BACK to Blog Posts

February 25, 2007 Oscar Sunday
February 25th, 2007

I'll post a report on the Academy Awards when I get back tonight.

Note: I normally don't want to mix national politics with cartoons, but national politics keep butting in. To all pro cartoonists- President Bush is stumping for his new idea for giving health insurance to the uninsured. Of course, nothing about reining in the out of control insurance industries and spiraling health costs. His idea is to pay for insurance for the poor by raising the premiums of people who have employer paid union plans- That means you and me. Many of the uninsured poor are made that way by their employers, who refuse to pay health benefits and expect the public system to make up the difference. Please join me in letting your Congress person know you don't like this idea.

Birthdays: Enrico Caruso, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Zeppo Marx,St. Louis (King Louis IX of France), Bobby Riggs, Sir Anthony Burgess- author of A Clockwork Orange, director Neil Jordan, Larry Gelbart, Tom Courtenay, Sean Astin is 35, Tea Leoni

799AD- Today is the Feast of Saint Walburga, who with her brother Saint Winebold preached Christianity in the remote forests of Germany. Oddly enough after Walburga’s death the Saint’s remains were removed to a new resting place on the anniversary of a pagan festival and her name stuck to the celebration- April 30th the Walpurgisnacht.

1932- TOONTOWN SCANDALS. Former Australian prizefighter Pat Sullivan was the producer of the Felix the Cat cartoons, the first true animation star. Although animator Otto Mesmer actually created him Sullivan's name is the only one on the titles. Felix was one of the top film stars of the 1920s. Lindbergh supposedly had a Felix doll with him in the Spirit of St. Louis and his body shape was the prototype of Mickey Mouse and dozens of other characters.While Mesmer quietly drew pictures Sullivan lived the fast life of a roaring twenties celebrity. Mrs. Marjorie Sullivan had been having an affair with her chauffeur. After a nasty scene when husband confronted wife and the chauffeur fled, Mrs. Sullivan mysteriously fell out of her window to her death. The scandal was front page news and Sullivan never got over it. He soon drank himself to death which during Prohibition was difficult to do. Sullivan's death and his failure to get Felix into sound cartoons doomed his studio. Otto Mesmer went on to animate the first Broadway light signs but did not receive any recognition for his contributions to animation until he was re-introduced to the public at a Bob Clampett night at the Museum of Modern Art in 1975. Kid animators Eric Goldberg and Tom Sito were in the audience.

1943- Master animator Bill Tytla resigned from Disney.

1957- Buddy Holly and the Crickets record "That'll Be the Day."

1964 Young Cassius Clay, later renamed Muhammed Ali, defeated Sonny Liston in 2:14 minutes into the 6th round for the heavyweight boxing crown. The odds were on Liston 8-1 but Clay said he would "Float like a Butterfly and Sting Like a Bee!"When asked to comment about his defeat, Sonny Liston concluded: "Life, a funny thing."

1971- Oh Calcutta, the first play with lots of actors shedding their clothes, premiered on Broadway at the Belasco.

1996- Dr Haing Ngor, the doctor who survived the Cambodian Killing Fields holocaust and won an Academy Award in a movie of the same name, was killed in a robbery attempt outside his Los Angeles home.

2004- Movie star uber-Catholic Mel Gibson’s movie the "The Passion of the Christ" opened in North America. The film was criticized for it’s perceived anti-Semitism, it was the first movie in which Jesus spoke his real language –Aramaic. The film was advertised more in churches than in the press. The Christian evangelical community made it an event. Pastors bought blocks of tickets for their congregations. The film earned nearly a billion dollars, most of the profit earned by Gibson, who was the films sole investor.