas Edison patented the plans for a Kinetoscope, his original version of Motion Pictures using George Eastmans new celluloid roll film. Most of the actual grunt work was done by Canadian technician W.K.L. Dickson. He drove himself sick designing, building and improving the device as well as the camera and studio, but Edison gets all the credit. Edison wrote Edweard Muybridge at the time that he doubted the Kinetoscope would have much monetary value beyond the lab.

1888-THE FIRST JACK THE RIPPER MURDER. Then called the Whitechapel Murders. The unique detail was that the Ripper killed his victim Mary Ann Nichols with a simple throat cut, then proceeded to remove her internal organs with the precision of a surgeon. Was the sadist murderer of London prostitutes the syphillitic Duke of Clarence ? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle suggested it was a woman, a psychotic midwife. An anti-Semetic issue appeared when a cryptic clue at the murder scene was interpreted by some to think the Ripper was Jewish. Then the message was thought to be a freemasons symbol. After six ghastly killings the murders stopped as mysteriously as they had started. In 1891 an Australian-born abortionist named Dr. Edward Cream was hanged for poisoning a prostitute. As he dropped through the trapdoor and the rope snapped he shouted: "I AM JAC-...!"

1920 -Detroit radio station is 1st to broadcast a news program on the air.

1928- In Berlin the ThreePenny Opera premiered, music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Bertholdt Brecht with Lotte Lenya as Pirate Jenny. Mackie Messer or Mack the Knife is born

1941 –The Great Gildersleeve, a spin-off of Fibber McGee & Molly debuts on NBC radio.

1946- Looney Toon short 'Walky Talky Hawky' the first Foghorn Leghorn. The character was based on a Fred Allen radio character Senator Clayton Langhorn that poked fun at bombastic Southern conservative politicians.

1948- Disney's 'Melody Time' premiered, featuring Blue Bayou, Johnny Fedora and ALice Bluebonnett and Willie the Operatic Whale.

1948- Movie star Robert Mitchum was busted for smoking pot with a blonde in the Hollywood Hills. This would have normally smoked his career but the new postwar outlaw, noir attitude was in vogue and bad-boy Mitchum emerged from jail more popular than ever.

1955 - 1st microwave TV station operated in Lufkin, Texas.

1955-1st solar-powered automobile demonstrated, Chicago, Ill. Ed Begley didn’t buy it.

1964 - Ground is broken for Anaheim Stadium, future home of the California Angels

1969- Former Heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano died in a plane crash in Newton Iowa. He had been hurrying home to attend a birthday party in his honor. He was 45.

1972-Russian Olga Korbut won a gold medal in gymnastics at the Olympics. She was the first of the cutsey little 15 year old girl gymnasts with the bright smile to catch the world’s attention.

1997- PRINCESS DIANA OF WALES died after a high speed car crash in Paris. Her Mercedes had been trying to avoid paparrazzi hounding her and her current boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed, the son of the Egyptian tycoon owner of Harrods. The drivers body tested above normal for alcohol and drugs. Princess Di was 36. Britain reacted with an outpouring of grief not seen since the death of Nelson. The rapacious British paparazzi worked overtime to absolve themselves of hounding the poor woman to death. Rupert Murdoch personally flew to London to direct the spin campaign defending his papers. Part of their tactics was to point out that the Queen didn’t make a true statement of regret until the following Thursday, almost a week after the accident. I was in Spain on the day of the crash and the late edition London Evening Standard printed before news of the tragedy had the headline: DI & DODI’S BONKING BONANZA!

2001- The NY Stock Exchange tries to avoid a Recession and bolster growth by getting Michael Jackson and Jerry Lewis to ceremonially open trading sessions. Didn’t work.

More Lessons from the Great Animators:
courtesy animation world network
Bill Tytla once said:" Animation is really quite simple; and like anything that is supposed to be simple, it's the hardest thing in the world to do."

