The Disney Revolt: The Great Labor War of Animation's Golden Age

The Disney Revolt: The Great Labor War of Animation's Golden Age

by Jake S. Friedman
The Disney Revolt: The Great Labor War of Animation's Golden Age

The Disney Revolt: The Great Labor War of Animation's Golden Age

by Jake S. Friedman


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An essential piece of Disney history has been largely unreported for eighty years.

Soon after the birth of Mickey Mouse, one animator raised the Disney Studio far beyond Walt’s expectations. That animator also led a union war that almost destroyed it. Art Babbitt animated for the Disney studio throughout the 1930s and through 1941, years in which he and Walt were jointly driven to elevate animation as an art form, up through Snow White, Pinocchio, and Fantasia.

But as America prepared for World War II, labor unions spread across Hollywood. Disney fought the unions while Babbitt embraced them. Soon, angry Disney cartoon characters graced picket signs as hundreds of animation 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.

Using never-before-seen research from previously lost records, including conversation transcriptions from within the studio walls, author and historian Jake S. Friedman reveals the details behind the labor dispute that changed animation and Hollywood forever.
The Disney Revolt is an American story of industry and of the underdog, the golden age of animated cartoons at the world’s most famous studio.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780913705179
Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 09/12/2023
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 284,012
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Jake S. Friedman is an animation historian and author of The Art of Blue Sky Studios and The Disney Afternoon. He has appeared as an expert on TV documentaries and written for Animation Magazine, American History Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Philadelphia Daily News. He worked for ten years as an animation artist on television shows and features, and now works as a mental health specialist, teaching the occasional History of Animation course at NYU or FIT. He lives with his wife in New York City.

Table of Contents

Author’s Note
Part I: Innovation
1. My Father Was a Socialist
2. Poor and Starving
3. The Value of Loyalty
4. Arthur Babbitt: Hell-Raiser
5. Fighting for His Salary
6. You Can’t Draw Your Ass
7. The Disney Art School
8. Three Little Pigs
9. Enter Bioffsky
10. The Cult of Personality
11. A Feature-Length Cartoon
12. Bioff Stakes His Claim
13. A Drunken Mouse
14. Disney’s Folly
15. Defense Against the Enemy
Part II: Turmoil
16. A Growing Divide
17. The Norconian
18. A Wooden Boy and a World War
19. Dreams Shattered
20. Hilberman, Sorrell, and Bioff
21. The Federation Versus the Guild
22. The Guild and Babbitt
23. Disney Versus the Labor Board
24. The Final Strike Vote
25. Strike!
26. The Big Stick
27. The 21 Club
28. Willie Bioff and Walt Disney
29. The Guild and the CIO
30. Not the Drawing
31. The Final Goodbye
32. And They Lived
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