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In 2003, when most pundits were trumpeting the death of traditional animation, Leonard Maltin said:" It's nothing that another Lion King can't fix." Well, with the Simpson's Movie a success, maybe we've seen the fix in action.

It proves that trying to predict future trends is a fruitless enterprise. The weekend before Lion King (1994) opened, Jeffrey Katzenberg told the directors " If this film breaks even, I'll kiss the ground before you."It did $359 million, second on the all time list only to Jurassic Park. He did indeed, get down and pucker up. The day before Shrek (2001) opened, I couldn't have predicted what it would do. Two years ago Disney Feature animation was in the doldrums, everyone depressed, waiting for the final collapse. Now it's up and excited for the future, including building the 2D unit for Frog Princess.

Next year may see Writers Guild and Actors Strikes. Irregardless if a deal is made or they hit the bricks, The business is girding for a major slowdown in production next year. In summer 2008 Animation may be the only game in town.

So to my animation brothers and sisters who at times despair of the career opportunities out there, some words of comfort. When I started my career it seemed like every three months presented a new business reality. Today I think the job scene changes every month. Keep your ear to the ground, read the trades and look for the signs of new trends, and keep your contacts warm.

Birthdays: Roman Emperor Claudius, Francis Scott Key, Captain William Clark of Lewis and Clark, Herman Melville, Robert Todd Lincoln- Abe and Mary Lincoln’s only child to live a full life, Geoffrey Holder, Yves St. Laurent, Giancarlo Giannini, Dom Deluise, Jerry Garcia, Coolio, Sam Mendes

1793 – Revolutionary France became the 1st country to use the metric system.

1933- The WPA Arts Project set up to employ starving artists on large public works projects like murals for libraries and bridges, etc. Artists like Grant Wood, Andrew Wyeth, Dorothea Lang , Orson Welles and Bernice Abbott got commissions. At the time American artists were obliged to post on the outside of their residences or studios a sign "A.I.R." or artist-in-residence. This was to warn the general public that the person at this dwelling may have nude models, bongo players and other such depravities cavorting around at all hours.

1950-San Francisco producer Jay Ward's "Crusader Rabbit" the first animated cartoon show ever made for television.

1953- The Alan Ladd movie Shane released.

1960 - Chubby Checker releases "The Twist" and starts a world wide dance craze.

1973- with the tag line “Where were you in ’62?” American Graffiti opened in theaters. The hit made young director George Lucas a player in Hollywood and made stars of kids like Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfus and Susanne Somers.

1981-I WANT MY MTV! MTV goes on the air, rock videos 24 hours a day. The idea was funded by a consortium of investors including Mike Nesmith of the Monkees, now on the board of 3M Paper company. If you put on the TV this day you saw a slide of an astronaut for several hours, then finally a voice said :”Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Rock & Roll.” The first rock video played was by a British New-Wave Band called the Buggles entitled “Video Killed the Radio Star.”followed by a Pat Benatar single. There are now MTV channels around the world- Beijing, Rio DeJaniero, Berlin and Moscow, although all the experimental filmmaking has moved to U-Tube.

1991- elderly movie queen Heddy Lamarr was busted in Tampa Florida for shoplifting.

1994- NASDAQ stock trading on Wall Street was halted for 35 minutes because a squirrel gnawed through a fiber optic cable at the organization’s computer center in Connecticut.