Sept 18, 2006 mon
September 18th, 2006

Birthdays: Roman Emperor Marcus Ulpius Trajan 53AD, Dr Samuel Johnson, Frankie Avalon, Greta Garbo, Claudette Colbert, Leon Foucault ( Foucault's Pendulum ), Jack Warden, June Foray the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Canadian PM John Diefenbaker, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Rossano Brazzi, Debbie Fields founder of Mrs. Field's Cookies, Jada Pinkett-Smith, James Gandolfini is 45

1572-the painter El Greco first appeared in history in a document paying his union dues to the Guild of St. Lawrence, the artists guild of Rome. His real name was Domenico Theotocopoulos. People just called him 'the Greek Guy" -El Greco.

1804- Napoleon inspected Baron Gros new painting The Plague Victims of Jaffa and liked it. Nappy considered paintings part of propaganda and commissioned artists to project his image.

1811 A Portuguese 'Projectionist' (experimenter with Magic Lanterns) offers the Duke of Wellington to burn up Napoleon's army with a series of convex lenses and mirrors. Wellington says thanks, but no thanks...

1851-First issue of the New York Daily Times, later just the New York Times.

1870-THE SIEGE OF PARIS BEGAN- The main French armies defeated and Emperor Napoleon III a prisoner, Paris alone refused to surrender to Prussia. As the great Krupp guns boom shells into the city, American General Phil Sheridan stood as a tourist in between Chancellor Bismarck and the Kaiser. Painter August Renoir would go outside the city walls to sketch and was once picked up and accused of espionage. Parisians starved in the siege and elegant restaurants were soon offering 'roast cat in orange sauce with a decorative garnish of mice'. Top fashion guru Worth of Paris declared it chic' to have some decorative ruins in your garden. After the siege the Paris city walls were demolished. They were approximately where the freeway "peripherique" around the city is today. The fiercest fighting was where the suburb of La Defense is (hence the name).Young Emile Cohl was inspired by the military wall posters he saw to become an artist. He later became the first true animation artist.

1895- In Davenport Iowa Daniel David Liliiard invented the chiropractic adjustment session. Now just relax- CRACCCK!!

1917-Writer Aldous Huxley got a job teaching at Eton. One of his students was Eric Blair, who would write under the name George Orwell.

1927-The Columbia Broadcasting System-CBS broadcast its first program, an opera called the King’s Henchman.

1932-Frustrated movie actress Peggy Enwhistle jumped off the Hollywood Sign. In case you are curious she jumped off the “H”. She also didn’t hit the ground immediately but hit a cactus patch, dying slowly later in great pain. Ironically in her mail that day was a script and a job offer. The role was of a woman who commits suicide.

1965- I Dream of Genie debuted on television. Network Standards & Practices said Barbara Eden could wear the harem outfit so long as her belly-button didn’t show. At first the reviews were not good. Variety said: “The only star of this show is Barbera Edens cleavage.”

1970- Jimi Hendrix (27) was found dead of drug and alcohol abuse. He had passed out and choked on his own vomit. Janis Joplin's reaction was -"G-ddammit! He beat me to it !" Joplin herself died three weeks afterwards.

1991- Comedian Redd Foxx ( Sanford and Son) was famous for doing bits like faking a heart attack. This day on the set of his new series the Royal Family while joking with Della Reese he clutched his chest and fell over dead. Everyone thought he was faking and laughed.

2003- In Scotland, paleontologists discover the world's oldest genitalia. From a dinosaur era insect ancestor of the preying mantis. Sounds like an old prospectors exclamation:” Great Giant Mantis Balls!”

Sept 17, 2006
September 17th, 2006

Hey Shipmates, When you look at my book Drawing the Line, do you know who the people are on the cover? The beautiful painting was done by my friend Patrick Mate'. Patrick is a French born animator who's credits include the Dreamworks films Prince of Egypt, Sharktale and Over the Hedge. The people on my book cover are- left to right- Moe Gollub, union president during the Runaway Wars 1979-1982, Walt Disney, Max Fleischer, John Randolph Bray- the studio owner who adapted Henry Ford's assemble line to animation and created the categories to create a film, storyboarders, animators, assistants, painters, background artists, etc.
The smaller figures below them represent Willie Bioff's car bomb, fistfights on a picketline, Art Babbitt the animator leader of the 1941 Disney Strike,a gangster and the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. The Pig character on the drawing board as well as the spaceman and mouse are Patricks' own creations.

