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Explore the 1941 court case, Labor v. Disney

Praise for The Disney Revolt:

Leonard Maltin

Film critic and film historian, author of Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons

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“Jake S. Friedman has done an impressive job of research, to put it mildly. Without knowing the sequence of events it’s impossible to understand how this bitter strike came about. Add to that the perceived insults, slights and resentments and you have the stuff of great drama.”

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From the back flap:


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

But as America struggled through the Great Depression and an impending World War, labor unions spread across Hollywood. Disney fought the unions while Babbitt embraced them. Soon, angry Disney cartoon characters graced picket signs as hundreds of 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.

This is the untold story of American idealism, and how businessmen, artists, and the Mafia fought for control of the world’s most famous studio. Using never-before-seen research from previously lost records, including conversation transcripts from within the studio walls, author and historian Jake S. Friedman reveals the details behind the labor dispute that changed animation and Hollywood forever.

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