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October 6th, 2007 sat
October 6th, 2007

Lately a few friends have been asking me about my former partnership with Gang of Seven Animation here in LA. I left that group last year and have not been privy to any of their doings since. So for the record, I am no longer a part of Gang of Seven, I haven't had anything to do with them for over a year, and I'm not likely to work with them in the future.

My best wishes go out to animators Bert and Jennifer Klein, who just gave birth to their first child Emily.

Birthdays: Alfred Lord Tennyson, Jenny Lind the Swedish Nightingale, George Westinghouse, Janet Gaynor, Carol Lombard, Karol Szymanowski, Thor Heyderthal, retired wrestler Bruno Sammartino, Britt Eckland is 65, Le Corbusier, Elizabeth Shue is 44, Sean William Scott, Jeremy Sisto is 33, Ioan Gruffud is 34

In Ireland this is Ivy Day, when Irish folk commemorate the death of the great statesman Charles Stuart Parnell with a sprig of ivy in their buttonholes.

1600- THE BIRTH OF OPERA. This day as part of the celebrations of the marriage of French King Henry IV to Marie de Medici composers Rinconcini and Caecini premiered a new kind of musical drama where soloists sang without the heavy polphony of madrigals but more directly in imitation of ancient dramas. It was “Eurydice” and it was the first true opera. The form was taken up by many composers including Claudio Monteverdi. But remember it ain’t over until the Fat Lady sings.

1802- The Heiligenstadt Testament- Composer Ludwig van Beethoven left behind a note found among his papers after his death in 1827. Dated this day it was addressed to his brother Karl and another unspecified relative. It was more of a spiritual Last Will than anything else. In the note Beethoven poured out of his heart confessing his faults and his fears of going deaf. It is an amazing insight into the great man’s soul.

1847- Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre first published.

1860 First telegraph linking L.A. and San Francisco.

1863- The first Turkish Bath House is opened in Brooklyn.

1863- The BAXTER SPRINGS MASSACRE- Quantrill's Raider bushwhacked Union General Blount’s personal entourage on a Missouri road and killed 86. It’s called a massacre rather than a battle, because most of the slain were noncombatant staff trying to surrender. The heartless guerrillas even executed a regimental band. One union soldier with five bullets in him recalled before he lost consciousness a large horseman standing over him gloating:” When you meet God, tell him the last thing you saw on Earth was Billy Quantrill!”

1864- SHERIDAN'S VALLEY CAMPAIGN- The Shenandoah Valley had been a pain in the neck to the U.S. Army throughout the Civil War. It 's pro Southern population hid famous guerrillas like John Mosby the"Grey Ghost" and Stonewall Jackson had humiliated three Yankee armies there. Towns like Winchester and Harper's Ferry changed hands 73 times!
So while Lee and Grant’s armies wrestled outside of Petersburg, feisty Irish-born cavalryman Phil Sheridan was given a large army and ordered to finally bring the Shenandoah Valley to heel. After drubbing the Confederates in battle on this day he turned away from the rebel army and concentrated on the civilian population. His army burned towns and crops, and hanged men from the trees even remotely suspected of being guerrillas. Sheridan sat feet up in a slow moving open buggy and waved his cigar like an orchestra conductor's baton. "Go to it my boys! Have Fun!" Like Sherman’s simultaneous terror campaign through Georgia the brutality of Sheridan’s men left a bitter memory to Southerners for generations to come.

1880- First classes at University of Southern California or USC. In 1921 the Trojans started the earliest university film school with endowments from Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. Alumni include George Lucas, Ron Howard, Will Ferrell and Robert Zemeckis.

1889- Paris' naughty nightclub the Moulin Rouge opened.

1903-Dr Horatio Nelson Jackson, the Great Automobilist, first man to cross the United States by car, was given a speeding ticket in his home town of Burlington, Vermont. He was accused of going at reckless speeds of up to six miles an hour!

1911- The first transpacific telephone conversation, between Tokyo and San Francisco.

1921- In London the society known as PPEN established, for Poets, Playwrights, Editors and Novelists.

