Author Jake S. Friedman joins us with moderator John Canemaker for an in-person discussion at the Center for Jewish History.
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.
Jake S. Friedman is a New York–based writer, teacher, and artist. He is a longtime contributor to Animation Magazine, and has also written for American History Magazine, The Huffington Post, Animation World Network, Animation Mentor, and The Philadelphia Daily News. For ten years he was an animation artist for films and television as seen on Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, and Saturday Night Live. He currently teaches History of Animation at the Fashion Institute of Technology and at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. The rest of his time he specializes in mental health for the creative psyche.
John Canemaker has won an Academy Award, an Emmy and a Peabody Award for his animation and is an internationally renowned animation historian and teacher at NYU. His film, The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation, won an Oscar in 2005 for Best Animated Short, as well as an Emmy. A 28-minute autobiographical essay about a troubled father/son relationship, The Moon and the Son marked a personal and professional breakthrough in animation storytelling. Canemaker is also a noted author who has written nine books on animation, as well as numerous essays, articles and monographs for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications.
Ticket Info: $10 General Admission or $35 Admission + Copy of the Book