Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Top Cel Volume 2, #15; 11/2/45 -Animators Are Not Machines

Animation Unit in India

Back Row: Neil Sessa, William Cookrish, W. O. Field, Joseph Magro, Harold Goddard.

Front Row: Nat Friedland, Reah Ehret, Carmen Eletto.

OUR UNION. Notice to new workers.

It has come to the attention of the Executive Board that new workers are not filing their application for membership and not paying their dues.

For their information we would like to mention that according to our rules if the worker is hired before the 15th of the month he or she has to pay the current month.  If hired after the 15th, his or her dues don't start until the following month.  Dues for Work Permit people are the same as the regular members.  We would appreciate if you would contact your steward for this and any other information you desire to ask

Stewards at Famous:  Paint: Doris Zvirin and Beulah Kirschner; Inking: Alice Rehberg; Inbetweening: Shirley Knoring; Animation: Hal Robbins and Joe Deneroff; Story: Izzy Klein; Camera: Leonard McCormick.


According to Oscar A. Morgan, short subjects sales manager at Paramount (distributors of Famous cartoons, you know!)  an all time record was established by Paramount short subjects during the five-week On Third of a Century celebration.  He said that figures disclosed a rental record that surpassed any previous accomplishment on Paramount shorts in the history of the company.

Under the sponsorship of the CIO Research and Educational Department a colored slide film on the guaranteed annual wage is being made by United Film Productions.  Under way by United at present also, is another animated film under UAW sponsorship based on the pamphlet Races of Mankind.

George Pal contracted to make a picture for Shell Oil Company, the first of a series of films on the oil industry.  Film will reveal the geological phases preceding the drilling of a well.

As a sequel to "Peace on Earth" MGM will make, when the strike is over, "The Truce Huts" a post-war story staring Tom and Jerry.  It is aimed at setting an example for world peace, Hanna-Barbera directing.

Samuel Goldwyn has organized a new producing company and will turn over all his film assets -contracts, stories, studio property, etc. - to it for coownership with employees.  The new company is capitalized at $10,000,000.  Goldwyn will retain 50% ownership.  He is chairman of the board.


"How many tie have you seen in the American papers a serious effort to analyze the profits General Motors and Ford and the oil companies, and their capacity to give their workers a take-home pay somewhat adequate to living costs?  How many times have you seen a serious discussion of Walter Reuther's impressive figures about the relation between profits, wages, hours, and living costs?  How many times have you seen a newspaper commentator give the trade unions a break by examining what a steep drop in take-home pay envelops would meant to the American economy as a whole, and how it would affect the question of prosperity and ultimate full employment for the Nations as a whole?

"What the trade-unionists are saying, in effect, is this: 'If free enterprise is to mean prosperity, as you corporation heads and your spokesmen in the press say it does, then we want a share of that prosperity.  But if all you mean by free enterprise is the freedom of the corporations to get high profits from tax cuts, regardless of full employment, and without giving us the freedom to get some security, then it isn't our dish.  National prosperity cannot be built on low wages and workers' insecurity.  We don't want to use the strike except as a way of getting that security.  But if you deny us security and decency, then our only recourse is to show that we too have some power in a free society."


Well over a year we approached the west coast requesting their cooperation regarding minimum prices for comic book work.

The publishers certainly should be grateful to one Jim Davis who started the racket and who, consciously or not, has kept the prices in Los Angeles  much lower than in New York where they are already low enough.

Since all the artists working out there are members of Local 852, we would like to set up, in conjunction with our local here, a minimum for that type of work, specially now that the strike is over.  Out here we are at a disadvantage as no one knows how many freelance artists there are, but at least we would know that our own brothers in the west coast don't take our work for less money.  Now at least three publishers have to work done in L. A.


Jack Willis refused to be moved out of Jim Tyer's room and consequently had to be "Sewell -Averyed" out.  Such fun!

Joan Bassi and her Lt. husband are back from their honeymoon.

Speaking of honeymoons Marvin Cristenfeld is in Cuba... you can guess the rest (Editors note: That's what I had to do.)

Our apologies to Frank Bacher who is leaving Famous.  His name was omitted last issue.  Shane Miller also leaving after he finishes the backgrounds for his "Raggedy Ann" picture.

