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April 24, 2007 Tuesday
April 24th, 2007

This weekend I was talking to retired animator Bill Littlejohn. Although in his 90s Bill is still sharp and we had a stimulating conversation. We were discussing John and Faith Hubley when he told me an interesting anecdote. He said Faith once had a film in Robert Redford's Sundance Festival. All during the festival she noticed Redford was not very welcoming, in fact he was a bit cold. Near the end of the festival she had the opportunity to ask him about his attitude.

He replied that when he was a young student intern in Hollywood his first desire was to get a job as an animator! But when he visited Hubley's Storyboard Studios the woman who inspected his portfolio told him he had no talent. He should give up and do something else. He said he carried that dissappointment around for years. Faith asked him the year and the studios location, to see if she was the women in question. After Redford described the circumstances, Faith triumphantly declared to him:" Ahh...that was John's FIRST WIFE!" She said the penitent Redford was charming thereafter.

But I don't think he resumed his career in cartoons. He's done alright since, I hear.

Birthdays: Daniel Defoe, William de Kooning, St. Vincent de Paul, Morgan Earp, Shirley McLaine, Jack E. Leonard, Dame Ethel Smyth, Jill Ireland, Eric Bogosian, Sue Grafton, Robert Penn Warren, Barbera Streisand is 66, Cedric the Entertainer is 44

1184 B.C.(est.)- TROY FALLS TO THE GREEKS- Despite the warnings of Cassandra and Laocoon the Trojans pull Ulysses' great horse into the city and at night the Greeks climb out and open the city gates to destruction. The reason we have any estimated date for this is this was the day the Romans celebrated a festival commemorating this event.
Conventional wisdom was always that Troy was a myth until Heinrich Schleimann found it in the 1800’s. The Romans loved a myth of their own origin that they were descended from the Trojan refugees led to Italy by the hero Aeneas. This seemed way more cool than being a grubby little Latin tribe who got their act together ahead of their neighbors.
They loved this myth so much that in 218 B.C. when the legions of Publius Scipio Asiaticus marched into Turkey to make war on Antipater the king of Syria, they paused first to go to the plains of Illium (the field where Troy once stood).
There the writer Livy states" The grim warriors embraced and wept aloud like babes, for after countless generations the children of Troy had come home at last."

1584- Japanese Shogun Hideyoshi Toyotomi ordered the Heii Shrine in Edo (Tokyo) to dedicate a new heraldic design - the red disc Asahi - Rising Sun flag is created.

1874-Outlaw Jesse James married Miss Zerelda Mimms who he called Z.

1933-Ub Iwerk's "Fiddlesticks" the first Flip the Frog cartoon, done in a simple two-color process. Iwerks was the first designer and animator of Mickey Mouse, who had left Walt Disney to open his own studio.

1961- First day of shooting on the film King of Kings, the Christ story starring Jeffrey Hunter. Called by one critic” I was a Teenage Jesus” . In 1966 Jeffrey Hunter turned down a TV series after doing the pilot episode. His wife worried that he’d be typecast. The role of Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, it went instead went to William Shatner.

1981- Small companies like Apple and Commodore had dominated the personal computer market while giants like IBM stuck with large business systems. Now IBM weighed in with The IBM PC –personal computer, with basic software language DOS provided by Microsoft. It soon came to dominate the market.

1983- THE HITLER DIARIES HOAX- Gerd Heideman, a top correspondent for Germany’s top magazine Die Stern was contacted by a mysterious Professor Fischer that he had in his possession the long lost personal diary of Adolph Hitler. Heidemann was an eccentric who collected fascist memorabilia like Herman Goerings yacht and a pair of Idi Amin’s underwear! Fischer sold him the Hitler diary manuscripts for $4 million bux.
After Heidemann got British Historian Sir Hugh Trevor Roper and several handwriting analysts to declare them genuine the Hitler Diaries went public in Die Stern and Rupert Murdoch’s London Times. When Sir Hugh started to express doubts over the authenticity of the diary Times mogul Rupert Murdoch reacted in typical fashion:”F**k him. I’m in the entertainment business!” This day a Bonn laboratory declared the diaries high quality but completely phony. Professor Fischer was actually an art forger named Konrad Kujau who knew suckers when he saw them. He had an expensive girlfriend and wife to keep so he was writing the diaries in his garage on 1940’s vintage paper and ink. Careers were ruined and everyone looked pretty stupid. Even when they were all in jail Gerd Heidemann refused to believe the truth until Konrad Kujau sent him a letter in Hitler’s handwriting admitting he did the forgery.
German comedy done about the hoax.

1990-The Hubble Space Telescope was carried into orbit by the Space Shuttle Challenger.