Robin Williams

“You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it” – Robin Williams

  • Robin Williams was a prominent actor, comedian, screenwriter and film producer, that started acting in the early 1970s, continuing on until his death in 2014, and a significant component of his work was unscripted and improvised.
  • Robin McLaurin Williams, or ‘Robin Williams’ as he was known, was born in Chicago in the United States state of Illinois, on 21 July, 1951, and he was the great, great grandson of governor Anselm J McLaurin from Mississippi.
  • Robin Williams was nominated for and received numerous awards during his lifetime, gaining two Emmys, five Grammys, four Golden Globes, an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the film Good Will Hunting, and the Golden Globe Cecil B DeMille Award for ‘outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment’.
  • Robin Williams died on 11 August, 2014, in California’s Marin County, in the United States, and despite being a well-loved actor, it is believed he hung himself after suffering from significant depression.
  • Robin Williams attended New York’s Juilliard School and became successfully popular as an alien in 1978 on Happy Days, a television show, that launched his acting career and led to his leading role in the television series Mork and Mindy that ran from 1978 to 1982.
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Robin Williams
Image courtesy of Eva Rinaldi/Flickr
  • Robin Williams has been featured in 80 films, including Popeye (1980), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poet’s Society (1989), Aladdin (1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Night at the Museum (2006) and Happy Feet (2006), and also made numerous television appearances.
  • In 1993, Robin Williams had a dispute with The Walt Disney Company, due to the belief that the company broke their agreement of the use of his character, Genie in the marketing of the Aladdin film, in 1992.
  • From the 1970s to 1980s, Robin Williams was addicted to drugs and alcohol, and after years of self-restraint, he resumed drinking alcohol in 2003, although later he attended rehabilitation to overcome his addiction.
  • Robin Williams was married to Valerie Velardi from 1978 to 1988, Marsha Garces from 1989 to 2008 and Susan Schneider from 2011 until his death in 2014, and he had three children named Zachary, Zelda and Cody, born in the years of 1983, 1989 and 1991, respectively.
  • Robin Williams enjoyed playing electronic games and was an avid cyclist and enthusiast, and in 2003 is said to have owned more than 50 bicycles.
Robin Williams, 2014, Bio,
Robin Williams, 2014, Wikipedia,


E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

“E.T. phone home.” – E.T. from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a Steven Spielberg science fiction film produced by Amblin Entertainment, directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Melissa Mathison, and distributed by Universal Pictures.
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial‘ is commonly called ‘E.T.’ and, during production it was known as ‘A Boy’s Life’ to protect it from being copied.
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial  is about a lone boy, Elliot, who helps an extraterrestrial, E.T., return home while evading the government.
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is based on the memories and feelings Spielberg had after the divorce of his parents, as well as parts of the unproduced film Night Skies.
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was a blockbuster film, earning a world total of over $700 million at the box office during its initial release, and was the highest grossing film ever, remaining in that position for ten years, after its release on 11th June, 1982.
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Film cover
Image courtesy of Universal Studios
  • The four main characters of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial were acted by Henry Thomas, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore and Dee Wallace, making up the family in the film.
  • Four E.T. puppet heads for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial were made, as well as a costume and other parts for the character, costing $1.5 million, with E.T. being played by three different people – two dwarfs and a legless boy.
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was re-released in 1985, and then in 2002 for the film’s 20th anniversary, screening at cinemas, and the 2002 version had some added and adjusted scenes.
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial had a budget of $10.5 million, is listed among the best films of all time and won four Oscars of the nominated nine Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and a number of other awards.
  • A sequel film was planned for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial called E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears, however the idea was shelved, although E.T was made into an Atari video game that was a major flop and was dubbed ‘the worst game of all time’, and a book adaption with a sequel was also created.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, 2014, Wikipedia,



Universal Studios

“A Comcast Company” – Universal Studios slogan.

  • The Universal Studios is a major film studio that produces motion picture films, and the main production studios are located in Universal City, California in the United States.
  • ‘Universal Studios’ has also been known as ‘Universal Pictures’ and is officially known as ‘Universal Studios Incorporation’, and its parent company is ‘NBCUniversal Incorporated’.
  • Universal Studios was founded in 1912 as the ‘Universal Film Manufacturing Company’, which was a merger of a number of other studios, making it the oldest United States film studio, and it ranks fourth oldest among the studios of the world that are still producing.
  • The Universal Studios has released three films during its history that have been the top grossing film at the time: ‘Jaws’ in 1975; ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ in 1982; and ‘Jurassic Park’ in 1993.
  • The Universal Studios was originally founded by 8 people, with Carl Laemmle as the first company president, who later bought out his partners.

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Universal Logo from 2012
Image Courtesy of Universal Studios
  • During its hundred years, Universal Studios has been owned by or merged with many organisations, including International Pictures, Music Cooperation of America, Matsushita (now Panasonic), Seagram, Vivendi and in 2004, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) which is now owned by Comcast Corporation.
  • The Universal Studios have studios and theme parks in California’s Hollywood and Florida’s Orlando in the United States, and Japan and Singapore in Asia, and have more planned for the future in other locations around the world.
  • In 2011, the Universal Studios had a revenue of US$4.239 billion, and its 100th anniversary was celebrated in 2012 with a new improved logo and a project of restoring and reviving thirteen of its films.
  • According to legend, the Universal Studios original name was named by the original president based on a wagon he saw with the printed words on it, ‘Universal Pipe Fittings’.
  • The Universal Studio logo in 1914 originally resembled the planet Saturn, and its concept is still used today, with the planet being Earth and the text wrapping around it.
Gallagher B, Universal Pictures Celebrates 100th Anniversary with Restoration of 13 Classic Films, 2012, Movieweb,
The Story Behind… The Universal Pictures Logo, n.d, My Film Views,
Universal Studios, 2014, Wikipedia,

Universal Studios Films 

Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple: a very young star of the depression era.

