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Frank Sinatra’s Birthday

“Whatever else has been said about me personally is unimportant. When I sing, I believe. I’m honest.”

Frank Sinatra

December 12 is Frank Sinatra’s Birthday!

Francis Albert “Frank” Sinatra, aka Ol’ Blue Eyes, was born on December 12, 1915 in Hoboken, New Jersey to Sicilian immigrants. Upon seeing Bing Crosby perform, Sinatra dropped out of high school and decided to become a singer. He had jobs singing in local nightclubs until he caught the attention of bandleader Harry James. The two began working together with much success, and with the help of James, Sinatra recorded his first album, “From the Bottom of My Heart.”

In 1939, Sinatra joined forces with bandleader Tommy Dorsey, whose group was one of the hottest at the time. This union further exposed Sinatra to the American public, and more specifically, to teenaged bobby soxers. By the time Frank was out as a solo artist in the early 1940s, Sinatramania had already begun.

Frank Sinatra’s career and personal life had many ups and downs, but he will always be remembered as one of the greatest voices of all time. Throughout his career, Sinatra had a whopping 209 hits on the Billboards pop singles chart, 55 top 20 albums, and earned multiple film awards for his roles in various feature films.

Fun Fact: Every year on December 12, the Empire State Building lights up blue in honor of “Ol’ Blue Eyes”, Frank Sinatra.

Sources: Biography.com, The Biography Channel, Wikipedia

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Walt Disney’s Birthday

walt-disney-drawingOn December 5, 1901, Walt Disney, innovative American animator, movie producer, and entrepreneur who started The Walt Disney Company, was born in Chicago, Illinois.

Disney lived in Missouri for most of his childhood and started selling pictures, paintings, and drawings he created to his neighbors and friends. After his family moved back to Chicago, Disney attended McKinley High School and took drawing and photography classes while working as the cartoonist for the school’s newspaper. He took classes at the Chicago Institute of Art at night and dropped out of high school at the age of 16 to join the military. Because he was underage, he was rejected and joined the Red Cross instead, and was sent to France where he drove ambulances for a year.

Disney finished his time with the Red Cross in France in 1919 and moved to Kansas City to become a newspaper artist. He began doing cutout animations for the Kansas City Film Ad Company, and experimented with cel animation with a camera the owner of the company let him borrow. He soon decided to start an animation business and produced short cartoons which he called Laugh-o-Grams that he screened at a Kansas City theater. After the cartoons gained a significant amount of popularity, Disney was able to open up his own animation studio and hire a fairly large amount of animators. In the few years it was open, his studio’s profits did not exceed the salaries he payed his employees, and Disney was forced to declare bankruptcy.

Unphased by this setback, Disney and his brother, Roy, pooled their money, moved to Hollywood, and started Disney Brothers Studio. There they searched for a distributor for Disney’s Alice Comedies, a series of live-action Alice in Wonderland shorts featuring a little girl named Alice having adventures in an animated world. They found salvation in Margaret Winkler who owned Winkler Pictures with her fiance, Charles Mintz. They struck a deal contracting out the shorts to Winkler Pictures for $1,500 each. After Winkler and Mintz married in 1927, Mintz assumed control of the company and ordered a new series of animated shorts from Disney to be distributed through Universal Pictures. The Disney studio created Oswald the Lucky Rabbit which was instantly popular. When Disney confronted Mintz about increasing his fee per short, Disney was surprised to find out that Universal owned the trademark to Oswald and Mintz had most of Disney’s animators under contract. Mintz informed an appalled Disney that he would be decreasing his production budget, and if Disney did not accept these new terms, he would produce the Oswald shorts without Disney.

Cutting his losses, Disney decided to strike out on his own once again with his brother and animator friend who had been with him from the beginning, Ubbe Iwerks. Together they created a new character, the iconic Mickey Mouse. With the addition of sound to film, Mickey Mouse soon became the world’s most popular cartoon character and Disney received an honorary Oscar for his creation of Mickey Mouse in 1932. Disney began producing many successful cartoons and set out to make the first full-length cel animated feature film in 1934.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered in Los Angeles on December 21, 1937. Despite the effects of the Depression, Snow White was produced at an unheard of $1.499 million. During its initial release it grossed $8 million ($132,671,390 today), and Disney was given an honorary Academy Award featuring a full-size Oscar statuette and seven miniature ones. In the next few years following the release of Snow White, the Disney studios produced several more full-length animated films including Fantasia, Pinocchio, Bambi, and Dumbo.

