The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson

     Author: Tom Sito

     Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
     Published: October 2006

     ISBN-10: 0-8131-2407-7
     ISBN-13: 978-0-8131-2407-0

     University Press of Kentucky

As cartoons and animated features became an increasingly important part of the entertainment business, the production of cartoons industrialized to meet growing demands for the new global media. Artists adopted traditional union models to protect their jobs and working conditions, and a unique set of unions was born.

Drawing the Line is the first labor history of an industry whose principle figures--Walt Disney, Chuck Jones, and Max Fleischer--helped define American entertainment. Author Tom Sito, Disney animator and former president of the Hollywood Animation Guild, draws on oral histories, archival information, and firsthand knowledge of the animation process to create an insider's history of a colorful set of labor unions.

Sito describes the history and fiery personalities behind the formation of the Screen Cartoonists Union, the strikes and walk-outs, the effects of Hollywood blacklisting, and the battles at the bargaining tables. He closes with a look at the changing nature of animation and the way in which current giants Disney and Dreamworks are again reshaping the relationship between studios and animators. Well illustrated with never-before-seen images from the backstage of classic Hollywood, Drawing the Line will change basic assumptions about animation history and its place in the story of American labor.


"Here is a unique perspective on the history of American animation, written by an artist and director who's also played a key role in his industry's labor movement. The stories he tells are alternately heartbreaking and hilarious... Anyone with more than a passing interest in the world of animation should consider this book a must-read."
     -- Leonard Maltin, LeonardMaltin.com

"Drawing the Line... contains the best account yet of the 1941 Walt Disney strike, with documentation of the union side."
     -- Mark Greif, London Review of Books

"Drawing the Line provides an invaluable point of entry for professional scholars who wish to further investigate the intriguing field of artistic unionism."
     -- Paul Lawrie, Labour/Le Travail

"[Sito's] marvelous book... provides a witty, passionate, radical insider's view of the American film industry that is indispensable reading for anyone interested in the cinema."
     -- John Newsinger, International Socialism

[read more endorsements for Drawing the Line]