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May 18th 2007 Friday.
May 18th, 2007

I went last night to the Motion Picture Academy's Sci-tech Council's first of a series of evenings dedicated to sound efx in movies.

Ben Burtt conducted an fascinating lecture on the filmic inspiration for the sounds he originated for the classic film Star Wars. His panel was a reunion of the original Star Wars sound crew on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the films premiere. They traced the history of motion picture sound effects by screening clips from Don Juan (1926), TARZAN 1936, Flash Gordon, The 1953 War of the Worlds, Shane, Lawrence of Arabia and a Roadrunner cartoon!

Burtt praised Looney Tune sound editor Tregg Brown for his free association of sounds with picture that liberated many sound engineers.

Some of the evenings highlights were he screened a reel of the first roughcut of Star Wars without any effects, sound or music. It was pretty funny listening to the Imperial stormtroopers and C3PO clopping around a wood floor with slapping plastic shinguards.
Also Ben produced the original apparatus that created the breathing sound of Darth Vader. It was a simple black scuba tanks with a mike placed into the regulator mouthpiece. Burt then recreated the breathing sound for the delight of the crowd.

A great time was had by all. Congrads Tad, Andy and the SciTech team!

Birthdays: Pope John Paul II, President Grover Cleveland, Ezio Pinza, Tsar Nicholas II, Omar Khayam, Walter Gropius,Reggie Jackson, Margot Fonteyn, Robert Morse, Perry Como, Dwayne Hickman aka Dobie Gillis, Big Joe Turner, Miriam Margolyes, Chow Yung Fat.

1905- MORROCCAN CRISIS OF 1905- A Moroccan desert sherif, El Raisuli, kidnapped a small Greek-American businessman named George Pedicaris for ransom and because he wanted someone new to play chess with. Pedicaris was ransomed but the incident became a major international showdown between with Germany, Britain, France and the U.S. ready to go to war. The incident was romanticized in the John Milius film "The Wind and the Lion", with Raisuli played by Sean Connery and Pedicaris turned into the beautiful Candice Bergen.

1976- The filming of Francis Ford Coppolla's Apocalypse Now was disrupted when the Philippines was hit by a major typhoon. Francis rides out the storm cooking pasta, smoking grass and listening to records of La Boheme.

1980-Mt. St. Helens explodes in Washington State. The volcano was always thought to be safely extinct but Mother Nature had other plans. I was in Toronto thousands of miles away and noticed volcanic ash floating in Lake Ontario. The eruption and earthquake killed 57 people and destroyed 24 square miles around the mountain. A lone eccentric named Harry Truman refused to be evacuated and stayed in his home. He was interviewed by Sixty Minutes and other programs. After the explosion Truman disappeared and is assumed killed.

2001- Dreamworks animated hit SHREK opened. The voice of Shrek was originally planned to be Chris Farley but the obese comedian died of a drug overdose and was replaced by Mike Myers. I’m serving Waffles!