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January 13th, 2007 Saturday
January 13th, 2007

Just got my copy of my second book, Jews and American Popular Culture from Praeger/Greenwood press. Thanks to everyone who aided me with the project, including John Canemaker who lent me a cool drawing of Friz Freleng done by Chuck Jones in 1976.

Today members of the Hollywood Animation and Short Films community will gather at the Motion Picture Academy for what's called The Branch Screening. It's when we decide on the nominees for this years short film Oscar. Those rooting for a particular film, time to rub your rabbits foot, finger your worry beads or whatever you do.
Birthdays: Sophie Tucker, Gwen Verdon, Robert Stack, Charles Nelson Reilly, Brandon Tartikoff, Armie Archerd, Julie Louise Dreyfus, Orlando Bloom is 30

1847- Gen. Andres Pico signed the capitulation of Campo de Cahuenga (the little park next Universal studios today), surrendering the Mexican state of Alta-California to U.S. General John Fremont. Fremont, nicknamed "The Pathfinder" was the first Republican candidate for President in 1856 and when the Civil War began he was a General until the confederates made a fool of him and he dropped from public view. During the Civil War Andres Pico served in the Yankee force that defeated an attempted Confederate invasion of California. I guess he figured one change of flag in a lifetime was enough.

1854- The Accordion is patented. polka fans rejoice!

1906- The first ad for a radio appeared in an American Science Magazine. It boasted an effective range of over one mile !

1925- THE FIRST CALIFORNIA GURU- Indian spiritual teacher Abrahamansa Yogananda , then called “The Swami” settled in Los Angeles and gave his first lecture to an audience in LA Philharmonic Hall. He founded the Malibu Self-Realization Center in 1950.

1929- Wyatt Earp died at 81 of prostate cancer in Los Angeles. After careers as a gunfighter, buffalo hunter, Dodge City marshal, prizefight referee, Yukon gold prospector and faroe dealer he finished in L.A. speculating in real estate. He liked to stroll onto Hollywood western movie sets to give advice to Tom Mix and William S. Hart on how they did it in the Old West. He was buried in San Francisco's Jewish Cemetery because his third wife, ex-saloon hooker Sadie Marcus was of that faith. On the subject of the Gunfight of the OK Corral in 1881 he told so many different versions of what happened that his account is considered unreliable.
Wyatt Earp would have died totally forgotten but in his last years he was interviewed by a journalist named Stuart Lake who published a best selling biography in 1931 called Wyatt Earp, Frontier Marshal. After that the movies and TV took up his name to make him the most famous lawman in western history, which would have been a surprise to him.

1942- In the late evening the German U-Boat U-123 sailed into New York Harbor. The German captain was amazed that although they were at war the Americans had made no defensive arrangements. The city wasn’t even blacked out, but still illuminated brightly.

1943- Movie starlet Frances Farmer was dragged screaming in a straightjacket out of a Hollywood Hotel and committed. She screamed Rats! Rats! and listed her occupation on her arrest record as “c**ksucker”. Her career was ruined and she spent years in asylums but it’s inconclusive whether she had actually suffered mental illness or it was her mother overreacting to her sullen, tempermental nature.

1957-THE FRISBEE- Two former World War Two pilots, Warren Fransconi and Walter Morrison invented he plastic platter in a San Luis Obisbo home. Originally called Flying Saucers and Pluto’s Platters they got the name Frisbee when they demonstrated it at Yale University. The students there were used to flipping pie platters at each other from the local Frisbee Pie Company, so when they played with the new disc they cried “Frisbee, Frisbee!” which seemed to Warren and Walter a better name. When Morrison died in 2002 his family obeyed his last request- and I’m not making this up- to have his body cremated and his ashes mixed with plastic and molded into a Frisbee.

1958- Actress Jayne Mansfield married weightlifter Mickey Hargitay. Their daughter was Marisa Hargitay

1979- The Young Men’s Christian Association filed a lawsuit against the outrageously gay rock group the Village People over their hit song “YMCA”.

1985- Carol Wayne, an actress who played dumb blonde roles on shows like Johnny Carson, drowned while swimming in Mexico. She was 41.

2002- President G.W. Bush almost choked on a pretzel while watching football on TV.