Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sito's History

As happens every month, Professor Thomas Sito tells us the way it was.

Jan 3, 1977- Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne filed papers to form the Apple Computer Company. Within two weeks, Ron Wayne sold his third of the company to Jobs and Woz for $800. He thought he’d get stuck with the bills when their little company went belly-up.

Jan 6, 1945- The First Pepe Le Pew cartoon, “Odorable Kitty”. When the Warners producer who replaced Leon Schlesinger, Eddie Selzer, heard the plans to do a short about a skunk he thundered: “Absolutely Not! Nobody will like a cartoon skunk!” Chuck Jones recalled: “As soon as he said no, I knew we just had to do it.” Selzer’s nal opinion:” Nobody’ll laugh at that sh*t!” The short won an Oscar.

Jan 7, 1894-” The Sneeze” publicaly shown. It was the first motion picture to be copyrighted by Thomas Edison and his engineer W.K.L. Dickson.

Jan 7, 2015- In Paris, Muslim extremists shot up the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for making disrespectful cartoons of the prophet Mohammad. 12 people were murdered, including the editor and four of France’s most loved cartoonists.

Jan 9, 1847- THE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES - after a small battle near San Gabriel Mission, Commodore Richard Stockton and the U.S. army retook Los Angeles and ended the resistance by the native Mexican population.

Jan 9, 1857- The Fort Tejon earthquake shook Los Angeles. This was the last major quake in Southern California, part of the great San Andreas Fault, an estimated 8.0!

Jan 9, 1914- John Randolph Bray took out patents on the principles of film animation: cycles, arcs, keys and inbetweens. He even tried to sue Winsor McCay, who had already been using them for years.

Jan 9, 1939- Top Looney Tunes director Frank Tashlin was hired by Walt Disney. He quit after two fruitless years, and left so angry he wrote a children’s book called the “Bear that Wasn’t” about his experiences. An early vice president of the Cartoonists Guild, he also joined the Mouse House to help unionize the studio. After a stint at Screen Gems, in 1945 Frank Tashlin went to Paramount’s live action division and became the director of the Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis comedies.

Jan 10, 1924- Columbia Pictures was created. Ruled by Harry Cohn, his motto was “I don’t get ulcers, I give them!”

Jan 10, 1927- Fritz Lang’s film "Metropolis" premiered.

Jan 11, 1995- Warner Bros purchased a dozen metromedia television stations started them off as the WB Network. Today it is the CW network.

Jan 11, 2004- Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg registered the domain name

Jan 12, 1995- Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen announced that the name of their new partnership would be DreamWorks SKG.

Jan 12, 2004- Disney closed down their Orlando animation studio.

Jan. 13, 1930- The Mickey Mouse comic strip first appeared in US newspapers. Walt Disney himself wrote them, Ub Iwerks penciled and Winn Smith inked.

Jan. 15, 1936- THE BIRTH OF THE DGA- Several Hollywood directors including Lewis Milestone, Ruben Mamoulian and William Wellman met at King Vidor’s house and pledge $100 dollars each to form the Screen Director’s Guild, later the Director’s Guild of America. It was a risky thing to do, previous attempts to form a directors union were broken up with threats of perpetual blacklisting. Final recognition and contracts were signed by President Frank Capra in 1940. One provision insisted on in the contract was that the director’s credit be the nal name in the opening titles before the movie began. And so it remains.

Jan 16, 1954- THE WAR ON COMICS- Senator Estes Kevfauver chaired a U.S. Senate subcommittee to study juvenile delinquency. They concluded that one of the contributing factors to adolescent moral decay was four-color comic books. The probe was sparked by the publication of a book called The Seduction of the Innocent. It charged among other things that Batman & Robin were gay because when not fighting crime, Bruce Wayne & Dick Grayson lounged around all day in silk pajamas with no women! Despite testimony by Walt Kelly, Milt Caniff, Al Capp and Bill Gaines 350 comic book companies including the EC “Tales from the Crypt” label were driven out of business. The strict comics-code was established. The comic book industry, which had been selling one million books a month, never regained that level of prosperity in the US again.

Jan 17, 1929- Popeye first appeared in the Thimble Theater comic strip.

Jan 17, 1949- The Goldbergs, a radio comedy show about a Jewish family in the Bronx, moved to television and became the first true TV sitcom. The show ended when star Jean Muir was accused by the House UnAmerican Activities Committee of being a Communist.

Jan 18, 1953 The Hollywood Animation Guild Local 839 chartered. Originally the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists, charter memberss included Disney legends Milt Kahl, Les Clark, John Hench and Ken Anderson.

[Anderson told me years later that though he "hated unions", he became a charter member because "Walt told me to." -- Steve Hulett]

Jan 20, 1938- Pioneer animator Emile Cohl died while headed for the Paris premiere of Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. Cohl was so poor that the electricity in his flat had been turned off and the candles had ignited his beard.

Jan. 21, 1992- Disney’s "Beauty and the Beast" became the first animated film ever nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.

Jan 24, 1961- Warner Bros. voice actor Mel Blanc suffered an auto crash at the Dead Man’s Curve section of Sunset Blvd near UCLA. He lingered in a coma for several weeks. The way the doctor brought him around was to say: “Hey Bugs Bunny! How are we today?” Blanc replied in character:” Ehhh…fine, doc!”

Jan 25, 1961- Walt Disney’s "101 Dalmatians" premiered.

Jan 27, 1926- Englishman John Logie Baird demonstrated his televisor system- the first true television image.

Jan 29, 1959- Disney’s "Sleeping Beauty" opened. The animation staff had swollen to it’s largest to finish the production. After the film was finished, the studio had a massive layoff, dropping from 551 to just 121. People employed since the 1930s were pink-slipped. Two painters committed suicide. Staff levels would not return to these levels until 1990.

Jan 30, 1963- MIT Grad student Ivan Sutherland published his thesis Sketchpad, the first animation software. He created it on a declassified Cold War computer originally used to track Soviet missiles. For the first time, a computer could draw lines instead of just numbers.

Jan 30 1961 H-B’s the "Yogi Bear Show".

Jan. 31, 1999- Seth McFarlane’s "Family Guy" premiered.


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