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title. this aint be bop

date. 1989

story.  This Ain't Bebop is Ralph Bakshi's first live action short, starring Harvey Keitel and featuring Ron Thompson (Tony & Pete of American Pop) as the beatnik poet and Rick Singer (Benny of American Pop) as Jackson Pollock.


Mark Bakshi produced the film; his first professional collaboration with his father. Ralph Bakshi wrote a poem influenced by Jack Kerouac, jazz, the Beat Generation and Brooklyn that served as the narration, which was spoken by Harvey Keitel.


After a car crash, Bakshi completed the post-production in stitches and casts. Bakshi said of the work, "It's the most proud I've been of a picture since Coonskin — the last real thing I did with total integrity."

Excerpt from New York Times:

Review/Television; 4 Perspectives on America as Myth

Published: June 7, 1989

John H. Williams of Vanguard Films, the anthology's producer, commissioned four film makers to produce, with no interference, short works on, as he puts it, ''anything -as long as it was an interesting, original and personal perspective on life in America.'' The point was to explore the way the country continues to imagine itself, to provide entertaining insights into what Mr. Williams calls ''the great myth machine.'' The four films are surrounded by film clips drawn from the National Archives in Washington. There are excerpts, many of them hilarious, from Work Projects Administration documentaries, cold-war dramas and civil-defense melodramas.

The animator Ralph Bakshi (''Fritz the Cat'') offers ''This Ain't Be-bop,'' a 22-minute homage to the beat generation that switches from a present in color to a past in black and white. In the film a man (Harvey Keitel) wanders around a seedy part of downtown Los Angeles, reciting his own poem (''Part of my disgrace, to offer my race something to think about'') and recalling the already distant age of Kerouac, Pollock, Ginsberg and Coltrane. The score is 1950's jazz, the tone is elegiac. The piece, itself a poem, is haunting."

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