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How time flies. Ten years ago, 1998, I finished with Dreamworks SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON, and went to Warner Bros Animation to begin co-directing OSMOSIS JONES with Piet Kroon. I thank Amanda Seward of Warners for hiring me. Osmosis was one of the best first draft scripts I had read since Who Framed Roger Rabbit? And this was long before the Farrelly Bros were even mentioned for the live action sequences.
We split offices with Steve Oederkerk's remake of THE AMAZING MR LIMPETT (never made),
and we completed work in 2001 sharing pre-production offices with the first SCOOBY DOO movie.

Producer Zak Pen, screenwriter Marc Hyman, Piet Kroon and me in 1998. CLick to Enlarge

At Warner Features I inherited THE IRON GIANT crew, still reeling from the failure at the Box Office and the loss of Brad Bird to PIXAR; also some of the QUEST FOR CAMELOT CREW, still smarting from the trauma of, well..., working on Quest for Camelot. Although I could never replace Brad, and some always held that against me, I did what I could to make the project a special one.

An animation crew is like an army in a battle. Morale and talent and luck and teamwork are elements almost as vital as the project itself. If we could not give out the goodies and steady employment that Dreamworks and Disney could, we could at least make the project a fun atmosphere to work in. I recalled from Pat that many who worked on FERNGULLY loved working on that production. We did a lot of morale lifting and improving. In the end we had put together a great working team. I am happy that years later, many who worked on Osmosis, now recall our project fondly.

I had directed a lot of TV and was directing at Disney when I left with the first rebel group to Dreamworks. But Directing at Warners was a great experience, and working with a crew like that was a joy. Dennis Edwards, Aaron Parry and the production team made the project a lot easier than it might have been.

Piet and I revamped the storyboards and got a greenlight from the main lot to go ahead. Richard Williams once told me "sometimes the only thing that is as satisfying as doing the best work you can do, is to create an atmosphere where others can do the best work they can possibly do." Our climate let loose some great designers like Steve Pilcher and Tony Pulham, animators like Dean Wellins, Wendy Perdue, Darlee Brewster, Sidney Padua, Lennie Graves and Ricardo Curtis. Long before RATATOUILLE was on the menu, we let efx designer Michelle Gagne go wild with the 2D effects design. PLus a lot of great young folks like Peter Sohn, Andy Schmidt, Shane Prigmore and more who later went up to Pixar to sitteth at the right hand of the Brad to Maketh Heavenly stuff like THE INCREDIBLES. The rest of our 3D crew went on to SPIDERMAN II and LORD OF THE RINGS.

Editors like Lois Freeman Fox, Rich Deitel, Craig Paulsen, Julia Gray and Leslie barker. The wonderful Armetta Jackson reading endless tracks of Bill Murray throwing up on Molly Shannon. What a trooper! And my assistant- my go to person for everything, Glenda Winfield. There are many, many more folks I'd like to mention, but this would go on too long. Suffice it to say you all know what you did, and I will never forget you.

If Osmosis Jones did not make the kind of box office splash Incredibles or Kung Fu Panda did, I am grateful to all the fans who do love it. I hear a number of biology classes still use it today to illustrate some lessons. And the film turned into a pretty nice TV series. Although I didn't hear too much input from other studios, I notice with satisfaction they used a lot of my people afterwards.

I must admit directing such a big Hollywood film is a narcotic. You do crave doing it again and again. I envy all the new first time directors now plying the trade around town. I hope I get another chance, but if that is not meant to be, I am thankful for the chance I had. And who knows, If I am good and brush my teeth at night and say my prayers to OUR LADY OF PERSISTENCE OF VISION, maybe I'll get to work with such a talented team again.

Question: Is it Lasagne or Lasagna?

Question: Why do so many men in the 1930s-40s have those little trimmed mustaches? Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Walt Disney?
History for 11/10/2008
Birthdays: Mohammed, Martin Luther, William Hogarth, Charles the Bold of Burgundy, Francois Couperin, King George II of England, Frederick Schiller, Claude Rains, Tim Rice, Richard Burton, Roy Scheider, Ann Reinking, MacKenzie Phillips, Russell Means, Sinbad, Brittany Murphy, George Fenneman-Groucho’s TV announcer, Sue Kroyer, Kellie Bea Cooper

1770- Voltaire said:" If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."

1778- John Paul Jones had been beached in France for nine months. At the height of the American Revolution he had been told to send away his ship USS Ranger to await a bigger better one from the French. But delay and red tape was making him crazy. Today his agents found him a new command- a fat, old, run down East India merchant tub named L’Duc du Durras. Jones fixed it up, and renamed her the USS BonHomme Richard after Ben Franklin’s international bestselling book. The frigate BonHomme Richard became the most famous ship in the young American Navy.

1782- English King George III wrote his Prime Minister Lord Shelburne about the recently lost American Revolution: " I should be miserable indeed if no blame for the dismemberment of America from this Empire not be laid at my door, however knowing that Knavery is so much a striking feature of it’s Inhabitants, it may Not in the end be such an Evil that they are now aliens to this kingdom."

