Friday, June 06, 2014

Art Babbitt, Gunther Lessing, and the Disney Strike

Jake Friedman is working on an authorized biography of animator Art Babbitt.  He also has a blog where he has been publishing various Babbitt-related documents and footage.  His latest entry is below, chronicling the relationship between Babbitt and Gunther Lessing, attorney for the Disney studio.  I wish that it had been uploaded at a higher resolution, so that the documents on screen would be clearer.

The Disney strike is one of those seismic events that continued to be influential long after it was over.  It caused people to leave Disney, others to be fired, and many of those people moved to other studios, spreading the knowledge they gained at Disney.  It also created animosities that continued for decades.

If the Disney studio had negotiated a contract with the Federation of Screen Cartoonists and blocked the entry of IATSE, would the strike have occurred?  The history of the Disney studio and unionism in animation might have been significantly different, but the opportunity was missed.

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