The Purple Pinup Guru Platform

When purple things are pulsating on your mind, I'm the one whose clock you want to clean. Aiding is Sparky, the Astral Plane Zen Pup Dog from his mountain stronghold on the Northernmost Island of the Happy Ninja Island chain, this blog will also act as a journal to my wacky antics at an entertainment company and the progress of my self published comic book, The Deposit Man which only appears when I damn well feel like it. Real Soon Now.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sparky: Doing Box Office Reciepts

Our Guru got serious employment. Called me on the first night of the week of Matzoh to tell me — but couldn't get a hold of me. So ponder " Prince of Egypt" for a while and I'll ramble ... and then you can guess where our Union Boy ended up ...

Apologies if the Hebrew below appears to be ???

An image of machine-made matzo, which is the "official" food of Passover
Official Name Hebrew: ??? (Pesach)
Also Called The holiday the Goyim stole to turn into Easter
Observed By Judaism and Jews
Type Religious
Significance One of the Three Pilgrim Festivals. Celebrating the Exodus and freedom from slavery of the Children of Israel from ancient Egypt that followed the Ten plagues.
Beginning of the 49 days of Counting of the Omer
Begins 15th day of Nisan
Ends 21st day of Nisan in Israel, and among some liberal Diaspora Jews; 22nd day of Nisan outside of Israel among more traditional Jews
Date Now!
Gregorian Date (2006) April 12
Celebrations Two festive Seder meals (in Israel only one), and reciting the Haggadah, eating of matzo, marror (bitter herb), drinking four cups of grape kosher wine and filling the Cup of Elijah. And in the times of the Temple in Jerusalem, the Korban Pesach.
Observances No bread for you!
Related To Shavuot ("Festival [of] Weeks") which follows 49 days from the second night of Passover.

Passover (Hebrew: ???; transliterated as Pesach or Pesah), also called ?? ????? (Chag HaMatzot - Festival of Matzot) is a Jewish holiday beginning on the 15th day of Nisan, which falls in the early spring and commemorates the Exodus and freedom of the Israelites from ancient Egypt. Passover marks the "birth" of the Jewish nation, as the Jews were freed from being slaves of Pharaoh and allowed to become servants of God instead.

Together with Sukkot and Shavuot, Passover is one of the three pilgrim festivals (Shalosh Regalim) during which the entire Jewish populace made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the days of the Holy Temple.

In Israel, Passover is a 7-day holiday, with the first and last days celebrated as a full festival (involving abstention from work, special prayer services and holiday meals). Outside Israel, the holiday is celebrated for 8 days, with the first two days and last two days celebrated as full festivals. The intervening days are known as Chol HaMoed (festival weekdays).

The primary symbol of Passover is the matzo, a flat, unleavened bread which recalls the bread that the Israelites ate after their hasty departure from Egypt. According to Halakha, this bread is made from a dough of flour and water only, which has not been allowed to rise for more than 18–22 minutes. Religious Jews will observe the positive Torah commandment of eating matzo on the first night, as well as the Torah prohibition against eating or owning any leavened products — such as bread, cake, cookies, or pasta (anything whose dough has been mixed with a leavening agent or which has been left to rise more than 18–22 minutes) — for the duration of the holiday.

Origins of the feast

The term Pesach (Hebrew: ??????) or, more exactly, the verb "pasàch" (Hebrew: ??????) is first mentioned in the Torah account of the Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 12:23). It is found in Moses' words that God "will pass over" the houses of the Israelites during the final plague of the Ten Plagues of Egypt, the killing of the first-born. On the night of that plague, which occurred on the 15th day of Nisan, the Jews smeared their lintels and doorposts with the blood of the Passover sacrifice and were spared.

There is some debate about the exact meaning of the verb pasàch (??????) as it appears in Exodus. The commonly held assumption that it means "he passed over", stems from the translation provided in the Septuagint (???????????? in Ex. 12:23, and ????????? in Ex. 12:27). Judging from other instances of the verb, and instances of parallelism, a more faithful translation may be "he hovered over, guarding." Indeed, this is the image used by Isaiah by his use of this verb in Is. 31:5: "As birds hovering, so will the Lord of hosts protect Jerusalem; He will deliver it as He protecteth it, He will rescue it as He passeth over" (????????????? ??????? ????? ?????? ??????? ????????? ?????????????????? ???????? ?????????? ???????? ???????????).

The term Pesach also refers to the lamb which was designated as the Passover sacrifice (called the Korban Pesach in Hebrew). Four days before the Exodus, the Jews were commanded to set aside a lamb (Exodus 12:3) and inspect it daily for blemishes. During the day on the 14th of Nisan, they were to slaughter the lamb and use its blood to mark their lintels and doorposts. Up until midnight on the 15th of Nisan, they were to consume the lamb. Each family (or group of families) gathered together to eat a meal that included the meat of the Korban Pesach while the Tenth Plague ravaged Egypt.

In future years, during the existence of the Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem, the Korban Pesach was eaten during the Passover Seder on the 15th of Nisan. However, following the destruction of the Temple, no sacrifices may be offered or eaten. The story of the Korban Pesach is therefore retold at the Passover Seder, and the symbolic food which represents it on the Seder Plate is usually a roasted lamb shankbone, chicken wing, or chicken neck.

The English term "Passover" came into the English language through William Tyndale's translation of the Bible, and later appeared in the King James Version as well.

Although the term Pesach is not mentioned until the Book of Exodus, there are indications that at least parts of the feast were observed in earlier times. For example, Genesis 19:3 refers to the "matzot" which Lot served his angelic guests. According to Rashi, quoting Talmud Yoma 28b, the Patriarchs and their families intuited the celebration of all the Jewish holidays, as well as the mitzvot which God would command in the future through the giving of the Torah, and kept the mitzvot voluntarily.

