Walt Disney helps the hunt for Communists

Walt Disney found himself in an unusual place in answering a subpoena by the House of Un-American Committee. He was more used to making children’s fantasy cartoons than hunting communists. But these were trying times: the entirety of Hollywood may have been overrun by Communists, and Disney himself not long before faced down a strike by his cartoonists — which may have crystallized his conservative leanings. Walt was already involved in the Hollywood anti-Communist movement, and his testimony before the House committee was just a slight extension.

On this day, October 24, in 1947, Walt Disney appeared before the House committee on Un-American Activities, whose task was to determine and end communist subversion in the United States.

Asked if he thought there were any communists in his studio currently, Disney answered  everyone was “one-hundred-percent American.” But that wasn’t the case in 1941, when his cartoonists went on strike, he said. “I definitely feel it was a Communist group trying to take over my artists and they did take them over,” Disney said, naming for the committee a few of the ringleaders of the strike. He agreed that communists in general were trying to penetrate Hollywood, but in his opinion, they were not successful. “I think the industry is made up of good Americans, just like in my plant, good, solid Americans,” he said.