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Blog Posts from July 2007:

July 2nd , 2007 Monday
July 2nd, 2007

Congratulations to Brad Bird and all the PIXAR gang for Ratatouille taking the number one box office slot in North America with $47 million. Almost 12 million bucks more than the next runner up.

To those animation folks in competing studios or who may be jealous of their success: You must understand that the public and mainstream media judge us as a medium regardless of studio. If there are some flops in Science Fiction for example, you don't give up on Sci-Fi, you just wait for a better one. But if there are one or two big budget animated flops, the press immediately start writing obituaries for our entire medium! It makes it harder for every one. So as animation people, we should wish every animated film the greatest success. And with a film as good as Ratatouille, thats not that difficult.

Birthdays: Christoph Witobald Gluck, Herman Hesse, Andrez Kertesz, UPA director Abe Levitow, Cheryl Ladd, Jose Canseco, Jerry Hall, Imelda Marcos, Ron Silver, Brock Peters, Larry David, Lindsay Lohan is 21

1723- Johann Sebastian Bach’s choral work Magnificat first performed in Leipzig.

1776- AMERICAN CONTINENTAL CONGRESS VOTES FOR INDEPENDENCE- Deep into a hot rainy Philadelphia night the delegates finally voted the ultimate break with the mother country. At this time most Americans still referred to England as 'home'. No colony had ever broken away from their mother country and become an independent nation. And as far as the document Thomas Jefferson had written, called the Declaration of Independence, there were 46 separate revisions.
When the Declaration was voted and agreed on two days were given to cleanup the document and it would be announced on July 4th. The famous printed page with John Hancock's big signature was not done until August 2nd.
John Adams always thought the great national celebration should be July 2nd, not the 4th, because to him that was the day everything actually happened.

1789- Two weeks before the French Revolutionaries storm the Bastille, prisoner the Marquis DeSade was transferred to another jail after he grabbed one old inmates ear trumpet and recited out the window some sexual anecdotes about the warden to the laughing crowd below.

1890- The Sherman Anti-Trust Act passed. This law forbids business monopolies. J.P. Morgan had said:" Trying to break up trusts is like trying to unscramble eggs!" It was invoked to break up Standard Oil (Exxon), The Hollywood Studio system in 1948, the ATT/Bell Telephone System and in 2000 used against Bill Gates and Microsoft. In our own time this law is generally ignored.

1900- THE FIRST MAN POWERED FLIGHT- No, not the Airplane, the Zeppelin. Count Von Zeppelin’s creation the LZ-1 made it’s first flight. The LZ-1 carries gently several passengers and mechanics 30 miles from Frederichshaven on Lake Constance to Immenstadt, making perfect time. By the time of the Hindenberg disaster there was a regular zeppelin service between Europe and Buenos Aires for years and it considered much safer than airplanes.

1901- The last train holdup in America by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

1927- The film Flesh and the Devil established a new star named Greta Garbo.

1934- Twentieth Century Fox signed a movie contract with child star Shirley Temple.

1937-AMELIA EARHART DISSAPPEARED. Over the Pacific near Howland Island. The Coast Guard cutter Ithaca received the last radio signals from aviatrix Amelia Earhart and her co-pilot Fred Noonan. …."One half-hour fuel and no landfall in sight. We are in position….." Then nothing. They disappeared never to be found. There were all sorts of rumors, even that she was doing espionage for Washington and had been executed by the Japanese. In 1992 a scientist claims to have found 1930's era plane wreckage on a small waterless island near Java but the mystery is still considered unsolved.

1946-The Peace Treaty of Beverly Hills- SAG president Ronald Reagan brokers a labor settlement between the two rival Hollywood Unions, IATSE vs. CSU., temporarily ending a violent Hollywood strike. At this time Reagan went to work every day with a 32 mm Smith & Wesson under his coat.

1955-The Lawrence Welk T.V. Show debuts. wannaful,wannafull !

1961-In the foyer of his home in Ketchum Idaho, Nobel Prize winning writer Ernest Hemingway put a shotgun into his mouth and pulled the trigger. He blew most of his head off just leaving his lower jaw and some cheek. Papa Hemingway was always haunted by the suicide of his father and he was receiving electro-shock treatments at the Mayo Clinic for depression and alcoholism. He lived for awhile in Cuba and his office in Cuba is still kept by Fidel Castro the way he left it, even protecting the hordes of cats sired by Hemingway's original pair. In 1996 his granddaughter supermodel Margaux Hemingway committed suicide almost to the day.

1992- THE GREAT FLYING LAWNCHAIR- San Pedro resident Larry Walters flew 16,000 feet in the air in his lawnchair. He strapped 45 helium weather balloons to his chair and took along a sixpack of beer, a sandwich and a pellet gun. After his two hour flight he got entangled in some power lines. He was later fined by the FAA for violating LAX commercial airport airspace.

1998- In Paris, World Cup soccer fan Rodrigo Rafael Ortega of Mexico was arrested for drunkenly urinating on the eternal flame in honor of Frances' Great War dead. The flame had burned continuously since 1921, at least it was eternal until Rogrigo snuffed it out. Once again international soccer proves its abilities to bring peoples together.

Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera are in animation valhalla now, but their company asked me to moderate a panel saluting their work at the San Diego Comicon this year. Allison riding around on her roller skates, Clarence handing out Blackwing pencils by the bushel, Joe walking on the roof of his house after the 1993 earthquake. It will be held on thursday July 27th at 2:45PM in the conference rooms. We'll spin famous cartoons and tell tales of working at 3400 Cahuenga Blvd. I hope they run some Augie Doggy and Doggy Daddy! How about Squiddly Diddly?


Welcome to July named for Julius Caesar. Before that the Romans called it month number five- "Quintilicus". They had a ten month calendar, and ran out of names after Juno (June). So thank Julius Caesar that you don't have to celebrate the Fourth of Quintilicus.

Birthdays: Tommy Dorsey, George Sand, Charles Laughton, James Cagney, Princess Diana of Wales would have been 46, Twyla Tharp, Carl Lewis, Jamie Farr, Sidney Pollack, Wally "Famous"Amos, Olivia DeHavilland is 91, Estee Lauder, Debbie Harry, Genevieve Bujold, Karen Black, Dan Ackroyd. Andre Crouch, Pamela Anderson is 40, Liv Tyler is 30

1863- Battle of Gettysburg- no animators present.

1867-HAPPY CANADA DAY-( celebrated tomorrow) By treaty Her Majesties North American Colonies of Upper and Lower Canada, Maritimes, Prince Rupert Land and diverse other holdings are incorporated as the Autonomous Dominion of Canada. This master plan to consolidate the British Empire's colonial administration was invented by Lord Caernarvon, who Queen Victoria nicknamed "Twitters."

1898- Teddy Roosevelt charges up San Juan Hill- no animators present.

1916- 1916- THE SOMME- During World War One while the French and Germans were stalemated at Verdun the British began the "Big Push" also known as the First Battle of the Somme. The British high command were very confident this offensive would open the way to Berlin. But after four months of hell and one million casualties all they managed to do was move the front line 5 miles.

Young Captain Robert Graves was sent back to England for an operation on his deviated septum. He missed the attack while his unit suffered 60% casualties. Graves survived to write books like " I Claudius". At one point he was in hospital with poet Wilfred Owen and A.A.Milne (Winnie the Pooh). Another lieutenant there named J.R.R.Tolkein was jotting down notes about old Norse-Celtic warriors and wizards for a future book. Some analysts feel his fascination with sacrifice in the face of hopeless odds began at the Somme.

1941- Animation director Tex Avery stormed out of Leon Schlesinger's Looney Tunes Studio when Jack Warner ordered cuts in his Bugs Bunny cartoon, A Wild Hare. Leon Schlesinger put him on a four week suspension without pay, but Avery had already lined up a gig at MGM.

1941- During the television coverage of a Brooklyn Dodgers-Philadelphia Phillies baseball game the first FCC sanctioned Television Commercial aired. It was for the Bulova Watch Company.

1945- Bill Mauldin's wartime comic strip "Willie and Joe' ends it's run along with the European front line edition of Stars and Stripes magazine. Peanuts creator Charles Schulz said no one could draw mud and the misery of the average GI like Mauldin could. He even drew cartoons while under enemy fire.

Mauldin was once chewed out by General Blood & Guts Patton for making Willie & Joe so slovenly and cynical, making for a negative image of the American Fighting Man. Seesh...everybody’s a critic!

1945- NY Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia read the Sunday funnies over the radio because of a newspaper strike.

1946- The first peacetime A-Bomb detonated in the Bikini Islands. The army wanted to study the effects of the bomb so they parked old Axis warships, buildings and dummys around it, as well as chained down animals. They soldiers nicknamed the bomb 'Gilda' after the Rita Hayworth movie. When Ms. Hayworth heard her name was being used to incinerate 1,500 innocent sheep, horses and elephants she collapsed in shock. The inhabitants of the island were removed and to this day the islands are uninhabitable. A cloud of radiation also killed the crew of a Japanese fishing boat in the area. But the island's name gave a neat idea to French designer Jacques Clauzel what to call his daring new ladies’ two piece swimsuit.

1958- Does She or Doesn’t She?- Clairol hair dye introduced.

1963-U.S. POST OFFICE introduced Zip Codes.

1966- The US Medicare Program began. President Lyndon Johnson
presented the first Medicare Card to retired President Harry Truman. At the time it was felt there was no need to include prescription drugs in the program since their cost was so low. Since then while general inflation rate has been nil to 1% prescription drugs average inflation rate is 400%.

1970- Hanna & Barbera’s primetime animated series "Where’s Huddles?"

1972- Ms. Magazine started publication.

1981- The Wonderland Murders. Notoriously over-endowed porn star Johnny Holmes was implicated in a gangland murder. In a Los Angeles home known to be involved in drug dealing. four people were found beaten to death with a steel pipe. Holmes was picked up and tried as an accomplice but was acquitted. Hung jury. -I’m sorry, I just had to say it! His fate hung in the balance! It was all of a package! All-right, I’ll stop.

1996- the movie Dinosaur Valley Girls premiered.

1998- Barbara Streisand married James Brolin.