1927-"THE JAZZ SINGER"with Al Jolson debuts. Okay, Okay, Somebody made a sound picture in 1924 and also something called "Footlights of New York" from 1926 but hey, you know what?- who cares! THIS was the movie that made "Talkies" a reality. The premiere was also the occasion for Sid Grauman to throw the first big Hollywood premiere at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater with limos and red carpets and spotlights.

1942-THE BIRTHDAY OF WONDER WOMAN. William Moulton Marston was an educational consultant in 1940 for Detective Comics, Inc.(now better known as DC Comics). Marston saw that the DC line, seeing it filled with images of super men such as Green Lantern, Batman, and their flagship character, Superman. Seeing all these male heroes, Marston was left wondering why there was not a female hero. Max Gaines, then head of DC Comics, was intrigued by the concept and told Marston that he could create a female comic book hero - a "Wonder Woman." Marston did that, using a pen name that combined his own middle name with the middle name of Gaines: Charles Moulton
Marston was the creator of the systolic blood-pressure test, which lead to the creation of the polygraph(lie detector). Because of his discovery, Marston was convinced that women were more honest and reliable than men and could work faster and more accurately. During his life time, Marston championed the causes of women.
In a 1943 issue of The American Scholar, Marston said: 'Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power, Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women's strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.' In December 1941, Marston's 'good and beautiful woman' made her debut in All Star Comics #8. Following this exposure in what was the second largest selling comic in DC's line, Wonder Woman appeared in her own berth in Sensation Comics #1(January 1942), and six months later in her own self-titled book(Summer 1942).

1959- “Pillow Talk”premiered, the first romantic comedy pairing Doris Day and Rock Hudson. Stanley Shapiro won a best screenplay Oscar for writing a sex farce with no sex allowed to be shown. The film typified the wink-wink attitude before the 1960’s Sexual Revolution. It defined Doris Day’s reputation as the wholesome, girl-next-door archetype. Oscar Levant quipped: “I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin.”

1968- Troy Perry and 12 others started the first Gay & Lesbian Church in Huntington Cal.

1971- William Freidkin’s gritty cop movie the FRENCH CONNECTION premiered. The film won best picture, director and actor Oscars, made a major star out of Gene Hackman. One unforeseen result was the movie stimulated interest in pursuing the investigation of the real French-Corsican Mafia heroin trafficking in the US until that mob was broken up in 1979. The two real life detectives the film was based on- Eddie Egan and Sonny Corso, booth retired from the NYPD and pursued careers in show biz.

1973- THE OCTOBER WAR or THE YOM KIPPUR WAR. Egypt and Syria surprised attacked Israel on the holiest religious holiday of the Jewish calendar. They also achieved surprise by attacking at 2:00 in the afternoon instead of dawn. The Sinai and Golan Heights saw some of the largest tank battles since World War Two. The Arab states received men and material support from the PLO, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Libya, Algeria, Bangladesh and even Idi Amin the dictator of Uganda. America and Russia faced off by heavily re-supplying both sides. Both sides later charged Russians and Americans were flying covert combat missions as well. The Arab nations of OPEC first resorted to the “Oil Weapon”, an embargo of crude oil that skyrocketed gas prices at American, Japanese and European pumps. Though the results of the war were unsatisfactory, Egyptian leader Anwar El Sadat later launched the peace initiative that resulted in the Camp David Accords.

1976- During a televised debate, President Gerald Ford said he was unaware of any Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, a great surprise to Poles, Czechs, Romanians, Lithuanians and others.

1981- Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat was assassinated while viewing parade marking Yom Kippur War anniversary. Commandos hopped out of the back of a troop carrier and assassinated him with their machine guns.

1991- Elizabeth Taylor got married for the 8th time, now to construction engineer Larry Fornetsky, at Michael Jackson’s house.

1991- University of Oklahoma Professor Anita Hill testified at the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. She alleged that when she was his aide she was subject to constant sexual harassment. Her testimony was labeled by Judge Thomas a "symbolic lynching". Thomas's conservative backers countered with a furious media campaign. Despite her impeccable credentials as a Christian scholar they portrayed Prof Hill as a paranoid slut. Those involved in the campaign admitted later most of this was fabricated. Clarence Thomas was confirmed, but the controversy made Sexual Harassment a national issue. In a recently published memoir Justice Thomas revealed himself still angry.

2002- The Mayor of Paris Deloune was stabbed in the stomach at an all night rock concert.