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June 1st, 2008 Sunday
June 1st, 2008

"Southern California is a great place, if you're an orange."
- Fred Allen

The Hollywood History seminars I've been attending at the Huntington Library wrapped up Saturday. More panels on the meaning of Citizen Kane, the rise of the Hollywood press and efforts to restore part of the original Santa Monica Beach house of William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies. It's kind of funny calling it a beach house, since it was twice the size of the White House and decorated more opulently.

But the afternoon's highlight were the closing remarks of Historian Prof. Kevin Starr. No, he is not the Monica Lewinsky prosecutor, that's Kenneth Starr; he is the official chief librarian of the state and author of a series of books on California history like Embattled Dreams and Inventing the Dream. His topic was on his familiar theme of the social-cultural evolution of California and its future.

Prof Kevin Starr, courtesy of Stanford Univ.

Now any one who has met me in the past knows that regardless of how you judge my animation, you know I can tell a good history story. Well, try to imagine me sitting silently, mouth agape, listening to someone else!

I was transfixed at the bravura performance of this speaker. Prof Starr spoke with authority, exhibiting perfect pacing and clarity, moving rapidly, dropping an anecdote here, a cross reference there, occasionally gulping water without ever stalling his rhythm. And all the while holding 80 people enthralled for a full hour. Wow! That's a story teller! I bow to a fellow Jedi Master.

I felt like King Louie in Jungle Book. "I wanna be just like yoouuu..!"
His books are a great read too. Rich in intricate detail and anecdote. Funny how some shows inspire you to go home and draw. This one inspired me to go home and write!

Quiz: Movie companies tell us copying movies is piracy and bad. Was illegally pirating a movie ever a good thing?

Yesterday’s Quiz: Why are some parts of a city like SF called The Tenderlion?
History for 6/1/2008
Welcome to June, from Iunius, the month of Juno, queen of the Roman gods.

Birthdays: Brigham Young, Marilyn Monroe would be 81!, Pat Boone, Mikhail Glinka, Red Grooms, Karl Von Clausewitz, Andy Griffith, Morgan Freeman is 70, Nelson Riddle, Lisa Hartman, Cleavon Little, Frederica Von Stade, Powers Booth, Rene Aubergjenois, Lisa Hartman, Brian Cox, Josef Pujol *

*Pujol was famous throughout late Victorian Europe as Le Petomane- The Fartiste- who could fart musical melodies and snuff candles at great distances. He performed an entire evening’s concert for crowned heads and would finish by farting La Marseillaise.

1792- Kentucky Statehood. The lands of Kentucky were claimed at one point to be part of Virginia, claimed by Spain and groups of leathershirts (frontiersmen) even talked of founding an independent state called the Kingdom of Yazoo.

1813- In battle with a British warship, HMS Leopard, dying Captain Lawrence, of the U.S.S. Chesapeake, cried:" Don't Give Up the Ship!" They don't but he died anyway.

1876- Eighteen-year old Milton Hershey opened his first candy store. Hershey's goes on to become the largest candy maker in the U.S. The Hershey’s chocolate kiss is so named because the machine that creates the candy looks like it is kissing the conveyor belt.

1931- Swiss artist Albert Hurter joined the Disney staff, giving the look of cartoons like Snow White a more Germanic storybook look.

1933 - Charlie Chaplin wed actress Paulette Goddard

1936 - "Lux Radio Theater" moved from NYC to Hollywood.

1939- HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUPERMAN- Joe Seigel and Jerry Shuster, two aspiring cartoonists in High School create a character called “Superman”. Jewish kids, they had read about the Nazis racial concept of the Aryan Superman. They wanted to show a Superman could be on the American side. On this day they sell all the rights to their characters to Detective Comics (D.C.) for $130. When the first megabudget Superman movie was being made in the 1976, Neal Adams and the National Cartoonist's Society pointed out that Seigel & Schuster were now on hard times. They never shared a nickel of the multi-millions their creation had generated. Seigel was blind and Schuster delivered sandwiches from a local deli. The publicity forced Warner Bros and DC Comics to award them and their families pensions for life.

1942- British actor Leslie Howard, who played Ashley in" Gone with the Wind " and Henry Higgins in the first film of "Pygmalion" joined the RAF as a fighter pilot in World War Two. This day he was shot down and killed by the Luftwaffe over the English Channel.

1961 - FM multiplex stereo broadcasting 1st heard

1966 - George Harrison is impressed by Ravi Shankar's concert in London.

1967 –The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in the UK.

1968 - Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" hits #1

1979- Gannett News Services began USA Today, called by some critic's-'MacPaper'.

1980- Ted Turner started CNN news channel. Hard to believe now, but before Larry King, Nancy Grace and Glenn Beck, it delivered only hard news, every twenty minutes, 24 hours a day.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Why are some parts of a city like SF called The Tenderloin?

Answer: In the 1870's New York and San Francisco city cops took bribes to leave big time gambling parlors and houses of ill repute alone. The neighborhoods with the most such establishments gave out the most money. When a NY cop named Clubber Williams demanded to be assigned to this lucrative beat, he supposedly said: I’ve been doing all the work to bring the beef in, but now I want some of the Tenderloin!” Since then these red-light naughty districts were known as the Tenderloin.