Passover Seder

It is traditional for a Jewish family to gather on the first night of Passover (first two nights outside the land of Israel) for a special dinner called a Seder (???—derived from the Hebrew word for "order", referring to the very specific order of the ritual). The table is set with the finest china and silverware to reflect the importance of this meal. During this meal, the story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold using a special text called the Haggadah. Four cups of wine are consumed at various stages in the narrative. The Haggadah divides the night's procedure into these 15 parts:
  • Kadeish ??? (Recital of Kiddush blessing and drinking of the First Cup of Wine)
  • Urchatz ???? (The washing of the hands)
  • Karpas ???? (Dipping of the Karpas in salt water)
  • Yachatz ??? (Breaking the middle matzo; the larger piece becomes the afikoman which is eaten later during the ritual of Tzafun)
  • Maggid ???? (Retelling the Passover story, including the recital of the "Four Questions" and drinking of the Second Cup of Wine)
  • Rachtzah ???? (Second washing of the hands)
  • Motzi / Matzo ????? / ??? (Eating the matzo)
  • Maror ???? (Eating of the maror)
  • Koreich ???? (Eating of a sandwich made of matzo and maror)
  • Shulchan Oreich ????? ???? (lit. "set table"—the serving of the holiday meal)
  • Tzafun ???? (Eating of the afikoman)
  • Bareich ??? (Blessing after the meal and drinking of the Third Cup of Wine)
  • Hallel ??? (Recital of the Hallel, traditionally recited on festivals; drinking of the Fourth Cup of Wine)
  • Nirtzah ????? (Conclusion)
A bronze matzo plate designed by Maurice Ascalon, inscribed with the opening words of the Magid portion of the Seder, "Ha Lachma Anya" — "This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in Egypt"

A bronze matzo plate designed by Maurice Ascalon, inscribed with the opening words of the Magid portion of the Seder, "Ha Lachma Anya" — "This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in Egypt"

The Seder is replete with questions, answers, and unusual practices (e.g. the recital of Kiddush which is not immediately followed by the blessing over bread, which is the traditional procedure for all other holiday meals) to arouse the interest and curiosity of the children at the table. The children are also rewarded with nuts and candies when they ask questions and participate in the discussion of the Exodus and its aftermath. Likewise, they are encouraged to search for the afikoman, the piece of matzo which is the last thing eaten at the Seder. The child or children who discover the hiding place of the afikoman are rewarded with a prize or money. Audience participation and interaction is the rule, and many families' Seders last long into the night with animated discussions and much singing. The Seder concludes with additional songs of praise and faith printed in the Haggadah, including Chad Gadya ("One Kid Goat").

See also

The Prince of Egypt

DVD cover
Directed by Brenda Chapman
Steve Hickner
Simon Wells
Produced by Penney Finkelman Cox
Sandra Rabins
Written by Ronaldo Del Carmen
Ken Harsha
Carole Holliday
Philip LaZebnik
Anthony Leondis
Nicholas Meyer
Frank Tamura
Starring Val Kilmer (voice)
Ralph Fiennes (voice)
Michelle Pfeiffer (voice)
Sandra Bullock (voice)
Jeff Goldblum (voice)
Danny Glover (voice)
Music by Stephen Schwartz (songs)
Hans Zimmer (score)
Editing by Nick Fletcher
Distributed by DreamWorks Distribution LLC
Released December 16, 1998
Running time 99 min.
Language English/Hebrew
Budget $60,000,000 (estimated)
IMDb profile

The Prince of Egypt is a 1998 American animated film, the first animated film produced and released by DreamWorks SKG. It is loosely based on the life of Moses in Exodus (Chapters 1 to 20). It is about two Egyptian princes; one grows up to lead Egypt, and the other to lead all the Hebrews slaves out of Egypt.

The Maldives, an island nation, was the first of two Muslim countries to ban the film. The country's Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs stated, "all prophets and messengers of God are revered in Islam, and therefore cannot be portrayed"[1]. Following this ruling, the censor board banned the film in January 1999. In the same month, the Film Censorship Board in Malaysia banned the film, but did not provide a specific explanation. The board's secretary told the New Straits Times the censor body ruled the film was "insensitive for religious and moral reasons"[2]..

The voice cast includes Val Kilmer, Ofra Haza, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helen Mirren, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Martin Short, and Steve Martin. Directed by Brenda Chapman and Steve Hickner, the film featured songs written by Stephen Schwartz and a score composed by Hans Zimmer.

The film has won the Best Original Song at the 1999 Academy Awards, with the pop version of the theme song "When You Believe" interpreted by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. The song, co-written by Stephen Schwartz, Hans Zimmer and with additional production by Babyface, was also nominated for the Best Original Song (Motion Picture) at the 1999 Golden Globes, and was also cited for Outstanding Performance of a Song for a Feature Film at the ALMA Awards, but did not win.

Tagline: Two brothers. United by friendship, divided by destiny.

See also


External links


Dreamworks SKG
DreamWorks logo
Type Subsidiary of Paramount Pictures (Viacom)
Founded Glendale, California (1994)
Location Glendale, California; animation department: Redwood City, California
Key people David Geffen, Principal
Jeffrey Katzenberg, Principal
Steven Spielberg, Principal
Industry Motion pictures
Products motion pictures, television programs
Revenue $2.8 billion USD (2006)
Employees 1,200 (2006)

DreamWorks, L.L.C., doing business as DreamWorks SKG, is a Big Ten studio in the United States of America which develops, produces, and distributes films, video games, and television programming. It began as an ambitious attempt by media moguls David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Steven Spielberg to create a new Hollywood studio, but in December 2005, the founders agreed to sell the studio to Viacom, Paramount Pictures's parent. Its animation subsidiary, DreamWorks Animation SKG, will remain independent, but its films will be distributed worldwide by Paramount Pictures. Paramount completed the acquisition in February 2006.


The initials "SKG" stand for the company's co-founders, Steven Spielberg (movie director and founder of Amblin Entertainment), Jeffrey Katzenberg (former head of The Walt Disney Company's film studios), and David Geffen (founder of Geffen Records).

The company was founded following Katzenberg's forced resignation from The Walt Disney Company in 1994. At the suggestion of Spielberg's friend Robert Zemeckis, the two made an agreement with long-time Katzenberg collaborator Geffen to start their own studio. The studio was officially founded in October of 1994 with financial backing of $33 million from each of the three main partners and $500 million from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

The first feature length DreamWorks film to be released was The Peacemaker, in 1997, although a failed TV pilot called Dear Diary was put into limited theatrical release in 1996. It went on to win an Oscar for Best Short Film.

