UNFILTERED : The Complete Ralph Bakshi . by Jon Gibson & Chris McDonnell
A small excerpt from the Fritz the Cat Section.
Ralph’s joy expired as fast as it came. Spider-Man was an endless, thankless assembly line. After months of the same, Ralph just stopped caring. TV animation, with its constant deadlines and subservience, wasn’t brazen enough to get him going, and by the end of the 60s, theatricals were rotting corpses. As little projects trickled in at Ralph’s Spot, a newly formed boutique division of the company, his patience waned. A few Peter Max-designed Coca-Cola commercials weren’t enough to elevate his mood, and a series of five-minute educational shorts paid for by Encyclopedia Britannica called Max the Mouse were throwaways. The man, once famous for his unabashed, pitching-on-his-feet routines, was deep in a creative stasis. He wanted to sink his teeth into something meaty — something personal, political — but was tractionless getting there. Though Yellow Submarine bucked the system, Disney’s pre- fabricated pabulum for the masses — animated family fare like The Jungle Book and Winnie the Pooh — continued to monopolize, defining what most considered just a “genre.” “Fuck that,” Ralph howls. “Animation is any goddamn thing you want it to be!” For years, Ralph was drawing and drooling over the fact that he was a career artist, always grateful for his start at Terrytoons and keeping cool with his rhythmic rise through the industry. Now he was determined to bust things up. “What bothers me about animation and the heat that I took for my R- and- X-rated films is why anybody would spend their whole lives doing the same thing over and over again; how artists don’t grow; how if you’re a cartoonist you have to continue to grow, to evolve,” Ralph says with a tinge of irritation. “My great joy was doing the animated features — learning from them, and from live-action, photography, painters.