In the hands of writer and director Ralph Bakshi, a popular underground comics character was the inspiration for the first X-rated animated feature in Hollywood history, over the strenuous objections of its creator, cartoonist Robert Crumb.
Fritz is a feline college student of New York City in the '60s, using hippie buzzwords and fashion to score easy sex and drugs. After smoking some strong marijuana in Harlem, Fritz hallucinates and ignites a shooting incident with the police, resulting in the death of his friend Duke.
Fritz flees across country in a Volkswagen Bug with a girlfriend and encounters a heroin addict biker rabbit and bomb-making terrorist radicals, obvious references to the Hell's Angels and the Black Panthers, respectively. A trippy journey through its anti-establishment times, Fritz the Cat (1972) was viewed as a must-see novelty, a radical departure from the juvenile, saccharine type of animation with which America was familiar.
Nevertheless, the film was opposed by Crumb, who felt that his work had been bastardized. The film was followed by a sequel, The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974).