Thursday, February 18, 2016

Sito's Month in History -- February

President emeritus Tomas takes us through the month.


Feb 1, 1915-The Fox Film Company formed (Later Twentieth Century Fox).

Feb 2, 1922-Twenty one year old Walt Disney started Newman’s Laff-O-Grams in Kansas City.

Feb 2, 2006- The Cartoon Riots. A Danish newspaper printed a political cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed with his turban shaped like a bomb. This cartoon offended the Muslim world so much that rioting broke out in Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jakharta and European capitols. Grenades were thrown at Danish embassies and Danish nationals had to flee. Cartoonist Peter Westergaard dodged a Somali man who attacked him with an axe, and even today needs a bodyguard.

Feb 3, 1945- Walt Disney’s “The Three Caballeros” premiered.

Feb 3, 1986- After three months of negotiations, Steve Jobs bought the George Lucas Film Graphics Division, under their new name Pixar Inc.

Feb 3, 1989- Swiss firm L’Oreal/Nestle bought animation studio Filmation from Westinghouse and shut it down laying off 229 artists the day before a new federal regulation requiring a company give it’s employees 60 day notice before closing went into effect. {I was there at the time. Sady day.}

Feb 5, 1919- Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith form the United Artists Studio.

Feb. 5, 1937- Charlie Chaplin’s film “Modern Times” premiered. Chaplin was inspired to lampoon modern technological madness when he was invited to view the auto assembly production lines in Detroit and saw men moving like machines.

Feb 5, 1953- Walt Disney’s “Peter Pan” premiered.

Feb 7, 1964- THE BRITISH ROCK INVASION BEGAN. Thousands of screaming fans welome THE BEATLES to New York for their first U.S. Tour. The crowds of teenagers were so excited they mobbed a Rolls Royce in front of the Warwick Hotel where the Beatles were staying, just because they figured a Rolls Royce would be something they drove in. They had actually arrived in a taxicab.

Feb 8, 1914- THE FIRST TRUE CHARACTER ANIMATION- Windsor McCay’s “Gertie the Dinosaur” premiered as part of a vaudeville act. Up to then most U.S. animations were attempts to bring popular newspaper
comic characters to life, but Gertie was a new character never before seen. Some critics had wondered if animated characters weren’t some kind of man in a special suit, so McCay drew a dinosaur, a character that couldn’t possibly be impersonated by a living thing. The brilliant draftsmanship and timing of this film would inspire the generation of Animation artists of the Golden Age of the 1930’s-40s. ...

Feb 8, 2001- Walt Disney’s California Adventure theme park opened. {With carny rides galore! -- SRH}

Feb 9, 1914- “Mabel’s Strange Predicament” The Max Sennett Keystone short where Charlie Chaplin first donned his baggy pants, little mustache and derby to create The Tramp, one of the most beloved characters in cinema history.

Feb 10, 1940- MGM’s “Puss gets the Boot” aired. It was the first Tom and Jerry cartoon, and the first collaboration of the team of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.

Feb 13, 1886- Artist Thomas Eakins resigned his professorship at the Philadelphia Academy of Art in disgust when he was attacked for having male nudes in his art class with women as students.

Feb 13, 1937- Hal Foster’s comic hero Prince Valiant first appeared.

Feb 14, 1967- The Birth of Lara Croft, of the Tomb Raider franchise.

Feb 14, 1931- Tod Browning’s film of the play Dracula, starring Hungarian actor’s union organizer and recreational morphine addict Bela Lugosi, premiered.

Feb 15, 1947- During the anti-Communist witchhunts, the FBI revoked the visa of famed documentary filmmaker and founder of the National Film Board of Canada John Grierson because they thought his politics were too lefty.

Feb 15, 1950- Walt Disney’s “Cinderella “opened in general theater release.

Feb 15, 1984- Touchstone Pictures created so the Walt Disney Company could do more adult PG movies. Their first film was “Splash”, starring a tastefully topless Darryl Hannah.

Feb 16, 1987-”Family Dog” episode on Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories TV show. The first direction by Brad Bird.

Feb 17, 1912- THE NEW YORK ARMORY SHOW - Mabel Dodge and Gertrude Stein introduce Post expressionist modern art to the U.S. public. The first U.S. showings of Picasso, Matisse, Duchamp and the Italian futurists. The show was denounced as a “chamber of horrors” and Matisse was burned in effigy in Chicago. Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase” was described by an art critic as “an explosion in a shingle factory”. Duchamp was highly gratified, I believe.

Feb 18, 1950- First Mr. Magoo cartoon “Ragtime Bear” premiered.

Feb 18, 1953- First 3-D stereoscopic movie, “B’wana Devil” starring Robert Stack.

Feb 19, 1960- Bill Keane’s “Family Circus” cartoon strip debuts. Bill Keane is the father of animator Glen Keane and the young son Billy in the strip is modeled on him.

Feb 20, 1925- Willis O’Brien’s silent movie “The Lost World” premiered. The stop motion animation of dinosaurs and exploding volcanoes issued in a new era of special effects films.

Feb 22, 2009- "Slumdog Millionaire" won best picture and best cinematography at the 81st Academy Awards. The first movie shot completely digital, with no film used, to be so honored.

Feb 23, 1935- Walt Disney’s Mickey & Donald cartoon “The Band Concert”. This was the first color Mickey Mouse cartoon.

Feb 23, 1942- In the dead of night a Japanese submarine surfaced off the California coast and fired it’s cannon at lights it thought was a city. In reality it’s an oil refinery near Goleta just north of Santa Barbera. The brief bombardment caused $150 dollars in damage. The sub breaks radio silence to report to Tokyo that “ Enemy coast sighted. Los Angeles is in Flames.”


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