Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson

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Overview

Some of the most beloved characters in film and television inhabit two-dimensional worlds that spring from the fertile imaginations of talented animators. The movements, characterizations, and settings in the best animated films are as vivid as any live action film, and sometimes seem more alive than life itself. In this case, Hollywood's marketing slogans are fitting; animated stories are frequently magical, leaving memories of happy endings in young and old alike. However, the fantasy lands animators create bear little resemblance to the conditions under which these artists work. Anonymous animators routinely toiled in dark, cramped working environments for long hours and low pay, especially at the emergence of the art form early in the twentieth century. In Drawing the Line, veteran animator Tom Sito chronicles the efforts of generations of working men and women artists who have struggled to create a stable standard of living that is as secure as the worlds their characters inhabit. The former president of America's largest animation union, Sito offers a unique insider's account of animators' struggles with legendary studio kingpins such as Jack Warner and Walt Disney, and their more recent battles with Michael Eisner and other Hollywood players. Based on numerous archival documents, personal interviews, and his own experiences, Sito's history of animation unions is both carefully analytical and deeply personal. Drawing the Line stands as a vital corrective to this field of Hollywood history and is an important look at the animation industry's past, present, and future. Like most elements of the modern commercial media system, animation is rapidly being changed by the forces of globalization and technological innovation. Yet even as pixels replace pencils and bytes replace paints, the working relationship between employer and employee essentially remains the same. In Drawing the Line, Sito challenges the next wave of animators to heed the lessons of their predecessors by organizing and acting collectively to fight against the enormous pressures of the marketplace for their class interests — and for the betterment of their art form.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Sito describes the history and fiery personalities behind the formation of the Screen Cartoonists Union, the strikes and walk-outs, the effects of Hollywood blacklisting, and the battles at the bargaining tables." — Man vs. Art
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813124070
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 10/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 440
  • Sales rank: 1,330,975
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Former president of the Hollywood Animation Guild (1992-2001), Tom Sito is an animator, director, and adjunct professor in the television and cinema departments at the University of southern California and at UCLA. His screen credits include Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. In 1995, he left a Disney directorship post to help set up the Dreamwords Animation unit. In 1998, he was names as one of the most important people in animation by Animation Magazine.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : why a history of animation unions? 1
1 The world of the animation studio : the carton assembly line 7
2 Suits : producers as artists see them 31
3 Hollywood labor, 1933-1941 : the birth of cartoonists unions 57
4 The Fleischer strike : a union busted, a studio destroyed 77
5 The great disney studio strike : the Civil War of animation 101
6 The war of Hollywood and the blacklist : 1945-1953 153
7 A bag of oranges : the terrytoons strike and the great white father 197
8 Lost generations : 1952-1988 213
9 Animation and the global market : the runaway wars, 1979-1982 247
10 Fox and hounds : the torch seen passing 285
11 Camelot : 1988-2001 293
12 Animation ... isn't that all done on computers now? : the digital revolution 319
Conclusion : where to now? 345
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2006

    Not just for animation buffs

    DRAWING THE LINE is the only available history of the first American artists' union. It's a smashing read since Tom Sito knows how to tell a good story and knows a lot about the field (he's had a thirty year career in animation and also was President of the MPSC union for years.) DRAWING THE LINE is useful for students of American labor history as well as animators.

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