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Do Mice Really Love Cheese?

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

All of us were raised in a generation of cat-and-mouse cartoons. Natural enemies, I guess cats and mice make a great adversarial team, being much more common animated foes than, say, dogs and cats. These classic cartoons have given forth many mouse stereotypes.

First off, cats don't chase mice using brooms to swat them, with both characters running upright on their hind legs. And in spite of these oft-seen stereotypes, most of us still know and realize that most mice do not wear white gloves, or vests, or bow ties. And most mice do not sleep in made-up little matchbooks or hibernate in holes in the wall with perfect semi-circular entrances.

But we've also all seen the cute cartoons of mice chewing away on a big, delicious hunk of cheese. Somehow this one seems to persist, and is still widely believed.

In 2006, Dr. David Holmes, an animal behaviorist in Britain's Manchester Metropolitan University, shocked the world when he announced: "No, mice really don't like cheese."

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The Creature from the Black Lagoon

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

"It plays on the basic fear that people have about what might be lurking below the surface of any body of water. You know the feeling when you are swimming and something brushes your legs down there. It scares the hell out of you, if you don't know what it is. the fear of the unknown. I decided to exploit this fear as much as possible."

-Jack Arnold, director of The Creature from the Black Lagoon

Although it sounds strange, the actual genesis of The Creature from the Black Lagoon occurred during the filming of Citizen Kane. In 1941, producer William Alland attended a dinner party during the filming of Citizen Kane. Alland had a role in the Orson Welles classic as a reporter named Thompson. At the dinner party, Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa told Alland about the myth of a race of half-human, half-fish creatures who live in the Amazon River.

Eleven years later, in 1952, Alland recalled the conversation of a decade previous and wrote a story called "The Sea Monster." His memory was jogged and he recalled the 1941 incident, but he also said he was influenced by the story of "Beauty and the Beast." In December of '52, Maurice Zimm expanded the story into a treatment. Finally, Harry Essex and Arthur Ross rewrote this treatment and called it "The Black Lagoon."

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The Tom and Jerry Story

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

In 1939, producer Rudolf Ising and his MGM animation unit were in trouble. Their last animated series, Captain and the Kids, had been a huge flop, in both financial and popular terms.

Ising, on an inspiration, decided to team up two members of his unit and try to strike gold with a new animated series idea. He decided to combine the talents of Wiliam Hanna, a director, and Joseph Barbera, a story man and character designer.

It was Hanna who had the (hardly original) idea of combining a cat and a mouse in a cartoon. Hanna recalled: "We knew we needed two new characters. We thought we needed conflict and chase and action, and a cat and mouse seemed like a great, basic thought." Barbera added that with a cat and mouse "Half the story was written before you even put pencil to paper."

The new cartoon was called Puss Gets the Boot. The term "Tom and Jerry" dated back to 19th-century England, and referred to children behaving mischievously. Although this would almost fit a fairly apt capsule description of the soon-to-be world famous toon pair, the usage of the two names was merely a coincidence.

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22 Facts About Ernest Hemingway

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

There is little dispute that Ernest "Papa" Hemingway is one of the most famous, beloved and influential writers in history.

Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois, to Clarence and Grace Hemingway. He was the second of six children. In his lifetime, he penned seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works. Additionally, three novels, four short story collections and three non-fiction works have been published posthumously.

His most beloved works include The Sun Also Rises (1926), A Farewell to Arms (1929), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) and The Old Man and the Sea (1953). Hemingway was awarded two Pulitzer prizes, for For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea (which also earned him a Nobel prize).

Quite the resume, but as amazing a writer as he was, Hemingway was equally amazing (if not more so) as a man. His life was so incredibly bizarre, maybe only such an incredible writer could ever have authored it. Okay,  here are a few facts about Ernest Hemingway:

1. His mother, Grace, was the domineering type. She wanted a daughter, not a son. To placate herself after Ernest was born, she would dress him up in pink, flowery dresses and call him "Ernestine".

2. He started hunting early. At the age of three, he killed a porcupine, at his father's behest. He finished the job by eating it.

3. His mother kept him out of school for a year- to study playing the cello. Did it work? According to Hemingway: "That cello- I played it worse than anyone on earth."

4. He joined the Ambulance Corps in World War I and worked as an ambulance driver on the Italian front, picking up human remains. In July 1918, he was seriously wounded by a mortar shell which left shrapnel in both his legs, causing him much pain and requiring several surgeries. He was awarded the Silver Medal of Valor from the Italians.

5. Hemingway participated in the Spanish Civil War and took part in the D-Day landings during the invasion of France during World War II. In one instance, he threw three hand grenades into a bunker, killing several SS officers. He was decorated with the Bronze Star for his actions.

