Steve Krantz

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Stephen Falk Krantz (May 20, 1923 – January 4, 2007) was a film producer and writer who was most active from 1966 to 1996.

Career[edit]

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Steve Krantz graduated from Columbia University and went on to serve in the U.S. Army Air Forces in the Pacific during World War II as a second lieutenant.

He worked as a comedy writer for Milton Berle and Steve Allen. Later years were devoted to the production of animated cartoons in Canada. After firing Shamus Culhane from the animator's supervising director job on Rocket Robin Hood, director Ralph Bakshi and background artist Johnnie Vita were brought to Toronto, not knowing that Krantz and producer Al Guest were in the middle of a lawsuit. Failing to reach a settlement with Guest, Krantz told Bakshi to grab the series' model sheets and return to the United States. When the studio found out, a warrant for Bakshi's arrest was issued by the Toronto police.[1][2] Bakshi's animation studio, Bakshi Productions, took over Rocket Robin Hood and another Krantz-produced series, Spider-Man, beginning Krantz' working relationship with Bakshi.[3]

By 1968, Krantz was producing live-action shows (such as the Canadian supernatural series Strange Paradise). Krantz agreed to produce Bakshi's animated film Heavy Traffic, but told Bakshi that Hollywood studio executives would be unwilling to fund the film because of its content and Bakshi's lack of film experience.[4] Bakshi later pitched a film adaptation of Robert Crumb's comic strip Fritz the Cat, and Krantz sent Bakshi to San Francisco in an attempt to persuade Crumb to sign the contract. Krantz later acquired the film rights through Crumb's then-wife, Dana, who had Crumb's power of attorney and signed the contract.[4] Fritz the Cat was released on April 12, 1972, opening in Hollywood and Washington, D.C.[5] A major hit, it became the most successful independent animated feature of all time.[6]

Towards the end of the year, Krantz began coproducing Heavy Traffic with Samuel Z. Arkoff, but Krantz had not compensated Bakshi for his work on Fritz the Cat, and halfway through the production of Heavy Traffic, Bakshi asked when he would be paid. Krantz responded, "The picture didn't make any money, Ralph. It's just a lot of noise." Bakshi found Krantz's claims dubious, as the producer had recently purchased a new BMW and a mansion in Beverly Hills. Bakshi soon accused Krantz of ripping him off, which the producer denied.[7] When Bakshi attempted to work with Albert S. Ruddy on another film, Krantz locked Bakshi out of the studio and called several directors, including Chuck Jones, in search of a replacement. Arkoff threatened to withdraw his financial backing unless Krantz rehired Bakshi, which Krantz did a week later.[8]

After 1974, live-action motion pictures dominated Krantz' filmography. He wrote two novels, including Laurel Canyon (Pocket Books, 1979, paperback original), which was a best-seller.

Personal life[edit]

He married Judith Tarcher, who became the noted American writer Judith Krantz, on February 19, 1954; they had two sons, Tony and Nicholas.

He died in Los Angeles, California, on January 4, 2007 from complications of pneumonia. He was 83 at the time of his death.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "First Gigs". Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi. pp. 52; 54. ISBN 0-7893-1684-6. 
  2. ^ "Fritz the Cat". The Animated Movie Guide. p. 88. 
  3. ^ Rossen, Jake (2008). "Purgatory". Superman Vs. Hollywood: How Fiendish Producers, Devious Directors, and Warring Writers Grounded an American Icon. Chicago Review Press. p. 50. ISBN 1-55652-731-4. 
  4. ^ a b "Fritz the Cat". Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi. pp. 58; 62–63. ISBN 0-7893-1684-6. 
  5. ^ Barrier, Michael (Spring 1972). "The Filming of Fritz the Cat: Up from Brownsville". Funnyworld, No. 14. Retrieved December 29, 2006. 
  6. ^ "Fritz the Cat". Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi. pp. 77; 80–81. ISBN 0-7893-1684-6. 
  7. ^ "Heavy Traffic". Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi. pp. 89; 91. ISBN 0-7893-1684-6. 
  8. ^ "Heavy Traffic". Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi. p. 96. ISBN 0-7893-1684-6. 

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