3 min read

Friday, March 8, 2024

Good morning. Let's start with some jazz.

The Firehouse Five Plus Two
In the early 1940’s, a bunch of talented folks in the powerful orbit of legendary Disney animator Ward Kimball, which naturally included plenty of folks from the Disney animation and sound departments, discovered that they shared a common love of jazz.
During World War II, they started a studio band called the Huggajeedy Eight, and mostly played as part of Disney “camp shows” — vaudeville-style programs put on by studio personnel for soldiers at local military bases. Then, around 1945, Ward met a local trumpeter, Johnny Lucas, and together they started the San Gabriel Valley Blueblowers, playing frequently around LA.

Eventually they ended up as the Firehouse Five Plus Two and had a pretty fascinating semi-professional existence, appearing in Disney movies and TV and releasing real albums.

Cabel Sasser (one of the brilliant minds behind the Wolmania Official Handheld Gaming Console) put together this lovely multimedia retrospective and tracked down some rare - perhaps sole surviving - direct-to-record vinyl (not literally vinyl) from live practice performances. As a service to humanity, he had them very carefully archived and converted to digital so we could all listen to them. I confess I don't find the music particularly compelling, but it's still quite remarkable to have this time capsule of a strange side alley off Disney Corporate Main Street - and the chronicle of Cabel's journey of discovery and preservation.

Also, there's a bunch of stuff like this (note that some of the discs contain even saltier language! what would Walt say?!?):

Wolmania does not approve of nor condone such naughty verbiage.

So there's a little something for everyone here. Click through, read all about it, and listen to what some sophomoric animators did with their leftover creative energy.

Item 2: a list

Star Wars Movies and Television Programs, Ranked:

  1. Andor (2022) (TV)
  2. Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)
  3. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
  5. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
  6. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)
  7. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)
  8. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
  9. The Mandalorian (2019) (TV)
  10. Rebels (2014) (TV)
  11. The Clone Wars (2008) (TV)
  12. Visions (2021) (TV)
  13. The Bad Batch (2021) (TV)
  14. Tales of the Jedi (2022) (TV)
  15. Ahsoka (2023) (TV)
  16. Resistance (2018) (TV)
  17. Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022) (TV)
  18. Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
  19. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)
  20. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)
  21. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008 animated film)
  22. The Book of Boba Fett (2021) (TV)
  23. Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Item 3: a media recommendation

It seems like Vulture's official page for the Good One podcast is not regularly updated - a strange choice to say the least. But in any case, I recommend the recent episode (which is not on Vulture's official page for the Good One podcast) in which Jesse David Fox interviews Pod Save America's Jon Lovett about his time in the Barack Obama White House - with a special focus on the notorious Washington Correspondents Dinner speech in which Obama ripped Donald Trump to shreds to the point that (anecdotally) an utterly ashamed Trump vowed revenge against Obama and the entire political establishment, leading to the nightmare future in which we currently find ourselves. It's a really interesting discussion that touches on what it's like to work as a political speechwriter, the role that comedy does (or doesn't) play in voter persuasion, and whether and how we can make jokes about the darkest parts of life.

Anyway, find it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts!

Item 4: word of the week


When you told me I'd be proctoring an exam, you conspicuously failed to mention that I'd be invigilating the friggin' gom jabbar... You know I'm squeamish!!!

Item 5: a photograph

Leaning Tower of Pizza, Quincy, Massachusetts, 1984

See ya!

Thanks for reading. Hope to see you again next week.