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VIEW Blog Titles from May 2007


Blog Posts from May 2007:

May 21, 2007 monday
May 21st, 2007

Birthdays: Plato, Fats Waller, Albrecht Durer, Andre Sakharov, Armand Hammer, Raymond Burr, animation director John Hubley, Dennis Day, Al Franken, Harold Robbins, Judge Reinhold, Mr. T. originally named Larry Terro

1885- The pieces of the Statue of Liberty leave for the U.S. I wonder if the crates said "Some Assembly Required"? .The sculptor, Felix Bartholdi was requested to do something so that “Liberty does not leave France”, so he a made a smaller copy of the lady that is placed on the Seine facing westward. She and the Liberty in New York are facing one other.

1878- Mr. D.A. Buck of Waterbury Conn. received a patent for a low cost mass produced watch. Within a few years he was selling half a million Waterbury Watches a year at $3.50 each.

1892- Leoncavallo's opera "I Pagliacci" debuts at La Scala.

1908 - 1st horror movie “Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde” premiered in Chicago.

1922- On the Road to Moscow , the first political cartoon to win a Pulitzer prize.

1927-LINDBERGH- Charles Lindbergh-Lucky Lindy, The Lone Eagle, etc. reaches a field outside Paris called Le Bourget after flying nonstop across the Atlantic. In a recent biography Lindbergh’s letters reveal he owed his life to hallucinations he imagined he saw in the back of his plane. There was no such thing as an auto-pilot yet and he had to stay awake and alert for 55 hours straight. He also had a Felix the cat doll to keep him company. Over Le Bourget huge searchlights were beamed on his plane and the light temporarily blinded him so that he almost crashed. When he landed people swarmed around the whirring propellor, narrowly missing another tragedy. But Lindy landed and history was made. It was possible to fly from America to Europe by airplane.

1945- BOGEY LOVES BABY-Humphrey Bogart married Lauren Bacall on a friends farm in Ohio. He was 48 and she was 21. Her real name was Betty Persky and when the publicity photographers came in, they were under strict instructions from Jack Warner to frame out of the shots Bacall’s more Jewish-looking relatives

1952- Actor John Garfield died. Some say he died in the midst of wild fornications; in truth he died alone of alcohol abuse at 40. The matinee idol of “The Postman Rings Twice” and “Kid Galahad” was too politically left for the conservative postwar age. When a young stage actor he had run guns to the IRA, later he supported progressive union movements, anti-fascism and desegregation. His outspoken politics got him blacklisted in Hollywood, his friends deserted him and he was ruined.

1952- Famed writer Lillian Hellman testified before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee HUAC but refused to name names. “I cannot cut my conscience to fit the fashions of the day.” She escaped a contempt of Congress wrap but she was blacklisted and at one point was reduced to working in a department store.

1968 - Paul McCartney & Jane Asher attend an Andy Williams concert.
Drugs are a terrible thing.

1968- Future President George W. Bush graduated Yale with a C Average.

1972- A Hungarian lunatic shouting I am Jesus Christ attacked Michelangelo’s statue La Pieta with a hammer. He is the reason why today we can only enjoy this beautiful sculpture from behind 3 inch thick bulletproof glass.

1979 - Elton John becomes 1st western rocker to perform live in USSR.

1980 – Star Wars “The Empire Strikes Back" premiered.

1983 - David Bowie's "Let's "Dance," single goes #1. The tracks featured a then little know guitarist named Stevie-Ray Vaughn.

1992- Tonight Show host Johnny Carson did his last show “I bid you a very heartfelt goodnight.” After a behind the scenes political tussle with David Letterman, comic Jay Leno became the permanent Tonight Show host. Carson retired into seclusion, and for the rest of his life jealously guarded his privacy, even refusing to appear for Tonight Show and NBC anniversaries.

May 20th 2007 Sunday
May 20th, 2007

Birthdays: Honore Balzac, Jimmy Stewart, Leon Schlesinger, William Fargo of Wells Fargo, Moshe Dayan, Henri Rousseau, Dave Thomas, Ted Bessell (Donald to Marlo Thomas’ “That Girl”), Japanese baseball great Sadaharu Oh, Antony Zerbe, Bronson Pichot, Joe Cocker, Busta Rhymes, Cher is 61! "Gypsies, tramps and thieves..."

1830 - D Hyde patented the fountain pen, replacing the goose quill .

1873- Mr. Levi Strauss of San Francisco patents Jacob Davis’ process of riveted blue jeans. The fabric he used was originally invented in the French city of Nimes which had been concerned about what to make now that sailcloth was no longer in big demand. They called the new stuff Serge De Nimes, or Denim. One alteration Levi Strauss made was to remove a rivet that was at the base of the crotch. It seems when Cowboys squatted around the campfire, that rivet got red hot and caused much whoopin’ an a’ dancin’.

1891- Thomas Edison demonstrated an early prototype of kinetoscope- a motion picture machine- to his wife's friends at a party. The footage was of engineer W.K.L. Dickson and his associates dancing. Edison that night writes a letter about his movie machine to photographer Edweard Muybridge: " I doubt it will ever have any commercial value.."