In the 1940s, Disney experienced some setbacks when his animators went on strike, but began making more animated features in the 1950s including Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland and others. When television gained mass appeal, Disney took advantage of this and produced some of the first full-color television programs. The 1950s also saw the opening of Disneyland, a family theme park that became a world-renowned tourist hot spot soon after its opening.

The Disney studios produced a plethora of feature films in Walt Disney’s lifetime including popular live-action and animated films like Mary Poppins. Plans for a larger East coast version of Disneyland called Disney World including the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow or EPCOT were put into motion in the early 1960s, but Walt was diagnosed with lung cancer in early 1966 and passed away later that year. In his memory, Walt’s brother renamed the new theme park Walt Disney World and it was completed in the 1970s.

Walt Disney is a legendary figure whose name is now synonymous with creativity, imagination, and never giving up on your dreams.

Sources: Biography.com, Wikipedia, Just Disney

 

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Kaley Cuoco’s Birthday

bigbangNovember 30 is Kaley Cuoco’s birthday! She is best known for her current role as Penny on CBS comedy series The Big Bang Theory.

Kaley Cuoco was born on November 30, 1985 in Camarillo, California. Cuoco took up tennis when she was only 3 years old and became a nationally ranked amateur tennis player. She took lessons from Kathy Bryan, mother of famed twin tennis duo Mike Bryan and Bob Bryan, and has been one of their longtime friends. She began acting soon after that and made her first big acting debut in the movie Virtuosity in 1995 alongside actor Denzel Washington.

As a child, Cuoco appeared in six Barbie commericials, and was home schooled on the set, graduating high school at age 16. That same year, she took a starring role in the ABC sitcom 8 Simple Rules as the blonde bombshell daughter of John Ritter. She won a Teen Choice Award for this role, but the show was cancelled soon after the untimely death of Ritter. Following the cancellation of 8 Simple Rules, she took various roles in lesser-known television shows and films before landing the role of Billie Jenkins, a powerful young witch, in cult TV hit Charmed. The show’s producer stated that Cuoco’s role was originally brought on to create a spin-off for the show, but this idea never played out after Charmed was completed.

Cuoca began starring in the role of Penny in The Big Bang Theory, which has skyrocketed her into stardom, in September 2007. She plays a sassy ditzy aspiring actress who works at the Cheesecake Factory and lives across the hall from two nerdy scientists. Cuoca received $60,000 an episode at the show’s start, and now makes $350,000 per episode along with co-stars Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki. In the show’s seven seasons, she has received several awards for portraying Penny, and has also hosted the People’s Choice Awards and the Teen Choice Awards.

Since being on The Big Bang Theory, Cuoco has starred in a few movies and also became a regular in Priceline commercials alongside William Shatner. She also announced her recent engagement to pro tennis player, Ryan Sweeting.

Sources: Wikipedia, TV Guide

 

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Calvin Klein’s Birthday

calvinkleinToday is American fashion designer, Calvin Klein’s birthday. Klein launched his brand in 1968 and has expanded into an internationally-known label which produces clothing, perfumes, and accessories for men and women.

Klein was born in 1942 in the New York City borough of the Bronx. He held an interest in sketching fashion designs when he was younger and attended the High School of Art and Design before studying briefly at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. To concentrate more on developing his design skills by working in the industry, Klein left school and began an apprenticeship with

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Kurt Vonnegut’s Birthday

kurt_vonnegutOn November 11, 1922, American author Kurt Vonnegut was born. Vonnegut is most well known for famous works such as Cat’s Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five, and Breakfast of Champions. His works had a tendency to combine satire with witticism in the face of hopelessness and equal parts of science fiction.

Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis into a family of architects, most of whom attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). Vonnegut attended Cornell University, and although he majored in chemistry, he was became the Assistant Managing Editor and Associate Editor of The Cornell Daily Sun, the university’s daily newspaper. Journalistic rules heavily influenced his writing. He adopted a straightforward style, always  made sure to get his facts right, and knew his audience.

