This Day in Pop Culture for December 18

The Pink Panther Stars in His First Animated Short

Although The Pink Panther was first brought to people’s minds during the opening and closing credits of the comedy film The Pink Panther in 1963, it was on this day in 1964 that the cat first appeared in his own animated short. The Pink Phink featured the panther and “little man” (aka “big nose”) working as painters and arguing if a house should be painted pink or blue. Directed by Friz Freleng and produced by David H. DePatie (aka DePatie-Freleng Enterprises) the short featured the classic music from Henry Mancini. It won the Academy Award for Animated Short in 1964 and was the first of many other “pink” cartoons. A laugh track was added to the shorts when they were brought to television, but was later dropped many years later.

Steven Spielberg was born on December 18, 1946

Steven Spielberg is Born

Steven Allan Spielberg was born on this day in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1946. He started his directing career making 8mm adventure films with his childhood friends and charging them a quarter to view the films. At age 13, he won a prize for a 40-minute war film he created, Escape to Nowhere, which was based on a battle in east Africa. Three years later, he wrote and directed his first independent film, Fireflight which served for inspiration for the later Close Encounters of the Third Kind. His first “big” film was the made-for-TV flick, Duel that starred Dennis Weaver being chased by a mysterious Peterbilt tanker truck. His first big screen film was The Sugarland Express in 1974. Even though it didn’t do well in the theaters, he was still offered the job to direct Jaws in 1975.

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