In 1999 and 2000, DreamWorks won two consecutive best picture Oscars for American Beauty and Gladiator.

DreamWorks Records never lived up to expectations, and was sold in October 2003 to Universal Music Group, which operated the label as DreamWorks Nashville. That label was shut down in 2005 when its flagship artist, Toby Keith, departed to form his own label.

The DreamWorks Animation logo

The DreamWorks Animation logo

The studio has had its greatest financial success with movies, specifically animated movies. DreamWorks Animation teamed up with Pacific Data Images (now known as PDI/DreamWorks) in 1996 to create some of highest grossing animated hits of all time, such as Antz (1998), Shrek (2001) and its sequel Shrek 2 (2004). Based on their success, DreamWorks Animation has spun off as its own publicly traded company. In fact, PDI/DreamWorks has emerged as the main competitor to Pixar in the age of computer-generated animation, and is based in Redwood City, California.

DreamWorks' frequently co-financed and co-distributed films with other studios, including Columbia, Fox, Paramount, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros.

With co-financing and co-distribution, one studio will release the film internationally and the other domestically. Usually two films are a product of this deal. For example, both Minority Report and Road to Perdition were made by DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox and released in 2002. For Minority Report, Fox released the film in the U.S., and Dreamworks released it internationally. For Road to Perdition, Dreamworks released the film in the U.S., and Fox released it internationally.

The only major studio DreamWorks has not co-released movies with is Walt Disney Pictures. This is not surprising, given Disney's hostile relations with DreamWorks co-founder Katzenberg, as well as Disney's longstanding tradition to release films independently of other studios.

In recent years DreamWorks has scaled back. It stopped plans to build a high-tech studio, sold its music division, and only produces one television series, Las Vegas.

In December 2005, Viacom's Paramount Pictures agreed to purchase the live-action studio. The deal is valued at approximately $1.6 billion, an amount that includes about $400 million in debt assumptions. The company completed its acquisition on February 1, 2006. [1].

On March 17, 2006 Paramount agreed to sell the DreamWorks live-action library (through September 17, 2005) to a group lead by George Soros for $900 million. Paramount will retain distribution rights, as well as various auxiliary rights, including music publishing, sequels, and merchandising. [2]

The theme heard at the beginning of most DreamWorks films was done by John Williams.

Paramount Pictures

The Paramount Pictures logo used since 2003.
The Paramount Pictures logo used since 2003.

Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American motion picture production and distribution company, based in Hollywood, California. It has become the longest-running movie studio ever, running for 94 years. It is controlled by Viacom.

Early history

Paramount Pictures Inc. can trace its beginnings to the creation in May, 1912, of the Famous Players Film Company. Founder Adolph Zukor, who had been an early investor in nickelodeons, saw that movies appealed mainly to working-class immigrants. With partners Daniel Frohman and Charles Frohman he planned to offer feature-length films that would appeal to the middle class by featuring the leading theatrical players of the time. By mid-1913, Famous Players had completed five films, and Zukor was on his way to success.

That same year, another aspiring producer, Jesse L. Lasky, opened his "Lasky Feature Play Company" with money borrowed from his brother-in-law, Samuel Goldfish (later to be known as Samuel Goldwyn.) As their first employee, the Lasky company hired a stage director with no film experience, Cecil B. DeMille, who would find a suitable location-site in Hollywood, near Los Angeles for his first film, The Squaw Man.

Beginning in 1914, both Lasky and Famous Players released their films through a start-up company, "Paramount Pictures". Organized early that year by a Utah theater-owner, W. W. Hodkinson, who had bought and merged several smaller firms, Paramount was the first successful nation-wide distributor. Until this time films were sold on a state-wide or regional basis; not only was this inefficient, but it had proved costly to film producers.

1916 publicity photo for the takeover of Paramount Pictures. (L to R) Jesse L. Lasky, Adolph Zukor, Samuel Goldwyn, Cecil B. DeMille, Al Kaufman
1916 publicity photo for the takeover of Paramount Pictures. (L to R) Jesse L. Lasky, Adolph Zukor, Samuel Goldwyn, Cecil B. DeMille, Al Kaufman

Soon the ambitious Zukor, un-used to taking a secondary role, began courting Hodkinson and Lasky. In 1916, Zukor maneuvered a three-way merger of his Famous Players, the Lasky company, and Paramount. The new company, "Famous Players-Lasky", grew quickly, with Lasky and his partners Goldfish and DeMille running the production side, Hodkinson in charge of distribution, and Zukor making great plans. With only the exhibitor-owned First National as a rival, Famous Players-Lasky and its 'Paramount Pictures' soon dominated the business.

Zukor believed in stars - after all, he had begun by offering "Famous Players in Famous Plays," as his first slogan put it. He signed and developed many of the leading early stars, among them Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino and Wallace Reid. With so many important players, Paramount was able to introduce "block-booking", which meant that an exhibitor who wanted a particular star's films had to buy a years'-worth of other Paramount productions. It was this system which gave Paramount a leading position in the 1920s and 1930s, but which led the government to pursue it on anti-trust grounds for more than twenty years.

The driving force behind Paramount's rise was Zukor. All through the 'teens and 'twenties, he built a mighty theatrical chain of nearly 2,000 screens, ran two production studios, and became an early investor in radio, taking a 50% interest in the new Columbia Broadcasting System in 1928. By acquiring the successful Balaban & Katz chain in 1926, he gained the services of both Barney Balaban, who became Paramount's president, and Sam Katz, who ran the Paramount-Publix theater chain. Zukor also hired independent producer B.P. Schulberg, an un-erring eye for new talent, to run the west-coast studio. In 1927, Famous Players-Lasky took on the name Paramount-Famous Lasky Corportation. Three years later, because of the importance of the Publix theater chain, it was later known as Paramount-Publix Corporation.

