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Sept 26, 2006 Old Watering Holes.
September 26th, 2006

For many years animators were known as hard drinkers. It made me pause for a moment to recall some of the regular hangouts the elite corps of toon meisters retreated to after a hard day dropping anvils on anthropomorphosied ducks and bunnys.
courtesy of the
Alfonses in Burbank. Before it closed in 1994 it was the hangout of many old Disney animators, calling themselves the Dinsosaur Club.
In the 1930's Hyperion Era many Mousketeers liked the Tam O' Shanter in Los Feliz. The roadhouse was then the closest bar to Hyperion so the Disney crew nicknamed it "The Commissary" To this day there is a nice picture of John Hench flanked by the Disney characters hanging in honor.
Other Disney hangouts included The Snow White Cafeteria in Hollywood, Pinnochios in Burbank and the Smoke House on Barham Blvd., also a favorite of Hanna and Barbera and the UPA crew.The younger Disney animators, the ones who drink more than mineral water,preferred Spaffs and the Cinnabar in Glendale.

Union animators who wanted to meet in secret in the 1930s met at various places including El Coyote on Melrose and the secret bar beneath the Hollywood Legion Hall on Highland.

Commerical animators in the 60s like Playhouse Pictures and Quartet liked Boardners in Hollywood,where for many years model sheets of Charlie Tuna and Toucan Sam and production charts adorned the walls. then they would meet their Hanna Barbera counterparts at Charles & Company on Vineland and Ventura in Studio City. Filmation artists in Reseda spent their breaks at the Bunker, on Sherman Way. Chuck Jones Acme Prod animators liked the rooftop lounge of their Vine and Sunset building.

New York animators in the 60s and 70s used to congregate at Costellos on 44th St. It became the hangout for the National Cartoonist Society and the New Yorker Magazine crowd. James Thurber, drunk as a skunk used to take out his ever present pencil and draw cartoons on the wall. Costello the owner had them etched into the wall and when he moved the bar had the walls taken out and moved with him.
Cartoonists also liked the Palm on 3rd Ave.

Nelvana animators in Toronto loved the Skipper, on Harborfront. In the early days the studio founder Patrick Loubert would join us all and buy a round. Dublin animators for Sullivan/Bluth loved the Deer Park Pub. London animators would network every friday about what pub in Soho to rondevous. The whole community would meet week after week at the Coach & Horses, The Green Man and more. On Who Framed Roger Rabbit? in 1987 we hung out at the Edinborough Castle in Camden Town, across from a flat once owned by Dylan Thomas.

So here's a tip of my glass to the tippling animators. They partied hard, but also created the great cartoons. If you can think of any other watering holes, drop me a line.

Birthdays: George Gershwin, T.S. Elliot, John Chapman (also known as Johnny Appleseed)-1774, Winsor McKay-1869, Theodore Gericault -1791, Olivia Newton-John, Cheryl Tiegs is 59, Marty Robbins, Linda Hamilton, Pope Paul VI, Jack Lalanne is 94, Melissa Sue Andersen, Phillip Bosco, James Cavaziel, Surena Williams

303a.d. -Feasts of Saints Cosmas & Damian . The Syrian twin doctors were nicknamed 'The Moneyless" and this was before HMO's. they were martyred by being crucified, stoned, shot full of arrows, beheaded then they had to read their own prescriptions.

1820- In Defiance Missouri 85 year old frontier scout Daniel Boone died of acute fever and indigestion from eating too many yams. He did all of his exploring without a compass. Someone once asked him - Didn't you ever get lost? He replied, No, but I was once bewildered for three days...

1887- Emile Berliner patented the gramaphone, rejecting Thomas Edison's cylinder in favor of a flat disc record on a turntable.

1892- The John Philip Sousa Band makes it's first public appearance.

1926- Bullock's Wilshire department store opened. It's Tea Room quickly became the in place for Hollywood Society to see and be seen in.

1937- "Queen of the Blues" Singer Bessie Smith died after a car accident in Mississippi. She crashed her Packard into a parked car. She was 43. One account said she died because she was refused treatment in a segregated hospital but the truth was she was treated by a white doctor at the scene and sent to the nearest hospital, which was a black one.
1941- Max Fleischer's "Superman" cartoon debuts. They were much more expensive that the usual short cartoons- $90,000 to the usual $40,000, but Paramount wanted them.

1955- Eddie Fisher married Debbie Reynolds.

1957- The musical West Side Story opened. The legend goes composer Leonard Bernstein was in the hospital to be operated on for a deviated septum. While recuperating he ran into lyricist Steven Sondheim, who was also recovering from an operation. To pass the time while convalescing they started working on the idea of an updated Romeo and Juliet set to music. One early title discarded was Gang Way!

1960-THE FIRST NIXON-KENNEDY TELEVISED DEBATE. The first televised presidential debate that really ushered in the era of the "media-candidate". People who heard the debate on radio thought Vice President Nixon had won because he scored more points on issues. But far more who saw it on Television lauded Kennedy because of his cool, calm Presidential bearing as opposed to Nixon's pale sweaty-lipped nervousness. For years Nixon put down his electoral defeat to the fact that he refused stage makeup before going on camera .One New York Times analyst recently referred to Kennedy & Nixon as the Roadrunner & Wile E. Coyote of American politics.

1961- Nineteen year old folk singer Bob Dylan made his debut in a Greenwich Village coffee house Gerde’s Folk City.

1961- Fidel Castro gave a speech to the United Nations that lasted 4 and 1/2 hours.

1962-The Beverly Hillbillies debuts. The story goes that CBS mogul William Paley disliked farm-humor type shows and this was premiered behind his back while he was on vacation. It was the masterpiece of programming chief James Aubrey, nicknamed "the Smiling Barracuda". One wag said Aubrey deserved a statue because he was the first t.v. executive to realize that even if you put garbage on the tube people will watch it anyway. When Aubrey took over CBS they were doing "Playhouse 90" and when he left they were doing "Mayberry RFD".

1964-The premiere of Gilligan’s Island. The good ship Minnow was named for William Minnow, the FCC Chairman who first called television “A Vast Wasteland”.

1983- Filmation's "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe".The popular toy was originally supposed to be a product tie -in to the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Conan the Barbarian, but toy maker Mattell balked at the films R rated violence, so changed the toy's name. I Have The Powerrrrrr!!!

1987- A market research group called Q-5 tried to use a bank of computers to design the ultimate safe wholesome politically correct children's show. They came up with "The Little Clowns of Happytown"-. Of the 26 children's series in syndication it remained dead last in ratings, He-Man, Jem and G.I.Joe on top. The people have spoken.

1990- The Motion Picture Association changed the rating for the naughtiest movies from X to NC-17.

2004- Florida gets hit with it’s fourth hurricane in six weeks. Hurricane Jean killed 6 and caused billions in damage. The last time Florida was hit by that many hurricanes was in 1886.