Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Tom Sito's Animation History

The former TAG Prez's take on significant events for October.


Oct. 1, 1945- Looney Tunes director Frank Tashlin leaves the cartoon business to work full time at Paramount doing live action movies. (He wrote for the Marx Brothers and later directed the Dean Martin Jerry Lewis comedies.)

Oct. 1, 1992- Cartoon Network goes on the air.

Oct. 2, 2004- Dreamworks film Sharktale opens in theaters.

Oct. 2, 1950- Charles Schulz's "Peanuts" comic strip debuts.

Good ol' Charlie Brown was the name of a fellow post office worker all the guy's liked to play jokes on. Schulz's idea 'little folks' was initially rejected by all the major comic syndicates. Three months before the strip was accepted his girlfriend broke off their engagement. He had left his job at the post office and she was convinced he would never amount to anything. At the time of his death Charles Schulz had mountains on the moon named for his characters, and he was arguably the richest visual artist on earth.

Oct. 2, 1958- Hanna & Barbera’s The Huckleberry Hound Show premieres.

Oct. 3, 1855- American artist James McNeill Whistler arrives in Paris to study painting. He had tried to apply to West Point for a military career, but failed the entrance exam. Years later, he jokingly told friends "If I hadn't identified phosphorous as a gas I'd be a major general by now!'

Oct. 3, 1955- Good Morning, Captain. the Captain Kangaroo kiddy Show debuted on television. 

Oct. 3, 1955- The Mickey Mouse Club TV Show premieres. “Who’s the leader of the Band that’s Made for you and me…?”

Oct. 3, 1957- Walter Lantz's The Woody Woodpecker Show debuts.

Oct. 3, 1964- There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here! On NBC.

Oct. 4, 1931- Chester Gould's "Dick Tracy" comic strip debuts.

Oct. 4, 1950- The first "Peanuts" comic strip with Snoopy.

Oct. 4, 1984- Fist of the North Star began airing in Japan.

Oct. 5, 1969- Monty Python's Flying Circus debuts on British television BBC-1.

Oct. 6, 1932- THE BIRTHDAY OF WONDER WOMAN. William Moulton Marston was an educational consultant in 1940 for Detective Comics ( DC Comics). Marston saw that the DC line was filled with images of men such as Green Lantern, Batman, Superman. He was left wondering, "Why isn't there a female hero?"

Max Gaines, then head of DC Comics, was intrigued by the concept and told Marston that he could create a female comic book hero - a "Wonder Woman." Marston did that, using a pen name that combined his own middle name with the middle name of Gaines: Charles Moulton Marston's 'good and beautiful woman' made her debut in All Star Comics #8. 

Oct. 7, 1993- Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park with CGI dinosaurs earns $712 million dollars ... just in North American box office. Something not to be equaled until Titanic five years later.

Oct. 8, 1933- HOLLYWOOD ACTOR'S FIRST MASS PROTEST- When Franklin Roosevelt created the NRA to fix wages and prices to try and solve the Depression, he even went as far as to try to regulate Motion Picture rates and fees.

The catch was, the rates were drafted with the advice of friends of the studio heads in Washington. The actors went ballistic when they saw new rules such as a ceiling cap on actors salaries of $100,000 a year. (The producers had no such cap). There were restriction of actors independent agents, and terms of an old salary contract would stay in effect even after the contract expired until it was renegotiated.

This night at the El Capitan theater on Hollywood Blvd. hundreds of movie stars meet to draft a petition calling for rewriting of the codes. The activists included Paul Muni, Frederic March, Jeanette MacDonald, Groucho Marx and Boris Karloff. SAG president Frank Morgan (The Wizard of Oz) is considered politically too far left to face Roosevelt, so he steps down in favor of comedian Eddie Cantor, who had helped Vaudeville acts unionize.

(In previous meetings at the El Capitan, the earth tremors from the Great Long Beach Earthquake the previous March made actors reconvene in the Grauman's Chinese parking lot across the street.) Cantor goes to the president's retreat at Warm Springs Georgia with the petition and has the hated articles taken out of the code.

Oct. 9, 1986- The Fox Network's first program- The Joan River's Show, premieres. That show didn't last, but future hits like The Simpsons, Married With Children and The X-Files make Fox a major network.

Oct. 10, 1953- Winky Dink and You show by Harry Pritchett and David Wycoff. The birth of Interactive TV. Children were invited to place a piece of celluloid acetate on their TV screens from a kit and help Winky Dink through numerous adventures by drawing on their TV.

Oct. 10, 1957- RKO Studios, which produced King Kong, The John Ford Westerns and the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals, (not to mention the features and shorts from Walt Disney Productions) is sold to Desilu - the television production company of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez.

Oct. 10, 1985- Orson Welles and Yul Brynner die one hour apart. They were both 70. Welles had just finished taping yet another appearance on the Merv Griffin Show. Brynner had a furious smoking habit. When he knew he was dying of the stuff, he recorded several television spots to be aired after his death. He looked squarely at camera and said: " I smoked. -Don't."

Oct 11, 1960- The Bugs Bunny Show premieres on TV. “Overture, hit the lights! This is it, we’ll hit the heights, and oh what heights we’ll hit…..etc..”

Oct. 11, 1967-The NY Times prints an image of a female nude by Bell Lab artist-in-residence Ken Knowlton. The image done on a computer as a digital mosaic of thousands of numbers was a breakthrough for CGI.

