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Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson Hardcover – October 6, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 440 pages
  • Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky (October 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813124077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813124070
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #959,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"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

About the Author

Tom Sito is an animator, director, and adjunct professor in the television and cinema departments at the University of Southern California and at the University of California at Los Angeles. His screen credits include Beauty and the Beast, Shrek, and The Lion King. In 1998, Animation Magazine named him as one of the most important people in animation.



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.


More About the Author

Tom Sito is a long time animator, filmmaker and teacher.

He was born in Brooklyn New York, and educated in the arts of cartooning & animation at the High School of Art & Design, the School of Visual Arts and the Art Student's League. Among his influences there were Harvey Kurtzman, Will Eisner and Robert Beverly Hale.

Tom Sito has been an prolific animator since 1975. He has worked in all facets of animation- feature films, television shows, and commercials. Among his screen credits are the Disney classic films The Little Mermaid (1989), Who Framed Roger Rabbit?(1988), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994) and Pocahontas (1995) He co-directed the animation for the Warner Bros film Osmosis Jones (2001), and contributed to Shrek (2001), The Prince of Egypt(2000) and Garfield the Movie (2004). During that time he befriended and worked with many of the great artists of Hollywood animation's golden age, including Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Hanna & Barbera, Shamus Culhane and Disney's Nine Old Men.

After serving three terms as president of the Hollywood animators union, Tom became interested in telling their story, long ignored by other historians. The result was his first book DRAWING THE LINE: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE ANIMATION UNIONS FROM BOSKO TO BART SIMPSON (2006). He has also contributed the chapter on animation to Dr. Paul Buhle's anthology JEWS IN AMERICAN POPULAR CULTURE (2007).
He has also updated and revised John Halas & Harold Whitaker's famous how-to book TIMING FOR ANIMATION.

Tom Sito teaches animation at the University of Southern California, UCLA, Woodbury University and Santa Monica College. He is a member of the National Cartoonists Society, the Motion Picture Academy, Hollywood Heritage and is vice president of the Hollywood chapter of the international animators society, ASIFA.

He is currently at work on a new history of computer animation.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Yet there's also balance in the book.
Eric Niderost
For anyone interested in the history of animation or anyone looking to enter the animation industry, this book is an important historical account; a must-read.
Brittany Accardi
As a Disney enthusiast, I have found one of the most delicate and hard-to-research periods in Disney history was the 1941 studio strike.
bob68

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Beiman on September 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is not your typical university press book.

This is not your typical film or animation history book.

Tom Sito's DRAWING THE LINE is essential reading for historians of the 20th century, for labor historians, for filmmakers, for animators, and for anyone who wants to read an outstanding piece of writing.

It has a cast of thousands: Mafiosi, musicians, politicians, inventors, movie stars, producers, and animated cartoonists who were also labor activists.

If you are in the animation or film business, or a labor union, this book will raise your eyebrows more than once. If you are none of the above but want to learn about these things from the artist/worker's perspective, this book will educate you while entertaining you. (Remember when animated films did that?)

DRAWING THE LINE fills a huge gap in the history of the American labor movement. It is valuable history and it is also a lot of fun to read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Chillin on September 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The really wonderful thing about this book isn't the incredible facts about events that led up to our current state of affairs in the post-production world of motion picture making, it isn't the inside view from the old-timers of animation -- Yes, those are all wonderful things to have within a book on the animation world, but it is the prose of Tom Sito that makes this book sing!

I'm so glad that he has written his first. It's such a great read, I couldn't put it down. My wife had to take it away from me or I would have stayed up all night reading and been zonked at work.

I can't wait for the next one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M2 on November 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Yes, this is a history of union activity within the American animation industry, but don't think for a moment that it is a dry, dusty treatise on labor practises. Tom Sito has written a lively, anecdotal, funny, hugely entertaining and magnificently informative history of the animated cartoon -- where it came from, who was responsible, and how far it has come. At a time when legendary figures like Walt Disney tend to be Rushmoreized, Sito presents them as real, living and breathing people -- enormously talented, even brilliant, and sometimes conflicted, yes; but real. In the process he tells the stories of these cartoon creators that are often as funny and endearing as the cartoons themselves. This is not simply the story of animation, however. It is also the larger story of Hollywood and how its traumatic, sometimes even violent unionization efforts reflected what was going on everywhere in America.

Sito has written an important story with panache, wit, and a unique insider's perspective, and has created a book that everyone interested in classic Hollywood and the Golden Age of animation must have.
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Format: Hardcover
DRAWING THE LINE: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE ANIMATION UNIONS FROM BOSKO TO BART SIMPSON provides the first comprehensive history of animators' unions in modern times, from silent cartoons through today's big movie hits. Any involved in cartooning will find the business and industry insights essential to a thorough knowledge of their career choice: history and cultural observations blend with a survey of the entertainment industry as a whole, making for many important insights on how the business evolved and how it affects today's working animators.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bob68 on March 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a Disney enthusiast, I have found one of the most delicate and hard-to-research periods in Disney history was the 1941 studio strike. Tom Sito fills this gap by providing a comprehensive narration. But more important to others, he provides a complete history of labor developments in the animation profession. I had no idea there had been so much turmoil! His account is very up-to-date, too, covering the most recent developments, like computer animation. This is a key reference tool for anyone seriously interested in the business of animation.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eric Niderost on November 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Tom Sito achieved something of a miracle-- he made a potentially boring "academic" subject fresh, entertaining, and a wonderful read. C'mon--let's face it-- unless you're in the animation industry, or you are the grandson of Sam Gompers, or like to hunt cement foundations for Jimmy Hoffa---- labor history? zzzzzz "WE had a strike in 1928"-- who cares? Go off and "sing solidarity forever", or something.

Ah, but Tom Sito's book is a fantastically interesting read for anyone--

full of anecdotal stories that are at once informative and entertaining. Where else can you read about the day Walt Disney almost got into a fistfight with actor John Garfield?

Sito is a storyteller, and much of the book is don't in a storytelling style-- for example, in speaking of animation mogul Dave Fleischer, Sito says "At the Fleisher studio, when Dave Fleisher put his red light on outside his office,it meant he did not want to be disturbed. That meant either he was working, or, more likely, he was having sex with his secretary or listening to the racetrack calls on his big radio."

There's a serious side as well. Sito details the terrible working conditions in the early days-- strict dress codes, cramped working conditions, low pay. Yet there's also balance in the book. Sito is not trying to tear down anyone's reputation. People like Walt Disney were human, nothing more, nothing less-- and they are also products of their time. Disney was sometimes generous and caring to employees, but he also was a perfectionist who demanded-- and usually got-- 1000 per cent from his workers. A driven individual, he was also a hard-headed businessman who feared unionism would disrupt profits.
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