1892-J.P. Morgan creates the General Electric Company and maneuvers inventor Thomas Edison off the board of directors.

1916- Artist Norman Rockwell sold his first painting for a Saturday Evening Post cover.

1926 - Thomas Edison says Americans prefer silent movies over talking pictures. He also felt the flat record disc could never replace the cylinder.

1937-The Cinema Editor's Guild started.

1937- Bob Clampett promoted to director at Leon Schlesinger’s Looney Tunes Studio. Clampett, whose mother hand sewed the first Mickey Mouse dolls for Walt Disney. After leaving Looney Tunes Clampett created the Beany & Cecil Show for early television.

1975- In a small warehouse in Van Nuys California, George Lucas assembled an effects crew to create the film Star Wars. The crew included John Dykstra, Richard Edlund and Don Trumbull. It is the birth of Industrial Light & Magic, or ILM.

1979- The last Saturday Night Live show done by the original cast. Many of them had their 5 year contracts up and wanted to do something else. Plus producer Lorne Michaels was feuding with NBC chairman Fred Silverman and wanted to leave. So goodbye Lorne Michaels, Gilda Radner, Lorraine Newman, Garret Morris, Bill Murray and Al Franken, Hello Jean Doumainian and Joe Piscopo! Lorne Michaels came back to the show a few years later and has produced it ever since.

1984- Hanna Barbera’s “The Smurfic Games”.

1993 - Max Klein, the inventor of Paint by Numbers sets, died at 77. President Eisenhower once passed out paint-by-numbers sets to his senior cabinet so their paintings could adorn the West Wing offices. Imagine seeing on your wall an original Nixon or Curtis LeMay!

2000- Disney's all CG film Dinosaurs opened. Originally supposed to be live action with Phil Tippett's studio doing the effects, it later became the first project of Disney's all CGI unit the Secret Lab. It wound up being ten years in the making.

2003- Disney's THE RESCUERS was reissued on DVD.

May 19th, 2007 Saturday
May 19th, 2007

Birthdays: Malcolm X- original name Malcolm Little, Ho Chi Minh- original name Ngyun Tat Tanth- Ho Chi Minh means the Enlightener, Giovanni Della Robbia, John Hopkins, Lord Waldorf Astor, Dame Nelly Melba –Australian opera singer for whom Melba Toast, Peach Melba and the cocktail the "Manhattan" were created, Frank Capra, Wilson Mizner, Elena Poniatowska, Jim Lehrer, Nora Ephron, Grace Jones, Peter Mayhew, Nancy Kwan, Pete Townshend, Pol Pot, Joey Ramone, Jimmy Hoffa Jr., Archie Manning, Disney animator Andeas Wessel-Therhorn and Tom Sito, aka me, your author.

988-Today is the Feast of Saint Dunstan, who pulled the Devil’s nose with hot tongs.

1884 - Ringling Brothers circus premiered.

1886- First performance of Camille Saint Saen's Organ Symphony (#3). Saint Saen's had actually written 6 such works but hated them all but three. He liked the third symphony so much he never wrote another. Composer Charles Gounod heard the symphony and exclaimed:" There is now a French Beethoven!" The theme of the last movement is now known as the music from the movie Babe the Pig.

1892 - Charles Brady King invented the pneumatic jackhammer- sleeping city dwellers rejoice.

1927- Sid Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood opened. Ushers and doorman were dressed in imported Mandarin silk robes and wall hangings were painted by young artist/actor Key Luke. Sid Grauman was the showman who also invented the Hollywood premiere with spotlights and limo's pulling up to red carpets, etc.

1934- Mickey Mouse short cartoon Gulliver Mickey.

1956-Cecil B. deMilles film"The Ten Commandments" premiered. Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter and Edward G, Robinson.

1960 - DJ Alan Freed is accused of bribery in the radio payola scandal, the first scandal to hit the new world of Rock & Roll.

1962- Giant birthday party and rally held for President John F. Kennedy in New York's Madison Square Garden -his birthday was actually the following week. What made it memorable was Marilyn Monroe in a dress so tight she had to be sewn into it, singing her sexy version of the Happy Birthday song. 'Haapie (exhale) Burth- Day, Mister - Prezz- a -dent (sigh), Happy, etc. "

1970- Al Gore married Tipper Gore.

1971- The musical Godspell first opened.

1997- Matthew Broderick married Sarah Jessica Parker.

1998- George Lucas much anticipated film Star Wars Episode One the Phantom Menace premiered, the first Star Wars sequel in 20 years. It featured Jarr Jarr Binks, a character so annoying that web sites like www.I Want Jarr-Jarr to Die-Die.Com soon racked up tens of thousands of hits.

2005- George Lucas last Star Wars movie The Revenge of the Sith premiered.

2006- Dreamworks animated film ‘Over the Hedge’ premiered.

May 18th 2007 Friday.
May 18th, 2007

I went last night to the Motion Picture Academy's Sci-tech Council's first of a series of evenings dedicated to sound efx in movies.