Oct 12, 1937- Under pressure from parent Paramount Studio, Max Fleischer signs the first animation union contract and settles the Cartoonist strike begun May 8th. The following year, Fleischer tries to escape unions by moving his studio to Right-To-Work State Florida, but the additional expenses and poor box office ruins his studio.

Oct 12, 1994- Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg announce the partnership that would be named Dreamworks SKG.

Oct. 13, 1978- Mickey Mouse gets his star on Hollywood Blvd Walk of Fame.

Oct. 14, 1926- Happy Birthday Winnie the Pooh! A.A. Milne’s first book of Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet and Christopher Robin debuts this day.

(Milne was a prolific author. His book "The Red House Mystery" was a big best-seller -- and later critically taken apart by Raymond Chandler in the essay, "The Simple Art of Murder". Milne considered the Winnie the Pooh books lesser works, but they've stood the test of time. And made kajillions for the Disney Company. -- Steve Hulett)

Oct. 15, 1946 Walt Disney’s film Make Mine Music premieres.

Oct. 16, 1923- Walt Disney Studios Born. 22 year old Walt and his older brother Roy sign a deal with M.J.Winkler for six "Alice in Cartoonland" short cartoons. Budgets - $1,500 each. ...

And the back half of the month:

Oct. 18, 1946- Walt Disney premieres The Story of Menstruation.

Oct. 18, 1950- In a heated and emotional showdown at the Directors Guild, all motions by C.B.DeMille and Frank Capra to extend the Hollywood anti-Communist blacklist to include expulsion from the Director's Guild are defeated. Billy Wilder, John Huston, John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy supported President Joe Mankiewicz who blocked the Blacklist Motions, and they also prevented a recall vote on Mankiewicz' s presidency.

Oct. 18, 1967- The Jungle Book, last cartoon feature done under Walt Disney's supervision, premieres. Disney had died the previous December.

Oct. 19, 1985- Take on Me by Aha hits number one on the pop charts. Part of its appeal was the hand-drawn comic strip MTV video, directed by Michael Patterson.

Oct. 20, 1955- J.R.R. Tolkein’s last book of the Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King is published.

Oct. 22, 1941- Walt Disney’s Dumbo premieres.

Oct. 24, 1947- Walt Disney testifies to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) as a friendly witness. He accuses members of the Cartoonists Guild and the League of Women Voters –which he mistakenly called the League of Women Shoppers -- as being infiltrated by Communists "Seeking to subvert the Spirit of Mickey Mouse'.

Oct. 24, 1994 Walt Disney TVA show Gargoyles premieres.

Oct. 26, 1970- Doonesbury is born. Yale law graduate Gary Trudeau was convinced by Jim Andrews his classmate, now an editor at Universal Press syndicate, to recreate his funny comic that he did in the campus newspaper. It's original name was 'Bull Tales".

Oct. 27, 1954- Walt Disney breaks with other Hollywood movie studios and debuts his TV show Disneyland.

Oct. 27, 1966- Bill Melendez Peanuts TV special “ It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, premiered.

Oct. 28, 1726- Johnathan Swift publishes "Gulliver's Travels"-"To Vex the World rather than Divert it."

Oct. 28, 1892- The first cartoon to be projected in France Pauvre Pierrot.


In the basement of UCLA’s Boelter Hall, Lick Licklider, Vincent Cerf, Robert Kahn, Lawrence Roberts and Bob Taylor set up the first call to Stanford. “We typed the 'L' and we asked on the phone 'Did you see the “L”?' 'Yes, we see the “L,”' was the response. Then we typed O and asked 'Did you see the O?' 'Yes, we see the "O”' was the response. Then we typed G, and then the system crashed!”

They called it ARPANET- Advanced Research Projects Agency-NE; a few years later, it was known as the Internet.

Oct. 30, 1973- The Carlin Case- radio station WBAI in New York broadcast hippy comedian George Carlin’s routine about the “Seven Deadly Words” the naughty words you can’t say on the air. The FCC slapped a heavy fine and WBAI sued for free speech and the case made it to the Supreme Court. Today the High Court found for the FCC and those 7 deadly words remain banned from airwaves today. Aw, Sh*t!

Oct. 30, 1994- Nickelodeon premieres Aaah! Real Monsters!

Oct. 31, 1993- Young movie star River Phoenix overdoses and dies on the street in front of the Viper Room nightclub in L.A after partying with Johnny Depp and Alicia Silverstone. The club is owned by movie star Depp and was once the Melody Room owned by old mobster Bugsy Siegel. Ironically, as Phoenix was thrashing spasmodically, people walked by unconcerned, because it’s a common occurrence on the Sunset Strip.

Birthdays: Julie Andrews, Zack Galifanakis, Satoshi Kon, Groucho Marx, Harvey Kurtzman, Bill Keane, Art Babbitt, Matt Damon, Guglielmo Del Toro, Pete Doctor, Jodie Benson, Rod Scribner, Hugh Jackman, Chuck Berry, Angela Lansbury, Mike Judge, Vip Partch, Jerry Siegel, Auguste Lumiere, Trey Parker, John Lithgow, Bela Lugosi, Snoop Dog, Jerry Ohrbach, Mary Blair, Weird Al Yankovic, Ang Lee, Preston Blair, Bob Kane, Picasso, Bill Tytla, Seth McFarlane, John Cleese, Berni Wrightson, Bill Gates, Ralph Bakshi, Bill Mauldin, Ollie Johnston, Peter Jackson, John Candy.


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