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June 7th 2009 sun.
June 7th, 2009

It's fun to do a google image search of yourself and find photos you don't remember. This was a shot of my partner Piet Kroon and I when we were directing OSMOSIS JONES for Warner Bros ten years ago.

This is a shot of art director Hans Bacher and I working on pre-production on Disneys Beauty and the Beast, twenty years ago in London, 1989.

The map of France to the right was not for yet another planned Anglais invasion. It was a vitner's map to plan our research tour of the Loire Valley, for ideas for the Beast's Castle. In case you wonder what our results were- we used Chambord and Azay Le Rideau for inspiration.

chambord castle

Question: Who first called the D-Day invasion The Longest Day?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Was Napoleon short?
History for 6/7/2009
Birthdays: Pope Gregory XIII, Beau Brummel, Paul Gauguin, Chick Corea, George Szell, Watergate congressman Peter Rodino, Tom Jones, Jessica Tandy, James Ivory, Virginia McKenna, Liam Neeson is 57, Prince is 51

1099- After three years of marching and fighting, the massed hordes of the First Crusade finally sight the Holy City of Jerusalem.

1191- Richard the Lionheart arrived in the Holy Land for the Third Crusade, he went by ship via Sicily and Cyprus- the easy way. The Crusaders met him on the beach with an old song that today is "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow".

1520-THE FIELD OF THE CLOTH OF GOLD- A Renaissance international summit organized by Cardinal Woolsey. King Henry VIII of England, King Francois Le Bel of France and Emperor Karl of Germany, all pitched their expensive gold cloth tents together, and held feasts, revels and tournaments while discussing politics.

1594- All during Queen Elizabeth Ist reign there were plots and attempts on her life. This day the Queens Spanish-Jewish doctor Rodrigo Lopez was executed on suspicion of his attempting to poison the Queen. The evidence was circumstantial and Elizabeth took several weeks to decide to sign the death warrant. When the news got out there was a wave of Anti-Semitic feeling among the English populace, even though most Jews had been banned from England since 1388. This is seen as the time when William Shakespeare got the inspiration to create Shylock the wicked Jewish money lender in his play the Merchant of Venice.

1692- Port Royal, was the Jamaican port that became a haven for buccaneers and pirates of the Carribbean. Today it was destroyed by a huge earthquake. After Tortuga was cleaned out of pirates by the Spanish Navy, Port Royal became the unofficial pirate capitol. At its height with a harbor that could shelter 150 ships, she boasted more citizens than Boston and more money per-capita than London. Trade was so extensive that among the treasure, divers found a Japanese samurai sword.

1769- Frontiersman Daniel Boone reached Kentucky by charting a way through the Cumberland Gap. Though they seem quaint hills today, in Colonial times the Allegheny Mountains presented an insurmountable barrier, preventing further movement west for the colonies from the Atlantic seacoast. Boone’s achievement was the first penetration of this wall. Daniel Boone was once asked if he ever got lost. “ Nope” he said: “But I was bewildered once.”

1776- In the Continental Congress representative Richard Henry Lee stands up and proposes a resolution calling for American Independence. " Be it Resolved that these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States." This began the fateful debate that lasted until July 2nd. John Adams calculated that at this time only one third of the American public was for full independence, one third was for reconciliation with Britain and one third was fence sitting.

1810- THE TREATY of TILSIT- Another international summit. While dozens of conquered and allied princes stood in the rain, Napoleon conferred with Czar Alexander I of Russia on a raft moored in the middle of the Neiman River. It was the height of the little corporal's power. Napoleon said of the young Czar:" He is so beautiful ! If he was a woman I would fall madly in love with him !" And he later said of Queen Marie Louise of Prussia: " She is so strong she is the only real man in Germany." Obviously Napoleon was having issues with gender association .

1856-CONGRESSIONAL SLUGFEST- During an angry debate on the slavery issue South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks attacks and beat unconscious Massachusetts Representative Charles Sumner right on the floor of the House of Representatives.
"I wore out my cane on his head!” Brooks boasted. Admirers sent Brooks more canes. The slavery argument had become so ugly Congressman took to carrying concealed pistols and daggers to Capitol Hill. The news outraged abolitionists.

1860- Workmen in San Francisco began laying track on Market Street for a light rail system, the famous Cable Cars.

1863- A French army sent by Emperor Napoleon III entered Mexico City to set up Austrian Archduke Maximillian & Carlotta as rulers of Mexico. Napoleon III was the first to refer to Spanish and Portuguese speaking states in South America as Latin America.

1924- This day marked the last known contact with the George Mallory Expedition. He was the first mountain climber to attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest. They disappeared shortly after. Mallory’s bones were finally discovered in 1999. We all know that Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenjin Norgai conquered Everest in 1953, but Mallory reach the top first ? Unlike Scott of the Antarctic he left no diary or logbook so we may never know.

1932- During the Great Depression about one third of the independent banks in the U.S. failed. On this day Hollywood was affected because the First Bank of Beverly Hills went under, erasing the assets of many important Hollywood figures.
Greta Garbo lost one million dollars overnight. Louis B. Mayer, ever one to capitalize on a situation, offered her an advance if she would sign an exclusive 7 year contract with MGM. Garbo's back was to the wall so she signed, but then got her revenge in her own way- namely she immediately went on a 6 month vacation to Europe and took a lesbian lover named Mercedes DeAcosta whom she tongue-kissed in public.

1954- Scientist Alan Turing who helped break the German Enigma Code, was considered one of the fathers of the computer. Early computers were called Turing Machines. He predicted one day computers would be able to think like humans, and in 1945 he said one day we would play games on our computers. But when Turing was revealed to be gay, he had to chose jail or medical treatment in a mental hospital. Medical procedures to “cure” homosexuals could include electro-shock, lobotomy and narcotics. Turing chose suicide.

Alan Turing was a big fan of the Disney film Snow White. This day he laced an apple with cyanide and bit into it. He was 42. Today one of the most prestigious awards a computer designer can win is the Turing Award.

1955- The t.v. quiz show The $64,000 Question premiered.

1975- Happy Birthday VCR’s ! This day Sony announced the first home videotape playing system, the Betamax. They were about $25,000 each, but we were promised as they became more popular the price would come down.
Yesterday’s question: Was Napoleon short?

Answer: He was 5’6 inches. Which is not really short, more average height. The image may come from the fact that after twenty years of Revolution and fighting, the generals around him were all big tough guys. The idea may also come from the concept that Napoleon was perceived as being of humble origins, an upstart, not from an ancient royal bloodline, hence a little man. His troops called him “ Le Petit Caporale, The Little Corporal” or “ Le Tondu”, meaning little short hair.