6. It is estimated he left behind over 8,000 personal and business letters. Plans have been announced underway to publish them in a set exceeding ten volumes.

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"My Name is Forrest Gump": the Forrest Gump Story

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.


John Travolta was the studio's original choice to play the title character in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump. Travolta declined and the role was next offered to both Bill Murray and Chevy Chase, both of whom also said no. Sean Penn claims he was Paramount's second choice after Travolta; he said no, too. Paramount soon had to "settle for" Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks to take over the lead. Hanks decided to accept the role after reading the script for a hour and half, on the condition that the film be historically accurate.

The female lead role of Jenny, Forrest's love interest, was offered to Jodie Foster, Nicole Kidman and Demi Moore, each of whom gave it a thumbs down. The lesser-known Robin Wright finally was decided upon to play Forrest's "best girl."

The director's hat was offered to both Terry Gilliam, who turned it down, and Barry Sonnefeld, who was interested, but chose to go with directing Addams Family Values instead. In their wake, Robert Zemeckis took over the director's helm.

Both Ice-T and Dave Chappelle were similarly offered the role of Forrest's best pal, "Bubba" Buford. Ice-T didn't want to play a  character with a disability and Chappelle, who later regretted his decision, "figured the movie would bomb." And one sort of sees Chappelle's reasoning, after all, one would logically assume that a movie starting out with so many turn-downs and rejected offers wouldn't fare all that well at the box office.

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The Love Life of W.C. Fields

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

"Women are like elephants to me; I like to look at them, but I wouldn't want to own one."

-W.C. Fields (William Claude Dukenfield) 1880-1946

W.C. Fields is a comic icon in movie history. Critics rank him with Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and the Marx Brothers in the upper echelons of motion picture comedy. His classic movies include Million Dollar Legs (1932), Tillie and Gus (1933), The Bank Dick (1940), My Little Chickadee (with Mae West) (1940) and Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941).

W.C. Fields spent much of his boyhood in poverty and as an adult was constantly in fear of being broke. As a result, his girlfriends found him a tight man with a dollar.

On April 8, 1900, at the age of 20, Fields married for the first and only time. Her name was Harriet "Hattie" Hughes. Hattie worked alongside Fields in his vaudeville juggling act as his assistant. In the act, Fields would humorously blame her when he made a mistake.

Hattie was well-educated and tutored Fields in reading and writing (his own education had been very limited). The couple had a son together in 1904 named William Claude Fields, Jr. Although Fields was devoutly anti-religion, because of Hattie's influence, he agreed to have his son baptized.

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The Final Beatles Concert

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

The Beatles were coming to the end of what was to be their last tour. The date was August 29th, 1966. And if any date ever earned the title "the end of an era," this truly was it.

At 5:27 pm, the Beatles plane arrived in San Francisco. The Fab Four had a clear destination and a mission to fulfill.

After playing over 1,400 gigs together, John, Paul, George, and Ringo all knew that they were going to play their final concert that night. (Note of clarification: John, Paul and George had played over 1,400 gigs together, since 1958. Ringo, not having joined the group until 1962, played fewer.)

The 1966 tour hadn't been easy on the boys. They'd been physically assaulted in the Philippines by mobs of angry citizens after their unintentional "snubbing" of presidential spouse Imelda Marcos, faced outrage in Tokyo by playing rock 'n' roll music at the consecrated Budokan, and there were still harsh reverberations stemming from John Lennon's "We're more popular than Jesus" comment, which had shook up and infuriated much of the western world.

Another by-product of the Beatles concerts was the sad fact that the boys were worsening as musicians. The screaming fans' deafening shouts had all but completely obscured any actual music being either heard or played. John would often deliberately change a song's lyrics, just for sport ("I want to hold your gland," etc.). Poor Ringo Starr couldn't hear what was being played and had to watch his bandmates rear ends swinging back and forth to get the beat of the song.

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18 Facts You May Not Known About Don Rickles

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

 The recent passing of Don Rickles on April 6th left many of us sad, wistful and perhaps even a little worried. Known around the world as "the merchant of venom" and "Mr. Warmth" (a nickname bestowed on him by Johnny Carson), Don was, apparently, the last of the insult comics.

Don insulted everyone, he was an equal opportunity insulter. He insulted presidents, royalty, the biggest celebrities in the world, as well as commoners, nonentities, hicks, yokels, and rubes. But no one ever objected or took any offense. Heck, it was a badge of honor to have Don Rickles insult you.

