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August 13, 2007 mon
August 13th, 2007

You'll notice below I list today as a release date for Walt Disney's Bambi, while I already listed the same film two weeks ago. Thats because before 1980 studios released big films in just a few theaters in NY LA, Chicago and San Francisco- First Run theaters, then to wide or general release nationwide.So film historians have to discern whether they are recording a films Premiere, First Run or General Release.

B-Dayz: Annie Oakley, Alfred Hitchcock, Don Ho, Buddy Rogers, Bert Lahr the Cowardly Lion, Richard Baseheart, cartoonist Saul Steinberg, Johann Christoph Denner (1655)- inventor of the clarinet. Danny Bonaduce, John Logie Baird one of the inventors of television, Daniel Schorr is 90, Bombay movie star Viyayanthimala, Fidel Castro, aka The Beard, is 81
you thought I was dead , eh? I outlasted ten Yanqui presidents!

Egyptian Festivals of Isis & Serapis

Festival of the Greek goddess Dianna of Ephesus. She had six breasts. According to the Acts of the Apostles during one of these festivals Saint Paul tried to spoil the fun by preaching his sermon to the Ephesians during their festival. They responded by running him out of town. Diana in her Greek form as Artemis from the older Near Eastern goddess Cybele had the inexplicable dual nature of Virgin and Mother. Sound familiar?

These three pagan festivals of Isis, Serapis and Artemis were in the Middle Ages converted into the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. In the Italian city-state of Sienna this is the date for the Pallio, the traditional horse race through the streets in medieval splendor.

Today is also the Feast Day of Saint Cassian, the Patron Saint of Stenographers.

1521- The Aztecs surrender to Cortez. After Montezuma was killed the Aztecs chose Guatamoc as their new emperor and he drove the conquistadors from their capital Tenochtitlan vowing:" We will eat the Spaniards flesh with salsa ! " remember that image next time you order fajitas. But smallpox ravaged the population and Cortez returned with heavy reinforcements of allied Indian tribes from Texcoco who hated Aztec dominance. After 80 days of bloody house to house fighting that destroyed most of the capitol. Guatamoc and a few survivors surrendered and were tortured to death. Cortez built Mexico City on the ruins.

1642- Astronomer Christian Huygens noticed that Mars had a southern polar ice cap too.

1845- Commodore Stockton with a contingent of U.S. Marines rode up from his fleet in San Pedro Harbor to Ciudad Los Angeles. Without any orders from Washington he interrupted a local fiesta to inform the startled inhabitants that they were now part of the United States.

1907-The first motorized TAXICABS hit the streets of New York. Taxi comes from Taximeter, a little machine that tallied the fare based on distance traveled. Cab is short for the earlier form of hired horse drawn carriage. Originally called a Cabriolet, then a brand name of Hansom Cabs, then just Cabs.

1910- Florence Nightingale dies after being in sickbed convinced she was dying since age 37. She died at 90. Although claiming to be too sick to walk down a flight of stairs she worked ceaselessly reforming the army medical system, founding nursing colleges and drove several friends into early graves in the cause of medical reform. When she began, women who followed armies were usually camp followers or washer women. She created the ideal of the clean cut, disciplined nurse professional.

1934- First Little Abner comic strip by Al Capp. Dogpatch, Mammy Yokum, Daisey Mae, Kickapoo Joy Juice, Jubilation T. Cornpone and the Schmoo are born. Al Capp was a hard drinking old curmudgeon of a cartoonist who lost one leg when as a child he fell off a streetcar. He used to bring young women into his office for "interviews" and would signal the boys in the copy room he had scored by letting his wooden leg drop loudly to the floor. In his old age he gloried in being a right wing chauvinist who got into arguments with radical pop stars like John Lennon. Capp had as a young assistant Frank Frazetta, he of the Conan the Barbarian paintings.

1941- James Stuart Blackton certainly had an interesting career. The English born artist became a top newspaper cartoonist, a vaudevillian drag act as Mademoiselle Stuart, the first American animator, founder of the Vitagraph Company, the movie fanzine Motion Picture World. He even successfully faked a newsreel of the battle of Manila Bay in 1898 using toy boats, sparklers and cigar smoke. He made fortunes and lost them just as quickly. On this day, penniless, he was struck and killed by a bus on Pico Blvd.

1942 Disney's Bambi opened in theaters nationwide. Today the film looks quaint but in its time artists felt it was as realistic as artists could attain. It's why so many preferred working on Dumbo, a much more cartoony style. One designer Rico LeBrun had a hunter friend bring in a real deer he shot in the Sierras. LeBrun set up drawing and anatomy sessions to study the dead animal. But LeBrun was so inspired by the opportunity he refused to dispose of the carcass even after several days it began to smell badly and attract flies. Finally the other animators waited until LeBrun had left for lunch and tossed the rancid thing.

1946- MGM cartoon Northwest Hounded Police, the short in which Tex Avery perfected the 'Tex Avery Take" - used since in films like The Mask,and Roger Rabbit.

1955- Shooting wrapped on Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. He was remaking the film he had done in silent times. One wag said: DeMille has done God one better because he has now parted the Red Sea twice."

1991- Jack Ryan died. The toymaker was the inventor of Hot Wheels toy cars, and helped launch the doll Barbie.

1997- Matt Parker and Trey Stone's animated series Southpark debuted.