Eventually Zukor shed most of his early partners, the Frohman brothers, Hodkinson and Goldfish/Goldwyn were out by 1917 while Lasky hung on until 1932, when, blamed for the near-collapse of Paramount in the depression years, he too was tossed out. Zukor's over-expansion and use of over-valued Paramount stock for purchases led the company into receivership in 1933. A bank-mandated reorganization team, led by John Hertz and Otto Kahn kept the company intact, and miraculously, kept Zukor on. He was bumped up to an honorary 'chairman emeritus' role in 1935, while Barney Balaban became chairman. When the company emerged from bankruptcy, it was known as Paramount Pictures, Inc.

As always, Paramount films continued to emphasize stars; in the 1920s there were Swanson, Valentino and Clara Bow. By the 1930s, talkies brought in a range of powerful new draws: Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Gary Cooper, Claudette Colbert, the Marx Brothers, Dorothy Lamour, Carole Lombard, and Bing Crosby among them. In this period Paramount can truly be described as a movie factory, turning out sixty and seventy pictures a year. Such were the benefits of having a huge theater chain to fill, and of block-booking to persuade other chains to go along.

Paramount's cartoon division was also a big success because of two major characters: Popeye The Sailor and Betty Boop. Fleischer Studios put out both cartoons until 1942, then Famous Studios took over both cartoons.

In 1940, Paramount agreed to a government-instituted consent decree: block-booking and 'pre-selling' (the practice of collecting up-front money for films not yet in production) would end. Immediately Paramount cut back on production, from sixty-plus pictures to a more modest twenty annually in the war years. Still, with more new stars (like Bob Hope, Alan Ladd and Betty Hutton), and with war-time attendance at astronomical numbers, Paramount and the other integrated studio-theater combines made more money than ever. At this, the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department decided to re-open their case against the five integrated studios. This led to the Supreme Court decision of 1948 which broke up Adolph Zukor's amazing creation.

The 1950s to the 1970s

As movie attendance declined after World War II, Paramount and the others struggled to keep the audience. Hovering nearby were the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department, still pursuing restraint-of-trade allegations. This case finally came before the Supreme Court as U.S. vs. Paramount Pictures, et al., and in May, 1948, the court agreed with the government, finding restraint of competition, and calling for the separation of production and exhibition. Paramount was split in two, with the 1,500-screen theater chain handed to the new United Paramount Theaters on December 31, 1949. Cash-rich and controlling prime downtown real estate, UPT-head Leonard Goldenson began looking for investments; barred from film-making, he acquired the struggling ABC in February, 1953.

Paramount Pictures had been an early backer of television, launching experimental stations in 1939 in Los Angeles (later to become KTLA) and Chicago's WBKB. It was also an early investor in the pioneer DuMont Laboratories and through that, the DuMont Television Network, but because of anti-trust concerns after the 1948 ruling, proved to be a timid and obstructionist partner, refusing to aid DuMont as it sank in the mid-1950s.

With the loss of the theater chain, Paramount Pictures went into a decline, cutting studio-backed production, releasing its contract players, and making production deals with independents. By the mid-1950s, all the great names were gone; only C.B. DeMille, associated with Paramount since 1913, kept making pictures in the grand old style. Like some other studios, Paramount saw little value in its film library. When the talent agency MCA, then wielding major influence on Paramount policy, offered $50 million for 750 pre-1948 features (with payment to be spread over many years), it was thought that Paramount had made the best possible deal. To address anti-trust concerns, MCA set up a separate company, EMKA, Ltd., to peddle these films to television. MCA later admitted that over the next forty years it took in more than a billion dollars in rentals of these supposedly worthless pictures.

The Paramount cartoons and shorts went to various television distributors, with U.M.&M. T.V. Corp. acquiring the majority of the cartoons and live action short subjects made before 1951. The Popeye cartoons were sold to Associated Artists Productions. The Superman cartoons went to Motion Pictures for Television, producers of the Superman television series. The rest of the cartoons made from 1950-1962, were sold to Harvey Comics. Except for the Superman cartoons and the features sold to Universal, most television prints of these films have had their titles refilmed to remove most traces of their connection to Paramount.

By the early 1960s Paramount's future was doubtful. The high-risk movie business was wobbly; the theater chain was long gone; investments in DuMont and in early pay-television came to nothing. Even the flagship Paramount building in Times Square was sold to raise cash, as was KTLA (sold to Gene Autry in 1964 for a then-phenomenal $12.5 million). Founding-father Adolph Zukor, born in 1873, was still chairman emeritus; he referred to chairman Barney Balaban (born 1888) as 'the boy'. Such aged leadership was incapable of keeping up with the changing times, and in 1966, a sinking Paramount was sold to the Charles Bluhdorn's industrial conglomerate Gulf and Western Industries. Bluhdorn immediately put his stamp on the studio, installing a virtually unknown producer, Robert Evans, as head of production. Despite some rough times, Evans held the job for eight years, restoring Paramount's reputation for commercial success with The Odd Couple, Love Story, Rosemary's Baby and The Godfather.

Gulf and Western Industries also bought the neighboring Desilu television studio (once the lot of RKO Pictures) from Lucille Ball in 1967. Using Desilu's established shows like Star Trek, Mission: Impossible and Mannix as a foot in the door at the networks, Paramount Television eventually became known as a specialist in half-hour situation comedies.

Robert Evans quit as head of production in 1974; his successor Richard Sylbert, was too literary and tasteful for G+W's Bluhdorn. By 1976, a new, television-trained team was in place: Barry Diller, and his 'killer-Dillers,' associates Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Don Simpson. The specialty now was simpler, 'high concept' pictures like Saturday Night Fever, and Grease. With his television background, Diller kept pitching an idea of his to the board: a fourth commercial network. But the board, and Bluhdorn, wouldn't bite. Neither would Bluhdorn's successor, Martin Davis. When Bluhdorn died unexpectedly, Davis dumped all of G+W's industrial, mining, and sugar-growing subsidiaries and refocused the company, renaming it Paramount Communications. Diller took his fourth-network idea with him when he moved to Twentieth Century-Fox in 1984, where the new proprietor, Rupert Murdoch, was a more interested listener.

