Friday, September 18, 2015

This Month In Animation ...

Also a few other things, as related by Mr. Tom Sito.


Sept. 1, 1919 - Pat Sullivan's 'Feline Follies" cartoon starring Felix the Cat premieres. Felix is the first true animated star, not depended on a previous newspaper comic strip. His body prototype, a black peanut shape with four fingers, will be the standard for years to come. By 1926 he is the most popular star in Hollywood after Chaplin and Valentino. Lindbergh had a Felix doll in his plane, and it has been speculated that Groucho Marx copied his famous strut. The first television image broadcast by scientists in 1926 was of a Felix doll.

Sept. 1, 1928 - Paul Terry premieres his sound cartoon RCA Photophone system for a short called "Dinner Time". Young studio head Walt Disney came by train out from Los Angeles to see it. He telephoned his studio back in L.A. "My Gosh, Terrible! A Lot of Racket and Nothing Else!" He said they could continue to complete their first sound cartoon "Steamboat Willie".

Sept. 2, 1973 - J.R.R. Tolkein dies at age 81. He once said of his trilogy The Lord of the Rings - “I should have written more”.

Sept. 3, 1930 - The first issue of the Hollywood Reporter debuts.

Sept 3, 1939 - British Prime Minister Chamberlain's announcement of war with Germany interrupts the Disney cartoon Mickey's Gala Premiere showing on BBC television. Television shuts down for the duration of the war.
In 1946, the BBC television service resumes with an announcer stating: "Well now, where were we?" and then the Mickey cartoon from the point where it was stopped. ...

Sept 3, 1950 - Mort Walker's Beetle Bailey comic strip first appeares.

Sept 3, 1960 - The Hanna-Barbera show Lippy the Lion and Hardy-Harr-Harr premieres.

Sept 6, 1968 - Sid and Marty Krofft’s H,R. Pufnstuf premieres. Witchipoo, Orson and the Vroom Broom.

Sept 6, 1969 - DePatie-Freleng's The Pink Panther TV Show premieres.

Sept. 7, 1963 - Mushi productions cartoon series Tetsuan Atomo debuts in the U.S as AstroBoy.

Sept. 7, 1984 -The Walt Disney Company Executive Board formally replaces CEO Ron Miller with Michael Eisner.

Sept. 8, 1966 - Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek debuts. That season it ranks 52nd in the Neilsen ratings, behind #1 "Iron Horse" starring Rory Calhoun. It is canceled after two seasons but a letter writing campaign won it a third season. Star Trek then finds a new life in syndication. The cult fan base (called Trekkies) keeps the memory of the show alive for ten years until Paramount feels compelled to revive it to cash in. First as an animated series, then a series of feature films, and then spin-offs.

Sept. 9, 1908 - Thomas Edison, Charles Pathe and Leon Gaumont form the Motion Picture Patents Group called the "Trust". Their attempt to monopolize movie production and strangle off their independent competitors has a lot to do with the early filmmakers exodus to Los Angeles.

The only positive result of the trust is a regular industry standard for film stock of 35 mm running at 24 frames per second. The Mitchell Camera Company, developing a motorized motion picture camera to replace the hand crank variety, needed an official speed to set the film past the film gate. In a contentious meeting of the Trust, the compromise was made to make it the number of delegates in the room - 24.

Sept. 9, 1926 – The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is created by Radio Corporation of
America (RCA). Under the direction of David Sarnoff it becomes the powerhouse network of broadcasting, recording and then television.

Sept. 9, 1967 - Jay Ward’s show George of the Jungle premieres which included Super Chicken and Tom Slick sequences.

Sept. 10, 1966 - Hanna Barbera's Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles debuts.

Sept. 10, 1968 - Hanna Barbera's Space Ghost and Dino Boy debuts.

Sept. 11, 1914- W.C. Handy's “Saint Louis Blues” premieres, the first true Jazz song to gain national popularity. Myron “Grim” Natwick, the cartoonist who would one day create Betty Boop, creates the artwork for the music coversheet.

Sept 11,1960 - Terrytoon's Deputy Dawg TV show premieres.

Sept 11, 1966 - Kimba the White Lion, the first color animated TV series in Japan, debuts in the U.S.

Sept. 11, 1971 - The Jackson Five Saturday cartoon series premieres.

Sept, 12, 1941 - The Animators Strike at Walt Disney Studio, which had been going on since May 30th, finally ends. The NLRB, with a lot of behind the scenes arm-twisting from the Bank of America, settles the dispute. Walt Disney has to recognize the cartoonists union, give screen credits, double the salaries of low paid workers retroactive to May 29th and re-hire animator Art Babbitt. Walt immediately gets on a train to Washington to try and convince the feds to reverse the decision or get an injunction in court. He fails. Ironically, within a few months, World War II breaks out and artists who had been bitter foes over the strike would be compelled to work side by side in the U.S. Army Picture Unit.

Sept. 13, 1969 - Hanna Barbera's Scooby-Doo, Where are You? and Dastardly & Mutley and their Flying Machines premieres.

Sept 14, 1968 - Filmation's The Archie Show premieres.

