Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy Birthday, Six Flags Over Texas and Geoffrey Holder!

I paint a slice of life, whatever it is that day.
Geoffrey Holder

Happy August 1st!

Oy! Just to say that gives me the willies! Time is fleeting! August 1 is the 213th day of the year (214th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 152 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1993 - Reggie Jackson admitted into Baseball Hall of Fame.
On this day in 1774, dissenting British minister Joseph Priestly, author of Observations on Civil Liberty and the Nature and Justice of the War with America, discovers oxygen while serving as a tutor to the sons of American sympathizer William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne, at Bowood House in Wiltshire, England.

On this day in history, in 1860, at Oxford University, for the first time ever the forces of clashed, or more accurately, debated on The Theory of Evolution . By the end of the 1800s, most of Europe accepted the validity of the theory. Someday, the United States will catch up.

Ready to feel OLD? Actress Tempestt Bledsoe is 38 today.
(Born 1973) She's best known for her work on the sitcom "The Cosby Show."

Happy Birthday, Garry Novikoff!

On this day in 1961, amusement park lovers "head for the thrills" as Six Flags Over Texas, the first park in the Six Flags chain, opens. Located on 212 acres in Arlington, Texas, the park was the first to feature log flume and mine train rides and later, the first 360-degree looping roller coaster, modern parachute drop and man-made river rapids ride. The park also pioneered the concept of all-inclusive admission price; until then, separate entrance fees and individual ride tickets were the standard. During its opening year, a day at Six Flags cost $2.75 for an adult and $2.25 for a child. A hamburger sold for 50 cents and a soda set the buyer back a dime.
The park, which took a year and $10 million to build, was the brainchild of Texas real estate developer and oilman Angus Wynne Jr., who viewed it as a short-term way to make a buck from some vacant land before turning it into an industrial complex. Wynne reportedly recouped his personal investment of $3.5 million within 18 months and changed his mind about the park's temporary status.

With 17.5 million visitors in its first 10 years, the park became the Lone Star State's top for-profit tourist attraction. Today, average annual attendance at the park is over 3 million.

One of Six Flags' unique aspects was that it wasn't just a random collection of rides; it was developed around a theme: the history of Texas. The park's name was a nod to the six flags that had flown over the state at various times--France, Spain, Mexico, the Confederacy, Texas and the United States. The park's rides and attractions were grouped into six themed sections that represented the cultures of these governments and enabled visitors to experience everything from cowboy culture to Southern belles and pirates.
Originally, the park was to be called Texas Under Six Flags, before it was decided that Texas should never be under anything.

Angus Wynne sold Six Flags in 1969 and in the coming years, the company expanded and was resold. Today, Six Flags, Inc. is the world's largest regional theme park company and owns and operates 30 theme, water and zoological parks in North America. In 2005, almost 34 million people spent a combined 250 million hours at Six Flags parks.

Today is also the birthday of Geoffrey Holder! One of the nicest men I have ever met in this business! Geoffrey Richard Holder (born 1 August 1930) is a Trinidadian actor, choreographer, director, dancer, painter, costume designer, singer and voice-over artist.

Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad of African descent, Holder is known for his towering 200-centimeter (6'6") height, heavily accented deep basso voice and hearty laugh.
With that and his appearance in the 1970s 7 Up soft drink "uncola" advertising campaign, Holder's image quickly became recognizable. He was also in the 1967 movie Dr. Dolittle as William Shakespeare X, and played Baron Samedi, one of the villain's main henchmen, in the 1973 James Bond film, Live and Let Die.

Though the 7 Up advertising campaign lasted only a short while in the early 1970s, the company revived the campaign in the early 1980s after Holder achieved a spike in popularity in the 1982 movie version of the musical Annie, in which he played the role of Punjab. He recreated his role as the 7 Up Spokesman in the finale of the 2011 season of "The Celebrity Apprentice, " where he appeared as himself in a commercial for "7 Up Retro" for Marlee Matlin's team.

He is a prolific painter, ardent art collector, and performer who has also authored books and composed music. As a choreographer, he has created dance pieces for many companies, including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and The Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Holder is married to dancer Carmen De Lavallade, (pictured here) whom he met when both were in the cast of Truman Capote's House of Flowers. They live in New York City and have one son, Leo Anthony Lamont. Holder's brother was the London-based artist Boscoe Holder.

Look at Geoffrey's Broadway credits!

The Boys' Choir of Harlem and Friends, Staged Concert, 1993 - Staging

The Wiz, 1984 Revival - Direction, Costume Design (Tony Award for Best Costume Design and Best Direction of a Musical, 1975)
Timbuktu! - Original Musical, 1978 - Direction, Choreography, Costume Design, Playbill Cover Illustration
The Wiz - Original Musical, 1975 - Direction, Costume Design
Josephine Baker - Musical Review, 1964 - Performer
Waiting for Godot - Revival (all black cast), 1957 - Performer
House of Flowers, Original Musical, 1964 - Banda dance choreography, performer

And Film!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005 - narration

Goosed, 1999
Hasard ou Coincidence, 1998, a Claude Lelouch Moovie
Boomerang - 1992
Annie, 1982
Doctor J. Kanye, 1978
Swashbuckler 1976
The Noah, 1975 (voice)
Live and Let Die, 1973 - also choreography
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask, 1972
Doctor Dolittle, 1967



Geoffrey Holder in "Joséphine Baker. Black Diva in a White Man's World", Director: Annette von Wangenheim,

Celebrity Apprentice, 2011
Cyberchase as Master Pi in "Secrets of Symmetria" (episode 118), 2002 and "Double Trouble" (episode 209), 2003
Bear in the Big Blue House, 1997
The 62nd Annual Academy Awards, 1990 - performing
The Cosby Show, 1988 - choreography
John Grin's Christmas, 1985 - Ghost of Christmas Future
Alice in Wonderland, 1983 - the Cheshire Cat
7-Up commercials (The Un-cola), from early 1970s to mid 1980s
What's My Line, circa 1972
Isle of Capri Casino (commercials), late 1980s
Aladdin, 1958 - the Genie

Happy Birthday, Geoffrey!

Today is also the birthday of Cartoonist Tom Wilson who created Ziggy:

He may be small in stature, but Tom Wilson’s comic classic, Ziggy, is as big on heart as ever.

Since 1971, Ziggy has appeared in over 600 newspapers, cultivated more than 75 million readers, and earned $150 million in retail sales each year.

I like to go back in history starting with the year I was born. August 1st, 1961 was a Tuesday.
Number-one song in the charts today?
In the USA:
"Tossin' and Turnin'" by Bobby Lewis

In the UK:
"Temptation" by The Everly Brothers


"If I have offended one person, I have offended one person too many" Here's to an INCREDIBLE weekend for ALL!


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