Animation provocateur Ralph Bakshi is back

How cool is it to scan the Hollywood entertainment headlines and actually see a story on Ralph Bakshi?

In his time, Bakshi was a true provocateur in the field of animation. He made the big screen version of the Robert Crumb comic Fritz the Cat, as well as Heavy Traffic, Wizards, the animated version of Lord of the Rings, American Pop, and Fire and Ice. 


Bakshi didn’t make animation for kids, in fact, Fritz the Cat and Heavy Traffic were initially X-rated in their day, and he always believed that animation could transcend children’s viewing, and be treated as seriously as any adult drama. Yet Bakshi always had a hard time toeing the line, and you can think of him as the Trey Parker / Matt Stone of his time who loved to shake things up and rattle people’s cages with his art.

After 1992’s Cool World with Brad Pitt, Bakshi stopped making movies, which was really a damn shame, but it’s not easy to stay in the animation game, especially when you have to compete with the big boys like Disney and Pixar. So I was very happy to see the news on Deadline that Bakshi is trying to come back, albeit with some help from Kickstarter. 

Bakshi’s going to the public to try and raise money for The Last Days of Coney Island, and he also has Mathew Modine attached for voice talent. The project has a $165,000 goal, and as this story was being finalized it reached $68,875. This will be a short subject that takes place back in the 60’s where Coney Island New York is crowded with “crooked cops, broken hearts, jaded strippers, and singers.” I like it already.

As it turns out, Modine is a big Bakshi fan, and found out about this project by accident while looking around on Kickstarter. Modine would also like to bring in some friends to help out with voice acting, namely Jack Nicholson, Abel Ferrara, and Quentin Tarantino. 

The goal is to have the short make its debut in December, and there will hopefully be more after the first installment. There’s also the hope this could turn into a feature, or revitalize interest in Bakshi to where he could make a full blown feature again. Whether working long form or short form, it’s good to have Bakshi back, and here’s hoping he can teach those young whippersnappers like Parker and Stone and Seth MacFarlane a thing or two about shaking up the world of animation.