Friday, December 23, 2011

Died This Day: Ernest B. Schoedsack

Cooper and Schoedsack (right)
Ernest Beaumont Schoedsack (June 8, 1893 – Dec. 23, 1979) was an American film, director and producer. With his partner, Merian C. Cooper, their first significant collaboration was the spectacular documentary, Grass (1925), which enjoyed a popular theatrical release in the wake of the success of Nanook of the North (1922).

They are best known for King Kong (1933), which was co-written by Schoedsack's wife, Ruth Rose. He also directed Son of Kong (1933), Dr. Cyclops (1940) and Mighty Joe Young (1949). From TCM.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Died This Day: Kenneth Tobey

Tobey (Mar. 23, 1917 - Dec. 22, 2002) made a career of playing “take charge, men of authority”, such as Capt. Hendry in Howard Hawkes, “The Thing From Another World” (1951), and just about every TV series throughout the 60’s and 70’s. More than a few of his appearances were in SF stories, and he played Col. Jack Evans in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953).

Premiered This Day: Son of Kong

With the fantastic success of “King Kong”, RKO tried to cash in by rushing this sequel into production and release within the same year (1933). It did not do nearly as well, but animator Willis O’Brien did manage to bring some of the same charm to the big white ape that he did to Kong.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Premiered This Day: Betty Boop's Museum

In 1932 Betty Boop had her own “Night in the Museum”.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Walking Lungfish & The Evolution of Terrestrial Locomotion

Behavioral evidence for the evolution of walking and bounding before terrestriality in sarcopterygian fishes 2011. H.M. King, et al. PNAS published ahead of print December 12.

Extensive video analysis reveals that the African lungfish can use its thin pelvic limbs to not only lift its body off the bottom surface but also propel itself forward. Both abilities were previously thought to originate in early tetrapods, the limbed original land-dwellers that appeared later than the lungfish's ancestors.

The observation reshuffles the order of evolutionary events leading up to terrestriality, the adaptation to living on land. It also suggests that fossil tracks long believed to be the work of early tetrapods could have been produced instead by lobe-finned ancestors of the lungfish.

"The lungfish is in a really great and unique position in terms of how it is related to fishes and to tetrapods," said King. "Lungfish are very closely related to the animals that were able to evolve and come out of the water and onto land, but that was so long ago that almost everything except the lungfish has gone extinct."

The lungfish's ability to use its thin limbs to support its body may be helped by the reduced demands of gravity underwater, the authors proposed. By filling its lungs with air, the lungfish may increase the buoyancy of its front end, enabling the scrawny hindlimbs to lift the entire body off the ground. link

Died This Day: Louis Agassiz

May 28, 1807 - Dec. 14, 1873

(Jean) Louis (Rodolphe) Agassiz was a Swiss-born U.S. naturalist, geologist, and teacher who made revolutionary contributions to the study of natural science with landmark work on glacier activity and extinct fishes. Agassiz began his work in Europe, having studied at the University of Munich and then as chair in natural history in Neuchatel in Switzerland. While there he published his landmark multi-volume description and classification of fossil fish.

In 1846 Agassiz came to the U.S. to lecture before Boston's Lowell Institute. Offered a professorship of Zoology and Geology at Harvard in 1848, he decided to stay, becoming a citizen in 1861. His innovative teaching methods altered the character of natural science education in the U.S. Link

More info HERE