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IN 1937, when Walt Disney premiered Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the animators of Leon Schelsingers’ Looney Tunes were invited also. Among the Disney artists and Hollywood notaries, Chuck Jones, Friz and Bob Clampett were there in black tie and tails. Afterwards they felt that sweet bitterness of seeing something amazing that they could never be part of. Oh, they were proud of their own stuff… but still. They were good enough to know they had just witnessed something special. They saw the art of animation advance.

I think many of us had the same feelings as we went to see RATATOUILLE tonight at a special screening set up by ASIFA/Hollywood. I think we all felt animation has advanced.

Bravo to Brad Bird and all the PIXAR gang. It was a wonderful night of animation. I was so proud and happy for old friends like Teddy Newton, Tony Fucile, Michel Gagne', Jim Capobianco, Ronnie Del Carmen, Andy Schmidt, Peter Sohn and old students of mine like Mayer Abousaeedi. I not only loved the character animation performances, but I am happy to see good art direction and cinematography return to feature animation. In a time when everyone is trying to place the emphasis on cheap shortcuts, outsourcing and cinematic tricks in place of real performances, Ratatouille proved that high budget, high quality animation can still pack ‘em in the theaters.

I once asked Shamus Culhane why he gave up a good gig at Max Fleischers to go be a minor player at Walt Disneys. Shamus told me:” Don’t you see? At Fleischers we did okay stuff, but we all knew that at Disney they were really doing it! The real thing! “

I am jealous I was not part of it , but I am happy for them all and proud to be in animation at a time when such great work is being made. Go see it.
Birthdays: John Paul Jones,, Frida Kahlo, Della Reese Nancy Reagan, Ned Beatty, Sylvester Stallone is 60, Merv Griffin, Janet Leigh, Bill Haley, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sebastian Cabot, James Bordrero, The Dalai Lama, LaVerne Andrews of the Andrews Sisters, Geoffrey Rush, President George W. Bush is 61

180-? THE IMMORTAL BELOVED LETTERS.- Composer Ludwig van Beethoven never married but not for want of trying. The bad tempered loner loved several women but never had a serious relationship. After his death several love letters were found. The letters written this day were of a supremely passionate nature where he begged some unknown woman to keep an appointment with him at some unstated rendezvous in Hungary. “Though still in bed my thoughts go out to you, My Immortal Beloved…” The letters were never sent and have no addresses or names. Who is this Immortal Beloved Beethoven yearns for?

1886 - Horlick's of Wisconsin offers the1st malted milk to public. It began as an attempt to create a new type of baby formula.

1895- A businessman named William Sydney Porter returned from Honduras where he had fled after being indicted for embezzlement. He had returned because he had learned of the illness of his wife. Porter was sent to prison and while there began writing little stories which he later published under the name O. Henry.

1917 – As Lowell Thomas’ news reel cameras rolled, Lawrence of Arabia and Bedouin Sheik Ouda Abu-Tai captures the Red Sea Port of Acqaba from Turkish troops. The battle was dramatized in the 1962 David Lean epic Lawrence of Arabia.

1928- The film "The Lights of New York" premiered at the Strand theater on Broadway. 1927's the Jazz Singer popularized sound movies while still being half silent. This film was the first with an all dialogue track.

1957-Chuck Jones short "Whats Opera,Doc?" debuts. “Kill da wa-bitt, kill da wa-bitt..."

1957-16 year old John Lennon first met 15 year old Paul McCartney at a church picnic near Woolton, England. Lennon invited McCartney to join his first band called the Quarrymen, but MacCartney missed their first engagement because of a boy scout trip.

1964 - Beatles' film "Hard Day's Night" premieres in London. The bands iconoclastic, antics portrayed by Richard Lesters surreal free style direction set the style for the music videos of the future.

1965- TV sitcom F-Troop premiered. Shortly after the series began production it was learned that lead actress Melody Patterson (Wrangler Jane) was actually underage- barely 16. She kept her part but the writers had to tone down any sexual innuendo in the scripts.

1974- The first broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keilor’s ode to a small town in Minnesota.

1998- French workers at Disney’s Paris theme park went on strike for better pay and not having to smile all the time like Americans do.