Category Archives: 1941: The Disney Strike

May-August 1941

The Truth about Dave Hilberman

Let’s get one thing straight. In 1947, when Walt Disney spoke to the House of Un-American Activities Committee during the country’s hunt for Communists, he named only four names. Three of those names were business managers of the Screen Cartoonists … Continue reading

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“Picket Lines in Paradise”

Read my feature article for American History Magazine on Art Babbitt and the Disney Strike, “Picket Lines in Paradise.”  You’ll find it in the June 2017 issue of the magazine. It has been a couple months since the issue hit … Continue reading

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Wise words

            “Never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”                 – Hillary Clinton’s concession speech, November 9, 2016

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Dumbo! During Labor Unrest!

                      This week marks the 75th birthday of one of my favorite films of all time, Dumbo (1941).  Amazing, right?  Watch it today and it feels as timeless as ever.  … Continue reading

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Disney and the Mob: Willie Bioff

Let’s talk about the mob for a minute. There was a man named Willie Bioff.  He was a member of Al Capone’s gang, as was his partner, George Browne.  They were both top men of the Hollywood stagehands’ union, the … Continue reading

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The Late Great Willie Pyle

On June 2nd at 8am, my friend Willis Pyle died of a heart attack in his New York City apartment.  Willie was 101 years old, but was sharp and witty to the end.  I was told that he was doing … Continue reading

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The Guild Vies for Disney Animators

In March 1941, the Screen Cartoon Guild (later the Screen Cartoonists Guild) was doing its hardest to attract Disney artists.  Other studios were already signed up, like MGM, George Pal, and Screen Gems (Columbia).  And Schlesinger (Warner Bros) was already … Continue reading

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Babbitt Boycotts his Boss

Whether you’re loyalist or whether you’re on the verge of striking, if you’re a Disney employee in early March 1941, you’ve got to hand it to Babbitt — this man has some serious moxy. Babbitt had been frustrated as hell … Continue reading

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The Fake Disney Union Strikes HARD

By February 1941, the fake Disney union, the company-run FEDERATION OF SCREEN CARTOONISTS, was under threat.  Rounding the corner was an actual independent union, the SCREEN CARTOONISTS GUILD.  The GUILD had already signed up the animators of MGM.  Around Feb … Continue reading

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The Fake Disney Union

As noted in the previous post, the fake (i.e. company-based, non-independent) union was called the FEDERATION OF SCREEN CARTOONISTS and was formed collaboratively Between Disney’s vice president/head lawyer Gunther Lessing, and top animator Art Babbitt.  Executive officers include president Art … Continue reading

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