Birthdays: Hank Williams, Spiro Agnew, Jerry Colonna, Roddy MacDowell, Wendy Carlos Williams, Elvira- real name Cassandra Peterson, Anne Bancroft, cartoonist Jeff MacNelly,Rita Rudner

Feast of Saint Hildegard of Bingen, the medieval female composer.
I don't know why an octopus is dropping on her head while she is eating chili, but that is a contemporary image of Hildegard. Courtesy of Wilson's

1630- Happy Birthday Beantown! The Puritan colonists of New England decide to name their new settlement Boston, after a town in Lincolnshire. The site was an Algonquin village called Shawmut.

1787- The U.S. Constitution signed by the representatives of 12 of the thirteen states. Rhode Island boycotted the convention. “The business is closed.” George Washington wrote in his diary. Alexander Hamilton signed as the only representative of New York since the others left in protest. He was a prime mover of the Constitutional rewrite but was unimpressed with the final result: “Just more pork with the same old sauce, but it might lead the way for a better one later.”Aaron Burr was more blunt” I doubt if it will last 50 years.” Yet the US Constitution became the bedrock of the American system and is viewed with an almost religious dedication. When Ben Franklin emerged from the chamber an old woman asked:’ Well, Dr Franklin, what have you given us now?” Franklin replied:” A nation, mam, if you can keep it.”

1859- JOSHUA NORTON of San Francisco, a well known rice merchant, suffered a mental breakdown under the strain of work, bought a tricycle and a marching band uniform and declared himself Joshua Ist, By God's Grace Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico! Everybody went along with the gag including Abraham Lincoln, who Joshua would write to as "My Prime Minister" and Abe would answer "Your Majesty". He once signed an order outlawing the Republican and Democratic parties. When Joshua died in 1875 35,000 people turned out for a state funeral befitting royalty.

1876- THE GREAT NORTHFIELD MINNESOTA RAID-One old Hollywood myth is of the Western town cowering in fear while desperadoes shoot up the street whoopin and a’hollering. When the Jesse James & Cole Younger gang rode out of Missouri and tried to rob the Bank of Northfield they found a town full of old Civil War veterans, who hauled out their rifles and shot them to pieces from every window and doorway. Frank and Jesse are about the only ones who escaped. The laid low in Tennessee for three years until resuming their outlaw ways. Cole Younger was wounded, captured and did 25 years in prison. In 1903 Cole and Frank James went on tour with their own Wild West Show.

1880- The L.A. Athletic Club opened.

1965- If you ever wondered what could be funny about being held in a Nazi prison camp you could watch the TV sitcom HOGANS HEROES, which debuted this day. Nazi Commandant Colonel Klink was acted by Werner Klemperer, whose father was the famous orchestra conductor Otto Klemperer who had to flee Germany because they were Jewish. Sergeant Schulz and the Frenchman LeBeau were also played by actors who survived concentration camps- John Banner and Robert Clary.

1971- RCA pulled out of the computer market.

1972- Filmation's The Groovie Ghoulies" debuts.

1975- Psychotherapist Lucile Yaney opened one of LA’s most unusual restaurants- the Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga Canyon. Built on the site of a countryhouse 1920’s evangelist Aimee Semple MacPherson brought her lovers. Premiere organic cuisine with berry wines, then you can browse the store for power crystals.

Sept 16, 2006 Berny Wolf
September 16th, 2006

We learned this week of the death of animator Berny Wolf 1911-2006. No relation to Fred Wolf of Murakami-Wolf or Mike Wolf, Simpsons producer. He was 95. Berny Wolf was one of those stalwart rank-in-file animators who while not calling much attention to himself seemed to have worked everywhere. He did the rotoscope animation of Cab Calloway in Max Fleischer's Minnie the Moocher and The Old Man of the Mountain. He animated on Pinnochio, did the centaurettes dancing around Bacchus in the Pastorale Seq of Fantasia and quarreled with Bill Tytla on the picket line in front of Disney's main gate in 1941. His resume also included FUMPU, MGM, TV commercials and Hanna Barbera. Mark Kausler wrote a great overview of his life on Jerry Beck's Cartoon Brew. Our condolences to his family. Berny Wolf was one of the last of the Golden Age Animators, and we thank him for his beautiful work and wish him well as he passes on to Cartoonist Valhalla.

