The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

On this day in 1927, Louis B. Mayer, head of the Metro-Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) film studio, announced the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at a banquet at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles for the purposes of acknowledging cinematic excellence. The group was officially formed on May 11 of the same year.

The Academy’s awards for the the motion picture industry would come to be known as The Oscars. Some 6,000 motion picture professionals are not members of the Academy, but the membership list is considered a “closely guarded secret.”

Over the years, the Oscars have not been without controvery. Some of the most notable incidents include:

In 1936, in just the fifth year of the awards, screenwriter Dudley Nichols turned down the awards for The Informer. The Screen Writers Guild and the Writers Guild asked members to boycott the ceremony because studios were trying to prevent unionization.

In 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American actress to win an award for her portrayal of Mammy in Gone With the Wind. Because of segregation, McDaniels had to sit in the back of the auditorium and not with the rest of the cast.

In 1970, George C. Scott refused his the Oscar for his leading role in Patton. Scott said “The ceremonies are a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons.”

Three years later in 1973, Marlon Brando won Best Actor for his role as Vito Corleone in The Godfather. Brando refused the award and sent Native American Sacheen Littlefeather to decline saying “He very regretfully cannot accept this very generious award, and the reasons for this are being the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry.”

In 1974, as David Niven was abou to introduce Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Opel streaked across the stage, leading Niven to quip, “Isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings.”

In 2014, John Travolta stumbled over his lines when introducing singer Idina Menzel to sing the theme song from Frozen. Travolta came out with “Please welcome the wickedly talented, one and only Adele Dazeem.” Twitter and meme-makers everwhere rejoiced.

In 2017, actors Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were handed the wrong envelope and announced La La Land to be the winner. Backstage the stage manager realized that they should have been announcing Moonlight.

The 90th Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on March 4, 2018.

But first, coffee

“Coffee – the favorite drink of the civilized world.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Coffee. Is there a better way to start your day?

The smell of coffee, the warmth, the caffeine.

Much has been written about coffee. No one knows exactly where the first coffee was brewed. The cultivation and trade of coffee began in the Arabian

Mug Shots
(click the pic)

Peninsula.

Soon there were coffee houses.

Today from Starbucks to the local boutique coffee houses, the sharing of a cup brings many folks together.

Let’s meet for coffee.

Writers find solace and inspiration in the warm cup.

Employers even provide for coffee breaks.

Whether you like it strong and black or whether you need to add a little coffee to your cream, it’s a drink to be savored. A drink to inspire. A drink to warm.

What’s your favorite way to brew or drink coffee?

Let us know in the comments.

The Cartoons of World War I

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about our script Clean Dry Socks: Diary of a Doughboy. The script is finished and being shopped around to production companies.

Over the course of time we’ve been looking at the history and culture of that era.

Through the years, political cartoons have been used to express the mood of a nation. The same was true during World War I when not everyone supported the effort or U.S. involvement. Here are ten examples of the cartoons of the day.

A dentist (Uncle Sam) about to extract a tooth from a patient (Kaiser Wilhelm II); representing America’s successful involvement in the First world war. Pen drawing by P. Forbes-Robertson, 1918. Iconographic Collections Keywords: Uncle Sam; world war, 1914-1918.

 

‘Bravo, Belgium !’ Political cartoon showing a Belgian farmer standing up to the German aggressor.

Blessed are the Peacemakers by George Bellows. Anti-war cartoon depicting Jesus with a halo in prison stripes alongside a list of his seditious crimes. First published in The Masses in 1917.

 

Cartoon by Jay N. Darling. Uncle Sam carries a dead soldier, representing the first reported U.S. casualties from World War I

 

The Cartoon Book was published by the US Government in 1918, with the intention of promoting the third Liberty Loan; various cartoonists, including Bushnell, donated their work. Here, the accusing hand of Uncle Sam points at an arrogant Prussian officer standing before the flaming wreckage of Europe.

 

His Best Customer (1917) by Winsor McCay. Anti-war cartoon depicting War serving Death with the caption “His Best Customer.”

 

Uncle Sam with empty treasury. Reference to economic situation at end of World War I.

 

This is likely Will Dyson’s most famous cartoon of World War I.

 

Cartoon shows the figure of Peace as a pretty woman and angel, standing in the aisle of a train or bus, while Senators Borah, Lodge, and Johnson occupy the seats. The cartoon refers to the successful efforts of the Republican isolationists after World War I to block Senate ratification of the Treaty of Versailles establishing the League of Nations.

 

“The Spirit of ’76”, cartoon about the U.S. entry to World War I. Uncle Sam (U.S.) handing Marianne (France) a sack labeled One Billion Dollars while Lafayette looks on.

 

The War wasn’t popular. War never is. American reluctantly entered near the end of the war and most of the country rallied behind the cause. This was the war to end war that did nothing of the kind. But, it changed the course of the 20th century and we still feel the effects some 100 years later.

Cartoon Source: Wikipedia