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January 25th , 2008 fri.
January 25th, 2008

Well, it's been raining like the dickens here in Hollywood. The concrete paved LA River actually has water in it now. I know it's no biggy for people in more wintery parts of North America, but it's a big deal to us. Funny how when animation folks discuss things in their past, we inevitably refer time to what film we were doing. Pat and I were talking about the last time it rained this hard in such a sort period. She said:" I think I was on Ferngully then." I replied:" Yeah I think it was Beauty and the Beast for me" (1991). The Northridge Earthquake was during Pocahontas, the Great LA Riots happened during Aladdin.
Well, the trade papers keep saying the WGA is in trouble and the strike solidarity is breaking apart. yet I don't see writers crossing the line to go back to work, but I DO see more studios breaking ranks with the AMPTP and signing a deal. Lionsgate and Marvel reached agreements today.
Quiz- What does it mean when people call something “ A Potemkin Village”?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: What was the Gang of Four?
History for 1/25/2008
Birthdays: Temujin called The Genghis Khan, "Prince of Conquerers", Byzantine Emperor Leo IV the Khazar, Benedict Arnold, Carl Eller, Robert Burns, Somerset Maugham, Virginia Woolf, US Vice President Charles “Goodtime Charlie” Curtis, Edwin Newman, Jean Image, Dean Jones is 77, Ava Gardner, Etta Jones, Corazon Aquino, Anita Pallenberg, Gene Washington, Tobe Hooper is 65

1533- Henry VIII secretly married Lady Anne Boleyn already pregnant with the future Queen Elizabeth. Anne Boleyn was later called a sorceress because she had six fingers on one hand. Lusty King Henry has also had sex with her mother and her older sister Mary. And Yer Little Dog, Too!

1890- Newspaper reporter Nelly Bly ( Elizabeth Cochrane ) of the New York World is welcomed home after traveling around the World in 72 days. The stunt was inspired by the Jules Verne story Around the World in 80 days, which had became a hit stage play.

1924- The first Winter Olympics held in Charmonix France. Winter sports were celebrated as early as 1901 as the Nordic Games in Scandinavia. Trying to hedge their bets the International Olympic Committee originally styled the Charmonix games the Winter Sports Week. It was so successful that in 1928 the IOC designed the games at St. Moritz the Second Winter Olympiad. These games did a lot to raise the public interest in the sport of skiing.

1939-President Franklin Roosevelt designated the fossil rich Badlands area of South Dakota a National Monument.

1945- The Rock Creek Report recommends mass additives of fluoride into American drinking water supplies. Tooth decay drops by 50%, however many right wing fringe groups see it as a Communist plot.

1947- Mobster Al Capone died at his home in Florida at age 48. He was released from Alcatraz Prison early because of ill health, his mind was being slowly destroyed by untreated syphilis. When another hood was asked if Al would resume leadership of the Chicago rackets he replied:” Big Al is nuttier than a fruitcake.” Capone lived his final days in seclusion at his estate on Biscayne Bay.

1959- American Airlines sets up the first jetliner passenger service across the U.S.

1959- Disney's " SLEEPING BEAUTY " opened. Despite earning the fifth highest box office for that year it finished $1 million behind what it cost to make. The animation staff had swollen to it's largest to finish the production. It’s disappointing box office soured Walt Disney on feature animation. His low budget live action films like The Shaggy Dog and the Abent Minded Professor were much more profitable. After Sleeping Beauty was finished the Disney studio had a massive layoff, the staff roster dropping from 551 to just 75. Artists employed since "Bambi" and earlier found pink dismissal slips on their drawing tables when they came to work. The staff will not return to these same levels until 1990.

1959- VATICAN II- Pope John XXIII called for the creation of a Second Vatican Council to initiate reforms in the Roman Catholic Church. This was called Vatican II and it’s sweeping ideas changed the Church forever. Latin Masses replaced with native language, the priest does the Eucharist ceremony facing you instead of with his back to you, Folk Masses with guitars, etc. Satirist Tom Lehrer wrote his comic song The Vatican Rag as a reaction to Vatican II. Today many Catholic conservatives like Mel Gibson are mad at Vatican II for doing away with the Latin Mass. It was comforting to know that you could go into a church anywhere in the world and be just as confused as everyone else.

1960- Actress Diana Barrymore, the daughter of John Barrymore, overdosed on sleeping pills. The Barrymore family that had dominated the American theater since the 1850’s had a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Ancestor after ancestor drank themselves to death. Current leader of the family Drew Barrymore recovered after seeking rehab at age 12.

1961- John F. Kennedy has the first televised Presidential press conference.

1970- Robert Altman’s groovy movie M*A*S*H premiered.

1971- Charles Manson and his followers convicted of 27 counts of murder. They were all sentenced to the Gas Chamber but the death penalty had been abolished in California for the moment.

1995- Moscow radar detected a nuclear missile launch from Norwegian waters headed right for them. Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his cabinet had five minutes to decide if this was an accident or the dreaded First Strike, warranting a full retaliatory launching of all Russian missiles against the US.. They decided it was a mistake, and it turned out the missile was only a Norwegian weather satellite being fired into orbit. Similar nail biting incidents happened to Jimmy Carter in 1980 and off the US coast in 1986. So sleep well tonight, your safety is in the hands of G.W. Bush and Comrade Putin!

Yesterday’s Question: What was the Gang of Four?

Answer: After the death of Chairman Mao the government of Communist China saw his widow Madame Chiang Ching, , Jiang Qing, or Zhiang Zhing as you prefer, throwing her weight around. In 1984 Madame Mao and her three compatriots from the Cultural Revolution Days were purged and brought up on charges of trying to overthrow the state. They were collectively called the Gang of Four. Besides Madame Mao there were 3 men, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen, They all were tried and convicted, two dying in prison, one committing suicide and the other being released after serving 20 years.