BAKSHI continued …………..MORE
The second Zootoon would continue the saga of Melvin and Malcolm. This time I created a storyboard from Ralph’s preliminary sketches, broadening the scope of the story with elements of film noir and cramming as much plot into six minutes as we possibly could and yet still have a somewhat comprehensible and solidifying theme. The end result was calculated to be a total sensory assault. Again Ralph and I split the animation between us using the same assistants as on the first cartoon. Ralph decided to title this one Babe, He calls Me.
As the story begins, Mrs. Melvin(Mama) searches the streets desperately for her son, rumored captured by a cockroach. Indeed Melvin has taken up with the jazz trumpeting cockroach Malcolm , playing in jazz clubs “so despicable they have no cover charge”. Malcolm plays inside Melvin’s mouth, the chicks go crazy thinking it’s Melvin, and, as the two plan it, Melvin gets their phone numbers.
Mama visits the private detective Brick Hardrock in an attempt to locate her missing son. Brick introduces his sidekicks Say Wen and Bunky in a display of histrionic special effects that terrify Mama and send her screaming in terror(“aw Brick”, says Bunky, “ya gotta quit with the gimmicks!”) into the alley where she meets The Kid, a sawed off punk with a head for larceny. He tells her to “Shove it, Babe!”, and she is tickled. “He calls me Babe!”, she sighs in her Yiddish accent, “An affectionate toim (term) of the heart!”. Mama, enamoured and yearning for romance, follows The Kid to The roach Pit, the club where Melvin and Malcolm are playing to a packed house of screaming panting women. Even The Kid admits that “Da music is GREAT!” as he and Mama cut a rug.
But from the roof of a nearby building Batlaw, who has now gained a small entourage of uniformed, arm-banded followers, looks down upon The Roach Pit with disgust. He is not enchanted by Malcolm’s music, declaring that the perverted notes that are corrupting the women of the city must be stopped. He crashes through the roof of the club, flattening the bouncer and allowing The Kid to make off with the large barrel of money that has collected by the door. Batlaw sees Melvin onstage. “My work begins!”, he declares, whipping out his trusty lawarang (made from a coat hanger) and lassoing Melvin from the stage, revealing Malcolm to be the actual musician. The audience of women are grossed out and begin to hurl. Malcolm is heartbroken.
Meanwhile Brick Hardrock and his partners Say Wen and Bunky arrive at the club. The buffoonish Brick holds the door for Mama and The Kid as they escape with the loot and finds Melvin being pummeled by Batlaw, who has now taken Malcolm’s trumpet. Rather than risk being pummeled himself, Brick grabs Malcolm and tells him he’s under arrest for kidnapping. Outside the club, Malcolm pummels Brick to a pulp.”Beaten by a bug, boss?”, says Say Wen. Batlaw holds the captured trumpet aloft and declares to his followers ,”the implement of perversion! It MUST BE DESTROYED!” The thugs try to escape with the horn but they are pursued and captured by the cute but sexy powerhouse Say Wen.
Mama and The Kid flee with the barrel of loot to a seedy hotel room, where Mama , tired of life on the run, implores the tiny criminal to “Give it back, poopsie!” she tickles his nose with her feather boa and he sneezes all the money out the window. Far below on the street sit Melvin and Malcolm, destitute and hornless. “I’m through being an artist!”, sighs Melvin. “and I’m back to being a roach!” Malcolm laments. Just then Say wen shows up, returning Malcolm’s horn and asking the boys if they need a singer. Malcolm happily leaps into Melvin’s mouth and they begin to play again. Mama dumps the kid, punching him to the moon, and joins Melvin, Malcolm and Say Wen as they dance happily off down the street.
The third cartoon was to have taken the storytelling style a step further toward the avant garde. Ralph composed a poem which would be rendered in musical form to tell the tale of Batlaw’s crusade against the cockroach’s jazz and it’s unspeakable perversions. Storyboards were started but the third cartoon was never made due to a new project looming on the Bakshi horizon, HBO’s Spicy city.