Tuesday, July 10

Posted on 10th Jul 2012 by ian under On This Day | No Comments »

Welcome to Tuesday.  In 1913, on this day in Death Valley, California, it was hot.

Fried Egg on Sand

The mercury hit 134 °F (56.7 °C), the highest temperature ever recorded in the United States.

Howard HughesOn this day in 1938, multi-millionaire, Howard Hughes, set a world record flight of 91 hours around the world.  In 1985, Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior was bombed and sunk by the French in Auckland and back in 1962, Telstar, the world’s first communications satellite launched into orbit.

Telstar was the first song by a UK band to also go #1 on the US Billboard in 1962.  An instrumental by The Tornedos, you can get a blast from the past, here… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2ybCjf6ras.  It was going to be the theme for Star Trek until they decided on an original composition.  The second UK single to go #1 in the US was I Want to Hold Your Hand by The Beatles (the first single I ever owned!), followed by The House of the Rising Sun by The Animals.  Eric Burdon’s vocals still cut it, nearly 50 years on… and look at these young lads in their suits! – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwAw9ThDQmk

Mel Blanc HeadstoneBorn on this day: US tennis great, Arthur Ashe, in 1943, British tennis champ, Virginia Wade, in 1945, singer, Arlo Guthrie, in 1947, comedian and TV host, Adam Hills, in 1970 and convicted drug runner, Schapelle Corby, in 1977… and on this day in 1989, the voice of Looney Tunes, Mel Blanc, died.

Allow me to tell you a story about writing for the Oscar-winning rabbit and that rabble of cartoon characters.

It was 1991 an my then writing partner, Doug Edwards, and I were commissioned to write a radio series to help launch Warner Bros Movie World on the Gold Coast. Called The Looney Tunes Radio Show it would consist of 65 episodes of mayhem with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the rest of the gang running amok in Australia.

Daffy DuckIt was voiced by Keith Scott, who had taken over many of the cartoon voices following the death of Mel Blanc. The series was an audio cartoon aimed at adults. For example, on arrival at Sydney airport Daffy was taken to a room for a strip search. On emerging, Bugs asked the duck, “Did they find anything?” and Daffy replied, “Giblets!”

The show had the desired result for Warner’s advertising agency and Doug and I decided to give America the opportunity to share in our enormous writing talent. We made appointments with radio syndication houses in Chicago and New York, with Warner Bros in Hollywood and headed to the States.

We arrived in Los Angeles and were given a somewhat VIP welcome with a guided tour of the Warner Bros backlot before our scheduled meeting at the studio offices with one of the programming executives.  Australia had arrived!

Tassie Devil Warner BrosOn entering the foyer, high up in a shiny glass and chrome building, we were greeted by an effusive Afro-American receptionist who made us welcome with iced water and took us to the boardroom. The magnificent views over LA told us that we were about to meet someone important. The important, young, suited executive arrived and he was also effusive – he loved the Looney Tunes radio concept and would be pitching it at the programming meeting the following Tuesday. That was perfect for our timing because we had appointments across the country and would be back in LA on the Monday evening.

Looney Tunes Wile E CoyoteSkip ahead a week… Back to Los Angeles to Warner Bros Studios for the board’s decision.

At the designated meeting time we rode up the lift to the executive floor only to be greeted by a non-effusive Afro-American secretary. She rushed toward us, turned us around and accompanied us to the ground floor.

It was best we leave, she said, because the executive who put the radio concept forward had been fired for even thinking that the radio series would enhance the Looney Tunes brand.

I have a feeling the airport body search that found giblets might have been the clincher.