Rare Ralph Bakshi Here are two obscure and little-known cartoons by Ralph Bakshi from 1958, capturing the bearded Beat modus vivendi of the era. Drawn 14 years before Bakshi's first feature film, they were published in Spectrum, the Queens College literary magazine, and copies were passed on to me by Marty Jukovsky, a Queens College student and Spectrum staffer during the late 1950s.
When I met Bakshi in 1978, I told him I had copies of the Spectrum drawings, and he asked me to send him copies. I did, but no "thank you" was forthcoming. One of my favorite Bakshi films is Harlem Shuffle (1985), directed by Bakshi with animation by John Kricfalusi. See below.
It would be nice to see once more Bakshi's live-action This Ain't Bebop (1989), his noirish Beat semi-autobiographical cinepoem with Harvey Keitel. Rick Kogan reviewed the short film in the Chicago Tribune:
Ralph Bakshi, best known as an animator for Fritz the Cat, has created a haunting and heartfelt homage to the Beat generation starring the wonderful Harvey Keitel wandering through the almost surreal landscape of contemporary Los Angeles. He is-in a very sure and flashbacked sense-trying to find a life he's lost. One sees this through memories richly realized. We see him as young boy watching a woman undress through a window across the street, and the scene pulses with pure eroticism. The coffeehouse discussions seethe with talk of art and creativity. Another powerful image is of Neal Cassady, the famous Jack Kerouac pal and later Merry Prankster wheelman, crumbling dead on the railroad tracks in Mexico and uttering the film's title, "This Ain't Bebop."