Book Talk: The Disney Revolt- The Great Labor War of Animation’s Golden Age
Author Jake S. Friedman joins us to discuss his book in-person at the Center for Jewish History.
Soon after the birth of Mickey Mouse, one animator raised Walt Disney Productions far beyond Walt’s expectations. That animator also led a union war that almost destroyed the company. Art Babbitt worked for the Disney studio throughout the 1930s and through 1941, years in which he and Walt were driven to elevate animation as an art form, as seen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, and Fantasia. But as America struggled through the Great Depression and an impending World War, labor unions spread across Hollywood. Disney fought the unions while Babbitt embraced them. Soon, angry Disney cartoon characters graced picket signs as hundreds of artists went out on strike. Adding fuel to the fire was Willie Bioff, one of Al Capone’s wiseguys, who was seizing control of Hollywood workers and vied for the animators’ union. This is the untold story of American idealism, and how businessmen, artists, and the Mafia fought for control of the world’s most famous studio. Using never-before-seen research from previously lost records, including conversation transcripts from within the studio walls, author and historian Jake S. Friedman reveals the details behind the labor dispute that changed animation and Hollywood forever.
Jake S. Friedman is a New York–based writer, teacher, and artist. He is a longtime contributor to Animation Magazine, and has also written for American History Magazine, The Huffington Post, Animation World Network, Animation Mentor, and The Philadelphia Daily News. For ten years he was an animation artist for films and television as seen on Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, and Saturday Night Live. He currently teaches History of Animation at the Fashion Institute of Technology and at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. The rest of his time he specializes in mental health for the creative psyche.
Tickets: $10 General Admission or $35 Admission + Copy of the Book