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


Monday July 17, 2006
July 17th, 2006

Birthdays: James Cagney- movie star and union activist, John Jacob Astor Ist, Hyacinth Rigaud, Bernice Abbott, Chill Wills, Brian Trottier, Phoebe Snow, Donald Sutherland is 70, Phyllis Diller, Daryl Lamonica, Prof. Peter Schickele a.k.a. PDQ Bach, Earl Stanley Gardner the creator of Perry Mason, David Hasslehoff is 54

1841 - British humor magazine "Punch" 1st published.

1893- Representatives of fourteen stage unions meet to form IATSE, the International
Alliance of Theatrical & Screen Engineers of the U.S. & Canada. In the 1890s if a unscrupulous theater manager refused to pay their performers and crew, those people went to the IA man. He would put a flour sack over his head with eye holes, pull out his six-shooter and stuck up the theater. IATSE created the first Hollywood union agreement in 1914, and created Local 44 Grips, By 1947 IATSE defeated other unions like the Teamsters and Electrical Workers to represent all backstage film workers, Broadway stage workers, NASA cameramen, Vegas showgirls, and animation cartoonists.

1928-CARTOONIST ASSASSIN. President of Mexico Alvaro Obregon was at a large banquet gathering of all
former veterans of the Mexican Revolution. Part of the party was having an artist
stroll about making cariacatures of the guests of honor. Obregon said to cartoonist
Leon Toral: "Make sure you make me look good." Toral responded "Oh,
I will.." and pulled a gun and shot the President to death.


1935 - Variety's famous headline "Sticks Nix Hick Pix" meaning audiences
in rural areas were not attending movies with a rustic theme.

1936-. The Spanish Civil War begins. A Spanish Fascist army led by Francisco Franco
invades Spain from North Africa. The first moves were to occupy the Canary Islands.
The Phalangist generals figured the takeover would only take a few days but all
over Spain the common people- workers, farmers, artists and poets, even women and
children took up guns to fight. The facists won, despite the Loyalists having much better postergraphics and folk songs.

1937- the Nazis open an art exhibit of banned artworks and artists called Entartete Kunst- Degenerate Art.- Works of Dali and Duchamp, Grosz, Lippschitz, Kandinsky and Miro, with appropriate insults underneath. The next day Hitler dedicates the
Great German Art Collection, having cleansed the German art world for National Socialist art, mostly bad deco-greco nudes and dumb Nordic medieval fantasy scenes.

1955 DISNEYLAND OPENED- Walt Disney's dream of a perfect family them park, called 'The Happiest Place on Earth" was declared open with movie celebrities like Ronald Reagan, Art Linkletter and the Mouseketeers in attendance. It was almost one year to the day that they began construction. Walt Disney expectedto get 10,000 visitors that first day. He got 100,000. Facilities broke down from the huge crowds and the haste with which the park was built. Concrete pavement which was poured the night before was still soft under people's feet, there were no working water fountains and the car parking was a nightmare. To the Disneyland workers opening day was nicknamed 'Black Sunday". But despite it all, Disneyland became a huge success.

1968- The Beatles musical cartoon feature The Yellow Submarine went into general release in US theaters. It premiered in London’s Piccadilly Circus on June 6th. Look Out ! It’s the Blue Meanies!! Directed by George Dunning. The Beatles themselves did not do the voices, but when they saw the final film, they were impressed enough to record a little live action cameo at the end.When the film premiered in Singapore there was a riot, because patrons thought they were going to see the real band, not a cartoon.


July 16,2006
July 16th, 2006

Birthdays: Sir Joshua Reynolds, Ginger Rogers, Pinchas Zukerman, Orville Redenbacher the PopCorn King, Sunny Tufts- the star of 50s sci fi films like the Crawling Eye.- In Rocky and Bullwinkle Boris Badenov is ever lusting after an autographed photo of Sunny Tufts. Reuben Blades, Mary Baker-Eddy the founder of Christian Science, Will Farrell

1769- Fra Junipero Serra founded his first Mission settlement in California- San Diego de Alcala, now present day San Diego. The master plan was to create a string of missions from San Diego to San Francisco one days ride apart- San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, San Gabriel , Los Angeles, etc.

