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June 26th , 2007 Sabotage!
June 26th, 2007

sour grapes? I smell a rat..?

I read on Jim Hill Media and yesterday a report that Disney artists are demoralized by the success of Pixar and some are secretly hoping for Ratatouille to fail. This idea seems bizarre to me, because I keep in close touch with a lot of my old colleagues at Disney Animation and everyone I know are a lot happier since Catmul and Lassiter assumed command. Jim Hill is a pretty cool guy and his site is very dependable, so where could this disonant chord have come from?

To quote the article, the origin of this story was " A Disney Executive." Well, there it is. Some suit has sour grapes about the new changes at Disney, maybe one of the myriad of useless business majors cluttering the production offices that John got rid off his first weeks there. So this saboteur picked the perfect time to plant some bad buzz, just four days before the opening. It's an old Hollywood tactic against someone you want to get back at.

I have not seen Ratatouille yet, but I have talked to four separate comrades in animation who did, all of whom are pretty big names. These folks seldom agree, but without reservation all four loved it. I asked them:" Between Incredibles, Nemo and Ratat, which did you like best? Without hesitation they said:" Ratatouille!" Which surprised me. One said:" It moves forward the Art of Animation, it is the best animated film in years!" Another chimed in" Forget about the Annie and Oscar competitions, just give it all to them now!"

Now, I myself has no vested interest in it's success. I don't plan to return to the Mouse anytime soon. But I would like to know that the Art of Animation is indeed moving forward. So I know where I shall be this weekend, on line at my local multiplex.

The way Hollywood rates success nowadays is to count the opening day Friday box office, the Saturday box office, and a projection about Sunday. THAT is the number they use to declare a film a hit or flop. A film can earn a hundred million afterwards, but if that weekend it's labeled a flop, a flop it remains. So if you want Ratatouille to be successfull, take my advice and go this friday or sat.

I wish Brad Bird, the Pixar Gang and Ratatouille every success!
POSTSCRIPT: The same IMDB reports that former Disney Animation CEO Tom Schumachers first production on Broadway, the Musical Tarzan, is flopping. It's closing July 9th after a run of only a few weeks. " I plan to lose a lot of money this summer"- quote Tom.

Birthdays: Peter Lorre -real name Laszlo Lowenstein, Pearl Buck, Abner Doubleday, Babe Deidrickson-Zacharias, Willy Messerschmidt, Claudio Abbado, Woolie Reitherman, Gregg LeMond, Vittorio Storaro, Colonel Tom Parker, Pat Morita, Chris Isaak, Richard Lewis, Chris O’Donnell, Sean Hayes

1906- The first Grand Prix automobile race was held at Le Mans, France. The winner was Hungarian Ferenic Szisz with a top speed of 63 miles an hour! Szisz also was sporting those newfangled rubber tires on rims, which change faster than regular wood wheels.

1924 - The Ziegfeld Follies opens on Broadway.

1925- Charlie Chaplin has a lavish Hollywood premiere for his new film the Gold Rush. He had edited the film in secret in an upstairs hotel room in Salt Lake City to keep away from the public and his wife∂s bill collectors.

1926- From his London flat John Logie Baird invented television. The Boob Tube has no one single Tom Edison-like inventor, but many claimants. The Englishman joined the ranks of others who claimed to have invented TV first, including Richard Farnsworth, Vladimir Zworkin, Dr. Lee DeForrest and Deutsches Kino.

1927- The Cyclone Rollercoaster ride debuted at Coney Island Amusement Park. It was built on the site of the Switchback Railway, the first modern rollercoaster. The Cyclone is still thrilling and scaring people today.

1961- John F. Kennedy makes his "Ich Bin Ein Berliner" speech at the Berlin Wall. He electrifies and inspires all Europe despite " ein berliner" also meaning a local brand of little jelly donut. The proper way to say I am a Berliner is "Ich bin Berliner”. I guess "The Proudest boast a free man today can say is, I am a little jelly donut!" has a certain cachet for some folks. The crowd smiled but was polite. Today in tourist shops on the Unter Den Linden you can buy a plastic donut with JFK’s speech coming out from a hidden computer chip.

1964 - Beatles release "A Hard Day's Night" album.

1965-"Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man " by the Byrds hits number one on the US pop charts. Bob Dylan wrote the lyrics. William Shatners version became the most well known.

1977 - Elvis Presley does his last public performance. This one in Indianapolis.

2000- THE GENOME- Scientists announce they had cracked the human gene code and now had a rough sketch of how our DNA is assembled. Custom drugs could now e developed matching the DNA of an individual patient. It is called the biological equivalent of the landing on the moon.

2003 - Lenin said the Workers Must Control the Means of Production. Today a group of strippers bought the San Francisco bar the Lusty Lady.