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The following is a snippet from the Cartoon Research article, "In Their Own Words: Glen Keane and Vincent Price on Ratigan." Click the link in the title above to read the full article.


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Vincent Price who was 75 years old was cast in the role after animators viewed a 1950 film, Champagne for Caesar, at the suggestion of director Burny Mattinson where Price played larger-than-life corporate chieftain Burnbridge Waters. Ratigan was designed by animator Glen Keane who found Price’s expressive voice and attitude inspired us to further redesign the character.


“Ratigan was originally a very skinny character. He was a rat and we had him kind of as a weasly-looking guy but his design was too similar to Basil. I was thinking maybe we should be really bigger with him.


“At the time we watched the Vincent Price film and listening to his dialogue I realized that’s the voice for him. He just had this sharp, quick way of speaking and the timing was great. You could tell he enjoyed being a rotten guy. Like Ratigan he felt like he was justified in doing whatever he did, which is important for a villain. The villain isn’t bad just because he’s bad, but he’s justified. He feels like he’s right.”


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Vincent Price: “It was the first time in 45 years I had to audition. I was furious with them. I had done more than a hundred pictures and if they didn’t know what my voice sounded like then the hell with them.


“After a while I realized I was being very silly and egotistical. They knew my voice but they weren’t sure whether I could adapt to the style of acting required by the role. So, like a kid, I tried out.


“The voice is crucial in the animated film. I guess mine evokes a certain mystery…. or horror or melodrama and that’s what they wanted for this character. If I have added anything to the history of villainy, it’s a sense of fun.


“I did it because one should never stop. That’s the first rule. Keep going. Do everything, even cartoons. If you don’t, you stop. And stopping stinks.”