Leon Blum July 23, 2006
July 23rd, 2006

This week we have to honor French Premier Leon Blum, who 70 years ago passed legislation mandating for all French workers a manditory three weeks paid vacation. It later was expanded to six weeks in August. In our current studios where Americans feel guilty about taking even a few days off, six weeks sounds heavenly. And since then the French economy has still blossomed, and companies made profits.

History for 7/23/2006
Birthdays: Ethiopian Emperor Rastafari Halie Selassie "the Lion of Judah", Raymond Chandler, Raymond Booth, Don Drysdale, Gloria DeHaven, Arthur Treacher, Woody Harrelson, Pee Wee Reese, Bob Fosse,
Harry Cohn, Don Imus, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Charisma Carpenter, Slash, MarlonWayans, Monica Lewinsky , Daniel Radcliffe the Harry Potter star is 17

1599- Michel Caravaggio received his first commission for a painting.

1866- The Cincinnatti Reds Baseball club formed. The oldest continual professional
baseball team in the U.S.

1886- This was the day Bowery saloonkeeper Steve Brodie claimed he jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, inspiring a great Bugs Bunny cartoon.

1904 ­ The Ice Cream Cone created by Charles E Menches during the LA Purchase Expo.

1908 -Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid IV is deposed by a group of militant army officers demanding modern reforms called the Young Turks.

1932-The Birthday of Fritos. Texas ice cream maker Elmer Doolin buys a recipe for corn chips from a Mexican fry cook for $100 dollars and starts the Frito-Lay Company.

1962- The first simultaneous television broadcast via the new TelStar communications satellite from America to Europe.

1968- Fred Blasie won an unprecedented fifth World Wrestling Championship belt. Blasie later gained more fame for recording the comedy song "Pencil Necked Geeks".

2004 ­ two armed men enter the Munch Museum in Norway and steal Edvard Munch¹s masterpiece. The Scream at gunpoint. Several of the culprits have been apprehended, but the Scream is still missing.
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Opening This week in the US is Sony's Monster House, done by those wonderful little Mo-Cap mavens who gave us Polar Express, and Richard Linkletters' Through a Scanner Darkly, adapted by still another Phillip K. Dick story. The creator the original stories Blade Runner, and Total Recall are based on, Phillip K. Dick died years ago. How many stories does this guy have left? Are they going to adapt his voicemail message into a script? "Hi, this is Phil, I can't come to the phone right now, but Keanu Reeeves is being motion captured to get back to you...etc."

The great news is this amazing year of animated releases keeps going. Hoodwinked,Ice Age the Meltdown, Dougal, Cars, Over the Hedge, The Wild and more.

Coming is Sony Animation's first release Open Season,IDT's Everybodies Hero, Dreamworks Flushed Away, That French Sin-City type noir film and George Miller ( Mad Max, Babe) all Aussie feature Happy Feet.

I was one of the Motion Picture Academy members who lobbied for the Feature Animation Oscar. One of the chief criticisms we had then was there was never enough films to warrant it's own category. Interesting that since the category began in 2001 (Shrek won the first feature Oscar) we've averaged about 8 animated feature releases a year. 2006 will see 14 releases. The Oscar voting this year will be particulary interesting to watch.


Aloha
July 21st, 2006

I'm on a Pacific Isle getting some R&R with Pat. She flew out from LA where she is working on the Dreamworks upcoming animated feature being written directed by Jerry Seinfeld. So till the 25th if my entries are a bit spotty, it's only due to jet-lag and Mai-Tais.

Birthdays: Ernest Hemingway, Issac Stern, Marshal McCluhan- The Medium is the Message, Norman Jewison, Don Knots, Janet Reno, Jon Lovitz, Gary Trudeau, Ernst Shuftan- inventor of the "Shuftan Effect", a cheap way ofcombining actors with miniatures by shooting through mirrors. All those "Lost World" Cesar Romero fighting the giant Iguanas were done that way. Whatever happened to Doug McClure? He was the Scott Bakula of the 1960s. Uh.. I digress- Tony Scott, Robin Williams is 55 the voice of the Genii in Aladdin, Batty Coda in Ferngully, that other Robot in Robots, Josh Harnett is 28

Happy National Zippo Lighter Day. Smoking is bad but Zippos are cool- another one of life¹s mysteries.

1980- SAG went on strike for actor's residuals from video cassette and cable t.v. sales.The actors hit the bricks twice more, in 1988 and 2000.


