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October 07, 2008 tues.
October 7th, 2008

Years ago I was talking with Ed Jones, who was then head of opticals at ILM when we did WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT. Ed was telling me about working with famed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa on his film DREAMS.

Ed said "When we get our marching orders for effects shots we were used to getting some storyboards and notes from a director. But for this film, Kurosawa gave us his own personal oil paintings!

This fall in the Motion Picture Academy’s lobby gallery is a selection of the production paintings of famed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.

In addition the exhibit will show photographs, scripts, props, posters and painted costumes from such famous films as 1951-RASHOMON, 1954 The SEVEN SAMURAI, 1985 RAN, 1961 YOJIMBO and HIDDEN FORTRESS- which Lucas fans would recognize as one of the inspirations for the original STAR WARS (1977)

Admission is free, the exhibit will stand until December 14th. Check out the AMPAS website for more info

courtesy of sense of cinema .com
Question: Presidential wannabe John McCain is constantly referring to himself as a Maverick. So, what is a Maverick?

Quiz: How many capitol cities has the U.S. had?
History for 10/7/2008
Birthdays: Hans Holbein, Heinrich Himmler, Caesar Rodney, Joe Hill, Andy Devine, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Henry Wallace, June Allyson, Oliver North, Al Martino, Jose Cardenal, Neils Bohr, Ameil Buraka, Johnny Cougar Mellencamp, Toni Braxton, Yo Yo Ma

312BC- THE SUCCESSORS- Seleucus Nicator(pronounced Sele-u-kos)- conquered Babylon and set up his Syrian-Greek kingdom. One of the generals of the recently dead Alexander the Great, he divided up Alexander's Empire along with fellow generals like Ptolomey, who became Pharoah of Egypt, Perdiccas, Antigonus One-Eye, who controlled mainland Greece and Demetrius Poliocretes-the Destroyer of Cities. Called the Successors, they and their descendants warred and conspired with each other until the Roman Empire rose up and knocked them all off.

1337- King Edward III of England decides he's not only King of England but King of France as well- the HUNDRED YEARS WAR begins. It was actually 111 years, until 1446. Ironically it was around this time that the English language began to emerge as the common mother tongue of Britain, melding the Norman French of the nobility with the Anglo Saxon of the common folks.

1571- BATTLE OF LEPANTO- Great naval engagement in which the ships of Venice, Spain, Genoa and the Papacy defeat the Grand Turks navy led by Ali Pasha. The last battle fought with war galleys rowed by teams of rowers. The admiral in charge was the bastard brother of Phillip II, Don John of Austria, a military hero who would have later led the Spanish Armada against England had he not succumbed to an early fever. Had he lived Shakespeare might have had to learn to write in Spanish. The Sultan at the time was Mustapha the Sot, so named because his immoderate love of wine caused the Commander of the Faithful to die by drunkenly slipping on the tile floor of his bathroom. The battle raged from ship to ship until Don Johns ship overran Ali Pasha’s flagship and hoisted his severed head to the top of their mainmast. Among the common sailors in the battle were future writers like Lope De Vega and Miguel de Cervantes, who lost his right hand:" For the greater glory of my left" he joked.

1763- THE ROYAL PROCLAMATION TO NORTH AMERICA- The British Colonial Ministry, trying to reward it's Indian allies in the French and Indian War and kill two birds with one stone, told the Americans that any further western colonization to the Mississippi was forbidden, but they were invited to go north and colonize Quebec. This would hopefully mean the outnumbering and eventual assimilation of the French Canadians. Neither happens and it only angered the Americans who were never asked about this idea. The British even toyed with making the Illinois and Michigan territories part of Canada. Could you imagine it:" How' bout dem Cubs,-eh?"

1777-SECOND BATTLE OF BEMIS HEIGHTS-British General Johnny Burgoyne trying to break out of a trap, smashed his army against the American defenses in a heavy rain. The defense works were engineered by Polish patriot Thaddeus Kosciuszko. Washington spelled his name 11 different ways in dispatches, the men just called him " Colonel Koz". Burgoyne had snubbed his superior officers since his arrival in America, saying he answered directly to the War office in London. Now surrounded in the forest by overwhelming odds he snuck out a message to General Guy Carleton in Canada "I await your Lordship's orders." Carelton recognized this weenie attempt to shift blame and ignored him. The hero of this battle was Benedict Arnold. Arnold was everywhere, rallying minutemen brigades and crashing them into the enemy without waiting for his commanders orders. The U.S. commander Horatio Gates spent most of the battle in the rear entertaining captured British officers and discussing the futility of the American cause. The battle ended when someone shot Arnold in the leg.