Paramount Pictures was unconnected to Paramount Records, until it purchased the rights to use Paramount Records' name (but not its catalogue) in the late 1960s. The Paramount name was used for soundtrack albums and some pop re-issues from the Dot Records catalogue. Paramount had acquired the pop-oriented Dot in 1958, but by 1970 Dot had become an all-country label [1]. In 1974, Paramount sold all of its record holdings to ABC Records, which in turn was sold to MCA in 1978.

From the 1980s to the present day

Paramount's successful run of lightweight pictures extended into the 1980s and 1990s, generating hits like Flashdance, the Friday the 13th slasher series; Raiders of the Lost Ark and its sequels; Beverly Hills Cop and a string of films starring comedian Eddie Murphy; and the Star Trek features. While the emphasis was decidedly on the commercial, there were occasional quality efforts like Atlantic City and Forrest Gump. During this period responsibility for running the studio passed from Eisner and Katzenberg to Don Simpson to Stanley Jaffe and Sherry Lansing and, late in 2005, Brad Grey. More so than most, Paramount's slate of films included many remakes and television spinoffs; while sometimes commercially successful, there have been few compelling films of the kind that once made Paramount the industry leader.

With the influx of cash from the sale of G+W's industrial properties in the mid-1980s, Paramount bought a string of television stations and KECO Entertainment's theme park operations, renaming them Paramount Parks. In 1993, Sumner Redstone's entertainment conglomerate Viacom made a bid for Paramount; this quickly escalated into a bidding war with Barry Diller. But Viacom prevailed, ultimately paying $10 billion for the Paramount holdings. In 1995, Viacom and Chris-Craft Industries' United Television launched United Paramount Network (UPN), fulfilling Diller's 1970s plan for a Paramount network. In 1999 Viacom bought out United Television's interests, and handed responsibility for the shaky UPN to its more-established CBS unit.

Reflecting in part the troubles of the broadcasting business, Viacom announced early in 2005 that it would split itself in two. The split was completed in January 2006. The CBS television and radio networks, the Infinity radio-station chain (now called CBS Radio), the Paramount Television production unit (now called CBS Paramount Television) and UPN (which will soon be The CW Television Network in a joint venture with rival, Time Warner's Warner Bros.) are part of CBS Corporation. Paramount Pictures is now lumped in with MTV, BET, and the New Viacom's other highly profitable cable channels.

Through a series of mergers and acquistitions, many of Paramount's early cartoons, shorts, and feature films are owned by numerous entities. The cartoons and shorts that were sold to U.M.&M. in 1956 have been reacquired by Paramount Pictures, following Viacom's purchase of Republic Pictures. EMKA/NBC Universal owns 750 of Paramount's pre-1948 sound features, except for a few feature films that either ended up in U.M.&M./NTA's posession, or had been retained by Paramount due to other rights issues (such as The Miracle of Morgan's Creek). The Popeye cartoons and Superman cartoons are owned by Time Warner's subsidaries, Turner Entertainment and DC Comics (respectively). The rest of the cartoons that were sold to Harvey Comics from 1951-1962 are owned by Classic Media. As for distribution of the material Paramount itself still owns, it has been split in half, with Paramount themselves owning theatrical rights, while what became CBS Paramount Television handles television distribution (under the CBS license).

Paramount is the last major film studio located in Hollywood proper. When Paramount moved to its present home in 1927, it was in the heart of the film community. Since then, former next-door neighbor RKO closed up shop in 1957; Warner Brothers (whose old Sunset Boulevard studio was sold to Paramount in 1949 as a home for KTLA) moved to Burbank in 1930; Columbia joined Warners in Burbank in 1973 then moved again to Culver City in 1989; and the Pickford-Fairbanks-Goldwyn-United Artists lot, after a lively history, has been turned into a post-production and music-scoring facility for Warners, known simply as "The Lot". For a time the semi-industrial neighborhood around Paramount was in decline, but has now come back. The recently refurbished studio has come to symbolize Hollywood for many visitors, and its studio tour is a popular attraction.

On December 11, 2005, Paramount announced that it had purchased DreamWorks SKG in a deal worth $1.6 billion. The announcement was made by Brad Grey, chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, who noted that enhancing Paramount's pipeline of pictures is a "key strategic objective in restoring Paramounts stature as a leader in filmed entertainment." The agreement does not include DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., the most profitable part of the company that went public last year. But Paramount does gain the right to distribute the studio's lucrative animated films, including the Shrek franchise. On February 1, 2006, the studio announced that the DreamWorks acquisition was completed.

You have the gist of the clue? Heh? - Sparky

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sparky: What you should be reading ... about Enoch Root — the Baroque Cycle and Cryptonomicon!

QuickSilver's MetaWeb:Enoch Root




The King in the Mountain
Could this be Enoch?
Enoch's existence is Stephensonia illustrated. Randy Waterhouse seems to liken him to Gandalf the White. Neal has been quoted that Enoch of Cryptonomicon, is the the same character in the Baroque Cycle; Though, his manifestations may have different corporal bases. One also wonders how much Enoch's name owes to Elihu Root? ...

Authored entries

Community entry

One time Roman Catholic Priest Enoch Root, also known as the alchemist 'Enoch the Red', is a fictional character who appears in Cryptonomicon and Quicksilver, The Confusion and The System of the World.

Enoch's Longevity

Enoch Root's lifespan appears to be one of extraordinary longevity.
Enoch in a Boston Pub?
Maybe Just Enjoying
His Warm Fire

Shave Head And Appear Old

The author mentions this explicitly in an interview, saying "[T]here's a character, Enoch Root, who possesses unnatural longevity...."

There are a few other references to his extended lifespan, not all apparently consistent:

Quicksilver p9: "He is an old man." "Older than you?" "No, but he might seem older."
Quicksilver p24: mentions that Enoch Root had made himself something of an expert regarding longevity.
The Confusion p549: (UK ed.): apparently he must "don identities, and later... shed them" in order to avoid detection. He seemingly has NOT "alchemically" gained eternal life (but most alchemists imply or state this, generally to keep from being hounded by gold seekers and others).

Note that the Biblical character named Enoch is reported to have avoided death, and to have been taken directly by God to heaven. At the end of System of the World, an Ordinary reads Jack Shaftoe this very Bible passage, a part of a set of passages which Eliza is using as a means of communicating with Jack. At the very least, Eliza believes Enoch Root to be the Biblical Enoch.


