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February 29th, 2008

Question: When Leadbelly sang in Midnight Special: The next thing you know Boy, you’re Sugerland bound. What did he mean?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: Why was Adolf Hitler sometimes called Shickelgruber?
History for 2/29/008 Leap Year Day

Birthdays: Giacomo Rossini -Who liked to joke he was 16 years old when he was actually 67, Balthus, Jimmy Dorsey, Alex Rocco, Arthur Franz, Phyllis French, Mother Ann Lee the founder of the Shakers, Rocket Richard of the Montreal Canadiens Hockey Team, Dennis Farina, Dinah Shore, Ja Rule

Today in British custom is the only day it is considered appropriate for a woman to propose to a man.

1504- Christopher Columbus, shipwrecked on Jamaica by a hurricane, scares natives into giving him food by accurately predicting a solar eclipse.

1692- The first indictments of the notorious Salem Witch trials. Tituba was a black-indian servant of the town’s preacher, who liked to entertain his children with ghost stories of the Caribbean. She was arrested for witchcraft with Sarah Good, an elderly deaf woman who, well... just looked old and spooky like a witch. Twenty two people were executed. Salem kept up the hysteria until the Governor of Massachusetts stopped it after his own daughter was indicted.

1704- The settlement of Deerfield Massachusetts massacred and burned by French & Indians as part of Queen Anne’s War.

1776- French writer Pierre D.’Beaumarchais wrote a letter to King Louis XVI, advising France support the American colonies revolution against England. Beaumarchais, who wrote the Barber of Seville, set up spy operations under the name of a Rodrique Hortalez & Company. He used this cover to ship guns, powder and uniforms to George Washington’s beleaguered army.

1804- According to Napoleon's plans this was supposed to be the day he scheduled to cross the Channel and invade England after his navy gave Admiral Nelson the slip. His Grande Army was camped all along the beach at Boulonge waiting to board transport barges. But they never got to make the trip. Nelson destroyed Nappy's fleet at Cape Trafalgar.

1908- Former Sheriff Pat Garrett, the killer of Billy the Kid, was himself gunned down while stepping off a buckboard to urinate. The assailant was in a lawsuit with Garret over a promise to remove some goats from his ranchland.

1960- Hugh Hefner opened the first Playboy Club, this one in Chicago. The restaurant –nightclub succeeded on a gimmick of members-only keys and the famous Playboy Bunny waitresses. One Bunny said of that time-“ I served London Broil in a bathing suit and heels and made more money than anyone in my family!” The Chicago club was the last one to close, in 1986.

1968- Dr. Jocelyn Burnell of Cambridge announced the discovery of the pulsar star.

1968- The Beatles win four Grammy awards for their Sgt. Pepper album.

1960- G-Man Melvin Purvis shot himself with the gun he used to kill John Dillinger. FBI chief J.Edgar Hoover would tolerate no competitors for the title of America’s most famous cop. When Purvis' fame began to overshadow Hoovers the Director hounded him out of his job. Purvis's widow commented bitterly that the F.B.I. didn't even send a card or flowers to note the passing of their single most famous field agent. J. Edgar also ruined treasury agent Elliot Ness’ career, although some contend that the accounts of his exploits in his book "The Untouchables" were more fiction than fact.

1984- Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau announced his retirement after 15 years in power.

1992- Bosnian Moslems and Croats vote on a referendum on independence for Bosnia-Herzegovina. The vote was boycotted by the Bosnian-Serbs. This is seen as the start of the Bosnian Civil War.

Yesterdays’ Question: Why was Adolf Hitler sometimes called Shickelgruber?

Answer: Hitler lost his father Alois Schickelgruber-Hitler early and he was raised by his mother Clara Schickelgruber. He changed his name to just Hitler upon reaching school age because he even he thought it sounded silly. But the name gave great merriment to his detractors, including lots of fodder for Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.

February 28, 2008 thurs
February 28th, 2008

Question: Why was Adolf Hitler sometimes called Shickelgruber?