1780- BATTLE OF KING'S MOUNTAIN- In the later stages of the American Revolution the British Army command shifted from a strategy of using overwhelming conventional force in New England to going South and encouraging American Loyalists to fight a civil war. At Kings Mountain in North Carolina The “Over the Mountain Men”, an army of Scots-Irish frontiersmen under Issac Shelby defeated a Loyalist militia under the command of Col. Patrick Ferguson. Ferguson, who was killed in the fight, was an unconventional Scots Highlander who taught his men to fight American Indian style.

1783- The Virginia House of Burgesses votes to grant freedom to all slaves who fought in the continental army during the American Revolution.

1799- Napoleon returns from his Egyptian Campaign without his army but with a new appreciation for antiquities.

1851- THE OXFORD MOVEMENT.- Several top bishops of the Church of England stunned Victorian High Society by announcing their conversion to Roman Catholicism. Bishop John Newman was the first, followed today by the Archbishop Manning of Chichester. Manning eventually became the Catholic cardinal primate of England and was listed in Lytton Straychey’s book the Eminent Victorians.

1855-THE BORDER WAR- John Brown arrived in Kansas help organize anti-slave men to fight pro-slavers, called the Border-Ruffians. For several years before the Civil War broke out Missouri and Kansas were torn by private gangs of militias murdering each other. The Southern extremists were called Bushwhackers, the pro-Unionists called Jayhawkers or Redlegs.

1861- In the Indian Territory –near what will one day be Tulsa Oklahoma the councils of the Chickasaw, Cherokee and Choctaw Indian Nations sign an alliance with the Confederate States, smoke the war pipe and renounce any ties to the United States. The Commanche people announced they would stop raids on Texas. Pro-Northern Indians then broke with their tribal brothers and there were mini-Civil Wars among Indians.

1864- General Sherman in Atlanta revealed in a letter to Grant that he intended not to worry about his supply lines but cut his lines of communication and march through Georgia totally living off the land.

1868- After a season of raids by hostile Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors on Kansas settlers U.S. Generals Sherman and Sheridan met to draft a 'final solution' for the American Indian. They would no longer chase scattered bands of braves but introduce their brand of ruthless "Total War". These tactics burned Atlanta and the Shenandoah Valley to end the Civil War. They ordered the US Army to attack villages, kill women & children, burn crops and shoot ponies. Sherman openly described it as a 'Race War". He said." a few savages must no longer be allowed to impede the March of Anglo Saxon Civilization!" They made a policy of attacking villages in winter, just before dawn, because then Indian war parties stayed close to home and were less mobile.

1870- Writer Edgar Allen Poe was found sprawled over a barrel in a Baltimore street, dressed in someone else's clothing. He was taken to a hospital where he died raving at the walls. It was thought he died from heavy alcohol abuse but recently scholars theorize he may have died from a brain tumor or diabetes impacted by alcohol sensitivity, which would explain the violent mood swings, and that he drank heavily to deaden the pain. Another scholar also theorized that the symptoms strongly point to rabies. Poe loved cats and as we all know there was no rabies shot or test at the time. How or why the cats changed his clothes, is another puzzle.

1897-A group of Russian Jews, disgusted by the state sanctioned anti-Semitism of the Czar, formed the Jewish Socialist Bund. They broke with Theodore Herzel and the mainstream Zionist movement who wanted all Jews to go to Palestine. The Socialist Bund advocated political action to reform within Russia. Communist Leon Trotsky, himself a Jew, belittled the Bund, calling them “Zionists who are afraid of getting sea-sick”.

1915- President Woodrow Wilson reversed his position and announced he was now in favor of giving women the vote.

1918- The Polish army contingents of the crumbling Russian, Austrian and German empires band together in Warsaw and set up a native government, declaring themselves the Republic of Poland. The Polish State that had disappeared in 1799 was now reborn. World famous concert pianist Jan Paderewski as their first president..

1923- Baseball pitching legend Christy Matthewson died of complications from inhaling poison gas in World War One.

1927- Sam Warner, the Warner Brother most responsible for committing the studio to gambling on a talking picture process, died just as the 'Jazz Singer 'opened and made Warner-Vitaphone a major Hollywood Studio. Jack Warner had earlier said "Who the heck wants to hear actors talk?"