In the Book of Genesis, Enoch (Hebrew ???? Chanoch or ??nôkh) is a name shared by two individuals.

  • The first was the son of Cain. Cain later founded a city which he named Enoch.
  • The second was the son of Jared, father of Methuselah and the grandfather of Noah, although Noah is thought to have taken the name 'Noah', post-flood, and was originally named "Enoch". Genesis 5:24 tells us, "Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away". According to the Hebrew Book of Enoch, God took Enoch and transformed him into the angel Metatron. In the new testament Jude quotes Enoch as prophesying a day of judgement. According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints's Pearl of Great Price [1], this Enoch founded the righteous city of Zion in a very wicked world. He and the entire city's inhabitants were "translated" by God and vanished from the presence of the earth before the Great Flood. Methuselah and his family (including Noah) were left behind so that righteous people could still populate the earth.

Wikipedia: Metatron

Metatron is the name of an angel in some branches of Judaism and Christianity. However, there is no consensus as to his genesis or the role that he plays in the hierarchy of Heaven and Hell. According to one school of thought, Enoch was taken by God and transformed into Metatron. However, this viewpoint is not shared by many Talmudic authorities.

The Zohar identifies Metatron as the angel that led the people of Israel through the wilderness after their exodus from Egypt, and both the Talmud and Targum identify Metatron as the link between God and humanity. Metatron is also mentioned in the Pseudepigrapha, most notably in the Book of Enoch. According to Johann Eisenmenger, Metatron transmits the daily orders of God to the angels Gabriel and Sammael.

Musician Carlos Santana claims that the revitalization of his career in the 21st century is due to Metatron. Santana claims that Metatron visits him while he meditates and describes it as a white, bearded angel.

Metatron in fiction

Metatron appears as a major character in the film Dogma, where he is played by Alan Rickman. Here he is the voice of God, who cannot speak directly to a human, because Her voice is so powerful it would kill the person. "We went through five Adams before we figured that out," he drolly comments.

In Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's novel Good Omens, the Metatron works like the voice of God, similar to the film Dogma, but it is unsure if people will blow up if they hear His own voice or not.

In Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, Metatron is the Regent of Heaven. God (usually called the Authority) is an extremely elderly and feeble angel with no will of his own, and Metatron rules as a dictator in his stead.


In the Quran, the prophet Enoch is known as Idris.

Wikipedia: Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I

Frederick I (c. 1122/25 CE- 1190), also known as Frederick Barbarossa ("Frederick Redbeard") was elected king of Germany on March 4, 1152 in succession to his uncle Conrad III, and was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1155.

Frederick sends out the boy to
see whether the ravens still fly.

As the son of Frederick of Hohenstaufen, duke of Swabia, and Judith of Bavaria, of the rival Guelph dynasty, Frederick was descended from Germany's two principal families, making him an acceptable choice for the Empire's princely electors as heir to the Imperial crown.

He undertook six expeditions into Italy, in the first of which he was crowned emperor in Rome by Pope Adrian IV in the aftermath of the overthrow by Imperial forces of the republican city commune headed by Arnold of Brescia.

Thereafter, relations between Emperor and Pope descended into bitter conflict culminating in Frederick's defeat at the Battle of Legnano near Milan (1176) by the pro-Papal Lombard League of northern Italian cities.

After making his peace with Pope Alexander III, Frederick embarked on the Third Crusade (1189) with Philip Augustus of France and Richard I of England; he drowned while crossing the Saleph river in Cilicia in south-eastern Anatolia.

However, Frederick is the subject of a sleeping hero legend. He is said not to be dead, but asleep with his knights in a cave in Kyffhäuser mountain in Thuringia, Germany, and that when ravens should cease to fly around the mountain he would awake and restore Germany to its ancient greatness. According to the story his red beard has grown through the table beside which he sits. His eyes are half closed in sleep, but now and then he raises his hand and sends a boy out to see if the ravens have stopped flying.

Frederick was succeeded as king and emperor by his son Henry.

The German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was codenamed Operation Barbarossa, remembering Frederick I.

The Fictional Frederick

Umberto Eco has his character Baudolino interact with Frederick.

Wikipedia: The King in the Mountains

A king in the mountain, also known as a sleeping hero, is a repeated motif that appears in a number of folktales.

The basic motif is that in a cave in a remote, high mountaintop, a legendary hero dwells sleeping, along with a body of his armed retainers. The hero is usually a historical figure of some military consequence in the history of the nation where the mountain is located. The presence of the hero is unsuspected, until some herdsman wanders into the cave, typically looking for a lost animal, and sees the hero. The stories almost always mention the detail that the hero has grown a long beard, indicative of the long time he has slept beneath the mountain.

Often the hero speaks with the herdsman. Their conversation typically involves the hero asking, "Do the eagles (or ravens) still circle the mountaintop?"

The herdsman, or a mysterious voice, replies, "Yes, they still circle the mountaintop."

"Then begone! My time has not yet come."

The herdsman is usually supernaturally harmed by the experience: he ages rapidly, he emerges with his hair turned white, and often he dies after repeating the tale. The story goes on to say that the king in the mountain sleeps in the mountain, awaiting a summons to arise with his knights and defend the nation in a time of deadly peril; and the omen that presages his rising will be the extinction of the birds that trigger his awakening.

The motif is interesting in that it combines the idea of a supernatural national defender with the concept of conservation. A number of kings, rulers, and fictional characters have become attached to this story. (See the external links below).

Root appearances - Stephenson's Enoch in his Physical Manifestations


  • in Grantham (England), 1655, where he meets young Isaac Newton (pp. 24-34).
  • in London, 1670, to demonstrate the newly-discovered elemental phosphorus to Charles II and certain members of the Royal Society (p. 213).
  • in Bockboden, 1684, where he meets Jack Shaftoe in the apothecary's shop (p. 448) and in the mine (p. 461).
  • in La Hague, 1687, where he warns Eliza and Fatio of an approaching "meteór" (actually a private yacht associated with the French Navy by dint of its owner) (p. 756).
  • in London, December 1688, where he vaguely talks with Daniel Waterhouse about both the nature of alchemy and himself, and gives to Daniel a bit of information about the whereabouts of a person Daniel is seeking (pp. 879-882).
  • In La Hague, 1689, where he seems to have provided Dr. Alkmaar with some useful medicine for Eliza. (pp. 900-901).
  • in Boston, 1713, where he meets young Ben Franklin and talks with Daniel Waterhouse (pp. 4-23, pp. 34-46). His first appearance is chronologically his last appearance in the Baroque Cycle.

