But today I’m going to present some non-exclusive documents – – information public to everyone in the U.S. It’s a birds-eye-view of an entire decade of through records that are open to anyone. So join me through the annals of the the library as we look at Walt Disney and Art Babbitt through public records.
The 1930 Census
In 1930, Art Babbitt was living at 170 Bloomfield Ave (Broadway) in Passaic, NJ, with his wife Rose. He was renting an apartment for $40 a month. He was 22 years old, Rose was 20. He was 22 when he married her, she was 19. He told the census taker that his parents were born in Iowa, and he was employed as a commercial artist for motion pictures.
Now, it’s worth noting that Art Babbitt admitted to marrying three times – but does not include Rose in that number. Apparently, he and she annulled their marriage shortly after (more on Rose on another day). He also tells the census taker that his parents were from Iowa: a lie – they were from Russia and raised Art in Iowa. Arthur’s desire to distance himself from his Russian heritage may have been a result of the ongoing Red Scare that had started around 1920. He also started going by the last name “Babbitt” instead of “Babitzky” around this time.
Meanwhile, at 2495 Lyric Ave in Los Angeles, CA, Walt Disney owned an $8000 home with his wife Lillian. He was 28, she was 30, and he was 24 when they married. His father was from English-speaking Canada, his mother from Ohio. He worked as a producer of motion pictures.
Back before air travel became commonplace, people would travel cross-county either by train, car, or a mini-cruise on a ship through the Panama Canal.
On August 17th, 1934, Art Babbitt departed on a boat from New York to arrive at L.A. on Sept 3rd. By now He was living at a swanky bachelor pad on Tuxedo Terrace in Hollywood. He lied about his age here, adding 3 years.
Art, who had already animated on “The Three Little Pigs”, traveled with friends Frank Churchill (composer of “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf”), Dick Lundy (main animator on “Three Little Pigs”), and Art’s friend and fellow animator, Les Clark.
Art was still living on Tuxedo Terrace, and he’s still lying about his age. He says he’s 30, but he’s only 27.
By now Art had been sharing his home with his friend, animator Bill Tytla. ……………………………………..
On July 24th that year, Walt Disney, his wife, brother and sister-in-law departed Naples, Italy and arrived in New York on August 1st. For their home address, they all put down that of the Disney animation studio on Hyperion Ave.
On August 1st, 1936, Art Babbitt departed New York to arrive in Los Angeles on August 16th.
He was still living on Tuxedo Terrace, and still lying about his age.
At this time, Art has been courting Marge Champion, the model for Snow White.
Flash forward three years. Snow White is a hit, and they’re working on Pinocchio and Fantasia. Walt Disney and his whole family – wife, daughter, brother, sister-in-law, nephew – depart Honolulu, Hawaii on Sept 29, 1939 and arrive in Los Angeles on Oct 4.
———–Stay tuned for more! —————–