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

by Tom Sito

Not Yet Publishedpaperback$24.95 978-0-8131-4114-5
Availablecloth$35.00x 978-0-8131-2407-0
Availableweb pdf$35.00 978-0-8131-7148-7
Availableepub$35.00 978-0-8131-3836-7
440 pages  Pubdate:   6.129 x 9.25  photos, illus

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.

Former president of the Hollywood Animation Guild (1992-2001), Tom Sito is an animator, director, and adjunct professor in the television and cinema departments at the University of southern California and at UCLA. His screen credits include Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. In 1995, he left a Disney directorship post to help set up the Dreamwords Animation unit. In 1998, he was names as one of the most important people in animation by Animation Magazine.

Sito's connections allowed him access to data and illustrations hard to come by, and he enriches the book with numerous anecdotes gleaned from conversations with top animators and his own 30-year animation experience. Recommended. All readers; all levels. -- Choice

[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. -- International Socialism

The stories he tells are alternately heartbreaking and hilarious, infused with the irreverence that's always characterized this field. Anyone with more than a passing interest in the world of animation should consider this book a must-read. -- Leonard Maltin

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. -- LeonardMaltin.com

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

Contains the best account yet of the 1941 Walt Disney strike, with documentation of the union side. -- London Review of Books

Sito . . . crafts an appealing analysis of the heretofore undocumented tensions resulting from the production process of one of America’s most enduring cultural media. Drawing the Line is a fine analysis of an intriguing aspect of the labour history made all the more so by the author’s obvious passion for the subject and its actors. Thanks to the nature of the subject matter, the reader is treated to a plethora of rare and humorous cartoons and photos which give the narrative a real human dimension. 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, University of Toronto

“Sito is at his best sorting through the issues arising from [the arrival of computers]… given that in a sense all cinema is animation, the demarcation and jurisdictional lines between special effects, digital artists (no more inkers and painters), various managers and supervisors became very complex indeed.” -- Rick Thompson -- Screening the Past

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 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. -- Man vs. Art