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June 21, 2007 thurs
June 21st, 2007

1987 Snow White Crew Reunion. L-R –Thornton “T.”.Hee, Cal Howard, Eric Larson,Grim Natwick,Ward Kimball,Shamus Culhane,Ollie Johnston, Frank Thomas. click to enlarge.

Last holiday season after a bunch of parties, all of us in LA animation noticed something curious- there were no more old animators. With a few exceptions, all the Golden Age legends who were habitual at such soirees were nowhere to be seen. Jules Engel, Art Babbitt, Chuck Jones, Maurice Noble, Bill Hurtz, Ed Friedman, Frank & Ollie and Marc Davis, Dale Oliver, Joe Grant, Vance Gerry, Irv Spence and Ray Patterson and more. These wonderful men and women, who mentored us and advised us, had in the main passed on to their reward. Oh, of course Jack Zander, Bill Littlejohn and a few others are still around, but in the main, for those who made the Greatest Generation of Animation the average age is over 90. Last year the last living Max Fleischer Studio artists died- Harry Lampert and Myron Waldman. Of the Nine Old Men, only one, Ollie Johnston survives.

It seems, My Dear Boomer, that WE are now the Old Timers! When I tell young artists that I knew Chuck Jones, they look at me as if I knew Abe Lincoln!

So my message my dear colleagues, is this. The Golden Age Generation have one last message for us- Pay it Forward. For the Art of Animation to thrive, it is incumbent upon you and me to pass on the lessons they taught us. Our art form requires that a certain amount of the Sacred Knowledge we acquired be passed on to future generations not only in a school, but by oral tradition. They taught us all they knew not just to help our own careers, but they knew they had to pass this on. Else this beautiful artform that they entrusted to us, could die in our time.

So when a student asks you for input, don’t say you don’t have time. Tell the stories the oldtimers told you. The tricks on timing, the tips on how to hit deadlines and master character. It’s the best way we can thank them for all they meant to us. And maybe, just maybe, when we’re all footnotes in some dusty film history book, some young animators’ eye will moisten with pride and gratitude that they got to know you, and once got to learn from you. So Pay it Forward.

Birthdays: Martha Washington, Alexander Pope, Berke Breathed, Al Hirschfeld the Line King, Jean-Paul Sartre, Judy Holliday,, Jane Russell is 86, Mariette Hartley, Bernie Koppel, , Maureen Stapleton, Joe Flaherty, Juliet Lewis, Prince William the Duke of York -Charles & Di's eldest, is 25. He will be King William V some day.

Happy Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. The sun, at dawn, aligns perfectly with the entrance to Stonehenge and in Persia the Zoroastrians would light ceremonial fires on altars on their roofs to the sungod Ahura Mazda.

1527- Political theorist Niccolo' Macchiavelli died. - His last words were:"I hope I shall go to Hell, for there I shall consort with kings, popes and princes.In Heaven one can only meet beggars, monks and apostles."

1866- First recorded train robbery by Jesse James.

1871- The Los Angeles Star newspaper announced the first trainload of pretzels had reached town!

1879 - F W Woolworth opens his 1st five and ten cent store.

1893- The FERRIS WHEEL -George Washington Ferris, Jr. decided that the Columbia Exhibition, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus' discovery, needed to surpass the French Eiffel Tower (introduced during the centennial celebration of the French Revolution). So he created his wheel so each compartment could hold 12 people plus a butler in a parlor-like atmosphere and rotate them 250 feet in the air. People were afraid they would gasp for oxygen up so high but it was a big hit anyway.

1939-Eugene O’Neill’s wife Carlotta wrote in her diary- Gene kept me up all night talking about this outline for a new play about his family- The Long Days Journey into Night. It took him two years to write and it almost killed him.

1948- Columbia Records introduced the 33 1/3-rpm long playing record, the LP. Inventor Peter Goldmark was annoyed that he had to change his 78 rpm records several times to hear just one Brahms Symphony. He decided to invent a way to fit all of a symphony on one side of a record. His immediate supervisors told him to stop it because people would not throw away all their 78 rpm records to replace them with his. So Goldmark went over their heads to CBS chief William Paley and Paley loved the idea. RCA and David Sarnoff tried to compete with the 45-rpm record, but all it was good for was singles. The 33 1/3 dominated recording until replaced by the Compact Disc in the 1980’s.

1948 - The Manchester Mark I computer introduced with the first stored program.

1998- Paleontologists in Canada announced the discovery of the largest Tyrannosaurus turd yet found. The search intensified for a T-Rex with a relaxed look on his face.