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Trivia / Fritz the Cat

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  • Breakthrough Hit: For Ralph Bakshi.
  • Channel Hop: The film was distributed by Cinemation Industries, before the rights were bought by American International Pictures to produce the sequel, The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat. Both films are owned by MGM through AIP's legal successor, Orion Pictures.
  • The Danza: Humorously inverted. Bakshi voices the nameless partner of the rookie cop named Ralph.
  • Descended Creator: Bakshi is the more competent pig-cop.
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  • Disowned Adaptation: In an extreme example, Robert Crumb hated the film so much, claiming it put words in the character's mouth that he never would have said, that he later drew the comic "Fritz the Superstar" to kill off the character! That didn't stop the producer from making a sequel, though Bakshi also didn't take part in it.
  • Executive Meddling: Steve Krantz objected to the original ending in which Fritz would have been Killed Off for Real by the neo-Nazi's bomb and convinced Bakshi to give the character a happy ending. Bakshi complied and later claimed that he liked this ending better.
  • Follow the Leader: A slew of quickly-forgotten animated films for adults (mostly dubbed versions of foreign language films) which weren't much more than cartoon porn came (no pun intended) in the wake of this film's success, many of which had taglines that read as some variation of "IF YOU LIKED FRITZ THE CAT, THEN YOU'LL LOVE..!" Down and Dirty Duck was probably the most well-known of these, but much like Fritz, it has a cult following, just not as big.
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  • Genre Turning Point: Fritz is most known for being the first animated project aimed at adults, but many are not aware of its other groundbreaking achievements . For example it was also the first independent animated film ever, and arguably gave birth to retroscripting, with the majority of the dialogue being improvised instead of scripted, which is a practice that has become extremely common in adult animation these days. It was also the first animated movie not from Disney to be a hit at the box office, being in the top ten box office of 1972, a feat most Disney films of the 70s rarely could achieve.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Now averted, thanks to Prime Video and the upcoming blu-ray releases of both films. If you want to buy a physical copy, though, the 2002 DVD is out of print and hasn't had a release since (interestingly, you could find the soundtrack with more ease).
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  • Name's the Same: Blue Bunny shares his name with a popular, long-running, American brand of ice cream. And no, it's unlikely that the latter is laced with drugs, no matter how addictive it is to eat.
  • Playing Against Type: Fritz is voiced by Skip Hinnant, who at the same time was Fargo North on The Electric Company.
  • Real-Life Relative: The three old Jewish men in the synagogue scene are voiced by Bakshi's father and two uncles.
  • Troubled Production: The film had a whale of a time getting made, mainly due to the stereotype of animation being for children clashing with this film's extremely adult nature, Crumb's hatred for the project, and Bakshi's then-inexperience at directing feature-length animated films:
    • It took forever for Bakshi and producer Steve Krantz to find a distributor, due to its premise of being an animated film filled with sex, drugs, political themes and graphic violence. Warner Bros. had originally funded the film, but backed out after Bakshi refused to cast big-named actors and tone down the sexual content. Even after he did get funding, Bakshi still wasn't safe from Executive Meddling, as Krantz forced him to change the original ending where Fritz would have died from the Neo-Nazis' bomb.
      • Bakshi fondly remembers the Warner Bros representatives' utterly mortified reactions to test screenings of the film, saying that he'll remember the look on their faces until his very last breath. One man even had to leave the room!
    • Multiple animators were either fired or quit mid-production, either for political reasons (some refused to draw exposed breasts, and one didn't want to draw a black crow shooting a pig cop), or vulgar reasons (such as those who only joined to draw sleazy animal pornography). Veteran animator Ted Bonnicksen ended up dying from leukemia during production. When Bakshi relocated his studio to Los Angeles, he was greeted with both praise and hate from various animators, with the latter camp even posting unwelcoming ads about him in The Hollywood Reporter.
  • What Could Have Been: Crumb's only contribution to the film was his suggestion that Bakshi himself voice Fritz, but Bakshi thought his own voice was "too Brooklyn" and thought Fritz should sound more like a milquetoast Midwesterner being culture shocked by New York.
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