1793- FESTIVAL OF THE GODDESS OF REASON- The radical French Revolutionaries had done away with the Catholic religion as a collaborator in tyranny, but they knew the common people wanted the consolation of religion. So they now substituted the worship of Reason in it's place. Today was the first festival of the Goddess of Reason held at Notre Dame with an actress personifying the new deity and chants and hymns and such silliness. It didn't last, it's inventor Pierre Chaumette was later guillotined for not being radical enough. When Napoleon came to power he restored normal Catholic worship although the French army permitted no chaplains.

1865- During the Civil War Swiss immigrant Henry Wirz was the Confederate commander of the infamous prison Andersonville where thousands of Yankee prisoners starved and perished. On this day he became the first military officer ever hanged for war crimes. He was also the first person to use the excuse "I was only following orders."

1871- STANLEY FINDS LIVINGSTON- No one in England had heard from the famous African explorer-missionary Dr David Livingston for three years and he was feared dead. Henry Morton Stanley undertook the expedition partly as a publicity stunt funded by the Josef Pulitizer’s New York World newspaper. After one year of wandering through the jungle Stanley came upon the old missionary on the shores of Lake Tanganyika near Ujiji. Stanley introduced himself by saying: "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" Stanley also proved Speeckes theory of the source of the Nile River as Lake Victoria Nyanzaa.

1885- Gottfried Daimler invented the first motorcycle.

1917- The Voting Rights for Women Movement or Suffragettes began a dramatic all day protest in front of the White House. Every time a protestor was arrested and dragged off another would take her place. By the days end 41 women were arrested.

1918- After abdicating the German Empire Kaiser Wilhelm finally decided he didn't want to stick around and maybe end up shot like his cousin Nicky the Russian Czar. So in the middle of night the German Imperial family slipped away by secret train and crossed the border into neutral Holland. The Hohenzollern Family, which had ruled since 1685 was now gone. Wilhelm’s first words when reaching the Castle of Daun were: "I should now like a strong hot cup of English tea." Remember his mother was Queen Victoria's daughter and he spoke perfect English. Kaiser Wilhelm lived in exile for the rest of his life, refusing Adolf Hitler’s offer to return in 1934. He died of old age in 1940.

1918- The Emperor Karl of Austria-Hungary and Empress Zita abdicate. Elderly Emperor Franz-Joseph II helped start World War One and then he conveniently died. His young grandnephew Karl tried to handle a bad situation he had no control over. He even attempted a peace overture behind the Kaiser's back as early as 1916. Ironically the Austro-German High Command helped to fund Russian revolutionaries like Lenin. German money paid the printing costs for Pravda. After taking power in Petersburg Lenin immediately had soviet-style revolutionary cells set up in Vienna and Berlin. Like in Germany riots convulsed Austrian cities and whole armies were leaving their trenches and walking home. The Imperial Hapsburg family, which had reigned in Europe uninterrupted since 1265, piled into limousines and sped off for Switzerland before the Viennese Workers Soviet Committee could arrest them. Like the Kaiser, they too had heard how the Russian Czar and his whole family had been put up against the wall and shot. So they preferred not to suffer a similar fate. The Republics of Austria and Hungary were declared. In 2004 Pope John Paul II made Kaiser Karl I a Saint.

1950- Paramount's "Mice Meeting You" The first Herman and Katnip cartoon.

1951- The first long distance telephone call without needing an operator to make the connection.

1969- The children’s education show SESAME STREET premiered on PBS TV. The world is introduced to Bert & Ernie, Cookie Monster, Grover, Big Bird and Mr Hooper.

1971- The US table tennis team arrived in Red China for a tour. Ping-Pong became an unlikely diplomatic tactic to begin the warming of relations between China and the US.

1975- S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald sinks at Whitefish Bay in Lake Superior, drowning all 29 crew members and causing a famous 70's folk song to happen.

1977- Pope Paul VI announced that Catholics who remarried or married Protestants were no longer automatically excommunicate. But gay people....?

1981- Innovative French film director Abel Gance died at age 92. Shortly before his death he saw his great widescreen movie Napoleon restored by British historian Kevin Brownlow and produced by Francis Ford Coppola with a live audience. At Radio City Music Hall, Brownlow stretched a telephone cord out on stage so the old man could hear the wild cheers of the NY audience.

1982- The Vietnam Veterans Wall Monument designed by Maia Lin opened to the public in Washington D.C,

1995- Carolco, the Hollywood studio that produced many Arnold Schwarzenegger hits like "Total Recall" declared bankruptcy after producing $115 million dollar megaflop "Cutthroat Island".
Yesterday’s Question: Why do so many men in the 1930s-40s have those little trimmed mustaches? Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Walt Disney?

Answer: Called The Continental or the After-8, the fashion was first set by early movie star Douglas Fairbanks, and further propagated by top nightclub Latin bandleaders like Xavier Cugat. Other cinema stars like John Gilbert, Gilbert Roland and Ronald Colman followed, and soon every leading man needed a pencil thin mustache to look cool. Clark Gable’s mustache even had it’s own name- Sir Sharpness.

After World War Two the style went out of fashion, except for John Waters and George Clooney.