Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The more things change ...

When TAG's President Emeritus Tom Sito was preparing his book Drawing the Line about the history of animation unions, he borrowed a collection of old Screen Cartoonists Guild newsletters from Judy Levitow, daughter of the late director, animator and union activist Abe Levitow.

In March 2006, a month after the TAG Blog started, Kevin Koch put up two posts from that collection, of pro-union political cartoons from 1950, the year of some tough contract talks with studios including Disney, Warner Bros, Lantz and MGM. We're bringing them back below the fold ...

The captions are from Kevin's comments in the original post. You can click on the slides to link to larger images.

In addition to having been very active in the Screen Cartoonists Guild, Abe Levitow (1922-1975) was an animator and director for Warners, MGM and UPA, for which he directed the Gay Purr-ee feature and the Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol TV special. His daughter Judy worked for a few years as an assistant animator, but more recently can be heard as a traffic reporter on just about every local radio station.


Floyd Norman said...

Seeing these old gags is scary. A reminder that little has changed in the last fifty years.

The big dogs still run the show, don't they?

Anonymous said...

I'll bet there are skilled craftsmen from the middle ages who could look at those gags and say little has changed in 550 years.

The little guys (which is pretty much all of us, much as some want to think otherwise) have never gotten anything except by sticking together. It's sad to think that there was a lot more unity among animators and industry artists 50 years ago than there is now.

Steven Kaplan said...

Its sad to think there's less solidarity across the nation as a whole than there was 50 years ago.

In today's times, the conservative right have waged effective campaigns against the tenants of collective thought .. much less action.

At times like these, I take solace in the knowledge that history tends to repeat itself. The middle class will struggle to protect itself only when its imminent demise is thrust in its collective face. I happen to think that time is sooner instead of later.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand this...

The conservative right in this instance is carrying the torch for the majority of public sentiment. That sentiment is based on basic arithmetic. And nowhere else does it resonate more than here in the state of California.

We cannot afford the government union's deals.

In other words: 2+2=4. The money IS NOT THERE. You can frame this as an attack against unions, but its not. Its a sensible re-evaluating of bills that stack higher and higher and higher. There is a referendum coming up to raise taxes here in CA and already polling shows it is opposed by over 60%. What am I supposed to love my supposed fellow public unions(who have nothing to do with my private union) by paying more money? What am I supposed to subsidize my livelihood for their fat pensions?

Why is that different from subsidizing the heads of the studios? They retire with six figure annual pensions too? What the hell am I going to get out of this? Nothing.
Think about it.

The approach to this issue is illustrated wonderfully in the old "Reason & Emotion" cartoon:

We are $26 billion in debt. The teachers in this state are the second highest paid teachers in the nation(a hair beyond NY) and they are going to rally for higher taxes on all of us to pay them more???

They have 14 weeks off per year. Cry me a river. I'm not paying them more money. Their performance in Los Angeles is abysmal. Why should I pay more taxes for them???

We cannot afford the public unions deals. Period.
Its basic math. Its like suddenly no one can add anymore and they want me to make a decision based on passion rather than logic. The reason the referendum will be shot down is not because people hate unions or because of the conservative right.

Its because the majority of America understands basic math and they can see that we cannot afford these sweetheart deals.

Anonymous said...

If the teachers in California took a 20% pay cut tomorrow, they would STILL be the second highest paid teachers in the nation.

And they are going to march in the streets complaining about how its a war on the middle class if we don't raise taxes to give them more money. What is this bizarro world???


pappy d said...

Just to bring the conversation back to animation, I think the whole problem comes down to subsidising children.

We are trying to integrate with a Global Free Market while investing too much in Americans who don't contribute to the Economy. Our kids can do anything a Sri Lankan child can do. It's time to bring manufacturing back to America.

Once they have disposable income of their own, they'll demand funny cartoons again.

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