Tagged: Birthday

Happy 67th birthday, Bugs Bunny!

Happy 67th birthday, Bugs Bunny!

On this day in 1940, A Wild Hare was released in theaters, which was written by Rich Hogan, animated by Virgil Ross, and directed by Tex Avery. It was in this cartoon that Bugs Bunny first emerged from his rabbit hole to ask Elmer Fudd, now a hunter, “What’s up, Doc?" It was also the first meeting of the two characters, and the first cartoon where Mel Blanc uses the version of Bugs voice that would become famous worldwide.

The film would go on to get an Academy Award nomination for best short film, alongside Puss Gets The Boot, which introduced Tom and Jerry. Both lost to Citizen Kane.

Happy 29th birthday, Garfield!

Happy 29th birthday, Garfield!

How did we get to this before Mark Evanier did? 29 years ago today, the above strip brought Garfield to the world at large. Since then, he has consumed more lasagna than the entire cast of The Sopranos and has shed enough hair to clog Hoover Dam. Oh, and a whole lot of books, TV shows, and even a few movies.

Happy birthday, big guy– but now that you’re getting on in years, might you consider watching your weight?

JOHN OSTRANDER: You say it’s my birthday

I share my recent birthday with a bunch of notables; unfortunately, the most famous is Adolf Hitler. I thought it would be it would be good to use the day in part for some ruminations – where I am, where I’ve been, what I foresee, fear, et al. Actually, I can do that any day of the year; a birthday is really just a number and some of what we ascribe to that date is arbitrary. Still, might as well make use of what we got.

One thing that is about my birthday fixed is that I share it with my twin brother, Joel. Joe and I are fraternal twins; we don’t look alike, sound alike or even sometimes think alike. Joe is a conservative Republican and I decidedly am not. Joe is a life member of the NRA; I decidedly am not.

However, when I called him on our shared birthday – which I always do – he picked up the phone and started doing his Elmer Fudd imitation, which I also did. It’s the way we start every phone conversation, usually with Elmer singing something inappropriate. We’ve been doing this long before Robin Williams did. We agree that Elmer is vastly unappreciated and has an extraordinary range, from the Stones and Springsteen to show tunes (he has an affinity for Lerner and Lowe – Fudd doing “Why Can’t the English Teach Their Children How To Speak?” from My Fair Lady may be the definitive rendering of that song). He also can do Shakespeare, especially Hamlet, and could play Stanley in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire; “Stehwwwwwaaaaaa!”

That is part of what forms me – family. In addition to Joe I have three sisters – Marge, Jane, and Pat. All wonderful people and all of them have dirt on me – as I do on them. I have an Aunt Helen who is going to 100 years old in June; her father also lived to be 100. So there is that in my DNA, although my father died much younger than that.

We lived across the street from the Roman Catholic church that I attended; I literally played in its shadow. While these days I am something on an agnostic – my gag is that I’m not dogmatic about it – I am very specifically a Roman Catholic agnostic. The god I have questions about is the image formed by the Roman Catholic upbringing. I was raised pre-Vatican II, back in the days when the Masses were in Latin. That also may be in my DNA.

I’m one of the baby boomer generation. I can’t quite remember a time before television but I remember a time when it was all in black and white. I can still reel off the names of most of my favorite shows – Zorro, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Ernie Kovacs (I was a strange kid), Fractured Flickers, Beany and Cecil, Garfield Goose (a Chicago kids TV show), Jack Paar when he had on Oscar Levant or Jonathan Winters (I was a very strange kid) and others. I remember the British invasion; as an early teen, I ushered at the Beatles concerts in Chicago. I was resistant to the Beatles until I saw A Hard Days Night; that’s when I became a fan. All part of my cultural DNA.

I got into theater because a Catholic girls H.S. was looking for boys to be part of their next production. A girl I liked attended that school and – well, c’mon. Being one of a few boys inside a girls’ high school? Of course you’re going to go there. I almost never saw the girl but the teacher/director – Mrs. Crawford – thought I had potential. I discovered the stage and that would form a great part of my life for the next almost twenty years. It also helped make me into the writer I am today.