Ben Burtt conducted an fascinating lecture on the filmic inspiration for the sounds he originated for the classic film Star Wars. His panel was a reunion of the original Star Wars sound crew on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the films premiere. They traced the history of motion picture sound effects by screening clips from Don Juan (1926), TARZAN 1936, Flash Gordon, The 1953 War of the Worlds, Shane, Lawrence of Arabia and a Roadrunner cartoon!

Burtt praised Looney Tune sound editor Tregg Brown for his free association of sounds with picture that liberated many sound engineers.

Some of the evenings highlights were he screened a reel of the first roughcut of Star Wars without any effects, sound or music. It was pretty funny listening to the Imperial stormtroopers and C3PO clopping around a wood floor with slapping plastic shinguards.
Also Ben produced the original apparatus that created the breathing sound of Darth Vader. It was a simple black scuba tanks with a mike placed into the regulator mouthpiece. Burt then recreated the breathing sound for the delight of the crowd.

A great time was had by all. Congrads Tad, Andy and the SciTech team!

Birthdays: Pope John Paul II, President Grover Cleveland, Ezio Pinza, Tsar Nicholas II, Omar Khayam, Walter Gropius,Reggie Jackson, Margot Fonteyn, Robert Morse, Perry Como, Dwayne Hickman aka Dobie Gillis, Big Joe Turner, Miriam Margolyes, Chow Yung Fat.

1905- MORROCCAN CRISIS OF 1905- A Moroccan desert sherif, El Raisuli, kidnapped a small Greek-American businessman named George Pedicaris for ransom and because he wanted someone new to play chess with. Pedicaris was ransomed but the incident became a major international showdown between with Germany, Britain, France and the U.S. ready to go to war. The incident was romanticized in the John Milius film "The Wind and the Lion", with Raisuli played by Sean Connery and Pedicaris turned into the beautiful Candice Bergen.

1976- The filming of Francis Ford Coppolla's Apocalypse Now was disrupted when the Philippines was hit by a major typhoon. Francis rides out the storm cooking pasta, smoking grass and listening to records of La Boheme.

1980-Mt. St. Helens explodes in Washington State. The volcano was always thought to be safely extinct but Mother Nature had other plans. I was in Toronto thousands of miles away and noticed volcanic ash floating in Lake Ontario. The eruption and earthquake killed 57 people and destroyed 24 square miles around the mountain. A lone eccentric named Harry Truman refused to be evacuated and stayed in his home. He was interviewed by Sixty Minutes and other programs. After the explosion Truman disappeared and is assumed killed.

2001- Dreamworks animated hit SHREK opened. The voice of Shrek was originally planned to be Chris Farley but the obese comedian died of a drug overdose and was replaced by Mike Myers. I’m serving Waffles!

Those wacky students at Cal Arts take a lighter look at the amazing new technology of rotos- err....Motion Capture. See if you can recognize utterly famous animators James Baxter and Glen Keane.

Birthdays: Sandro Botticelli, Eric Satie, Ayatollah Khomeni, Dr. Edmund Jenner, Archibald Cox, Dennis Hopper, Sugar Ray Leonard, Maureen O'Sullivan, Kathleen Sullivan, Debra Winger, Bill Paxton. Enya, Tina Fey

1826- Artist-Naturalist John James Audubon departs for England ”in deep sorrow” because he could find no publisher in America for his masterpiece the “Birds of North America”.

1845 - Rubber bands invented! Now we can finally wrap our animation scenes!

1875 –The First Kentucky Derby. Winning horse was Aristides.

1890 - Comic Cuts, 1st weekly comic paper, published in London.

1924- Marcus Loew of the Loew's theater chain buys Metro Pictures and combines them with Sam Goldwyn and Louis B. Mayer’s studio to form- MGM, Metro Goldwyn Mayer.

1931- Vaudeville dancer James Cagney became a tough guy movie star when the Wild Bill Wellman’s film Public Enemy debuted. “I wish you wuz a wishing well… so I could tie a bucket to ya and sink ya!”

1938 - Radio quiz show "Information Please!" debuts on NBC Blue Network.

1941- The Looney Toon Lockout. Producer Leon Schlesinger tries to forestall the unionization of his Bugs Bunny cartoonists by locking them out. After a week he relents and recognizes the cartoonist guild. Chuck Jones called it “our own little six-day war.”

Warner cartoonists locked out. Far left seated- animator Ben Washam, far right standing- inker Martha Goldman-Sigal.

1954-" Brown vs. Board of Ed" Supreme Court ruled segregation illegal. Future justice Thurgood Marshal was the successful attorney.

1967 – Bob Dylan's 1965 UK Tour is released as film "Don't Look Back"

1970 - Thor Heyerdahl crosses Atlantic on reed raft Ra, proving the ancient Egyptians could have reached South America.

1971 - Stephen Schwartz' musical "Godspell," premiered off-Broadway

1973 - Stevie Wonder releases "You are the Sunshine of my Love"

1978- Sony and Phillips Electronics introduce the Compact Disc- CD, where the music is played by a laser instead of a needle.