Sergei & Uncle Walt

Culture, Labor, Politics

Speaking of the Guardian … a piece in the Observer discuses how Walt Disney was a raving McCarthyite:

Disney had a ferocious temper, especially against people he saw as left-wing. He testified enthusiastically before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee and detailed what he saw as communist plots to take over Hollywood. He branded some former animators communists, said the Screen Actors Guild was a communist front and labelled a 1941 strike that hit his studio a communist plot. He even contacted the FBI about alleged communist infiltration.

When his cartoonists tried to form a union, he brought in armed guards. He fired organisers, cut wages and slashed the opening hours of the studio coffee shop. At one point, faced with a strike picket, Disney had to be physically restrained from attacking the leader of the industrial action.

This makes me happy, not because Disney was a McCarthyite, but because it finally gives me an opportunity to share with the world a picture from a book I picked up in India.

Eisenstein002 copy

The picture is of Uncle Walt with his good buddy, Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, and was found in the book Eisenstein on Disney (1986). The picture was taken in 1930. I think it is fair to say that Eisenstein was a bigger fan of Disney than vice-versa, but who knows what happened to Disney between 1930 and the 1940s? He’s still pretty young in this picture.

Here is another picture which Eisenstein sent to his best friend back home:

Eisenstein001 copy

(And yes, next time I’ll learn how to use the descreening filter on my scanner… sorry about that.)

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