Yesterday’s Question: Which is the only city in Africa to be named after an American President?
History for 2/28/2008
Birthdays: Michel de Montaigne, The Marquis de Montcalm, Samuel 'Zero" Mostel, Vasclav Nijinsky, Molly Picon, Gavin MacCleod, Sir John Tenniel, Bernadette Peters, Bubba Smith, Mario Andretti, Milton Caniff- the creator of Terry and the Pirates", Ben 'Bugsy' Siegel, Tommy Tune, Vincente Minelli, Linus Pauling, Dorothy Stratton, Rae Dong Chong, John Tarturro, Jack Abramoff

1574- The Spanish Inquisition sets up shop in the New World. The first two Mexican Lutherans were burned at the stake in a huge auto-da-fe in Mexico City.

1745- MADAME LA POMPADOUR- At a masked ball at the Paris Hotel du Ville King Louis XV first met his hot mistress Madame La Pompadour. She was dressed as Diana the goddess of the Hunt. The King was dressed as a Yew Tree. She was a gorgeous girl named Jeanne Poisson d’Etoiles who was not only beautiful, but highly intelligent. Even her mother predicted “she is a morsel fit for a king”. Louis ennobled her with the title Madame la Pompadour. Her husband was given a job as a tax collector and told to get lost. Madame La Pompadour spent the next thirteen years not only ruling Louis’ heart but France as well and sponsored many artists and scholars like Voltaire, Rousseau and Diderot. Long after their sexual attraction faded Louis and Jeanne remained friends.

1835-Dr. Elias Lohnnrot published the Finnish national epic poem Kalevala,. It’s about the first man Vanjiamoimmen, who was born old and searched for the magical machine called the Samo, kept in a mountain with seven locks, and seven wizards chanting Samo! Historians aren't sure what a samo actually was.

1896- Robert Paul demonstrates a kinetograph to the Royal Institute.
The British Cinema is born.

1916- Writer Henry James died. William Faulkner said "He was the nicest old lady I ever met."

1920-.Evans vs. Gore – Al Gore’s grandfather. The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the legality of the Income Tax amendments, saying:” The power to tax carries with it the power to embarrass and destroy “. Isn’t that reassuring.?.

1920 Maurice Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin debuted..

1940- At the Oscars ceremony Hattie McDaniel became the first black actress to win an Oscar for her role in Gone With The Wind. When the NAACP criticized her for portraying stereotyped black mammys McDaniel snapped:” I’d rather make $5000 a week playing a maid than $5 a week being a maid!”

1953-Chuck Jone’s “Duck-Amuck” short debuts- called by Steven Speilberg the Citizen Kane of Animation.

1953- Englishman James Watson walked into his local pub and announced to the barman” Barman, Set them up, I’ve just discovered the secret of life!” That morning Watson & Francis Crick had indeed came upon the DNA double helix molecule.

1983- The last episode of the television series M*A*S*H. It was the single most watched TV episode in history.

2001- Seattle rocked by a 7.0 earthquake. That’ll stir your Starbucks!
Yesterdays Question: Which is the only city in Africa to be named after an American President?

Answer: Monrovia, the capitol of Liberia. When the USA finally joined the rest of the world and banned the international slave trade, what was to be done with the hundreds of Africans still en route mid-ocean or awaiting sale in US ports? The answer of President James Monroe, was to return them to Africa. They built a village on the beach where they landed, and called it Monrovia in his honor.

The DeMille-Lasky Barn,Courtesy of Marc Wanamaker and Hollywood Heritage

Once each year, at the DeMille Barn in Hollywood, the Animation Guild, ASIFA Hollywood and Women In Animation present An Afternoon of Remembrance “a non-denominational celebration of departed friends from our animation community”.

This year it takes place this Saturday, March 1, at 1pm. Tributes will be paid to:

Rene Alcazar …………….ink & paint artist
Roger Armstrong…………comic book artist of Disney’s Scamp and Looney Tunes comics.
Dick Arnall………………UK producer of animate! Program for Channel 4
Warren Batchelder………animator
Max Becraft……………..animator
Pat Boyd………………..Canadian animator
Sheila Brown…………....background artist
Erica Cassetti…………….digital modeller
Harvey Cohen……………composer
Jennifer Davidson……….VP programming Cartoon Network and Adult Swim
Alberto DeMello………....character designer
Greg Drolette…………….background artist
Walker Edmiston…………voice actor
Ray Erlenborn……………sound effects artist was child actor in Chaplin’s City Lights
Natatcha Estebanez……….producer
Becky Fallberg……………ink & paint supervisor
Mary Lou Ferguson………ink & paint artist
Ben Ferrer………………..designer
Lu Guarnier...animator, Guild President.
Ed Hanson………………...assistant animator, prod manager
Terry Harrison---------------animator
Florence Heintz--------------ink & paint artist
Dave Hilberman-------------animator, producer, activist, co-founder of UPA.
Dick Hoffman…………….animator
Steve Krantz………………producer of Fritz the Cat.
Ryan Larkin……………….Canadian animator, filmmaker
Carol Lundberg……………layout artist
John Marshall………………animator, producer
Roberta Gruetert Marshall….ink & paint supervisor
Tom O’Loughlin………….background artist
Henry Ortiz……………….xerox processor
Brant Parker……………….cartoonist co creator of The Wizard of Id
Nicole Pascal------------------assistant animator
Charles Nelson-Reilly--------voice actor
Will Schaefer………………composer of music for The Flintstones and the Yogi Bear.
Charlene Singleton…………checker
Ken Southworth……………animator,director
Art Stevens…………………animator, director
James Street………………..voice actor of DIC Strawberry Shortcake.
Iwao Takamoto…………….animator, designer of Scooby Doo and Penelope Pittstop
Aleksandr Tatarskiy………..Russian producer, co-founder of Moscow Pilot Studio
Caren (Scarpulla) Terry…....Color stylist
Jim Thurman……………….writer, voice actor writer of Roger Ramjet series.
Elbert Tuganov…………….The Father of Estonian Animation
Al Wilson………………….layout and story artist
Jack Zander…………………animator, director, producer first president of the Anim Guild.

The Afternoon of Remembrance is free of charge and is open to all. No RSVPs necessary. You don't have to be related to anyone to attend. It is about the animation industry remembering our friends and colleagues. Food and refreshments, and good stories. In previous years Chuck Jones spoke of is friend Friz Freleng, Bob Kurtz recalled Marc Davis. We learned a lot about many artists alternate pursuits like one who invented the game Chutes and Ladders, one was a drummer of the rock band the Turtles, one spent a summer with Picasso and wrote a book- My Summer with Picasso, another had a world class collection of pith helmets! Laughter, tears, memories, but never dull.

1 pm * Memoriams, 2 pm
Hollywood Heritage Museum (Lasky-DeMille Barn)
2100 N. Highland (across from Hollywood Bowl), Hollywood, California.

Question: Which is the only city in Africa to be named after an American President?
Hint: There is no such place as Bushville.

Yesterday’s question answered below.
History for 2/27/2008
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Constantine the Great–280AD, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Steinbeck, Ralph Nader is 74, Joanne Woodward, Marion Anderson, Chelsea Clinton, Franchot Tone, William Demarest, James Worthy, Mirella Freni, Judge Hugo Black, David Sarnoff the founder of NBC network, Adam Baldwin, Arial Sharon, Elizabeth Taylor is 76

1776- The American Congressmen in Philadelphia received the news from London that the British Crown had resolved that there be no more negotiations about American grievances. That all people living in British America who did not unconditionally surrender and renew their allegiance to their King would be branded a traitor. That meant hanging. This must have weighed heavy on the American minds when they voted on the Declaration of Independence.

1814- Beethoven’s 8th Symphony premiered.

1827- The first Mardi Gras celebration was held in New Orleans. Mardi Gras parties were first held by the French colonists of Mobile Alabama in 1709. From there the custom spread to the Big Easy.

