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November 23rd, 2007 friday
November 23rd, 2007

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving. I recall when I was young, Thanksgiving morning meant the Macy Parade, but it also meant the only time that year you could see Laurel & Hardy in the March of the Wooden Soldiers, and Max Fleischer's Gulliver's Travels. They were in grainy black & white, because few had color TVs then. They usually ran on the local Metromedia NY stations like WPIX. It came to mean Thanksgiving to me as much as the cranberry sauce. So, if you have a copy available, take a look at these two old gems and start a family holiday tradition!

Quiz: Why are white people called Caucasian?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: In Chuck Jones's cartoon "Tom Turk and Daffy" (1944) Daffy Duck helps to hide the Thanksgiving turkey, until Porky's description of how delicious his planned thanksgiving dinner will be seduces Daffy into revealing the turkey's hiding place. Tom Turkey comments on Daffy's betrayal by saying "Quisling..."Something a 1940’s audience would get. What does that mean?

HISTORY FOR 11/23/2007
Birthdays: German Emperor Otto Ist 972AD, Edward Rutledge –Declaration of Ind signer, President Franklin Pierce, Krystoff Penderecki, Manuel DeFalla, William Henry Pratt better known as Boris Karloff, William Bonney better known as Billy the Kid, Susan Anspach, Victor Jory, Vincent Cassel,

Feast of Saint Clement Ist and Saint Columban.

1499- PERKIN WARBECK hanged for trying to overthrow King Henry VII Tudor. Warbeck maintained he was one of the murdered young "Princes in the Tower", allegedly done in by Richard III " a horse, a horse, etc." in 1485.

1654- BLAISE PASCAL was one of the great minds of French civilization. A scientist who invented an early computer. He loved debating science with Rene Descartes and Johannes Kepler. Descartes joked about Pascal’s championing the existence of a vacuum: “The only vacuum that exists is in Monsieur Pascal’s head!” This day he almost died when his carriage plunged off a Seine River Bridge. The carriage remained precariously perched above the water allowing Pascal to escape. That night in his trauma he had the first of several religious revelations. Blaise Pascal became a philosopher and one of the greatest Christian apologists and champions of established religion. He wrote of that night:” The God of Abraham and Issac appeared to me, The God of Jacob - Reassurance. Certainty. Peace.”

1874- Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy first published.

1876- The first intercollegiate College Football association set up in Springfield Mass.

1889- The first Juke Box installed at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco. Created by Louis T. Glass it used Edison cylinders instead of records and cost 5 cents a play. Juke comes from Juke Joint, a slang term for a dance hall.

1897-First Royal performance for Queen Victoria of a Cinematograph moving picture, at Windsor Castle. Also on the program was Monsieur Taffary's Calculating Dogs.

1903- Italian tenor Enrico Caruso made his debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in Verdi’s Rigoletto. The great singer loved drawing caricatures, collecting police badges, pinching ladies bottoms and doing practical jokes like filling your hat with flour. Painter Norman Rockwell recalled when he was paying his way through school by being a Met stagehand Caruso liked to talk art with him and he asked about George Bridgemans class, the great anatomist.

1936- The first florescent lighting tubes are installed, in the U.S. Patent office.

1936- Time Magazine owner Henry Luce launched LIFE Magazine. The first picture on the cover was a dam photographed by Margaret Bourke-White. The second picture was a doctor slapping a newborn baby with the caption: “Life Begins!”

1938- Bob Hope recorded his signature tune “Thanks for the Memory” for the movie The Big Broadcast..

1942- PLAY IT AGAIN SAM- The movie CASABLANCA premiered. Based on an unproduced musical play “Everybody Comes to Ricks’, Howard Koch and the Epstein Brothers adapted the play into one of the most memorable Hollywood movies ever. It was never expected to be more than a rehash of the popular Charles Boyer film Algiers "come wiz me to ze Casbah!". George Raft was first offered the role of Rick but after he turned it down, it was given to Bogie. He described it to a friend:" Aw.. it's just some more sh*t like Algiers!". Humphrey Bogart acted opposite Ingrid Bergman, although he had to stand on boxes to appear taller than his Swedish leading lady. During the famous scene where the French exiles drown out the singing Germans with a stirring rendition of le Marseillaise the Germans are singing Watch On the Rhine. The director wanted them to sing the Nazi Party anthem the Horst Wessel Song but the Warner Legal Dept discovered it was copywrighted! Don’t want them Nazis to sue! .At this time the real Casablanca was still in a war zone so director Michael Curtiz and his art director Carl Jules Wyl had to fake what a North African French colonial city might look like. A decade later while filming in Spain he took the ferry over to Casablanca to see how close they came. Driving around Curtiz remarked “Carl, this doesn’t look anything like our movie!!”

1945- The U.S. government ends most wartime food and gas rationing.

1947- THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS- Prof E. L. Sukenik of Hebrew University in Israel was first told of a discovery made by two Bedouin sheperds in a cave near Qumran. Hebrew sacred scrolls dated from 200BC to 70AD, many were found to corroborate translated passages in the modern Bible. Sukenik risked his life crossing battle zones to buy more parts of the scrolls from antiquarian dealers.

1952- Animator Fred Moore, who drew Mickey Mouse in Fantasia and the Brave Little Tailor, died in an auto accident in the Tujunga Canyon area of Los Angeles.

1960- The Hollywood Walk of Fame is dedicated, featuring over 1,500 names- but not Charlie Chaplin, who was banned until 1972 because of his alleged lefty political views.

1963- The first episode of Dr.Who premiered on the BBC.

1966-The film “ Spinout “ premiered. Elvis Presley pioneered the genre movie of bored male movie stars who use their studio muscle to make us watch movies of them in racing cars. James Garner in Grand Prix-arguably the best one, Steve McQueen in LeMans, Tom Cruise in Days of Thunder, Sly Stallone in Driven, etc.

1990- 37 year old baseball catcher Bo Diaz was crushed to death by a large satellite dish he was trying to install.
Yesterday’s question: In Chuck Jones's cartoon "Tom Turk and Daffy" (1944) Daffy Duck helps to hide the Thanksgiving turkey, until Porky's description of how delicious his planned thanksgiving dinner will be seduces Daffy into revealing the turkey's hiding place. Tom Turkey comments on Daffy's betrayal by saying "Quisling..."Something a 1940’s audience would get. What does that mean?

Answer: Vikdun Quisling was a Norwegian Nazi who agreed to run occupied Norway for the Germans. He was executed after the war. His name Quisling, became synonymous with traitor, like Judas or a Benedict Arnold.