The Confusion

  • As tutor to Lothar von Hacklheber and his two brothers, under the name of Egon von Hacklheber (The Confusion, p549). This information is imparted in a flood of staggeringly blunt Enoch-talk... someone else can do the spoilers for this at a later date!
  • In Hindoostan in 'late 1696' Enoch appears to have been summoned by the Ten for the last stage of their boat-building project as the most trustworthy messenger (an aspect of Mercury). He stays with them until 1700, when he leaves to search for the Solomon Islands. (The Confusion pp. 564-694)

System of the World

  • in London, October 1689, (as described in a document found by Daniel Waterhouse in 1714, The System of the World pp. 470-474); where he prepares a restorative medicine that restores Daniel's life.
  • ... other people please enter more here!


  • Of his youth — we've this quote (p. 524): "...Enoch shrugs modestly. 'Where I grew up, memorizing the digits of pi was the closest thing we had to entertainment.' "
  • on a beach (coming down from the mountains) working as a spotter for the good guys after the China Raider Bobby Shaftoe seems to have had a nightmare encounter with a big lizard. Enoch meets Bobby
  • in the hospital where Goto Dengo is convalescing during WWII after Bobby convinces him to surrender ...
  • during the Second World War as an Army chaplain-of-sorts, with Cpl. Bobby Shaftoe detailed to a special division Dept. 2702 acting on information massaged by Lawrence Waterhouse.
  • is part of a gold pirating conspiracy with Bobby Shaftoe, the crew of the V-1 Million, and Rudi.
  • has some sort of family connection to Rudolf Rudi von Hacklheber seemingly based upon the Societas Eruditorum, and now most likely has the Leibniz Archives — that Göering collected for his escaped slave.
  • Enoch is pronounced dead from wounds inflicted by Germans. Bobby Shaftoe witnesses a body being hussled away afterwards. Later, Enoch is alive.
  • on the phone/email with Randy Waterhouse describing the Pontifex cryptosystem
  • In prison in the Philippines in a cell adjacent to Randy where they have a mostly silent conversation with the help of the Pontifex system.
  • the 'present day,' in the Philippines where Andrew Loeb is encountered, America Shaftoe's life is saved, and the gold is regained ...
  • America Shaftoe, while ill from her injuries, meets privately with Enoch and then has a rapid recovery. She declines to mention anything specific about what Enoch did to treat her.

A GI Joe™ Enoch Root and a Strange Padre

The Diamond Age

In The Diamond Age the character PhyrePhox (The chapter: The torture chamber of Judge Fang; A barbarian is interrogated; Dark events in the interior of China; An unignorable summons from Dr. X p. 139ff) might be another manifestation of Root. He has red hair. He is immune to pain. He travels to rural areas to rescue orphaned baby girls. He is member of the CryptNet, a probable secret society, in which he has a level of 25, when the highest level is thought to be ten. (I welcome discussion on this hypothesis ... Possible print error, decimal missing, should = 2.5?)

E no chroot AKA Enoch Root as Author

E no chroot being an UNIX command. Enoch, as the sole immortal, see-all know-all character in all the Neal Stephenson novels, is the avatar of the author within his created universe. This is why he has memory problems (particularly in that he wrote the Baroque Cycle AFTER the later 20th and 21st century novels in the same universe). Stephenson wrote his modern novels on a Mac, later OSX, an UNIX derivative, ergo his universe is written in a Unixverse.

Also, in an article in the Guardian, Thursday November 4, 2004,,12597,1343417,00.html, Stephenson says: ‘The way I actually produced the Baroque Cycle novels was markedly low-tech and disorderly: writing them with a pen on paper and keeping track of all of my notes in notebooks with no indexing system’. Compare with Enoch Root to Ben Franklin and Godfrey Waterhouse in th opening chapter of Quiksilver: ‘the way I remember things is most disorderly’.

This literary device is not new. Heinlein used both Jubal Harshaw and Lazarus Long to be the voice of the author (Lazarus being immortal much like Enoch Root). Heinlein even posited that universes were created by the acts of their authors (see Number of the Beast). Stephenson has even stated that to "state what Enoch Root is would destroy his purpose."

Who is Enoch? He is Neal Stephenson (or his alter ego).

Johann Faust and John Dee:

(I'm a little surprised this isn't mentioned yet...) The Enoch Root of Quicksilver seems connected to the legends of Johann Faust (a real character, fictionalised by Marlowe, Goethe and others). Marlowe's Faust was based on a chapbook description, and also on John Dee, alchemist to Queen Mary and Elizabeth I, whose name means John Black. Dee promoted the idea of a National Library (as Enoch does throughout Quicksilver), travelled the courts of europe meeting the great minds of his day, and he also claimed to have been dictated books by angels in the Enochian language. John Dee seems to be a clear inspiration for the Enoch of Quicksilver, but his longevity may be another Faust connection: the contract of Goethe's Faust means he cannot die until he is satisfied with the state of the world. A perhaps more convincing 'Red/Rood/Root' connection with Dee is his association with the Rosicrucian order of alchemists ('Rose Cross').

The Wandering Jew

A somewhat unpleasant medieval myth had it that when Jesus was on His way to Calvary, he asked a local shopkeeper if he could rest in his shop doorway awhile. The shopkeeper said "Nay, get thee gone!" or something similar, to which Jesus replied "I go, but thou shalt tarry here till I return!". Since then, the shopkeeper, sometimes named Aherserus, Carthephilus or Melmoth, is supposed to have wandered the earth until judgement day. An Armenian Archbishop visiting England in 1228 claimed to have met him, and reported that he had converted to Christianity.