  • Shirley Temple, born on 23 April, 1928, in Santa Monica, in the USA’s California, was a juvenile actress from three years old.
  • Shirley Temple married first in 1945 to John Agar, had a daughter, and divorced a few years later, and remarried in 1950 to Charles Black whom she was married to for 54 years until he died, the marriage of which produced a daughter and a son.
  • Shirley Temple was the ‘world’s number one box-office star’ for four years in a row; the first juvenile actress to win an Oscar (Juvenile Oscar), an award she received in 1935 for ‘outstanding contributions to screen entertainment’; and she also won other notable awards.
  • Shirley Temple is known for her star role in the film ‘The Little Princess’, in 1939, which was her first Technicolour movie, and she featured in at least 40 films in her 19 years as an actress.
  • Shirley Temple retired from acting in 1950 after starring in a number of consecutive low profit films, and after losing an acting spot in ‘Peter Pan’.

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Young Temple
Image courtesy of Gushi Soda/Flickr
  • Shirley Temple ventured into the political industry in 1967, and was the first Chief of Protocol of the United States to be female in gender, from 1976 to 1977.
  • Shirley Temple was one of the first famous women to announce their breast cancer to the public, being diagnosed in 1972 and announced in 1973.
  • Shirley Temple died from natural causes on 10 February, 2014, in California, at 85 years of age.
  • As an adult, Shirley Temple became a diplomat, which included work as a United States ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.
  • As an actress, Shirley Temple generally worked for 20th Century Fox, as well as Universal, Paramount and Warner Bros studios.
Shirley Temple, 2014, Wikipedia,
Brumfield B, Famed former child actress Shirley Temple dies, 2014, CNN,
Shirley Temple: the superstar who had her childhood destroyed by Hollywood, 2008, Daily Mail


Play School (Australia)

“Open wide, … it’s Play School.”

  • Play School is an award winning television program, that has educational and entertainment content targeted at children in the preschool years, and is broadcasted at least once every weekday on multiple ABC, Australian Broadcasting Company channels.
  • The first Australian version of Play School was produced and broadcasted on 18 July, 1966, and was based on the same-named British program that began in 1964.
  • Play School generally features games, activities like craft and cooking, and songs, as well as telling the time, naming the day of the week, and looking through the window into ‘reality’.
  • In 2000, Play School commenced major changes to its set, such as making it more colourful and changing features such as the clock and the windows.
  • Play School won Logie’s Most Outstanding Children’s Program, in 1998, appeared in the Logie Hall Of Fame in 2006, and won Aria’s award for Best Children’s Album in 1997.

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Image Courtesy of Play School
  • Play School have released 17 albums containing many popular songs, with many more featured on the program.
  • Play School is typically presented by two people, and has had more than 100 people featured as presenters on the program during its history.
  • Play School has a repertoire of over 4,500 episodes in over 45 years and 46 seasons, and is the second longest running children’s television show in the English-speaking world.
  • Play School features many different toys, with the main toys named Big Ted, Little Ted, Jemima and Humpty.
  • In a week, Play School, on estimate, is viewed by 4 out of 5 children under the age of six, at least once during that time.
Play School (Australian TV Series), 2014, Wikipedia,
Taylor R, Play Schooling for 45 Years, 2011,,

             Playschool CDs


“See something, feel something” – Slogan of FOXTEL

  • FOXTEL is a company that supplies customers with a payed television channel service; broadcasting in many Australian cities and towns.
  • FOXTEL is owned equally by Telstra and News Corp Australia, telecommunication and mass media companies respectively.
  • The name ‘FOXTEL’, was derived from a blend of ‘Fox’, from the original News Corporation’s Fox Broadcasting Company, and ‘tel’, from Telstra.
  • The most popular entertainment program broadcasted with FOXTEL is ‘The Simpsons’, with approximately 110,000 people watching the show each week night.
  • FOXTEL is the current holder of the record of the most views of a single program in one day on paid television, and set the record in 2007, 2011, and, most recently, with nearly 950,000 viewers, for the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

FOXTEL, Logo, Orange, 2012, copyright, Television, Ten Random Facts

Image courtesy of Foxtel
  • FOXTEL was formed in 1995, with 20 channels, broadcasted by Telstra, while the connections and channel negotiations were organised by News Corp.
  • In 2012, FOXTEL had over 1.68 million people subscribed to its service and 70% of homes in Australia would have been able to access the network once they had paid for the service.
  • FOXTEL was not permitted to include advertising during programs for the first two years of broadcasting, and still can not earn over 50% of its income via advertising.
  • FOXTEL broadcasts hundreds of different programs, and popular channels include entertainment, sport, documentaries and news.
  • In the 2009 to 2010 financial year, FOXTEL boasted an income of AUD$2.2 billion and a profit of AUD$258 million.
Foxtel announces integration progress and earnings growth, 2012, FOXTEL,
Foxtel, 2014, Wikipedia,


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