Birthdays: J.C. Penny (James Cash Penny), B.B. King is 81. Originally born Rydell King, when a DJ in Memphis his name was Beale St. Blues Boy or B.B.King), Lauren Bacall, Anne Francis, Linda Darnel, Nadia Boulanger, Alan Funt, George Chakiris, Peter Falk, Mickey Rourke, Ed Begley Jr, Jennifer Tilly, Molly Shannon, Marvin Middlemark 1919-the inventor of the rabbit ears TV antenna.

218BC -Estimated date that Hannibal and his Carthaginian army completed their crossing of the Alps and descended into the Po River Valley of Italy. Of 32 elephants only 2 survived the journey.

1859- In Old San Francisco California State Senator David Broderick called California Supreme Court Justice David Terry a “pro-slavery crook, knave and poltroon”. The chief justice in a rage and challenged Broderick to a duel. They had to reschedule their meeting several times to elude the police but finally met on this date on site on Lake Merced near present Daly City. Broderick's gun discharged prematurely near Terry's feet. Terry, instead of being satisfied and firing wide, took aim and drilled Broderick through the chest, killing him instantly.

1949-Chuck Jones' "Fast and Furrious" the First Road Runner-Coyote cartoon. Maurice Nobles' beautifully stylized view of the SouthWest American desert set a new standard in Animated films.

1963- The Beatles record “She Loves You- Yeah,Yeah,Yeah.”on the Swan Records label.

1964- The Peter Potamus Show debuted.

1965- The Dean Martin Show premiered on NBC. “Well, Ah think I’m gonna go to da couch now..”

1966- the last LOOK magazine published.

1969- President Nixon appears on the t.v. comedy "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" and says:"Sock it to Me?"

1983- Arnold Schwarzenegger became a US citizen.

1984- “Miami Vice” tv show debuted.

2003- Sheb Wooley, the composer of the 1951 hit “One Eyed One Horned Flying Purple People Eater” and the theme song of the TV show Hee Haw, died in Henderson Tennessee at age 82.


Recently looking at the 839 unions blog about the wild Disney office party at Lake Norco reminded me of something I wanted to remind us all of.

When I was doing research for my book in several college archives, I came upon many beautiful and clever drawings and photos that were not labeled. I was able to identify some, and I ran some past a few experts like Martha Sigall and Mark Kausler. But many could not be named. I found a big beautiful drawing for the holidays of an entire 1940's staff of artists caricatured playing a tug of war with a string of holly. None of the people looked familiar. The names are lost to history. The Motion Picture Academy Archives has an entire section dedicated to identifying people in old home movies donated to them.

So make it a point to go through your old drawings and photos and label and date everything. Someday these names will slip your mind and the names will be lost to the future. No one can predict what will go in the trash and what will wind up in a museum. Treat your past with respect, and it will continue to enlighten and inform way past our lifetimes.
Birthdays: James Fennimore Cooper, William Howard Taft America's fattest president, Agatha Christie, Julian Cannonball Adderly, Bruno Walter, Russian animator Yuri Noorstein, Oliver Stone, Jean Renoir (film director and son of painter August Renoir), Alexander Korda, Robert Benchley the author of Jaws, Fay Wray, Tommy Lee Jones, Prince Henry the second son of Charles and Di is 22

1858- The Butterfield Overland Mail service started up- driving stage coaches throughout the Old West.

1901- After the funeral of assassinated President McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt strode into the White House for his first day as President. Supposedly he was the man who named the famous caramel corn snack. After he tried it, he exclaimed to the inventor "This caramel dipped popcorns are Crackerjack!"

1925- The Grand Order of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan take out a copyright on their logo – the white cross on the red circle with the black square in the center. After all, some other racist hate group might try to copy their cool duds!

1930- The first Blondie comic strip.

1930- Hoagy Carmichael first recorded “Georgia on My Mind”.

1936- Irving Thallberg, the "Boy Genius" MGM producer, dies of a cerebral hemorrhage at 31. He was the inspiration for F.Scott Fitzgerald's "The Last Tycoon". His boss Louis B. Mayer was beginning to resent his popularity. When actress Gloria Swanson asked Mayer how he felt about Thallberg's death Mayer replied:" God has been very kind to me."

