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Donald Johanson

Discoverer of Lucy

At this point the principal, Mr. Quirk, interesting name, came under a lot of pressure from the Board of Education to silence these students. And in fact, I was called in to the principal's office and told that this was really not my role as a student to interfere with what adults were doing and the decisions which they had made. And once the decision was made, there was a big article in the newspaper about how these young students had begun this movement and I all of a sudden became very unpopular with Mr. Quirk and others.
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Donald Johanson

Discoverer of Lucy

I had an invitation to go to Sweden to participate in a Nobel symposium. And I decided this was the venue, this was the place, where I wanted to announce the new species. And I thought how substantial an impact this is going to have and I went to this Nobel symposium, and there were very few people at the symposium who knew it was going to be announced. There were only two or three people in the audience who knew that it was going to be a new species. When I made the announcement, you could hear a pin drop in the room. I mean, here was assembled 15 of the world's specialists in human evolutionary studies. Richard Leakey was there, Mary Leakey was there, a whole host of people, from prestigious universities, who were published widely, and here I was - 1978, I was at that time a young scholar, 35 years old, making this announcement. And furthermore, I presented a new view of how the family tree looked. I thought that this was going to generate enormous discussion. I finished my paper, and there was a question and answer period, and nobody asked a question. They broke for tea, people left the room, and only one scientist came up to me afterwards, and said "It's unbelievable." They were so taken aback by this that they didn't even want to discuss it. During the week's discussion, whenever people would start debating a family tree, I would say, "What about my family tree? What about what I'm suggesting?" Some people deliberately tried to ignore it and not consider it because it really upset their views of human evolution. They found it very difficult to subsume that into their view of human origins. So this was a high risk time in my life. We keep going back to the strength which I had throughout my career. I must admit it was one of the times when I really had to dig deep, take a deep breath, and say, "I believe I'm right. I believe that I will be vindicated. Lucy will be accepted as Australopithecus afarensis, and she will alter everyone's views of how we got here."
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Frank Johnson

Presidential Medal of Freedom

Frank Johnson: They set a bomb off under her car port. That was a few years after my father died. She had just gone upstairs from her kitchen and the bomb blew the windows out of the kitchen, all the way across the breakfast room, through the dining room and the other side of the house. She didn't get hurt, and she didn't get scared. She didn't get intimidated. When I went over there a few minutes later, after I'd been called by the FBI, I said, "Mother, you ought to come over and spend the night with us." She said, "I'm not leaving my home. I'm staying right here." She refused to leave. She was a Kirkwood. Scottish. Tough. The FBI never did solve that case until about a year ago. I found out who did it. He was a Klansman. A big Klan leader from over here in Mississippi. He came over here and put it under there. I notified them formally as to who did it and where he lived. He's moved to Virginia now, and he's become an evangelist! Put "evangelist" in quotes. They went up and interviewed him, and I have a copy of the interview. So, he's the one that did it. But they didn't discover it. I found out about it.
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Frank Johnson

Presidential Medal of Freedom

Frank Johnson: I wasn't in the first or second, or third (wave). I went in two days later. But they weren't 300 yards from the beach. So I was in the Normandy invasion in that sense. I helped get through Saint Lo. After we broke through Saint Lo, we went across France. I was in Patton's Third Army. I was a lieutenant in the infantry. I got shot once in Normandy, stayed in the hospital 11 days, went back still with the bandage on. They left the bullet in there. It's still there. They said, "It will take you three months if we operate and cut it out," said "You can get back in ten days if it stays in." So they filled it full of that stuff that was just out, what did they call it then? Powder? Pat you on the rear and you get on back to your crew.
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Chuck Jones

Animation Pioneer

Chuck Jones: Oh, yes. I expected to be fired. In fact, we all wrote our resignations, all of us that worked on the film. We figured the director and the animators would be canned. We figured we'd resign before we got fired. Fortunately, we didn't send them in. Leon came crashing in that day, as he usually did, and we assembled all the troops to watch the picture. And, he came in and went running down the aisle, or plowing down the aisle like a plaid battleship and climbed up on this throne that he'd established at one end of this projection room. It was a gold throne that he'd sit on and every time he got up there'd be gold flakes sticking to his pants. We sat on old pews. Pews that he'd stolen from some Warner Bros. picture. Every time we got up we got up there was splinters in our bum. So we all got something out of the showing. Leon jumped up on his platform and in order to make us feel good he said, "Roll the garbage." That's what he always said. It made you feel like he really cared. So they rolled the garbage, and of course everyone in the studio knew the drama of the situation, so nobody laughed, of course. He didn't care, he didn't pay attention to what anybody else did anyway, or heard. It was only his opinion that counted. So at the end of the picture there was this deathly silence and you could hear crickets, or a horse neying like they do in westerns, and way off in the distance a dog would be wailing our death, but old Leon jumped up and looked around and glared around, and we thought, "Here comes the old ax." And he said, "Jesus Christ, that's a funny voice, where'd you get that voice?" So, that was what it was, and he went to his unjust desserts, doubtless taking his money with him, went to Nineveh and Tyre, but the voice lives on. As long as Daffy Duck is alive, Leon Schlesinger is there, in his corner of heaven.
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Chuck Jones

Animation Pioneer

There's one rule that I feel is vital. It was set down by G.K. Chesterton, who said, "I don't take myself seriously, but I take my work deadly seriously." Comedy is a very, very, very stringent business. Jackie Gleason said it's probably the most difficult and demanding of any form of drama. Because you have an instant critic: laughter. If you don't get that laughter it isn't tragedy. You don't know if people are suffering enough or not in tragedy, but in comedy you know. If you're making it for films, you don't know until you've taken it to an audience. I never had the courage to take any of mine to an audience. I would die. The first picture I ever made, I thought that it wouldn't even move when it got out of there. And they had to lure me out -- I was in a terrible funk -- to go out and see it in front of an audience. It scared the hell out of me. And I pretended like I wasn't there, you know. And so, we were sitting in the balcony in Warner's theater in Hollywood, 1938, and the cartoon came on and there was a little hesitation. And the little girl sitting in front of me said to her mother, she said, "Mommy, I knew we should have come here." You know, "I knew we should have come here." The tenses get all mixed up. But I wanted to adopt her and take her home, because she was laughing at six or eight years old. She was past that terrible age. If she had been five she would have destroyed me.
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