Sept. 14, 1985 - Disney's TV show Adventures of the Gummi Bears, a show suggested by new CEO Michael Eisner, debuts.

Sept 15, 1973 – Filmation’s animated Star Trek series premiers. This was the first time Kirk, Spock, Sulu and Uhura were untied again with a Roddenberry script since the original series was canceled.

Sept. 16, 1949 - Chuck Jones’ Fast and Furry-ous, the first Road Runner-Coyote cartoon, premieres.

Sept 17, 1972 - Filmation’s The Groovy Ghoulies show premieres.

Sept. 18, 1895 - In Davenport Iowa, Daniel David Palmer performed the first chiropractic adjustment session. Animation artists rejoice.

Sept. 18, 1987 - Walt Disney’s TV show Ducktales premieres.

Sept. 19, 1942 - The Merrie Melodies cartoon The Dover Boys, directed by Chuck Jones, debuts.

Sept. 20, 1947 - Tex Avery’s MGM cartoon Slap Happy Lion premieres.

Sept. 20, 2001 - Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away opens in the US.

Sept. 21, 1985 - “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straights hits #1 in the Billboard charts. Writer Mark Knopfler was inspired by a workman in an electronics store making fun of celebrities on MTV and wrote the conversation down. The CG animation done by London company Mainframe.

Sept. 22,1979 - Hanna Barbera's The Super Globetrotters cartoon, featuring Multi-Man, Sphere Man, Gizmo-Man, Spaghetti-Man and Fluid-Man, premieres.

Sept. 23, 1889 - The Nintendo Company is formed in Kyoto, Japan. They began by making hand-painted playing cards. In 1956 they transitioned to electronics, and in the 1980s invented Donkey-Kong and Legend of Zelda.

Sept 23, 1962 - H& B's show The Jetsons premieres in prime time. It is the first ABC show to be presented in color. "Jane! Stop this Crazy Thing!"

Sept. 24, 1938 - Bob Clampett's cartoon Porky in Wackyland premieres. (Foo!)

Sept. 25, 1984 - THE RUBBERHEADS STRIKE- Disneyland workers including the actors who stroll the park in big Mickey and Goofy heads go on strike.

Sept. 26, 1941 - Max Fleischer's Superman cartoon debuts. Max warns the studio that animating human movement would be much more expensive that the usual short cartoons ($90,000 to the usual $34,000) but Paramount wanted them. 
After a dozen shorts, Paramount accused the Fleischers of spending too much money.

Sept. 26, 1983 - Filmation’s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe opens in syndication.

Sept. 27, 1937 – J.R.R. Tolkiens’ The Hobbit first appears in bookshops.

Sept 27, 1961 - Hanna & Barbera’s show Top Cat premiers.

Sept. 27, 1977 - Warner Bros animator/director Bob McKimson, dies of heart failure in front of Friz Freleng and Yosemite Sam animator Gerry Chiniquy while having lunch. Fellow artist Art Leonardi asks Bob for a souvenir drawing that morning, and Bob draws a Bugs Bunny. As he was leaving Art reminded him that he neglected to sign it. "Oh, I'll get to it after lunch..."

Sept 28, 1928 - William Paley, son of a cigar manufacturer, becomes president of CBS broadcasting. He turns it into a corporate broadcasting giant, and threw his support behind developing television and long playing records.

Sept. 28, 1967 - Speed Racer premieres in the U.S.

Sept. 29, 1959 - Hanna Barbera's Quick Draw McGraw TV show premieres. Baba Looey and El Kabong!

Sept 29, 1996 - The first Nintendo 64-bit game system, the Nintento64, debuts in the US. It sold 500,000 the first day.

Sept 30, 1919 - The Fleischer Brother's first Out of the Inkwell series cartoon featuring Koko the Clown premieres. Koko was “rotoscoped”- meaning traced from live action (much like Motion Capture does today). Dave Fleischer put on the clown suit and was filmed by his brother Max.
Dave had originally bought the clown suit, in case their business went under, and he needed to work.

Sept 30, 1928 - Walt Disney and his crew record the soundtrack and music for the first Mickey Mouse short, Steamboat Willie.

Sept 30, 1952 - This Is Cinerama, showcasing the widescreen film process, opened in theaters.

Sept. 30, 1960-Hanna Barbera's The Flintstones debuts. For six seasons in prime time the inhabitants of 301 Cobblestone Lane, Bedrock, became one of the most iconic TV series ever. Originally going to be named the Flagstones, then Gladstones, before Flintstones. It was the first TV show to dare show a visibly pregnant Wilma Flintstone.

Birthdays: Thomas Nast, Mike Lah, Norm Ferguson, Marge Champion, Eric Larson, Sergio Aragones, Fred Moore, Raymond Scott, Pinto Colvig, Don Bluth, Roald Dahl, Yuri Norshteyn, June Foray, Frank Tashlin, Nancy Beiman, Chuck Jones, Brad Bird, Billy Bletcher (the voice of Pegleg Pete), Jim Henson, Arnold Stang, Cervantes, Russ Heath


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