1859-CONGRESSMAN COMMITS MURDER- While New York Representative Dan Sickles was being a Washington wheeler-dealer his lonely wife began an affair with the dashing son of Francis Scott Key, Phillip Barton Key. When Sickles found out he was horrified, even though he had cheated on her numerous times. This is the Victorian Era after all. Phillip Barton Key just then had the misfortune to be spotted passing by their house on Lafayette Square. Sickles in a rage grabbed a pistol and rushed after him, confronting him across the street from the White House: "Key, you Blackguard! You have dishonored my marriage bed and must die!" All Key could do was throw his opera glasses at him. Congressman Sickles then shot him dead. Incredibly, Sickles was acquitted of murder by the first use of the ‘plea of temporary insanity’. His attorney was Edwin Stanton, Lincoln's secretary of war. Sickles and Stanton both were close friends of President Buchanan.
Dan Sickles went on to finish his term, become a Union General and fought at Gettysburg, won the Medal of Honor, lived to 93 and helped build New York’s Central Park. He even reconciled with Mrs. Sickles.
Dan Sickles
1860- Abraham Lincoln gave a speech at the Cooper Union Institute in New York declaring himself a potential candidate for President: " A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand." The elite New York audience at first snickered at the Illinois man’s high nasal Western twang, but they soon were inspired by his words. He received a standing ovation when he finished. That previous day he first posed for photographer Matthew Brady who made a famous photo that was copied and recopied around the country. Lincoln later said:" Brady and the Cooper Institute made me president."

1900- In Britain several Independent Labor Parties, Trade union and Fabian Societies form the British Labor Party under Ramsey MacDonald. After the Liberals fell apart over Irish autonomy Labor became the dominant alternative to the Tory Conservatives.

1917-THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION BEGINS- In St. Petersburg a general strike was festering since the 23rd. Today soldiers and police start to join demonstrators instead of arresting them. Shouts of :"Cossacks! Don't shoot your brothers! Enough of blood! We want Peace and Bread!" The law courts were torched, prisons opened and the protestors grab the Czar's Rolls Royce and drive it around town draped in red flags. Government officials start to flee the city. Czar Nicholas out at his military headquarters received the news that the nations capitol was no longer under his control.

1919- Gustav Holst’s orchestral piece The Planets, first premiered.

1933-The Reichstag Fire- The German parliament building was destroyed in a spectacular fire. The perpetrator was never found but a Dutch Communist named Marinus Van Der Lubbe was arrested. The incident enabled Hitler to force through legislation suspending civil liberties and trial by jury.

1956- Elvis Presley released song Heartbreak Hotel.

1958- Columbia Pictures mogul Harry Cohn died of old age. His ruthlessness was legend in Hollywood. He once said " I don't get ulcers, I give them!" Hedda Hopper said:' You have to wait in line to hate him." The entire Columbia staff was ordered, not asked, to attend a memorial service. Looking at the large crowd around the coffin, Red Skelton quipped: "You see, give the people what they want and they'll show up."

1977- In Toronto the Canadian Mounties bust Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and his girlfriend Anita Pallenberg for heroin possession. The Stones agree to do two benefit concerts as punishment.

1991- President George Bush 1st declared The Gulf War successfully completed, even though Saddam Hussein remained in power.

1991- The Mitchell Brothers were tops in the pornography business, producing blockbusters like Behind the Green Door and running the O’ Farrell Theater in San Francisco. This day after a lot of drug abuse Jim Mitchell shot his brother Arnie to death with a rifle. The Mitchell Brothers case also marked the first use of 3D computer animation as an illustrative tool in a court case.

1994- Figure skater Nancy Kerrigan skips the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer so she could begin her multi-million dollar endorsements with DisneyWorld. She blows it all later when she’s caught on camera during a Disney parade saying: “This is all so corny. I can’t believe I’m doing this !”

Yesterday’s Quiz: Famed cartoon director Fred Avery was nicknamed Tex Avery. Why?

Fred Bean Avery, was born in Taylor Texas and attended North Dallas High School. Avery claimed ancestry from Judge Roy Bean, the Hanging Judge and Law West of the Pecos in the Old West. The Beans also claimed ancestry from Daniel Boone.






Quiz: Famed cartoon director Fred Avery was nicknamed Tex Avery. Why?

