Monday, July 09, 2007

Dave Hilberman, RIP

A day on Buena Vista Street, Burbank California. June, 1941.

Dave Hilberman, one of the great veterans of the animation industry, who worked everywhere and did everything, died this past week. He follows his wife Libbie, who passed away last year....

Dave played a large part in the unionization of Southern California's animation industry. TAG President emeritus Tom Sito recounts:

In summer 1940, [Screen Cartoonists Guild] secretary Charlotte Darling asked Disney layout man Dave Hilberman if the Disney employees would go union. Hilberman held a secret meeting at his Beachwood Canyon house. He explained to the artists assembled that if a majority of the studio employees were to sign representation cards, the federal government would acknowledge their union, and Walt would have to agree. To Hilberman's surprise, the artists started to sign cards by the dozen.

Ten months later, Disney employees went on strike for union recognition, changing the industry for decades to come.

Dave never again worked for Walt Disney Productions. Back to Mr. Sito:

Dave Hilberman (1907-2007) - Artist, designer, and union activist. Hilberman worked at Disney, where he was one of the strike leaders. In 1947, Walt Disney denounced Hilberman to the House Un-American Activities Committee, saying he was a Communist. Dave was one of the founders of UPA and later Tempo Productions in New York. He later settled in Palo Alto, California, and had a long teaching career at San Francisoc State College.

So long, Dave. Few people stay true to principle, but you were one of them. You'll be missed.


Anonymous said...

You're a lucky guy if you get to work with your heroes. I followed Dave's work when I was still a kid in school. Years later, I actually got to work with him.
He was a great artist, and he fought for what was right.

Sorry, Walt. Your loss.

Unknown said...

The family much appreciates the kind comments coming in from David's associates. He had a fine hand, great good humor and a wonderful dedication to social justice, for which he was harmed.

Dates: Dec 18,1911 - July 5, 2007
Mark Hilberman

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