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August 27, 2006
August 27th, 2006

I'm getting ready to relocate back to Los Angeles from Taipei this week. Time to begin the Fall school semester and plan booksignings. Using the weekend to check out a few more Taipei Nightmarkets and Buddhist Temples. Saw a Vietnamese pocket pig on a leash. Had dinner with James Wang and toured his studio Cuckoo's Nest. He has a portrait of Bill Hanna in his lobby. For years Cuckoos Nest did a lot of Hanna & Barbera's overseas television animation work.

Correction on the Correction! The other day I mentioned that Kenny Baker may not have been R2D2 in the original 1977 Star Wars but C3P0. Well, other Star Wars experts jumped into the fray and after a cross check with IMDB the final result is Kenny Baker was indeed R2D2, Anthony Daniels was C3P0. My apologies for any confusion.

Years ago there was a best selling book on everyones toilet called the Book of Lists. Written by David Wallechinsky, the son of Irving Wallace, it was a vast treasure house of eclectic knowledge. Reading it I spotted a few errors regarding the Byzantine Empress Theodora and the Marine attack on Tripoli. So, being a saucy young rogue I sent the author a list of corrections. Instead of being offended I got a very nice response back from Mr Wallechinsky. He said that with such a large number of topics he counted on people on the outside who would take the time to point out specific corrections.

I learned from this and I am also very happy to receive any corrections from those who think I got something incorrect.

Birthdays: Man Ray, Martha Ray, LBJ ( Lyndon Baines Johnson), George William Hegel, C.S. Forester, Barbara Bach, Theodore Dreiser, Lady Antonia Fraser, Mother Theresa, Tommy Sands, Tuesday Weld, Paul Rubens-former Cal Arts Character Animation graduate who became Pee Wee Herman

1506- Pope Julius II attacks Perugia and Bologna for Holy Mother Church. After the conquest Julius has Michelangelo cast a nine foot statue of him to remind the Perugians who kicked their butts. Michelangelo created his largest free standing bronze caste, but we don't have it anymore. In 1512 Julius's enemies liberated Perugia and the happy people melted down the hated statue and cast it into a huge cannon they nicknamed :"La Julia" -Big Julie.

1664- NIEUW AMSTERDAM BECOMES NEW YORK. The English had disputed Holland's stake in America based on the early exploration of John Cabot. Now with the growth of the New England colonies, the English Civil War over and the Spanish Menace diminishing England sent a large battle fleet under Colonel Rollins to New Amsterdam to demand the surrender of the colony.

The Dutch governor was an old one-legged mercenary named Peter Stuyversant. He wanted to make a fight of it and had even set up a battery of cannon on -where else? the Battery. However his city council were men of commerce, not soldiers. They told him if he wanted to fight he should do it himself because they were surrendering. Even his own son was against fighting. Stuyversant in a rage shouted at the burghers:" Keep to your shovels and barrows!" The governor himself hobbled up to the cannon pointed at the British fleet and lit a match to fire the first shot. He paused and noticed the silent stares of all those around him. The chaplain of the colony, Dominie Megapolensis, silently took Stuyversant by the hand down from the fort and Stuyversant signed the surrender.

He was allowed to keep his large farm, or in Dutch, his Bouwerie -the Bowery. Five years later the English named renamed the city after King Charles II's brother the Duke of York for his birthday. The Duke of York's protection kept Long Island from being made part of Connecticut. The first English colony planted after the conquest was named for the only part of Britain to remain loyal to King Charles during the Cromwell period, the Isle of Jersey (New Jersey). Charles main supporter was James Leslie, Baron Newark. (Newark N.J.) and his son the Duke of Monmouth. Still the old Dutch roots were deep and even in George Washington's time Dutch was the predominant language on New York's streets. In 1832 Martin Van Buren became our first knickerbocker President.

1814-British invaders roamed the Maryland countryside after the Burning of Washington. An elderly Scottish immigrant doctor named Beanes was dragged out of his house by Royal Marines and packed off to the flagship off shore. He was accused of mistreating captured British soldiers. Since he was born in Scotland he could face a charge of treason. When local residents petitions to have Dr Beanes released were refused, an appeal was made to a respected Georgetown attorney named Francis Scott Key to go try and win his release. Key arrived with letters from the wounded Britishers attesting to Dr. Beanes humanity. Admiral Cockburn agreed to release Doctor Beanes, but kept Key on board until after their assault on Baltimore. This is why Francis Scott Key was on the British warship in time to watch the Rockets Red Glare, the Bombs Bursting in Air , etc.

1814- Meanwhile in England poet Percy Shelley eloped with Mary, the only daughter of John Godwin and feminist writer Mary Wollenstonecraft. Godwin had objected to Shelley’s proposal for his daughters hand because he was an opium addict, a sexual libertine, an atheist and already married with a baby daughter! Yeah, but besides all that what’s your objection? They ran off followed by Mary’s stepsister Claire who started sleeping with Lord Byron. Mary of course was the author of Frankenstein. If I knew all this before maybe I would have paid more attention in English Lit class....

1912- Edgar Rice Burroughs first published Tarzan of the Apes.

1917- Straight Shooting, the first feature length film directed by John Ford released. Before that Ford directed three shorts and did bit parts and stuntwork. He was a Klansman in Birth of a Nation. Not because he was prejudiced, but he needed money and it was work as an extra. You can tell him from the others because he was fussing with his white hood that kept slipping over his eyes while he was trying to ride his horse.

1930- Lon Chaney Sr. died of throat cancer. The theory then was during filming of the Unholy Three a wind machine blew an artificial gypsum snowflake into Chaney's mouth - it caused an irritation that became a tumor.

1950- NBC and General Foods abruptly cancelled the hit television show “the Aldrich Family” when a pamphlet called Red Channels accused one of the show’s stars Jean Muir, of being a communist.

1953- The film Roman Holiday introduced a new young actress from Holland named Audrey Hepburn.

1968- Former master animator Bill Tytla's in his old age regretted his ever leaving Walt Disney Studio in 1943. Today his final request to return to work at Disney was turned down. The artist who had animated Grumpy the Dwarf, Dumbo and the Devil on Bald Mountain even offered to do a free "trial animation test" to show he still had it. Disney H. R. exec W.H. Anderson wrote him:" We really have only enough animation for our present staff." Bill Tytla died later that year.

1990- Guitar great Stevie Ray Vaughan was killed in a helicopter crash outside Alpine Valley Wisconsin, on his way back to Chicago, after an "All Stars of the Blues" type show. Stevie Ray took the last remaining seat on the helicopter after Eric Clapton got off, claiming he'd rather take a limo back to Chicago, which was about an hour away.