NLRB v. Walt Disney Productions
Testimony: Day 6 of 7
October 15, 1942
Witnesses for the Defense: Gunther Lessing, Harold Adelquist, Walt Disney
The Prosecution calls to the stand top players of the Disney company, including the Disney attorney who had been leading legal proceedings thus far, vice president Gunther Lessing. When Walt takes the stand, he is overwhelmed and the court takes a recess before he can collect himself again. Walt genuinely describes Babbitt as having lost his confidence after the new wave of animators rose.
Pages (as notated in the top corners)
844 – GUNTHER LESSING is called to the witness's stand. He describes his background and his friendship with Babbitt.
858 – How Lessing helped to form the Federation.
862 – When IATSE signed up Disney cameramen in 1940
866 – When Babbitt was nominated for Guild chairman.
868 – Franz Baur the traffic boy
869 – The arbitration award, and Babbitt's criminal record
876 – HAROLD ADELQUIST says that Tashlin was not worth rehiring, and that shorts cost $40K.
881 – Babbitt was not as good as Sibley (and the Labor Board's attorney Ryan is losing his cool).
887 – CROSS EXAMINATION: The non-strikers developed a bias and resentment towards the strikers
891 – Walt was aware of Babbitt's high salary.
895 – Sweatboxes
899 – Reluctant Dragon Goofy animation
901 – The judge presses why, if they were friends, did Adelquist select Babbitt for layoff
905 – REDIRECT EXAMINATION: His and Babbitt's wives were friends and then Babbitt and she divorced.
911 – GUNTHER LESSING says he attended many strike meetings.
912 – CROSS EXAMINATION: Lessing says the Board identified Babbitt as a "stool pigeon," but the Board denies this.
916 – Submission of documents. The company cannot produce Ben Sharpsteen as he is in Washington on business.
932 – WALT DISNEY addresses his February 10&11 1941 speech.
940 – Walt says the world market hurt the studio
943 – He says that he tried to avoid layoffs in 1940 by increasing shorts output (noting the cost of features).
945 – Stockholders told Walt to layoff his staff, hence the May 1941 layoff.
947 – Walt returned from South America having to shelve two features (Wind in the Willows and "The Mickey Feature")
951 – Babbitt was once innovative, but no more, and is difficult to work with and does not draw on model.
958 – Babbitt's high salary was because Walt does not demote an artist, and he wished to return Babbitt's confidence.