While at Cornell, Vonnegut enlisted in the United States army and served in World War II. His involvement in the war and tribulations as a prisoner of war greatly influenced his later works. He survived a devastating German bombing with a group of American soldiers who were held in an underground meat locker which was being used as a temporary detention center. The Germans called it Schlachthof Fünf or “Slaughterhouse Five,” which became the inspiration for Vonnegut’s famous novel of the same name. His brutal experiences here became a central theme for six of his other novels.

The devastation of war was not the only sorrow Vonnegut suffered during this time. Vonnegut’s mother, who became addicted to drugs and alcohol after the Depression, died from a drug overdose in 1944. After the war ended, Vonnegut married his childhood friend, Jane Cox, and they soon after had their first child. To support his family, Vonnegut began working in advertising, while writing short fiction stories on the side.

In a tragic turn of fate, Vonnegut’s sister died of cancer mere days after her husband was killed in a freak train accident. Vonnegut and his wife took over care of their children, doubling the size of their family and forcing Vonnegut to bring in more money. He began to focus his attention on producing novels rather than short stories, and produced a series of books ranging from sci-fi to economic injustice to religious satire. It was in these novels that his penchant for dark humor unraveled in his ability to make his readers laugh even after presenting them with bleak and horrific images. His novels grew a small cult following among college students. When Slaughterhouse-Five came out in 1969, Kurt Vonnegut became a household name, and he became one of the most famous living writers of the early 1970s. The 1970s were not a happy time for Vonnegut, however, as his family life began to fall apart. His marriage ended and his son suffered from a bipolar disorder, and he began living by himself in New York City. Themes of novels he wrote at this time revolved around the disintegration of families and he worked through emotional problems he had dealt with since childhood. He remarried in the 1980s and his novels at this time focused on social realism. Through the ’80s and ’90s he became a spokesman for the preserving Constitutional freedoms, controlling nuclear arms and protecting the environment.

Vonnegut is still looked up to today by many for his ability to attack controversial topics in a satirical and humorous way. To read some of Vonnegut’s most famous and memorable quotes, go here.

Sources: Wikipedia, Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library

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Sarah’s Birthday

sarahHappy birthday to one of our amazing Calendars.com team members, Sarah!

Sarah has been a member of the Calendars.com team for 7 years. She is our Online Marketing Manager and Campaign Coordinator, so anytime you hear news about special discounts or contests we have, that is all Sarah’s doing! She also keeps us on schedule for all campaigns we run such as Halloween and Black Friday. In addition to that, she also builds and tests all of our social media apps. We would be lost without her!

Sarah has two very active boys and spends most of her free time taking them to their many extracurricular activities. She loves musical theater, movies, reading, baseball (Go Astros!), and has a special place in her heart for anything robot or fairy related!

Here are some of Sarah’s favorite things on Calendars.com. To see the rest of her staff picks, go here!

Pink Floyd Album Art 1000 Piece Puzzle

Pink Floyd Album Art 1000 Piece Puzzle

 

Dr. Who Special Edition 2014 Wall Calendar

Dr. Who Special Edition 2014 Wall Calendar

 

Robots 2014 Wall Calendar

Robots 2014 Wall Calendar

 

I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats

I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

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Roy Lichtenstein’s Birthday

roylichtenstein2Roy Lichtenstein, a famous American pop artist, was born on October 27, 1923 in New York City. He was a prominent part of the Pop Art Movement during the late 1950s and 1960s along with other artists like Andy Warhol and James Rosenquist.

When Lichtenstein was younger, he had heavy interest in science and comic books. He later started to develop an interest in art and took watercolor classes at Parsons School of Design in the 1930s. He continued to study art as an undergrad, but his studies were interrupted when he was drafted during World War II. He worked as a map maker, draftsman, and artist during the war, and when his military time was over, he returned to the United States and finished his undergraduate and master’s degrees in fine art. While receiving his master’s at Ohio State, he was hired as an art instructor, a position he held for 10 years. He worked various jobs after that including being a draftsman and window decorator. In his spare time, he focused on his painting, and began exploring Expressionism and Cubism.

