Monday, March 14, 2016

This Month In Cartoon History

Prez Emeritus Tom Sito tells us how it was, all those years ago.

March 1, 1930 - Walt Disney’s top animator Ub Iwerks, the animator/designer of Mickey Mouse, quit the studio to set up his own place.

March 2, 1933 - The movie “KING KONG” premiered at the new Radio City Music Hall. The animation was done by Willis O’Brian and his assistant Ray Harryhausen, with the pre-production art inspired by Charles R. Knight.

March 9,1935 - The Looney Tune Cartoon “I Haven’t Got a Hat” premiered. This cartoon gave birth to the first major Warner Bros. cartoon star- Porky Pig.

March 10, 1933 - The Long Beach Earthquake rocked LA. It was the last big shift in the San Andreas Fault. 200 people were killed. Actors convening SAG union meetings in the El Capitan Theater moved out into the parking lot because of the aftershocks. The quake inspired the first serious earthquake building codes.

March 12, 1945 - THE WAR OF HOLLYWOOD BEGAN- Throughout the 1930’s and 40’s several national unions battled studios and each other to represent Hollywood film workers; the Teamsters, the FWPC, and the Brotherhood of Electricians. By 1945 only two remained, the IATSE and the CSU. The CSU, a much more militant group, was headed by a charismatic leader named Herb Sorrell who had helped win the Disney strike for the cartoonists in 1941. Sorrel called several citywide strikes that paralyzed Hollywood in 1945, 46,and 47. President Richard Walsh of IATSE fought them and riots in front of the studios was commonplace.

March 13, 1939 - Hollywood recognized the Screen Director’s Guild, later called the DGA. After a nasty battle lasting several years, President Frank Capra signed the contracts representing 80% of movie directors. They also contractually ensured the custom of the director credit being the last one seen at the opening title sequence of a film.

March 15, 1933 - Young animator Chuck Jones was first hired at Leon Schlesinger’s Looney Tunes cartoon studio.

March 15, 1950 - Walt Disney’s “Cinderella” opened. It was their first animated fairy tale hit in ten years.

March 15, 1985 - is assigned the first registered private domain site on the Internet.

March 15, 2002 - Blue Sky’s first “Ice Age” premiered.

March 16, 1913 - Artist Aubrey Beardsley died of tuberculosis at 25. Having a religious conversion at the end of his life, but still being a stickler for details, his last words were: “Destroy all my erotic drawings...and all the bad ones too....” Happily his friends did neither.

March 17, 1845 - Rubber Bands were invented.

March 18, 1967- "The Pirates of the Caribbean" ride opened at Disneyland, designed by master animator Marc Davis.

March 19, 1875 - Mark Twain admitted in a letter to a friend that he now liked to use a typewriter, a new technology accused of ruining the art of writing. [Although, Twain's most recent best-seller -- his massive, three-volume "Autobiography" -- was mostly dictated by M.T. and typed by others. -- Hulett]

March 20, 1943 - MGM’s “Dumb Hounded” aired. It was the first Droopy Cartoon.

March 23, 1957 - Art Clokey’s “Gumby” Show premiered. [And High Art comes to Television! -- Hulett]

March 24,1943 - The first Japanese anime feature “Momotaro’s Sea Eagles” by Mitsuo Seyo, aired.

March 25, 1989 - “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” earned four Oscars at the Academy Awards. The winning Oscar categories included Sound Effects, Visual Effects, Film Editing and a special one to Richard Williams for the animation.

March 26, 1997 - Turner Animation’s film ‘Cat’s Don’t Dance” featuring the last film work of Gene Kelly aired. Kelly was a consultant on the dance sequences.

March 27, 1952 - U.P.A.’s cartoon “Rooty-Toot-Toot” premiered. Its music score was by jazzman Phil Monroe, the first African American to receive a screen credit for scoring a movie.

March 27, 1952 - “Singing in the Rain” starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor premiered.

March 28, 1942 - Albert Hurter, Swiss designer for Walt Disney’s “Snow White" and "Pinocchio” died of rheumatic fever.

March 29, 1989 - At the Oscar ceremony, Pixar’s short “Tin Toy” became the first CG animation to ever win an Oscar.

March 30, 1968 - In New York’s Bowery district, two children found the body of a homeless drug addict. The John Doe is later identified as Bobby Driscoll, 31, Walt Disney child star and the voice of "Peter Pan".

March 31, 1930 - Reacting to charges that the movies had become too racy, Hollywood producers accepted the MOTION PICTURE CODE. It was regulated by Will Hays, former Republican Party Chairman. The regulation wouldn’t really start to have strength until 1935-36 when pressure groups like the Catholic League of Decency went after Mae West and the "Tarzan" pictures. The Hays Code forbade open sex and obscenity: twin beds only in a bedroom, nightclothes buttoned to the neck. If a couple were seated together on a bed they must have at least one foot touching the floor, rules included "kisses with a duration of no longer than 3 seconds, parting with lips closed.” The Production Code was replaced by the MPAA ratings system in 1968.

March Birthdays:

Ward Kimball, Lucille Bliss, Stephen Chiodo, Ken Duncan, Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Ronald Searle, John Lounsberry, David Silverman, Ben Washam, Ken Andersen, Richard Williams, Chris Wedge, Milt Kahl, William Shatner, Ub Iwerks, Joe Barbera, Carl Barks, Quentin Tarantino, Jack Kinney, Francisco Goya, Vincent van Gogh, Marc Davis, Jules Engel, Ed Catmull.


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