1932- Cecil B. DeMille shot the scene in his film Sign of the Cross where Claudet Colbert took a bath in asses milk. Legend has it that DeMille insisted on real milk in the bath and that by the second day the hot studio lights had curdled it to a smelly cheese. But production notes show the scene was all shot in one day. DeMille always got away with sexy semi-nude scenes by putting them in biblical settings. After all, who would criticize a moral tale from the Good Book? This story of Jesus opens with an orgy scene at Mary Magdalene’s house.

1945-THE FIRST ATOMIC BOMB EXPLODED at Alamagordo New Mexico (site code name was "Trinity'). Called at first the Super Cosmic Bomb, nicknamed "The Gadget". The Manhattan Project scientists weren't sure that once you started the chain reaction detonating particles of light when it would stop, if ever. Physicists Richard Fenyman and Enrico Fermi wagered a case of beer that they would incinerate the state of New Mexico.(funny guys). They were led by General Leslie Groves, a by-the-book army engineer who supervised the construction of the Pentagon, and Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, a brilliant physicist and Berkeley radical who read Sanskrit to relax. When he saw the force of the blast Oppenheimer recalled the Hindu verse: "Now have I become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds..."

1951-J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" published.

1954- First groundbreaking for the construction of Disneyland.

1964 -Warner Brothers "A False Hare", the last Bugs Bunny theatrical short until the late 1980's.

1969- Passed this day Title 14, Section 1211 of the Code of Federal Regulations, makes it illegal for U.S. citizens to have any contact with extraterrestrials or their spacecraft.


July 15th Sat
July 15th, 2006

Todays Birthdays: Rembrandt van Rijn, Inigo Jones, Sir Thomas Bullfinch, St. Mother Cabrini, Clemont Moore, Julian Bream, Linda Rondstadt, Alex Karras, Jan Michael Vincent, The Sultan of Brunei, Lola Davidovich, Forrest Whitaker, Brigette Neilsen, Jesse The Body Ventura

Feast of St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

1938- Popeye cartoon "With the Jeep" introduced Eugene the Jeep. The funny little character later gave it’s name to the army’s new General Purpose Vehicle, the G.P. or Jeep.

1941- President Franklin Roosevelt sent federal mediator Stanley White to try and solve the labor strike between Walt Disney and his cartoonists.

1953- The film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes premiered starring Marylyn Monroe and Jane Russell.

1971- Producer Steve Krantz announced the production of the first X-rated cartoon, Fritz the Cat, to be directed by newcomer Ralph Bakshi.

1982-Coca-Cola intoduces Diet Coke. Mainstay for animation studios everywhere.

courtesy Everypicture tells a Story
One other terrific website currently available for your delight and edification is www.BillPeet.net
Bill Peet 1915-2002 is acknowledged as one of the greatest animation storyboard artists who ever lived. He was one of the main reasons the classic Disney Features were classic. Bambi, Fantasia, Dumbo. Older Disney artists told me he was one of the only people who could scream in Walt Disneys face and not fear to lose his job. Walt appreciated his talent and passion so much that at times they went at each other like an umpire and team manager over a bad call. He later became a famous illustrator of childrens books. This website is put together by Bill Peet Jr and has many wonderful images done by his dad. Go to the Disney people section and check out the caricatures of other Disney artists. I love the one he did of Milt Kahl.

I met Bill Peet in the mid 1990s when I helped put on an ASIFA/Hollywood program for animation authors. Bill came but asked not to stay long because his throat was bothering him. I said he could sign some books and was free to leave whenever he wished. Instead he had so much fun talking to his many fans that he was one fo the last to leave. I had to finally click the lights on and off to get to close up.


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