In the late 1950s, he returned to New York  and began teaching art again and evolving his own work into Abstract Expressionism. While teaching at Rutgers University, Lichtenstein was influenced by fellow teacher Allan Kaprow and Kaprow’s exploration into the unknown world of performance art which he called “Happenings.” Kaprow’s influence made Lichtenstein start to think about the art world in a different way, and how his art could fit into this world in a varying and influential way. The work he began to produce after this was a commentary on the popular culture of America and a reaction to the Abstract Expressionist paintings that were widely known in the art world at that time by painters like Jackson Pollack. Rather than embracing a completely abstract way of painting that lacked a subject, Lichtenstein based the subjects of his paintings on popular American advertisements and comics of the time. He mimicked their look and feel, but added in his own personal commentary. He even mimicked commercial printing techniques in his paintings with the use of Ben-Day dots and hard-edged, precise illustration.

Lichtenstein’s first solo show at the Castelli Gallery in New York was wildly successful. Before the show opened, all his paintings sold to some of New York’s most prestigious collectors. Lichtenstein’s work struck a cultural nerve, and brought him to the forefront of the pop art movement, making way for other pop artists.

FT2013-24-ErteLichtenstein’s rise to popularity also meant a rise in wealth, and he was soon able to quit his teaching job to focus on his art. He became notorious for the deadpan humor and ability to make a signature piece of art by mimicking mass produced images from the media. His paintings had dual effects on people – many didn’t know if they should accept it as art or anti-art, humorous or disturbing, or celebrating or mocking popular culture. He became very popular with collectors like Leo Castelli of Castelli Gallery who showed Lichtenstein’s art for 30 years. The debate and controversy over Lichtenstein’s paintings made a lasting mark on the world of art.

Today there are around 5,000 Lichtenstein paintings in circulation all over the world. At auctions, his art is usually among the most highly sought after, and sells for record-breaking prices. In 2010 “Ohhh…Alright…” sold at Christies for $42.6 million dollars and in 2012 “Sleeping Girl” sold at Sotheby’s for $44.8 million.

Sources: Amanti Art Blog, Biography.com, Huffington Post

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Evel Knievel’s Birthday

Daredevil Evel Knievel performing a wheelie in one of his famous jumpsuits.

Daredevil Evel Knievel performing a wheelie in one of his famous jumpsuits.

October 17 is Evel Knievel’s birthday! Evel Knievel was an American daredevil, best known for his 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps between 1965 and 1980.

Evel Knievel was born Robert “Bobby” Craig Knievel in Butte, Montana in 1938. He received the moniker “Evil Knievel” after being put in jail for stealing hubcaps where there was also a man with the nickname “Awful Knofel.” Years later, he legally changed it to “Evel Knievel” to match his last name and because he did want to be considered “evil.”

He was an avid thrill seeker and his first motorcycle was a Harley-Davidson he stole when he was 13. His grandmother bought him a Triumph when he was 16. As he grew, he began to participate in local rodeos and ski jumping events. In the 1950s, he joined the army where he was a volunteer paratrooper and became a pole vaulter for their track team. When his time in the army was over, he returned to his hometown and met and married Linda Joan Bork. After returning home and getting married, Knievel spent some time playing semi-pro and professional hockey. To try and make money after his first son was born, Knievel spent short amounts of time helping hunters shoot big game with his guide service called Sur-Kill and selling insurance.

When he was denied a promotion at the insurance company, he moved his family to Washington. In Sunnyside, Washington, he began working at a motorcycle shop, and it was here that he learned how to do a “wheelie” and ride while standing on the seat of his bike. While working at the shop and trying to figure out more ways to support his family, he recalled the exploits of famed stunt-car driver,  Joie Chitwood, and decided he could do similar stunts on a motorcycle.

To attract visitors, he promoted and set up an event himself where he announced that he would jump his bike over a 20-foot box of rattlesnakes and two mountain lions. In front of 1,000 people he performed the stunt, but fell short and hit the box of rattlesnakes. Despite his failure to completely clear the jump, the audience was awestruck and Knievel knew he could turn this into something bigger and better.

In 1965, Knievel formed Evel Knievel and His Motorcycle Daredevils, and they began to tour the West coast performing motorcycle tricks. After retaining a series of injuries, the show broke up and Knievel continued to perform on his own. He performed a jump over the fountains at Ceasar’s Palace in 1968 which was highly publicized, but resulted in Knievel coming short of his landing and fracturing his skull, breaking his hip, several ribs, his wrist and both ankles. He also suffered a concussion and was in a coma for 29 days.

