Ralph Bakshi is an animation icon known for adult-oriented cartoons he directed in the 1970s such as Fritz the Cat and Heavy Traffic. Of course, like all great cartoonists one has to start somewhere in a lowly position. In Bakshi's case he entered the field at Terrytoons as a cel painter. Within 10 years Bakshi was promoted assistant animator, then animator, and finally a director.
Bakshi dipped his toe in directing on the made-for-TV Deputy Dawg but his first major work as a director was on a forgotten character called Sad Cat.
Leonard Maltin described Sad Cat in Of Mice and Magic as "the dreariest character ever created." Can't say he's far off; the character's name is very fitting. The premise of the series is that he's in a Cinderella situation where Sad Cat has to take care of his two mean brothers Letimore and Fenimore. Like Cinderella, he has a godmother-like figure. In the first five cartoons (directed by Bakshi) that character was Gadmouse, the apprentice fairy. However, on the final eight cartoons (directed by Art Bartsch, as Bakshi had left the studio), Sad Cat was instead aided by his "Super Ego", a musculer, tougher version of himself. Bob McFadden voiced all the characters.
Bakshi was never satisfied with how the director function was done at Terrytoons. By then directors had little control over the storyboards and voice tracks (Tom Morrison handled both). According to Maltin, the Terry directors would not even know what the cartoon is about until after the voices were recorded. Bakshi, wanting to leave a mark on his cartoons, would re-cut the soundtrack and retime it. This may have something to do with the rather off-beat timing style the cartoons he directed for the studio had.
Below is the first Sad Cat cartoon, Gadmouse the Apprentice Good Fairy, directed and animated by Bakshi.
Gadmouse the Apprentice Good Fairy (Terrytoons, 1965)
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The following is a much later entry, directed by Art Bartsch, featuring Sad Cat's super ego.
All Teed Off
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