And with the age of political correctness closing its humorless noose around our collective necks, somehow we sensed that the end of an era had arrived. And Don Rickles, one of the funniest guys in the world, was the last of a dying breed. Okay, here are 18 facts you may not have known about the great Don Rickles.

1. He served in World War II.

After graduating from Newtown High School in New York, Don Rickles served on the motor torpedo boat tender USS Cyrene, he was a seaman first class. He was honorably discharged in 1946.

2. He graduated from the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Among his classmates were Jason Robards, Anne Bancroft, and Grace Kelly.

3. He became an insult comic almost by accident.

After graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Don wasn't getting any acting gigs, so he switched over to stand-up comedy. But he found that his stand-up act wasn't getting many laughs from the customers. So he started insulting them. He quickly discovered that the paying crowds liked (and laughed more) at his insult shtick than his stand-up routine, so he stuck with it.

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A Few Facts You May Not Know About Richard Nixon

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

Richard Milhous Nixon. Just the name still sends vibrations of hate and malice in countless Americans. Our 37th U.S. president, as well as being our only president to voluntarily resign in disgrace, Richard Nixon was a bundle of oddities and eccentricities.

Nixon made an appearance on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In and he once played host to Elvis Presley in the Oval Office. These are two of the more well-known facts of Nixon's life and career. Let's take a look at a few other facts you may not have known about Richard M. Nixon.

* The Watergate break-in is not the only break-in to which Richard Nixon is connected. When he was a student at Duke law school, he and two accomplices broke into the dean's office to check their grades before they were posted.



* His favorite TV show was Gilligan's Island and his favorite movie was Patton.

* One of teenaged Nixon's jobs was as a barker at the wheel of fortune booth at the Slippery Gulch Carnival in Prescott, Arizona.

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The Greatest Lost Films

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

A "lost film" is one for which there is no known print in existence- anywhere. A great majority of the lost films are the early silents, but films were lost up until around the 1950's.

Why did films become "lost"? Early film stock was highly flammable and film warehouse fires were not that unusual. Incredibly, sometimes studios would deliberately destroy their own films. (These films would nowadays, of course, be classified as "priceless"- both literally and figuratively.)

The deliberate destruction of these gems is on a par, although not with the same evil intention, with the Nazi book burnings of the 1930's. Actually the book burnings were better, in a way, because the books the Nazis tried to destroy still had copies in other locations and complete destruction was much harder to achieve.

Sometimes the loss was caused by simple neglect, as early cheap film stock was just left sitting around for decades and simply turned to goo. Luckily, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Laurel & Hardy, each only have one or two lost films. Happily, sometimes lost films turn up in basements, attics, closets or motion picture theaters.

Let's take a look- sadly and regretfully- at some of the greatest-ever "lost films.”

* Saved From the Titanic (1912)

The first-ever film made about the sinking of the Titanic. Incredibly, this film was made in the same year the Titanic sank. Doubly incredibly, one of the cast members was Dorothy Gibson, who was an actual passenger and survivor of the Titanic's ill-fated voyage.

* The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays (1908)

The first film ever made about The Wizard of Oz. The film actually features an appearance by Oz author L. Frank Baum. The film was only shown in road shows as part of a theater presentation. The paint decomposed and it was discarded.

* We Must Do Our Best (1909)

Moe Howard, later the leader of the Three Stooges, did this silent Vitagraph film. He was 12 years old at the time. Billed as “Harry Moses Horwitz" (his real name), Moe plays "a bully.” Talk about prophetic!

* The World, the Flesh, and the Devil (1914)

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10 Facts You May Not Know About Elvis Presley

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

1. He was pals with Clint Eastwood.

Elvis and Clint Eastwood used to see each other around the studio they both worked at in the mid-60's. According to Clint: “I was always wearing a gun. (Elvis) loved to do fast draws and stuff, so we always did fast draws together.”

“I liked him. He seemed like a good guy. Had a lot of guys hanging around, big entourage.”

2. His wife would cut up his meat for him at meals.

Elvis always loved meat, hamburgers, steak, whatever, and he demanded it be cooked extra well-done or "burnt.” During his marriage to Priscilla, she would cut his meat for him before he ate it. If Priscilla wasn't present, Elvis would have one of entourage cut it up before he ate it. They also salted it before he ate it.

3. He tried LSD once.

The King did try LSD, just one time. According to Elvis' entourage member, Sonny West, Elvis was curious one day and tried some LSD.

Nothing much happened. Elvis watched the movie The Time Machine and ordered a pizza. He was quiet and, according to West, he was more interested in watching others' reactions to the drug.

