NATHALIA HOLT’S, THE QUEENS OF ANIMATION.”

It was a moment in the history of Presidential debates that should have left no doubt that of the ten Republican men and one woman hoping to become the party’s candidate for president, and eventually president, that none were qualified…and yet the least qualified actually became president.

It was undeniably a difficult question that might have gave a five year a difficult time. The Question: “Quick, name a woman — any American woman — who you think deserves to be memorialized on a on a ten dollar bill?” Never did you see so many men dumbfounded by a question that had at least fifty possibly correct answers. One answered, Margaret Thatcher, one his daughter Ivanka, a couple their mothers (which was kind of sweet), and then the consensus answer was ‘Rosa Parks,’ not because they knew who she was but it sounded right. The year was 2016.

Since that moment, the few Republicans who have showed any ‘balls’ during the insane reign of Donald Trump, are three women…. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Liz Cheney. The rest have become mute or subservient to a man who can’t name the first 5 presidents of the U.S.

I bring up this sad moment in our country’s history up not because I hate republicans, John McCain, Teddy Roosevelt, and Jack Kemp, are political heroes of mine, but because it highlights the shadows that so many, past and present, brilliant, inventive, and artistic American women still live in.

Nathalia Holt’s fascinating biography, “The Queens of Animation: The untold story of the Women Who Transformed the World of Disney and made Cinematic History,” traces the history of mostly five women from the mid-1930′ to early 1970. The women, Mary Blair, Retta Scott, Grace Huntington, Bianca Majolie and Sylvia Holland. The five women’s contributions to Disney Classics, such as ‘Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Pinocchio, Fantasia, etc, and the famous Disney ride, ‘It’s a Wonderful World,’ can not be overstated, and many of their paintings and designs are still being used in the Disney Animated blockbusters of the last twenty five years, such as ‘Frozen, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast.’ Sadly, only a few of these women ever got a film credit and it is only in the last twenty years that the brilliance of Mary Blair has become legend.

Despite their major contributions, the women made half the money the men made, were abused at story meetings to a point that some ran out crying and some refused to show up for the meetings. They were true trailblazers and many never had the luxury of using computers, which I doubt any would have wanted to use because they were more comfortable with a pencil and pad and thankfully their artistry still lives on.

This is a wonderful book on so many levels: It not only explores the massive impact of women on animation, but the evolution of this painstaking art form, and how it almost died out but made a historic recovery.

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