History for 8/30/2006
Birthdays: Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelley, artist Jacques Louis David, Huey Long, Fred MacMurray, Raymond Massey, Ted Williams, John Blondell, Timothy Bottoms, Shirley Booth, John Landis, cartoonist Robert Crumb, Cameron Diaz is 34

30 BC- Cleopatra committed suicide at age 39. Some accounts have her allowing herself to be bitten by a poison asp concealed in a basket, another said she took poison concealed on a hairpin. It was said she killed herself to join her lover Marc Anthony, more likely it was because the victorious Augustus planned to have her dragged through the streets of Rome in a cage for the crowd's amusement, then quietly strangled. The snakebite was thought by Egyptians to bestow immortality.

304 AD-Today is the feast of Saints Felix and Adauctus. Felix was sentenced to be beheaded when a voice in the crowd called out :"I too believe in what this man confesses! Take me too!" So the Romans beheaded both of them but forgot to get the other guy's name. Adauctus means "That other guy" So it's Saint Felix and Saint Whats-His-Name.

1873- The Royal Canadian Mounted Police- The Mounties formed. Ninety years later Jay Ward invented the Snidley Mounties.

1867- At the University of Göttingen, Albert Niemann isolates the chemical elements of the Columbian coca plant and names the substance Cocaine.

1880- Diablo, chief of the Cibecue Apache, was killed fighting the White Mountain Apache.

1935- “Top Hat” starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers premiered.

1939- The last peacetime voyage of the HMS Queen Mary evacuated Americans fleeing the impending war in Europe. Among the crowd was a large contingent of Hollywood stars like Bob Hope and Jack Warner who planned to attend the first Cannes Film Festival (postponed until 1946). The Queen Mary kept radio silence across the ocean to hide from U-Boats. This was a wise because her sister ship HMS Athenia was torpedoed.

1945- THE AMERICAN SHOGUN- Gen. Douglas MacArthur lands on mainland Japan as military governor. After the ceasefire was announced, there still was a lot of distrust on both sides, and in the streets of Japan gangs of outraged youths and kamikaze pilots fought loyal troops trying to restart the war. Into this turmoil General MacArthur and his staff flew in alone ahead of any other allied occupying troops. He even ordered his staff to leave their pistols behind to show their fearlessness to the Japanese. He also wanted to get there before Admiral Nimitz and the Navy got there first and stole his spotlight.
In a sight that alarmed his staff as MacArthur drove to Yokohama the road was lined on both sides with 30,000 crack Japanese troops standing silent with fixed bayonets. They were not threatening but saluting their new Shogun. They even faced backwards from the road not looking at MacArthur, a gesture of respect reserved only for the Emperor.
While the still new Truman administration concentrated on Stalin and postwar Europe MacArthur was left with a free hand to reshape Japanese society as he saw fit. He used the power of unquestioning Japanese social discipline to give women the vote, form labor unions and rewrite their constitution, setting the basis of Japanese democracy.

1968- The first 7-11 store opened in Palmdale California. Have a Slurpee !

1975- Ralph Bakshi's film "Coonskin". Bad boy Bakshi's portrayal of African-American urban violence was deemed so offensive by the CORE and th NAACP that it caused the first riot ever at the Museum of Modern Art, and died at the boxoffice. The film was retitled on video "Streetfight". When Ralph resurfaced he turned his attention to Sword and Fantasy films.

1979- President Jimmy Carter claimed that while boating on vacation in Georgia he was attacked by an enraged rabbitt.

1993-The David Letterman Show premiered on CBS. Letterman was wooed away from NBC for 42 million bucks.

August 29, 2006
August 29th, 2006

More Wisdom from the Old Animators:
courtesy anim mag.
Ollie Johnston taught us:"Real animation is not about copying life. It is about caricaturing life, life plus."
Birthdays: King James II Stuart, John Locke, Oliver Wendel Holmes.,French painter Jean Dominique
Ingres, Charlie Parker would have been 85, director Preston Sturges, Ingrid Bergman, William
Friedkin, Dinah Washington, George Montgomery, Slobodan Milosevic, Robin Leach,
director Richard Attenborough, Donald O'Connor, Elliot Gould, Sen. John McCain, Rebecca
DeMornay, Joel Schumacher, choreographer Mark Morris, Michael Jackson The King of Pop is 48.