July 19, 2006 weds
July 19th, 2006

Tomorrow is the beginning of the San Diego Comicon. Since 1972, the largest comic art, fantasy and sci-fi gathering in the Western Hemisphere.
courtesy of funimation.com

I've been attending Comicons since the early 1970s in New York, when they were held at the old Commodore Hotel next to Grand Central, and the New Yorker Hotel. I remember how excited and proud I was the first year my badge read professional instead of student. I recall in 1974 going to a party up in one of the rooms that reeked of potsmoke, stepping over a cartoonist passed out on the floor, only to learn later it was Vaughn Bode, the creator of Cheech Wizard. Seeing Wendy and Richard Pini passing out copies of their comic Elfquest, that I believe was one of the first successful self published comics. And another time fellow animator Lester Pegues coming in my office and declaring he just saw a sneak of the greatest sci-fi film of all time! Something new called Star-Wars. I was ambivalent... I had already seen Silent Running, now I was waiting for French Connection II or the Revenge of Billy Jack. Who knew?

Gaudy, crazy, at times in questionable taste. But where else can you meet Ray Bradbury or Kevin Smith alongside a 300 pound woman dressed as Sailor Moon? In later years it's been a great place to network with old friends, some of whom come out only for the Comicon. One underground cartoonist from Berkeley told me he only travels out of town to go to the Con, then he does his CHristmas Shopping at the gift shop at the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda. After all, who can say no to a Richard Nixon frisbee or Richard Nixon Christmas ornament?

If I wasn't out of town right now I'd be at a HeMan SheRa DVD signing, but currently I can only be there in spirit.Look for the ASIFA booth with Eric Goldberg and Dave Burgess drawing for the crowd, and the National Cartoonists Society booths. So to all my friends who are attending, have a great Con!

History for 7/19/2006
Birthdays: Edgar Degas, Col. Samuel Colt, Charles Mayo of the Mayo Clinic, Vladimir
Mayakovsky, UNcle Max Fleischer, Lizzie Borden, Ille Nastase, George McGovern,
Brian Harold May of Queen, Atom Egoyan, Anthony Edwards, Campbell Scott

1717- George Frederich Handel premiered his suite the Water Music for a procession
of King George II on pleasure boats from Whitehall to Lambeth Palace.

1941 - British PM Winston Churchill launched his "V for Victory" campaign.
By coincidence the letter"V" in morse code corresponded with the opening
notes of Beethoven's 5th symphony "Dit-Dit-Dit Daaah."making it the musical
theme of the BBC overseas radio service war news. If you ever lived in England you
would know that reversing the two fingers sign is an insult akin to flashing someone
the middle finger.

1957- That great movie I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF starring Michael Landon premiered.


July 18, 2006 Tues.
July 18th, 2006

QUIZ:
Which actress has not done a voice in an animated film?

1. Nicole Kidman
2. Selma Hayek
3. Charlize Theron
4. Diane Keaton
5. Sharon Stone

Birthdays: William Makepeace Thackeray, Chill Wills, Nelson Mandela, James Brolin,
Elizabeth McGovern, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Hume Cronyn, Red Skelton, Hunter H. Thompson,
Clifford Odets, Paul Verhoeven, John Glenn is 85, Vin Diesel is 39.

Happy Ancient Egyptian New Year! The day when Cirius the Dog Star is seen in the
Southern skies heralds the coming of the Niles flood. In modern times we call
it the Dog Days of Summer.

1877- Thomas Edison recorded sound on tin foil cylinder `Mary Had a Little Lamb-'

1939-MGM tried a sneak preview of the film The Wizard of Oz. Afterwards they debated
cutting the song Somewhere Over the Rainbow as slowing down the pace but finally
decided to leave it in. The film debuted in August to wild success and acclaim.

1939- RKO pictures signed Orson Welles to direct movies in Hollywood. That Hollywood
signed a 24 year old radio star who never directed a movie and gave him final cut
and complete freedom is amazing.

QUIZ ANSWERS
Which actress has not done a voice in an animated film?

Nicole Kidman is providing a voice for the new George Miller film Happy Feet, Charlize Theron was the original voice of Aeon Flux 1995, Diane Keaton did the voice of Annie Hall as Snow White in Woody Allens' 1978 hit Annie Hall, animated by Chris Ishii, Sharon Stone was Princess Bala in Dreamworks ANTZ, so the answer is Selma Hayek.
Hey, Pocho! Donde esta mi Dibujado Animado-aka Cartoon?courtesy uk web online


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