[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ralphbakshirenstimpy.gif]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Bakshi, pictured here with [[WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow two unidentified fans]].]]

->''"Ralph Bakshi is a force of nature. He saved the [[WesternAnimation TV animation]] industry -- the creative part of it -- by giving back the art to the artists."''
-->-- '''Creator/JohnKricfalusi''', creator of ''[[WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow Ren And Stimpy]]''

->''"Baby, I'm the world's most [[FollowTheLeader ripped-off]] cartoonist, and that's all I'm gonna say."''
-->-- '''Ralph Bakshi'''

Ralph Bakshi is one of animation's greatest unsung heroes.

Bakshi was born in Haifa (then part of the British mandate of Palestine) in 1937. When he was one year old, he traveled with his family to America and settled in Brownsville, New York, the seedy lower-income community that became the inspiration for the [[DarkerAndEdgier dark and gritty]] urban setting of many of his cartoons. UsefulNotes/WorldWarII was about to break out; in fact, when traveling past the Mediterranean, the ship on which the Bakshis were sailing was boarded by Nazi troopers, but the ship's American affiliations prevented the incident from becoming hostile.

Bakshi became interested in cartooning when he encountered a book titled ''The Complete Guide to Cartooning'' by Gene Byrnes in the Brownsville public library (which he promptly stole), circa 1952. Despite being a poor student and disliked by his teachers, who considered him a talentless punk, Ralph was one of only 10 students of art who passed a drawing exam to enter Manhattan's School of Industrial Arts.

He got his start working for famed [[TheGoldenAgeOfAnimation golden-age]] American cartoonist [[Creator/{{Terrytoons}} Paul Terry]], a man who regarded cartoons as all business and no art. Bakshi's inventiveness, disregard for the rules, and all-around moxie eventually earned him a certain degree of prestige. He created the obscure [[NewspaperComics comic strips]] ''Bonefoot & Fudge'' and ''Junktown'', and launched some larger-scale animation projects like his animated film ''{{WesternAnimation/Wizards}}'' and ''WesternAnimation/TheMightyHeroes'', which he pitched on the spot to Creator/{{CBS}} execs, making up the show as he went along.

Nowadays, Ralph Bakshi may be best remembered for his work on a film adaptation of RobertCrumb's risqué underground comic strip ''ComicBook/FritzTheCat'', which became [[WesternAnimation/FritzTheCat the first American cartoon to be rated X by the MPAA]], much to Bakshi's chagrin. He worked for the [[TheEighties 1980s]] revival of the classic "Franchise/{{Superman}} [[XMeetsY meets]] MickeyMouse" cartoon, ''WesternAnimation/MightyMouse'', which was later canned for [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar getting too much crap past the radar]]. It was eventually pulled off due to a scene where Mighty Mouse sniffed a flower that was reminiscent of cocaine consumption, but it was extremely influential on pretty much every animated series that followed it over the next decade.

Bakshi's filmography certainly does not stop there; he is also the creative mind behind such underground cartoon milestones as the animated version of ''WesternAnimation/TheLordOfTheRings'', the CultClassic ''WesternAnimation/FireAndIce'', ''Heavy Traffic'' (a gritty, [[BlackComedy darkly humorous]] modern-day fable about urban violence), ''{{Coonskin}}'' (his highly controversial reimagining of the tales of Uncle Remus, considered racist by many due largely to its "blackface" character designs, although the film is supportive of the black community and approved by the NAACP) and ''Film/CoolWorld'', a film he envisioned as the first animated horror film, but was [[ExecutiveMeddling radically changed by Paramount Pictures without Bakshi's consent]] and wound up as a subpar imitation of ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit''.

Also worth noting is that Bakshi also produced and directed ''RocketRobinHood'' and the second and third seasons of the 1960s ''SpiderMan'' cartoon. The latter varied between in quality under Bakshi's tenure, although a lot of this was due to ExecutiveMeddling. The suits continually cut both Bakshi's budget and his lead times, forcing him to continually reuse stock footage in the same way that {{Filmation}} later would. By the end, Bakshi was reduced to literally stitching together new episodes ''entirely'' out of stock footage.

The book ''Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi'' provides much information on the life, influences and work of this [[SugarWiki/NeedsMoreLove sadly underrated]] animation maverick. His next work, ''WesternAnimation/TheLastDaysOfConeyIsland'', lingered in DevelopmentHell for years, until he [[http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ralphbakshi/last-days-of-coney-island-0?ref=recently_launched started a Kickstarter campaign]] to fund it, and, as of March 1, 2013, successfully made its goal!