29 AD- Estimated date of the beheading of John the Baptist by King Herod II Antipas.

1893- Whitcomb Judson invented the zipper.

1908 - NY gives a parade to returning US Olympic team from London. Wall Street brokers
come up with the idea of throwing shredded stock ticker tape out the windows. The
first ticker tape parade.

1953-Warner's "Cat Tails for Two" introduces Speedy Gonzales.

1967- Final Episode of the television series "The Fugitive". Dr. Richard
Kimble catches the one-armed-man and clears his name.

1974- THE RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE- Prizefighter Mohammed Ali wins back his heavyweight
crown from George Foreman in a wild showbiz event set up in Kinshasa, Zaire. Foreman
left boxing, became a minister, then returned in his 40s to win the heavyweight
crown and make a fortune on weightloss cooking grills.

1976 - Anissa Jones, the child actress who played Buffy on the television show Family
Affair), died of a drug overdose at age 18.

1989 -Hotel millionaire Leona Helmsley had said : "Only little people pay taxes".
This day she was sentenced to four years in prison and fined two million dollars
for 33 counts of income tax evasion. According to a London newspaper one servant
under oath admitted he hated The Queen of Mean so much that whenever he had to bring
her a Perrier, he would unzip his fly and use an rather unique stirrer for her drink.

2002- Peep-O-Rama, Times Squares last remaining peep show, closed.

2005-KATRINA, a Force 5 monster hurricane, destroyed the cities of New Orleans,
Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi.

Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media has written a good piece on the ramifications of this years current glut of 3D animated features.

Mark Mayerson has published a nice autobiographical letter he got from Warners director Friz Freleng when he was but a wee sprout back in 1976.
July 27th entry, I believe. I admire the way Friz Freleng always made the time to answer students and help young artists.

I recall when I first arrived in Hollywood in 1977 I made the rounds of all the animation plants, with minimal results. When I trekked out on the bus to DePatie Freleng in the San Fernando Valley near Van Nuys Airport, instead of a nondescript HR person asking me to drop off my portfolio until next week, the receptionist said:" Mr. Freleng can see you now." I was shocked. Mr. Freleng? Himself?

Friz took me into his office and sat me down. Unlike the sunbaked streets outside, his office was dark paneled and refreshingly cool, with awards and photos covering the walls. It was like a career- biosphere. Seated next to me, he proceeded to go through my samples, pointing out what I needed to improve and how to do it. When we concluded we both stood up. Being short in stature, he didn't lookup at me but would stare straight into my shirtbutton while telling me he wasn't hiring at the moment. I looked down on his bald orange freckled head.

In the end I didn't get hired, but I was deeply impressed that he took so much time with one skinny, zitty kid. I hope I've been able to Pay-it-Forward with other young people since.

More Wisdom from Old Animators:

courtesy of Brendoman

Richard Williams was fond of telling us" Life is on Ones.."

Birthdays: Goethe, Tolstoy, Donald O'Connor, Charles Boyer" Come wis me to zee Cazbah! - I'm sorry, Pepe Le Pew didn't say it first, Boyer said it in the film Pepe Le Moko. Bruno Bettleheim, Ben Gazzara, Marvel master cartoonist Jack "King" Kirby, Jason Preistley, Daniel Stern, Shania Twain, Jack Black is 33, animation historian Charles Solomon

errupted burying the Roman city. The Emperor Titus rushed a fleet commanded
by the natural scientist Pliny to rescue as many as he could. Pliny was overcome
by the sulphurous fumes and died. His son, Pliny the Younger, eyewitnesses it all
and wrote a moving account of the tragedy in his 'letters'. Scientists
have been digging at the site of Pompeii since it's rediscovery in 1726, but
estimates are there's as many as 30,000 skeletons still buried.