Answer to yesterday’s question below.
History for 2/ 26/ 2007
Birthday: Old and Good King Wenceslas of Bohemia-1361, Victor Hugo, Buffalo Bill Cody, Emma Destin, Levi Strauss, Jackie Gleason, Fats Domino, Betty Hutton, Johnny Cash, William Frawley (Fred Murtz), Robert Alda (Alan's dad), Tony Randall, Erhyke Bahdu

500¹s BC to 391 AD, Ancient Greek festival of ANTHESTERION- the festival of death and exorcism. The ancient Greeks believed ghosts weren’t as scary as they were annoying. If you didn’t bury the dead properly with spices and a coin in the mouth for the Chaeron the Boatman of the River Styx, they became ghosts. They would haunt you by moping around, turning up at inappropriate moments, predicting your death, bleeding on your lunch, etc. So this festival was a sort of ³visiting hours² for the other world. You left your door open and cooked a meal for the spirits so they could spend a day visiting their old haunts (forgive the pun).This way they would not bug you the rest of the year. This festival was also considered a festival of flowers to usher in Spring. Most Greeks spent all three days of the festival drunk.

1854- Composer Robert Schumann went mad and jumped off a bridge into the Rhine River. He was fished out and institutionalized. His schizophrenia grew out of advanced syphilis. He said he was not committing suicide but had thrown his wedding ring into the river to free his wife Clara of him, then he relented and leaped into the raging ice filled water to get it back. Ironically this drama was played out during his towns winter carnival celebrations. The tragedy of seeing his friend and teacher collapse moved young Johannes Brahms to write his First Piano Concerto.

1907- British Oil and Royal Shell merge to form the British Petroleum- B.P. company.

1919- Congress established Grand Canyon National Park.

1965- First day of shooting on the Beatle's second film 'Help!".

1983- Michael Jackson’s album Thriller went to #1 in the pop charts and stayed for weeks.

1985- New York Police under District Attorney Rudy Giuliani arrested most of the leaders of the New York Mafia families called ³The Commission². Giuliani went on to have two successful terms as New York¹s mayor and run for President in 2007.

1990- Cornell Gunther, lead singer for the DooWop group the Coasters, was shot dead at a Las Vegas traffic intersection."Yakkety-Yak, Don't Talk Back!"

1991- At a meeting in Switzerland Tim Berners-Lee introduced the first Web Browser.

1991-The Highway of Death- During Gulf War One, U.S. airforces caught a long column of Iraqi army vehicles fleeing on an open desert road. Their attacks became an easy turkey-shoot. No one is sure how many Iraqis were killed.

1993- THE FIRST WORLD TRADE CENTER ATTACK. Followers of Moslem extremist cleric Omar Abdel Rahman set off a large truck bomb in New York's World Trade Center. The bomb created a five story crater in level B-2 of the underground parking structure. It killed 7 and injured over one thousand. 50,000 had to be evacuated from the twin towers for smoke inhalation. It has been speculated that one reason there were not even more deaths in the collapse of 9-11-2001 was because much of the office workers experienced this 1993 attack, so knew exactly how to evacuate the towers quickly. President Clinton’s Justice Dept had all the perpetrators in jail within a year. When planner Ramsay Youssef was being flown out of New York to his 240 year imprisonment the plane flew over Manhattan by the World Trade Center. A he looked down he was reported to have sighed:²Should have used more dynamite.²
yesterday’s question: Animation director Brad Bird has now won Oscars for The Incredibles and Ratatouille. Why did he not win one for The Iron Giant?

Answer: There was no category yet for feature animated film when the Iron Giant came out- 1999. The first year for the category was 2001. It was won by Shrek.

Courtesy of the LA Times, sent me by J. Tucker

Ben Chapman, 79; Gill Man in cult film 'Creature from the Black Lagoon'
By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

As an actor, Ben Chapman never landed a star-making role. Far from it. He had small parts in only a few films, including an uncredited bit part in "Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki."

But Chapman nevertheless achieved a degree of movie immortality -- and he did it without uttering a word of dialogue or even showing his face.

The 6-foot-5 former Tahitian entertainer and ex-Marine played the title character in "Creature from the Black Lagoon," the classic 1954 3-D monster movie that quickly developed a cult following that has endured over the decades.

Chapman, a retired Honolulu real estate salesman, died Thursday of congestive heart failure at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, said his longtime companion, Merrilee Kazarian. He was 79.

For Chapman, playing the so-called Gill Man in "Creature from the Black Lagoon" was the role of a lifetime.

"In the big picture, he achieved a small amount of success as an actor, but for baby-boomer 'monster kids,' he was the bomb," Tom Weaver, author of the 1992 "making of" book "Creature from the Black Lagoon," told The Times on Friday.