Phyllis Shagrin was married last October 28th so the gals a Terry's gave her a supper at Schaffts.

Top Cel wants to thank Pete Caldera of Smith's for designing our masthead.

More animators leaving Famous: Al Rose, John Walworth, Ben Solomon. The score: seven!

The much publicized Johnny Vita visited Terry's recently.  He has been discharged from the Army.

Evelyn Klein the new steward at Smith's.  From the same studio we were sorry to see leaving Mr. Smith's secretary, Jean Drexler.

Woody Gelman and Larry Reilly are now permanent members of the Story Department at Famous.

Mr. Donald McKee dies very suddenly of a heart attack.  We extend our deepest sympathy to Mrs. McKee and Bob, our first president.

Julia Costa and Elaine Ryder both left Famous to get married.  Lucky girls!

Vince Eletto has returned from the Air Corp Unit on the west coast to work at Terry's.

Phil Di Paola and Lucy Violante no longer with Famous.  Good luck!

New at that plant:  Lila Salmi, Helen Stricker, Ruricko Hatakeda, and Joan Saracino.

Beatrice Sertner planning to get married in November and Dotty Unger in March.

Eliva Jump is the new assistant for Anne in the research department.

Doris Ortelli on a 3 week leave to get married. The girls in inking gave her a shower.

Fay Nadel is leaving Famous.  Reason?  Her husband is home from overseas.

Bill Littlejohn is the father of a baby girl.


Every day the newspapers publish what they call a "strike roundup", telling briefly of strikes throughout the nation.  Each such story tells the total number of workers on strike on that particular day (the figure is usually a rough guess).

But have you noticed that these strike roundup stories are usually careful to avoid mentioning WHY the workers are striking?  There is usually no mention of the grievances employers have refused to settle; no mention of broken agreements, no mention of all the other reasons workers strike.


Another truth concealed by "strike roundup" stories is the fact that so few workers are actually on strike. For instance, a story headlined "100,000 ON STRIKE" would be a darned sight more accurate if the headline read instead: "50,000,000 WORKING; 100,000 ON STRIKE".


Navy personnel discharged in the nation's capital have been fed a phony.  They have been told by Navy officers who should know better that they can't have their gold honorable discharge "because of the strikes".

At the separation center, PM found two Navy officers who admitted they had been passing on this anti-labor lie.  They said they thought it was true.  They said they had been "informed that the company that makes the buttons is out on strike."  They didn't remember who "informed" them.

The Navy Press Bureau had the fact straight.  The Navy, they explained, gets its buttons from the Army. The Army is short of supply due to stepped up demobilization and won't increase the Navy' quota.  More buttons are being made now by the Navy at the Philadelphia Mint.

"There is absolutely no truth to the story that strikes have anything to do with it," said the Bureau.


Simple as it is, union men found out that by grouping themselves they were breaking one of the oldest tricks of "divide and conquer."  We still have employers that practice such tactics more or less successfully, although most workers are wise to the ruse, some still believe they can make "a deal".  Those fellows are secretive about their salaries (what they consider of most importance) without realizing that separately no one can tack a single, central power, the boss.  In a union, men pool their information. Honest men explain the lines given, so others don't fall for the same.  In other words, WORK TOGETHER.  The union, and only the union should be the instrument of contact with the employer.  We know by now that the paternalistic boss is good only to himself and his business not us!


Jack Baldwin in Gushkara, India: "One of the duties here is to record the news as it is dictated by the Army new Service from Hawaii.  I may be oversensitive but it seems to me that the labor disputes are being over-played.  Away back before V-E they would report that a few hundred milkmen were on strike in Podunk.  It wasn't very newsworthy and I am sure that bigger news was in the making at the time.  There was never a daily report that landlords were trying to get around rent controls or that the N.A.M. was planning a post war campaign to beat the taxes and the unions.  Today the news is overflowing with "Union Demands," "Workers Revolt," "Strike Cause Stoppages," etc. etc. etc.  There are the phrases which stick in the GI's mind and don't think it isn't effective.  Yesterday a typical GI reading the bulletin board put his finger on an item about the CIO demanding a 30% wage increase for auto workers and said bitterly "The bastards, the dirty bastards." He is not to blame... the issues weren't explained.  I blame the Army News Service.  Perhaps they will blame INS, AP and other news sources.  The whole thing is very vicious."


