Sunday, August 02, 2015

A Human Being With Human Short-Comings

Was Walt Disney an anti-Semite? Uh ... no.

... “Preposterous,” [Richard] Sherman several times called the charges during the Q&A.

Disney treated him and his brother, Robert, like his own sons, insisted Sherman, the son of Jewish immigrants who, with his brother, wrote some of Disney’s biggest music hits including songs for Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, and the Disney theme park tune It’s a Small World After All. ...

Was he anti-Communist? Anti-Screen Cartoonist Guild but pro-IATSE (the labor organization that employs yours truly?) Absolutely yes.

Did he carry grudges? And black-list key employees who walked out during the '41 strike, who he considered disloyal? You betchya.

In other words, a normal human being with the usual human foibles and prejudices. ...

The studio, back in Walt Disney's heyday, was also not the highest payer of animation salaries, not by a long-shot. As Woolie Reitherman once said:

"None of us got rich from the pay checks we got. We ended up well fof because of the stock options." ...

Some of the veterans kept their shares in Disney and became wealthy; others cashed the stock in and ended up less wealthy.


attmay said...

Why was Walt against the SCG but not against the IATSE?

Steve Hulett said...

My understanding is Disney took the '41 strike personally. The job action lasted a couple of months, and during that time the IATSE attempted to come in and represent Disney artists. (At the time, the International Alliance had a wee bit of corruption going on in its top ranks, and Disney artists didn't want to be repped by the IA.)

But a decade later, with the Screen Cartoonists an "orphan union" (after the Conference of Studio Unions to which it belonged had lost a larger war for labor representation in Hollywood to the IATSE), Walt worked with IA rep Roy Brewer to launch Local 839. There was an industry-wide vote over which union -- Local 839 or the Screen Cartoonists Guild -- would represent animation employees, and Local 839 won.

So. It took Walt Disney ten years to do it, but he finally defeated the Guild that had struck against him in the early years of Hollywood unionism. And now you know MORE of the story.

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