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Arthur Babbitt would have been 100 years old today. Animator, cartoonist, director, he took a dog character named Dippy and renamed him Goofy, developing him into one of the big three of Disney's most beloved characters. His other characters included the Wicked Queen in Snow White, Geppetto in Pinnochio, The Mushrooms in Fantasia, Frankie in Rooty-Toot-Toot, John & Marsha in their Cleo winning commerical for Parkay Margarine, The Camel in Raggedy Ann, the Sultan in Cobbler and the Thief. In 1942 writer R.K. Field called Art Babbitt one of the top animators in the world.

Art was one of the greatest animation teachers who ever lived, one of the leaders of the Great Walt Disney Studio Strike, for which he earned the lifelong anger of Walt Disney. Art could have kept his mouth shut and remained a key figure at Disney, but his personal sense of justice compelled him to speak out. As I wrote in DRAWING THE LINE, Art was: "a small bantam of a man who squinted at the world through thick glasses, he possessed a Davy Crockett like sense of right and wrong." He died in 1991 in his late 80s.

Art was a personal friend as well as a personal hero. When I was Guild president I hoped that if I measured up even halfway to what he had done, I would have done a great job. In Hollywood where everyone is on the make and out for themselves, someone who sacrificed his own career so that all would do better, is still an inspiration to us all.

Happy Birthday Bones!

Check out the ASIFA Animation Archive Biopedia for a more complete view of his life.

Birthdays: Eddie Rickenbacker, Rev Jesse Jackson, Juan Peron, David Carradine,Chevy Chase, Paul Hogan, Rona Barrett, Ruben Mamoulian, Edward Zwick, Johnny Ramone, Sigourney Weaver is 58, Matt Damon is 37

1777- British General Clinton tried to get a message through to Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne and his army trapped at Saratoga. He sent a Tory-Loyalist American scout with a message rolled up and hidden in a solid silver capsule. When the scout was intercepted by the Americans the loyalist swallowed the capsule before he was searched. He was given a heavy emetic "whereupon he soon produced the capsule, which he proceeded to grab and swallow again. Another emetic was administered and he produced the capsule again." The message was opened and read, then the man hanged as a spy."

1846- Battle of Old Woman's Gun.

1871- THE GREAT CHICAGO FIRE- Legend said Old Mrs. O'Leary's cow knocks over a lantern and starts a fire that burns down 17,500 buildings and kills 300 including the Mayor. The fire jumped the Chicago River and people rode their carriages into Lake Michigan and even jumped into open graves to escape. Eventually the firemen’s pumpers ran out of water and the Northside kept burning past Fullerton until it burned itself out when it hit open prairie. 300,000 were left homeless. One of the only downtown buildings to survive the inferno was Chicago’s beloved old water tower. The slaughter houses and grain elevators also survived so business could go on. Ironically the O'Leary house stayed intact, just the barn burned. Two journalists later admitted inventing the O’Leary cow story to sell newspapers.

1871-THE GREAT PESHTIGO FIRE- The most deadly fire in North American history occurred on the exact same day as the Chicago Fire, but this one was in Peshtigo Wisconsin. A forest fire started by loggers burning debris built into a firestorm (actually a flaming tornado) and destroyed a wooden town killing 1,200 in a town of 1,750, five times as many as the Chicago Fire. The tornado caught dozens of people during church services. Three hundred died trying to escape across a wooden bridge that caught fire and burned from both ends. Survivors saw "people and cows stagger a few feet and go down burning brightly, like so many pieces of pitch pine." A heavy rain fell the next day. One day late.

1906- In Paris Swiss inventor Ludwig Pressler demonstrated the first electric 'permanent -wave' hair curler.

1907- Charles Frederick Dow, one of the founders of the Wall Street Journal, started his system of charting the average performance of industrial stocks, the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

1915- The Battle of Loos. British troops release poison gas at the German lines. The wind changes and blows it back on their own men. Doh!

1918- SERGANT YORK- simple Tennessee hillbilly Alvin York was drafted into the U.S. Army where his crack shot talents enabled him this day to shoot up an entire German regiment. He captured 300 prisoners alone with only his single shot Springfield rifle. He got the Medal of Honor and a tickertape parade. Then went back to the Ozarks where he resumed his life of making moonshine, hog calling and other rustic pursuits.

1929- British Imperial Airways shows the first in-flight movie.

1933- HOLLYWOOD ACTOR'S FIRST MASS PROTEST- When Franklin Roosevelt created the NRA to fix wages and prices to try and solve the Depression, he even went as far as to try to regulate Motion Picture rates and fees. The catch was the rates were drafted with the advice of friends of the studio heads in Washington. The actors went ballistic when they saw new rules such as a ceiling cap on actors salaries of $100,000 a year (the producers had no such cap), restriction of actors independant agents, and terms of an old salary contract would stay in effect even after the contract expired until it was renegotiated.
This night at the El Capitan theater on Hollywood Blvd. hundreds of moviestars met to draft a petition calling for rewriting of the codes. The activists included Paul Muni, Frederic March, Jeanette MacDonald, Groucho Marx and Boris Karloff. SAG president Frank Morgan (the Wizard of Oz) was considered politically too far left to face Roosevelt, so he stepped down in favor of comedian Eddie Cantor, who had helped Vaudeville acts unionize. In previous meetings at the El Capitan the earth tremors from the Great Long Beach Earthquake the previous March made actors reconvene in the Grauman's Chinese parking lot across the street. Cantor went to the president's retreat at Warm Springs Georgia with the petition and had the hated articles taken out of the code.

1935- Ozzie Nelson married Harriet.

1945- "Bloody Monday" During a big strike three hundred and fifty armed thugs club their way through picketing Warner Bros. film workers. Jack Warner had stationed sharpshooters behind the studios billboards. A logo on the studio wall said:" Better Movies through Better Citizenship", which the union folk changed to "Better Movies through Better Marksmanship". Similar scenes were happening in front of Fox and MGM.

1957- Walter O'Malley announced the move of the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles.

1957- Jerry Lee Lewis recorded his hit Great Balls of Fire.

1958- Swedish Arne Laarsen received the first artificial implanted heart pacemaker. Over the years he had 17 operations and a dozen more pacemakers put in him as the designs improved. Without the pacemaker he would have died at age 40, instead he died in 2000 at age 86 of skin cancer. Arne Laarsen outlived all his original doctors.

1966- LSD is added to the list of illegal drugs.

1967- In Bolivia guerrilla leader Ernesto Che' Guevara was captured and shot. Che' started as an Argentine doctor and was wracked with asthma most of his life. He had gone to Bolivia after quarreling with Fidel Castro about whether it was more important to export Cuban revolution the rest of Latin America or concentrate on building Cuba's economy. Thirty years later in 1997 his remains were identified and returned to Cuba for burial. Even today his legend remains powerful among poorer parts of the Spanish speaking world. It’s not uncommon to be walking the streets of Lima, Cartagena or even Madrid and see the familiar grafitti on a wall- " El Che’Vive ! "

1970- Dissident Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsin was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Soviet State kept him in internal exile and refused to let him travel to accept his prize. He was exiled to America in 1974 and returned to Russia after the fall of communism.

1971- John Lennon first released his song Imagine.

2004- Home decorating guru Martha Stewart began serving her 5 month prison term for perjury and insider trading.