To keep himself in the public eye, Knievel started rumors in 1968 that he would jump across the Grand Canyon, but by 1971, he realized that the U.S. Department of the Interior was never going to allow him to perform such a feat. Since this publicity stunt was foiled, Knievel searched for something just as daring to keep fans interested. He soon discovered Snake River Canyon in Idaho which was wide enough, deep enough, and on private property. He leased 300 acres of land to perform the stunt.

After hiring an aeronautical engineer to build him a rocket-powered cycle he attempted a 1,600 foot jump over the canyon in 1974, but his parachute deployed too early causing him to drift to the canyon floor and sustain some minor injuries. The stunt earned him a whopping $6 million.

Later that year he performed other money-making stunts such as jumping over 13 single-deck AEC Merlin buses at Wembley Stadium in London and an aquarium tank containing 13 sharks in Chicago. Both stunts left him with injuries.

Knievel retired from major stunts after his shark jump and mainly made public appearances to help launch the career of his daredevil son, Robbie Knievel. To this day, Evil Knieval holds a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the survivor of “most bones broken in a lifetime,” totaling up to 433.

Over the following years, Knievel went through several lawsuits including one after he assaulted his former press agent and lost many of his sponsorships and another more recent suit with hip hop artist Kanye West who used Knievel’s trademarked image in one of his music videos.

Knievel’s health began declining in the late ’90s due to Hepatitis C, which he contracted after one of his many blood transfusions. In 1999, his liver began failing because of the disease combined with his heavy drinking, and he was only given a few days to live. He received a successful liver transplant, however, and it wasn’t until the early 2000s, when he was diagnosed with diabetes and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable lung condition, that his health once again started to decline. In 2007, at the age of 69, he died in Clearwater, Florida.

His life legend as “The Last Gladiator” lives on today, as daredevils around the world try to match his motorcycle feats. Watch the video tribute below with some of Knievel’s most daring motorcycle feats!

R.I.P. Evel Knievel Tribute Video by mysteryshopperjob

Sources: Wikipedia, NY Times

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Brett Favre’s Birthday

Legendary NFL quarterback Brett Favre was born on October 10, 1969 in Gulfport, Mississippi. Favre displayed great athletic ability at a young age in both football and baseball and was encouraged by his football coach father to play high school football. After high school, Brett Favre attended the University of Southern Mississippi on scholarship playing quarterback for the school’s football team.

Brett Favre was chosen as the 33rd selection in the 1991 NFL Draft Pick by the Atlanta Falcons, whom he stayed with for one season. He was traded to the Green Bay Packers the following year and went on to make 297 consecutive starts as quarterback for the Packers from September 20, 1992 to January 20, 2008. After spending 16 seasons with the Packers and mediocre seasons as QB for the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings, Favre retired from football for good in 2011.

Throughout his impressive career, Brett Favre led teams to 8 division championships, 5 NFC Championships, and 2 Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XXXI with the Green Bay Packers. Favre also garnered the coveted league-wide MVP award three years running and holds records for passing (71,838 yards) and 508 career touchdowns. Favre is currently the Offensive Coordinator at Oak Grove High School in Mississippi.

Happy Birthday Brett Favre!

Sources: Biography, Wikipedia

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Gwen Stefani’s Birthday

Singer, songwriter, and clothing designer Gwen Stefani was born on October 3, 1969 in Anaheim, California. She is a founding member of ska/pop band No Doubt, which formed in 1986 and signed to Interscope Records in 1991.

No Doubt released their first album in 1992, but didn’t achieve success until their third album, 1995’s Tragic Kingdom. The album included popular tracks such as “Don’t Speak”, “Just a Girl”, “Spiderwebs”, and “Sunday Morning”.

Gwen Stefani moved on to a successful solo career in 2001, collaborating with top artists such as Moby and Eve. She also designed her own fashion line, L.A.M.B (Love Angel Music Baby) and a solo album of the same name. In 2012, Stefani teamed back up with No Doubt to launch a new album and embark on a worldwide tour.

Stefani is married to Bush front man Gavin Rossdale, and the couple have two children, Kingston James McGregor Rossdale and Zuma Nesta Rock, with whom they reside in Los Angeles, California.

Happy Birthday Gwen Stefani!

Sources: Biography, Wikipedia

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