“Jake S. Friedman has done an impressive job of research, to put it mildly. Without knowing the sequence of events it’s impossible to understand how this bitter strike came about. Add to that the perceived insults, slights and resentments and you have the stuff of great drama.”
—Leonard Maltin, film critic and film historian, author of Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons.
"The Disney Revolt--the first in-depth day-by-day history of the seminal 1941 Disney strike--is a meticulously researched book, and a page-turner. Jake S. Friedman provides enlightening context, offers a balanced account of the traumatic events, and brings all the actors of this colorful drama to life. It feels like taking a time machine and actually being there in person."
— Didier Ghez, author of They Drew As They Pleased
“A heartfelt in-depth portrait of two animation geniuses, Walt Disney and Art Babbitt. Friedman makes us feel for both men, and the tension mounts and mounts as these two ‘brothers’ get caught in a bloody civil war. I couldn’t put this book down, not even after I finished reading it.”
— Eric Daniel Weiner, Co-creator of Dora the Explorer, Executive Producer of Disney’s Little Einsteins
The fantasy is that animators are just silly gagsters stuck in perpetual adolescence, playing practical jokes on each other in idyllic surroundings. The reality is a sobering story of the studio that created Mickey Mouse and Snow White and rose to the very pinnacle of Hollywood success, only to come crashing down in a brutal union battle that almost ended it all. It stars an unlikely cast of characters including Pancho Villa’s attorney, a Capone mob boss, the teenage dancer, a World War, a Cold War, and at the center of it all, the inimitable Walt Disney and his confrontational battle with one of his brilliant but combative animators: Art Babbitt. Author Jake S. Friedman takes us on a deep dive into Hollywood history delivered in a style that reads like a film noir page turner, I could not put this book down."
— Don Hahn, producer of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King
“Jake S. Friedman has written a thoughtful, provocative, and painstakingly researched account of the lives of two of animation’s titans - Walt Disney and Art Babbitt - and what happened when these two out-sized personalities finally clashed during the Disney Strike of 1941. The details are fascinating and compelling, and told in a style that makes one feel as if the events were happening in real time. There is marvelous attention paid to not just the protagonists’ involvement in the strike, but also to their ongoing development as great artists and storytellers. The fact that one can come away from this book with a newfound awe and respect for Disney and Babbitt, as well as a knowledge of their all-too human foibles, is a testament to the love and passion the author has for his two illustrious subjects.”
— Eric Goldberg, director, animator
“In The Disney Revolt, Jake S. Friedman has written a detailed, no-holds-barred account of one of the most traumatic episodes in American animation, the Walt Disney Animators Strike of 1941. Exhaustively researched, with lots of anecdotes heretofore never revealed. It contributes greatly to the understanding of that important period just before Pearl Harbor.”
— Tom Sito, Disney Animator, Guild President-Emeritus, Author of Drawing the Line, the Untold Story of The Animation Unions.
“The Disney studio strike of 1941 was a traumatic event for Hollywood animation, but especially for Walt Disney and those members of his staff who were most thoroughly committed to his vision of animation as a vital new art form. One of the most important of those artists, Art Babbitt, is the central figure in Jake S. Friedman’s carefully researched new book. Friedman brings to life not only Babbitt but a colorful cast of characters ranging from serious artists to government lawyers to tough union organizers to Hollywood gangsters. The story Friedman tells about these people will be familiar in its general outlines to serious Disney aficionados, of which I am one, but there is much here that will be new to them, as it was to me.”
— Michael Barrier, author of Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in its Golden Age, and The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney
"Gangsters, backroom deals, murder, and… cartoons? I’ve long been interested in the 1941 Disney strike, and Jake S. Friedman’s book does not disappoint. Well written and thoroughly researched—a great read!"
— Pete Doctor, director of Pixar's Monsters Inc., Up, Inside Out, and Soul
"The Disney Revolt chronicles the infamous employee walkout at the Walt Disney Studio in 1941 in admirably copious detail. The incendiary event lasted nine months, but altered forever the animated film industry’s future. Friedman’s research is comprehensive, the cast of characters succinctly etched. Most impressive, in the candid telling of this tale of labor relations and film art, are the all-too-human stories woven with equity throughout. Highly recommended."
— John Canemaker, Oscar-winning filmmaker, animation historian, author, including Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men, and Paper Dreams: The Art and Artists of Disney Storyboards
“Tragic, funny or poignant, the animator communicates feelings with pencil and paper. After all, we all love a good story, don’t we? In his new book, Jake S. Friedman shares a very important, yet often neglected part of animation history. And it too, is a story worth telling. Of course, I’m not taking sides. These events took place long before I arrived at 500 Buena Vista Street. If you love Disney animation and animation history as much as I do, this is a book you’ll want to read.”
— Floyd Norman, classic Disney animator