1939-Benito Mussolini's Fascist government adopts anti-Semitic laws in line with the Nazis. All Jews were excluded from public office, banking, teaching and the military.

1941- Two months before Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt announced that in view of stepped up activity by Nazi U-boats the United States Navy and Coast Guard had been issued a shoot-on-sight order against any hostile craft.

1947 "Hey Stella !!" The Actor's Studio opened, teaching the Stanislavski Method, sometimes called Method Acting. The group later suffered a feud between it’s two top teachers-Lee Strassberg and Sandy Meisner. Ask any old actor if they were with Lee or Sandy, odds were they sided with one and hated the other.

1957-Dick Clark’s T.V. show American Bandstand debuts.

1959-MARIO LANZA.- Philadelphia born Italian–American Lanza was the pop icon opera singer long before there were three tenors in concert. With moviestar good looks and a velvety voice his records and movies sold millions. But he was temperamental and had angered most of the powers that be in Hollywood, climaxing with skipping a $250,000 promise to perform in Las Vegas. This day in Italy he was found dead of a heart attack at age 38. For years there were rumors that he was actually done in by the Mafia for offending Lucky Lucciano, but in the 1990s a forensic investigation by his son proved his brutal regimen of binge eating and furious dieting wore out his heart. He literally dieted himself to death.

1959- Young assassins sent by the dissident Ba’ath Party made an attempt on the life of the Prime Minister of Iraq Sherif Al Kassim. The plotters failed but they sneaked back into the country later. One of them would be one day the ruler of Iraq- Saddam Hussein.

1960- The movie Spartacus opened. Producer/star Kirk Douglas had been using blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo for the script , smuggling him in and out of the lot for story meetings. Finally Douglas got fed up and ordered Trumbo to be brought out in the open as the movie's true author. This was considered the official end of the Hollywood Blacklist era, which had lasted since 1947. After director Anthony Mann left the project Douglas hired Stanley Kubrick, who had such a hard time he afterwards left Hollywood never to return.

1964- ITS FUN TO PLAY AT THE Y-M-C-A! The only big sex scandal of the Lyndon Johnson administration. Walter Jenkins was a top LBJ aide and confidant. Johnson called Jenkins “My vice president of almost everything.” This day Walter Jenkins was busted for lewd behavior with a Turkish diplomat in a pay toilet at the YMCA just two blocks from the White House. Jenkins claimed he was just dehydrated.

1974- THE TIDAL BASIN BOMBSHELL- At 2:00 AM Washington DC police stopped a car driving near the White House with its lights off. Inside police discovered powerful Congressman Wilbur Mills, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, drunk as a skunk with an Argentine stripper named Fanne Fox. Mills broke away from the cops and he and Fanne began to cavort in the Tidal Basin pool near the Jefferson Memorial. They were fished out by police. Mills’ sexual escapades had been hushed up by politicos before but this was just too much. The subsequent publicity brought about hearings and Mills resignation.

1982- London musical 'Cats' opened on Broadway.

1985- Palestinian terrorists hijack the Italian Mediterranean cruise ship Achille Lauro. They murder an elderly Jewish American tourist named Leon Klinghoffer and dump his wheelchair and body into the sea. Composer John Adams wrote an opera about the incident called the Death of Klinghoffer.

1993- Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" earned $ 712 million dollars just in North American box office.

2001- U.S, British, Australian, Turkish and NATO allied forces began attacking Afghanistan in retaliation for the terror attack on New York and Washington on Sept. 11th. The war led to the destruction of the Taliban Regime ruling in Kabul and the suppressing of the Al Qaeda terrorist network led by rogue Saudi millionaire Osama ben Laden.

2003- The state of California had an unpopular Democratic Governor named Grey Davis. A Republican congressman named Daryl Issa who made a fortune making annoying car alarms “step away from the car..” found an obscure codicil in the State constitution calling for a recall election. The recall election soon had 154 candidates including a porn star, former child star Gary Coleman, Porn publisher Larry Flynt,, a woman who financed her campaign by selling autographed thongs, and Grey Davis’ own lieutenant governor Cruz Bustamante who couldn’t stand him either. This night, after a comical election, the people elected Austrian-born body builder-actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Yesterday’s Quiz: How many capitol cities has the U.S. had?

Answer: Five. Philadelphia 1775-1789, Harrisburg PA after the British Army chased them out of Philadelphia for a time., New York City- 1789-1795, Philadelphia again 1795-1799. Baltimore 1800 until the Federal City was built up enough to move into. Then Washington D.C,. from Nov 1800 on.