The old adage about 'having your cake and eating it too' was disproved, for the base canard it was, a long, long time ago.  It is today too a physical as well as biological impossibility.

A person, regardless of his occupation, is expected to know his own job thoroughly.  If he knows his neighbor's job too, so much the better, although it is not expected of him.  Nor will his knowledge be rewarded by any additional green stuff in his weekly pay envelope.  All that is expected of him is an honest days work well done.

We all know what the so called 'efficiency experts' are, and in what direction their particular talents lie.    As applied to the animation business, they seem to be entirely unnecessary.

Man has made machines and is undoubtably their master.  Efficiency experts can make adjustments causing them to either speed up or slow down as the situation might require.

Animators. assistants and etc, on the other hand, are not machines in spite of any thoughts our opinions to the contrary.  They cannot be speeded up without a resultant drop in efficiency and quality.  There is no denying that some animators in the business might increase his animation footage.  We concede that.

We do not believe, however, that the extra foot or two each week is worth the out-of-proportion difference in quality.  In a highly competitive business such as ours, we do not consider that sacrifice a wise one.

No, we can't 'burn a candle at both ends.'  Neither can we 'have our cake and eat it too.'


Nick Poppa George, Ted Berman, Ed Levitte and Carl Fallberg are civilians now.  Nick is planning to work for Tom Codricks outfit and Fallberg is doing it already.  Berman is back at Disney.

Marine Glenn Couch promoted to S/Sgt.

Lt. Tom Goodson a proud father of a baby girl.

Leo Ellis in a hospital in Long Island.

Cpl Perry Rosove visiting NY Again?

George Baker getting out of the army.

Capt. Bill McIntyre now in Japan.

Russell Baldwin passing through New York.  We are sorry we were unable to see him.

Morris Gollub  out of the service and in New Rochelle with Dan Noonan. (40 Prospect Street)

Capt Bill Tilton from the Philippines and in his way home.

A. Keitel, C. Glenar and R. Stokes leaving the Anacostia group very soon.  Paul Fennell is already out, his place as head of the Unit being taken by Johnny Burks.

Charles Byrne from Anacostia in Screen Gems and Henry Bender in charge of personnel.

Ex-service men that just started to work at Famous: Al Eugster, Tom Johnson, G. Germanetti.

Zeke de Grasse out of the service and in Hollywood.

The Air Corp assigned Lt. George Giroux to his home, so he went and got married.


If you are anticipating a discharge from the service and aren't planning to return to the industry, please let us know.  Unless we keep contact, we will be unable to determine your status in the union.  We recommend that you write either East or West Coast locals as soon as possible after you are separated from the service.

Whether you are still in uniform or not, please keep us informed of your whereabouts.  We want to keep you informed of what is going on in the industry.  Our files are in bad shape since V-J Day when many of you stopped communicating with us.  Cooperation is more important now than ever.


We have always felt that the veterans needed an organization to represent their interests; to give them a voice in the world they fought to preserve.  Selfish interests took control of the larger veterans groups long ago.  Their views are now merely the views of big business.  A soldier from India sent us one of the bulletins published by the AMERICAN VETERANS COMMITTEE, the only veterans organization invited to San Francisco to witness the attempt to establish a lasting peace.  Our attorney and business agent have both investigated this organization and recommend it highly.

Lack of space prevents us from going into the matter more thoroughly.  The program of the A. V. C. include adequate financial, medical, vocational and educational assistance  for every veteran under a system of free private enterprise in which business, labor, agriculture and government work together to provide full employment for the nation.

We suggest you to write them for information.  Dues are $2 per year for those still in the service and $3 for veterans.  The address: American Veterans Committee, 554 Madison Ave., New York 22, NY.


As a group of men and woman, and not having in our by-laws or constitution any limitation as to our activities (as long as it is not subversive and in conformance with the law of the nation) our union can take any direction the members wish.  We could form groups such as sewing circles or political clubs.  Different times we heard members saying: "We are a union we cannot do that" etc, implying, without knowing, that we should worry only on financial gains or working conditions.  It is your right to direct our activities to any direction that would benefit you or the majority.  This is why the new trend in labor is political (something that horrifies the Ryans and the Walshes) as politics is extremely close to our daily lives.


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