The Wandering Jew has been claimed by some conspiracy minded folk as an earlier guise of Le Comte de Saint-Germain, and that far from being punished he has deciphered the secret of immortality.

Comte Saint-Germain

Perhaps another root of Enoch lies in this enigmatic historical figure? Although a contemporary of Louis XV, post-Baroque Cycle, there are some striking similarities. "A man who knows everything and who never dies," said Voltaire of the Comte de Saint-Germain. Saint-Germain was a noted alchemist, and had apparently worked as a jeweller for the Shah or Persia or the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, depending on which account you read. He is supposed to have adopted several guises, for example as Mr Welldone in England, in direct contrast to Enoch, who is always Enoch.

Another Idea On Enoch Root: Two Enochs

Note: While this is an entertaining theory, there is extratextual proof to the contrary. See [1] below.

I'm surprised that no one else has made this deductive leap, but after finishing System Of The World, I suspect that the sudden aging of Enoch Root between WWII and the present after about 300 years at a steady 30 years old has a very elegant explanation-WWII Enoch Root,hereafter refered to as RootPrime, is The Baroque Cycle's Enoch Root. The older, grizzled, hacker-saavy Enoch Root, hereafter refered to as Root2, is Daniel Waterhouse.

Waterhouse ends the series as an admitted and active member of the Societas Eruditorum, with complete access to the Solomonic Gold and personal knowledge of the construction of Elixir Vitae. Therefore, even if a one-shot administration is not adequate, which it may be; none of the characters in Crypto or The Baroque Cycle who ingest the stuff demonstrably die of natural causes. Even WWII Bobby Shaftoe doesn't definitely die, but that's a stretch. Regardless, DW has the means to make more and a sense of personal burden to maintain and protect the system of the world.

Root2's interest in the well-being of Randy Waterhouse, i.e. why he contacted and dealt with Randy instead of Avi Hallaby, whose ancestor's acquaintance RootPrime had also made in The Baroque Cycle and his conniving to get into prison with Randy to teach him pontifex instead of just hanging Randy out to dry and passing on the info to one of the other crypto-hackers available can be handily explained by a familial connection to Randy. RootPrime's association with the house of Hacklheber would seem to demonstrate that Stephenson's alchemical immortals tend to stick by their families, adopted or otherwise.

[1] When Neal Stephenson was in Atlanta, GA for a signing of Quicksilver, the following exchange took place during the Q&A session:

Q: What's the connection between the Enoch Root in Cryptonomicon and the one in Quicksilver?

A: It's the same guy.

Theory:Enoch the Alien

One problem we have is that we look at Enoch from our perspective, trying to work out who he is. Let us instead look at us from his perspective and try to work out WHY he is, and WHY he is doing what he is doing TO US. If you were a concious being, capable of independent, rational, even scientific thought, stuck on a primitive, backward planet full of savages for a long, long time, how would you get off that planet? Particularly if you really weren't FROM there, at least not in a long time.

Back in the days of Atlantis, when your son Noah was building an ark to help preserve knowledge and endangered animals through a major cataclysm (flooding of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, sinking of an Atlantic archipelago, whatever) some dude in a space ship you befriended took you on a trip across the galaxy (i.e. you were walking with or were taken by God), learned all about his technology, about the galaxy, and for some reason wound up back on earth, marooned here or whatever, but motivated to advance the human race to the point where it is a species capable of space exploration.

You had learned in your travels about technological singularities, about financial means of accellerating a cultures rate of advancement, and about the evolution of technology. Once back on earth you found the Hacklhebers, a financially brilliant family for its time (an analog of the Rothschild family) and insinuated yourself into it, teaching it, perhaps, the secrets of financing governments with money made from absolutely nothing.

You needed a system of the world to build, through industrialization, science, technology, and via the wars between governments that depend upon all three, a culture capable of getting you back into space. Which might be why we don't see him in Diamond Age or Snow Crash: In Snow Crash he is busy building a space infrastructure that is immaterial to the plot of the book, while in Diamond Age, he is gone entirely.

Theory: Enoch as Hercules

Enoch could be Hercules' actual representation in this universe. Cunning instead of strength, could apply. What if the Solomonic Gold really is composed of golden nanomachines that can repair organic entities and sometimes reverse death? Suspect fire or a certain Biblical tale may activate them.

Theory: Enoch as Hermes

In Quicksilver Enoch is sometimes associated with quicksilver (the element Mercurium, Mercur being the Roman name for Hermes). In the Cryptonomicon the battle between Ares and Athena is described and the Arrow Books editions feature Ares on the cover of Confusion, Athena on the cover of The System Of The World and Hermes on the cover of Quicksilver. As Hermes is the patron of Hermetic alchemy (alternativly called Hermes Trismegistos and also identified as the Egyptian god Thoth) he is often a catalyst for knowledge. Enoch is described as a messenger and a trader in the beginning of Quicksilver and Hermes is the messenger of the gods and also the god of merchants (and thiefs). Also, the first word of the first chapter of Quicksilver is Enoch.

Enoch and eugenics

After finishing up with the Baroque Cycle last term I couldn't help but notice similarities between Enoch and Frank Herbert's Bene Gesserit. With obvious gender differences aside, Enoch's work in the Baroque Cycle and Cryptonomicon left me considering some ulterior motive.

Consider that throughout the books in which he is present, Enoch works as a shepherd and in some cases protector of the Shaftoe and Waterhouse families. The end result of this is the union of Randy Waterhouse and America Shaftoe. Perhaps a child would serve as Stephenson's own Kwisatz Haderach.


While the skill and cunning of many of Stephenson's characters is clearly a bit out there, Root is the only character in the Baroque Cycle who is markedly supernatural, living longer, traveling faster, and knowing more than the novels ever give a satisfactory explanation for. Hackers exist in real life, but gods do not. Yet many people believe in the existence of a magnificent root user in the sky, a deus who, every once in a while, appears ex machina to save the plot. There is nothing preventing the author from thinking of some fanciful naturalistic explanation for this character later; he has explained weirder things away in his literary career ever since the radio-active rats in The Big U.

Related entries

External links

A better question?

Sleeping Heroes:

Stay weird! - Sparky