1954- The day of shooting on the film the Seven Year Itch. Marylin Monroe in her little white dress stood over the subway grate and let the breeze blow her dress up, much to the annoyance of her husband, baseball star Joe Dimaggio. Her white halter outfit was thereafter known as a Marylin Dress.

1957-The tv series Bachelor Father starring John Forsythe premiered.
courtesy of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.
1959- Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev arrived in the U.S. for a good will tour that included farms and factories. Americans found the earthy bald peasant with the broad smile charming, and not at all the bogeyman everyone feared. At one point Khruschev requested to visit Disneyland, the “workers playground” but Walt Disney refused:” In 1942 we lent those Commie bastards a print of Snow White and they released in their theaters with their own credits on it!” Khruschev also praised American white bread. “Russian Bread is made one day and goes stale. American bread can stay on shelf for weeks and still be soft!”He also enjoyed the fried chicken of the man Sanders that the state of Kentucky had made a Colonel- KFC. He called the little striped box with fork,salt and wetnap the perfect workers meal.

1965- "Green Acres" t.v. show debuts. Arnold Ziffel the pig gains national prominence.

1971 –The environmental political movement Greenpeace founded in Vancouver by twelve members of the Don’t Make a Wave Committee.

1973- Star Trek animated series by Filmation premiered. This was the first time Kirk, Spock, Sulu and Uhura were united again with a Roddenberry script since the original series was cancelled in 1967.

Birthdays: Lao Tzu -604 b.c., Caliph Al Mansur -the founder of Bagdhad-711 A.D., artist Charles Dana Gibson, Margaret Sanger the founder of Planned Parenthood, Clayton Moore t.v.'s Lone Ranger, Luigi Cherubini, Joey Heatherton, Bowser from Sha-Na-Na., Walter Koenig- proton torpedoes armed and ready, captain, Sam Neill, Hal Wallis,

1324- In Ravenna a few hours after he put the finishing touches on the last part of his epic poem The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri died of malaria fever.

1814- BRITISH NAVY BOMBARDS FT. McHENRY – Washington lawyer Francis Scott Key was sent to the British to negotiate the release of a local Maryland doctor named Beanes. The British had accused Scottish born Dr. Beanes of mistreating their POW’s but relented when Key brought with him a letter written by men saying they were being well taken care of. Still, Key came at an awkward moment because they were about to attack Baltimore. So Admiral Cochrane invited him to stay and watch the show. Francis Scott Key watched the Rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air all night. Colonel Armistead the American commander at Ft. McHenry flew a big ass American flag to show everyone his fort was still fine and dandy. Dr Beane’s eyesight wasn’t very good and in the Dawns Early Light he asked Key:”If the flag was still there?” This question inspired Key to start writing down stanzas for a poem. After 25 hours of bombardment the British gave up firing on the fort and sailed away to save their resources for the attack on New Orleans. Key wrote a neat little poem and showed it to his brother-in-law Judge Nicholson. He thought it would sound good matched to a British pub song called "To Anacreon in Heaven". The song had a few difficult final high notes that enabled the bartender or publican to tell if you had too much to drink. It became the U.S. national anthem in 1931. Despite Jimmy Hendrix s’ rendition at Woodstock there has been occasional calls to replace it with America the Beautiful.

1918- 63 year old union leader and one time Socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs is sentenced to ten years in prison for making Anti-war speeches. Many large unions in the U.S. were against U.S. participation in World War One. In The election of 1913 Debs got 1 million votes to Woodrow Wilson's slim victory of 6 million.

1927-Modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan died in freak car accident when her scarf tangled in the spokes of her Bugatti sportscar and snapped her neck. The scarf was a gift from the mother of famed Hollywood director Preston Sturges.

1927- Gene Austin recorded “My Blue Heaven”.

1957- TV show “Have Gun Will Travel” with Richard Boone as Paladin, premiered. The head writer of this show was Gene Roddenberry, who would later create Star Trek.

1968-Filmation's "the Archies" "Sugar...ah, honey honey...."

1972- Premiere of the TV show The Waltons. “ Goodnight John-Boy, Goodnight Jim-Bob..”

1978- The Mork & Mindy show with young comic Robin Williams debuted. “Na-Nuu, Na-Nuu.”.

1985- Disney's "Gummi Bears" TV show.

1993- Former Simpson’s writer Conan O’Brien takes over David Letterman’s old spot at the Late Show.