4. He hated women with big feet.

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8 Things You May Not Know About Batman, the Comic Book

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

In 1939, just one year after the creation of the first comic book superhero, Superman, Bob Kane brought us a new comic superhero (a bit of an anti-hero, actually) named Batman. Like almost every cartoon character ever created, “Batman" has changed and morphed over the past several decades. Nonetheless, Batman’s popularity among his legions of fans has never waned and continues strong, to this day. Batman has starred in a classic TV series, a movie serial series, and several big-budget Hollywood films, but let's take a look at Batman, the comic book.

1) Why was he called Bruce Wayne?

Batman was, as we all know, the alter ego of millionaire Bruce Wayne. The “Bruce" was based on Robert the Bruce, the Scottish patriot. The “Wayne" came from Revolutionary War general “Mad Anthony" Wayne.

2) He originally used guns.

This would not seem logical, as young Bruce Wayne's parents were killed by a gun. And although nowadays Batman does, indeed, hate guns, the original character actually packed a six-gun. The Caped Crusader would carry his gun during his "night patrol" of Gotham City. But creator Bob Kane said it "didn't feel right" and eventually the six-shooter was dispensed with- permanently.

3) He was accused of being gay.

In 1954's highly influential (and controversial) book Seduction of the Innocent, American psychiatrist Dr. Frederic Wertham postulated that comic books contributed to juvenile delinquency. Although Wertham's study was mostly about crime and horror comics, Batman was included. As a suspected gay character.

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A Few Things You May Not Know About Mel Brooks

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

What can you say about the great comedic genius Mel Brooks? He has given us some of the funniest movies in history. Which of Mel's wonderful films made you laugh the most? Was it The Producers? Blazing Saddles? Young Frankenstein?

A brilliant writer, director and performer, Mel is a true comedy immortal. Here's a few facts you may not have known about Mr. Mel Brooks.

* Mel is one of the rare performers who have won an Emmy, an Oscar, a Grammy and a Tony award.

* He has three films in AFIs list of Funniest Movies of All-time: Blazing Saddles (1973) is #6, The Producers (1968) is #11, and Young Frankenstein (1974) is #13.

* Although Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein are thought of as his most popular films, his biggest video sales come from Spaceballs (1987) and Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993).

* Mel was a small, sickly child who was often picked on by his classmates.

* He was a combat soldier in World War II. Mel was a corporal in the U.S. Army stationed in North Africa. One of his duties was defusing land mines before the infantry moved in.

* As a soldier, Mel took part in the Battle of the Bulge.

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18 Facts You May Not Know About Tom Hanks

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

What can you say about Tom Hanks? Possibly the most beloved actor in the world, Tom is our generation's everyman- “The modern day James Stewart.” We all know and love him and none of us will ever forget his amazing performances in Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away, Big, A League of Their Own, Toy Story, Catch Me If You Can, Splash!, Nothing in Common and so many other Tom Hanks "classic" movies.

Tom won back-to-back Academy Awards as Best Actor for his performances in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. He thus joined Spencer Tracy as the only actor in history to win two consecutive Best Actor Oscars.

I had the great pleasure and honor of working with Tom in The Polar Express (2004) and it was truly a wonderful, unforgettable experience. Alright, let's take a look at 18 facts you may not know about Tom Hanks...

* Tom's movies have earned $4.2 billion dollars in the U.S. and Canada. His worldwide movie box office gross is an unbelievable $8.4 billion. His movies average $107 million each. This makes Tom the all-time movie champion of the movie box office.

* His three favorite musical acts are Elvis Presley, Patrick Rondat, and Alabama Thunderpussy.

* He has an asteroid named after him ("12818 Tomhanks").

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18 Facts You May Not Know about Steven Spielberg

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

[Ed. note: this post is in honor of Spielberg's 68th birthday today.]

You know him as the director who brought us Jaws,  E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, and Saving Private Ryan, among many other films. But there’s probably a lot that you didn’t know about Steven Spielberg. In honor of the filmmaker's 68th birthday today, let's learn some more about him.

* The first movie Steven Spielberg ever saw was The Greatest Show on Earth (1953).

* He has never had a cup of coffee in his entire life. Steven has never liked the smell of coffee and has never had the desire to try it.

* Steven has one of the largest gun collections on the East Coast. He shoots, but only privately.

* His all-time favorite cartoon character is Daffy Duck.

* He cast his cocker spaniel, Elmer, in several of his films, including Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1941, The Sugarland Express, and Jaws.
 
* During the filming of a 1969 episode of Night Gallery, Steven gave Joan Crawford the gift of a single red rose in a Pepsi bottle. During a conversation with a reporter for the Detroit Free Press, Joan pointed to Steven and said, “Go interview that kid because he's going to be the biggest director of all-time.” She and Steven remained good friends until her death in 1977.

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