476AD-The Last Roman Emperor of the West, the boy Romulus Augustulus, is deposed.
It was done by his counselor and actual power behind the throne, a barbarian named Odoacer. Odoacer sent the Imperial diadem and insignia to the Zeno the Emperor of the East in Constantinople and declared himself King of the Germans in Italy. He was later split in two by Theodric the Visigoth at a peace summit.

1296- The Ragman Roll- Scottish nobles were forced to pledge allegiance
to King Edward Ist of England. Edward Longshanks dropped his pretense of protection
of the Scottish crown and instead moved for direct annexation to England. The only
resistance came from peasant born leader William Wallace. The ceremony went on for
so long such it coined a term for long inane formalities- Rigamarole.

1837 - Pharmacists John Leah & William Perrins invent Worcestershire Sauce.

1859-In Titusville Pennsylvania the first U.S.oil well strikes oil. Before the industrial
revolution crude oil or coal tar was considered a smelly nuisance. It was called
Indian-Oil because Indians wore it as black warpaint, it was great for tarring and
feathering rapscallions. Some entrepreneurs even tried to bottle it as health tonic.
By this era it was refined into kerosene which was seen as a cheap plentiful substitute
for whale-oil lamps.

1922- The first broadcast commercial. It was for a real estate firm Queensboro
Realty. It ran on the radio for ten minutes and cost 100 dollars. The firm selling suburban homes
in Queens NY immediately did $100,000 worth of business. The Business world took
note of the new method of advertising.

1934-Upton Sinclair the writer is nominated for Governor of California on the Democratic
ticket by over half a million votes. This shocked the California power-elite because
Sinclair was a radical whose grass roots organization EPIC (End Poverty in California)
advocated socialist solutions to the Depression. Even FDR kept his distance from
Powerful forces enlisted Louis B. Mayer, Irving Thalberg and other Hollywood conservatives
to ensure Sinclair's defeat by creating the first modern media negative campaign.
This included phony newsreels of actors dressed as hobos saying how they're
going to California to sponge off the taxpayers. Walt Disney's lawyer, Gunther
Lessing, demanded Ward Kimball take the "Sinclair for Governor" sign off
his car window. Governor Frank Merriam who earlier that year had ordered troops to shoot
striking San Francisco longshoremen won re-election.

1963- Dr. Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech in front
of the Lincoln Memorial at the climax of the first ' Poor People's March
'on Washington. Organizer A. Phillip Randolph conceived a poor peoples march
taking weeks not unlike the Bonus Marchers of 1929. The sympathetic John F. Kennedy
administration prevailed upon them to keep it to one day to reduce the chance of
violence and maximize media exposure. They had planned for 100,000 but they got
400,000. Movie stars like Sidney Poitier, Marlon Brando, even Charlton Heston attended.
Young CBS reporter Roger Mudd was so excited he threw up behind the Jefferson Memorial

1968- THE CHICAGO DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION- While thousands of anti-war hippie and
yippie protestors battled the Chicago Police in Grant Park the Democrats nominated
Hubert Horatio Humphrey, the "Happy Warrior" their candidate to replace
the assassinated Bobby Kennedy. Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, the Yippie and SDS
(Students for a Democratic Society) leaders tried to get a live 100 pound pig into
the convention and get it nominated for President. Newsman Dan Rather was gut-punched by
a Chicago cop on camera on the convention floor. Disney animation historian John Culhane was
clubbed down by police despite wearing all his press credentials and a baby blue
army helmet with Newsweek painted on it. While the police
and demonstrators battled poet Alan Ginsburg and Timothy Leary grabbed a loudspeaker
and chanted the Buddist "Ohhhmmmmm" to calm people down. The student leaders
-the Chicago 7 in reality 8, were put on trial for incitement to riot but after
a year long media circus all the charges were overturned. Republican Richard Nixon
won the election.
"Ouch! Hey, don't hit me! I'm Mr. Snoops!Ouch!courtesy

1990- Computer pioneer Sandy Lerner was fired from the company she founded- Cisco