Ralph Bakshi produced the first cartoon ever to receive an X-rating: "Fritz the Cat" (1972), based on Crumb's character and produced by Steve Krantz. The movie earned more than thirty million dollars, and only costed one million to produce. Success continued with "Heavy Traffic" (1973).
Bakshi belongs to the vast number of New York minority artists who brought their street-life experiences to the 1970's world of entertainment.

On these pages you will find some drawings and a cel from his live action / animation feature "Cool World", a cel from the Stones-video "Harlem Shuffle" (which Bakshi made together with Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi), some drawings from a Mighty Mouse series and a wonderful production drawing from his epic adventure "The Lord of the Rings".

I hope you'll enjoy my website, and if you have anything to add or any other comments, please e-mail me: hwalther@xs4all.nl

Hans Walther

All images © and TM of the respective studios.

You can click on the thumbnails to see larger images.

opc-coolworld.jpg (22976 bytes)

Original hand-painted production cel of Holli Would from the feature film directed by Ralph Bakshi.
Signed by the animator: Steven E. Gordon.

Holli Would (Kim Basinger) is a wet-paint dream who plots her escape to the Real World by way of her creator's understandably stiff quill; yes, doing the dirty deed will make her flesh and blood. This rather farfetched plot is animated with flair, and although Holli Would is certainly NO Jessica Rabbit, she sure is sexy enough to be desired by collectors.

drw-coolworldrough.jpg (15465 bytes)

Rough layout drawing of Holli Would from the feature film directed by Ralph Bakshi.
Designer and Layout Artist: Louise Zingarelli.

It is interesting to see the difference between this rough drawing, and the cleanup drawing you can see below.

drw-coolworldclean.jpg (12218 bytes)

Key production drawing with spacing chart of Holli Would from the feature film directed by Ralph Bakshi.
Key Clean Up Artist: Lureline Kohler.

It is interesting to see the difference between this cleanup drawing, and the rough drawing you can see above.

opc-harlemshuffle.jpg (29429 bytes)

Hand-painted production cel with (non-matching) hand-painted production background from this classic Rolling Stones Video, animated by Ralph Bakshi.

The Black Girl bends down to pick up the kitten.

I'm still looking for a video with this clip (I have never even seen it!), so if somebody out there can help me, I would be most grateful. I also know very little about this cel. I don't even know if the hand-painted background is from the same video. I also heard that John Kricfalusi (of Ren & Stimpy fame) did part of the animation for this short film, but I'm not sure. I would appreciate any additional information.

opd-MightyMouse1.jpg (17847 bytes)

opd-MightyMouse2.jpg (22035 bytes)

opd-MightyMouse3.jpg (10783 bytes)

opd-MightyMouse4.jpg (21985 bytes)

opd-MightyMouse5.jpg (15193 bytes)


All of these production-drawings are from the television-series “Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures”, directed by Ralph Bakshi. This is an updated version of the legendary Terrytoons cartoon-series featuring the crime fighting superhero. The series was a major hit with adult viewers, but failed to gain any interest from the kids it was meant for and was cancelled after only two seasons.

I bought these drawings mainly because they were a real bargain, and if you look closely there is a drawing there of Snow White (from the episode “Snow White and the Motor City Dwarfs”)

opd-LOTR.jpg (18381 bytes)

Production drawing of Frodo, Pippin, Sam, Merry and Boromir from this feature by Ralph Bakshi. 
I especially like the various spacing charts above the characters, which indicate that this is an extreme or ‘key’ drawing.

Although the film was heavily rotoscoped and by far not as good as the live-action films by Peter Jackson, I still think that Bakshi must be appreciated for his efforts. 
It’s one of Bakshi’s most ambitious films, and was produced by Saul Zaentz (of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” fame). 
Despite the incomprehensible story line and unsatisfying mixture of techniques, the film was a commercial success, and earned back its $8 million production costs several times over.

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