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Animation from 1970 - 1990

Steve Cavalier | Thursday September 22, 2011

Categories: Genres & Case Studies, Animation, 1970-1990

The Fading Lightbox

Terry Gilliam and Monty Python

Gilliam was born in Minneapolis and studied political science before finding his way into being a writer and cartoonist. When work dried up in the USA he came to London, worked, or tried to work, at various animation studios (Bob Godfrey’s Movie Emporium turned him away for being ‘too good’!), then through John Cleese got some sketches on the children’s comedy ‘Do Not Adjust your Set’ (1967). Here he met other comedians who would go on to form the team behind ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’. Gilliam then got commissioned to create some crazy animation for comedy show ‘We Have Ways of Making You Laugh’ (1968) and then for the Python shows which began decided the only option was cut outs and these surreal and anarchic creations combined with his airbrushed illustrations would become an influential kind of animation style associated with his name.

After many years of Python programmes and films he would go on to become a leading film director, extending his distinct highly imaginative and visually exuberant style into live action features.

Christmas Card (1968)

Monty Python animation

Baron Munchausen trailer

Ralph Baksi, Heavy Metal and Adult Animation

Ralph Baksi had started as a TV and short animator and director in the fifties and sixties. Probably inspired by ‘Yellow Submarine’ (1968) and like the rest of Hollywood amazed by the success of ‘Easy Rider’ (1969,) which seemed to discover a whole new young counter culture market, he made the first x rated animated feature ‘Fritz the Cat’ (1972). Notorious for its depiction of sex and drugs it was a big hit and got animation taken a bit more seriously by the critics.

He followed it up with ‘Heavy Traffic’ (1973), which many consider his best film, telling of the life of a struggling cartoonist in the New York ghettos and showing the underbelly of urban life. His next film was shelved and he...

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