Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The More Things Change ...


The morning mail brings an old union newsletter into our hands. Long-time member Annie Guenther sends along an April, 1972 Pegboard which has the following snippet from Variety:

Writers Guild of America, West, seeking jurisdiction of scripters in the animation field, has withdrawn petition for jurisdiction of scripters at Filmation and Hanna-Barbera Productions. However, guild has filed a new petition with National Labor Relations Board in which it seeks jurisdiction of scripters working for all member companies of Animated Film Producers Assn.

New petition embraces not just H-B and Filmation, but also DePatie-Freleng, Walt Disney Productions, Walter Lantz, MGM and Warners.

Jurisdiction is currently held by International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes, Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists, Local 839 ...

Cartoonists Local, in turn, is contesting action by Writers Guild, claiming animation writers should be under its jurisdiction ...

And so on and so forth.

Not one hell of a lot has changed in thirty-six years. We'll see where things stand in 2044.

And while we're on the subject of dates and the general passage of time, let's salute the 49th anniversary of Sleeping Beauty, released on this date in 1959. The opus cost six million bucks and was one of the reasons Disney cut loose 80% of its animation staff when production was over.

Dave Michener recounted to me how, as a young assistant, he saw Walt walking out of the studio theater after it was finished, shaking his head over the costs. The studio didn't make its expenses back during Beauty's initial run.

Regardless, the picture was festooned with firsts and lasts.

SB was the first feature that Woolie Reitherman directed. (He was one of three credited directors, if memory serves.)

It was the first animated feature to be filmed in 70mm.

It was the last Disney feature to be inked.

No wonder the flick cost $6,000,000. Until The Rescuers eighteen years later, it held the record for dollars spent on an animated feature.

The PB masthead up above is the handiwork of TAG Prez emeritus Tom Yakutis. And it's a masthead from the middle 1970s, not 1972.


Anonymous said...

Great Post!!
I am more interesting about what happened when SB was released.
It is remembered as a flop because it didn't recoup its cost during its initial run. But I read that it was one of the most watched film of that year, isn't it?
What did the critics say?
And I read also that Disney overlooked the project because he was busy with his next project, Disneyland. Am I right?
Thank you very much

Jeff Massie said...

With due respect to all the brilliant artists who've done Peg-Board logos over the years, this is still my all-time favorite. (Click the above thumbnail for a full view.)

Tom recalled designing it in the late '60s, during a period when the PB editorship was ... in flux. The only issue I ever saw with this logo was an undated mimeograph listed as edited by Larry Kilty, the then-biz rep, who was booted out in 1972.

I found Yakutis's original art in a back room and spent years begging to (re)use it. In 1991 I got my wish.

Stephen Worth said...

I just posted a 1946 issue of "The Animator" on the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive site. We were donated two identical copies, so if you need a copy for TAG's archive, I'd be happy to pass one on to you.

See ya

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