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!!Films

* WesternAnimation/FritzTheCat (1972)
* WesternAnimation/HeavyTraffic (1973)
* WesternAnimation/{{Coonskin}} (1975)
* WesternAnimation/{{Wizards}} (1977)
* WesternAnimation/TheLordOfTheRings (1978)
* WesternAnimation/AmericanPop (1981)
* WesternAnimation/HeyGoodLookin' (1982)
* WesternAnimation/FireAndIce (1983)
* Film/CoolWorld (1992)
* Film/CoolAndTheCrazy (1994)
* WesternAnimation/TheLastDaysOfConeyIsland: Was in DevelopmentHell for years, but Bakshi has now crowdfunded it via a successful [[http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ralphbakshi/last-days-of-coney-island-0?ref=recently_launched Kickstarter campaign,]]

!!Television animation

* [[Creator/DrSeuss The Butter Battle Book]] TV special (1989)
* Hound Town (1989)
* WesternAnimation/TheMightyHeroes (1966)
* WesternAnimation/MightyMouse: The New Adventures (1987-1988)
* WesternAnimation/ChristmasInTattertown (1989, ChristmasSpecial produced for {{Nickelodeon}} loosely based on "Junktown")
* WesternAnimation/SpicyCity (1997)
* WesternAnimation/WhatACartoonShow shorts: "Babe He Calls Me" and "Malcom and Melvin" (1997)
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!!Some recurring characteristics of Ralph Bakshi's work:

* AdamWesting: He voiced an [[InkSuitActor animated version of himself]] in the ''[[WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow Ren & Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon]]'' episode "Fire Dogs II". It was probably a favor for John, since Ralph was his mentor and John is Ralph's best friend.
* DarkerAndEdgier: His films in contrast to other animated films made at the time.
* DerangedAnimation: In most everything he's touched, save for ''WesternAnimation/TheLordOfTheRings'', ''WesternAnimation/AmericanPop'', and ''WesternAnimation/FireAndIce'', which were realistic, rotoscoped animation.
* DeathByCameo: He himself makes a cameo in each of his films where he gets killed with the exceptions of ''WesternAnimation/TheLordOfTheRings'', ''WesternAnimation/FireAndIce'', ''WesternAnimation/AmericanPop'', and ''CoolWorld''.
* DisneySchoolOfActingAndMime: Ralph dislikes Disney acting, feeling that its a stale, cliché and overproduced form of cartoon acting, and that animators [[http://animationresources.org/?p=621 should try and experiment with new types of acting:]]
-->''"When I hear 2D animators today talking about acting in hand-drawn cartoons, I ask, what kind of acting? Are you talking about the old fashioned acting that animators have always done? You know… the hand on the hip, finger-pointing, broad action, lots of [[TheTwelvePrinciplesOfAnimation overlapping action]], screeching to a halt- all that turn-of-the-century old fashioned mime stuff. Is that what you’re talking about? Well, forget about it. If you’re gonna compete with computer animation, you better go all out and do something that’s totally different. Call it “new acting”. Blow the computer out of the water."''
* DoingItForTheArt: He made his films very personal and gritty to contrast to Disney's obsessiveness with slickness and escapist entertainment and to combat tired, dumb cliches and perceptions of what cartoons are in general. He believes animation is a tool that can handle any kind of story, idea, technique or genre, and stresses the importance of content in films, and doesn't remotely care if his animation "works" or not, as long as he tries or has something new to say with the medium. He also adamantly stresses that polish and perfectionism only robs a film of raw energy and vitality, seeing it as a crutch to hide weak, stale ideas (he sees this as a flaw of Disney films and their followers, which he thinks are so overworked, over refined until they're perfect, that he finds them impersonal and boring). He discarded pencil tests and retakes not only for money reasons, but because he trusted the veteran animators to know he expected creativity and professionalism in their animation rather than perfection. And one time, when one artist came up to him pointing out a minor continuity mistake between two layout drawings (specifically, a key switching hands between the drawings), Ralph proceeded to chew him out in front of the whole studio, basically telling him he was wasting his time on irrelevant details, instead of what's really important to the film.
** There have been some projects he's done just to keep money flowing, but that was just so he would be able to make the projects he ''really'' wanted to do, rather than just make a quick buck for its own sake.
* ExecutiveMeddling: He's a frequent victim of this, particularly with ''CoolWorld'' and his TV series ''Spicy City'' (which led to the latter being cancelled despite decent ratings).
* FurryDenial: Bakshi's reasoning for why the anthropomorphic characters in his films never act like animals is that it would ruin what he was trying to create, which was a more realistic and mature form of animation.
* GeorgeJetsonJobSecurity: Bakshi is known within the animation industry for this, especially on the ''WesternAnimation/MightyMouse: The New Adventures'' show. Creator/JohnKricfalusi (who's also been fired several times) in particular has stated that he lost count on how many times Ralph fired him from the show.
* LighterAndSofter: Obviously, his two ''WesternAnimation/WhatACartoonShow'' shorts weren't as adult as most of his theatrical films.
* MoralDissonance: ''WesternAnimation/{{Wizards}}'' has WhatMeasureIsANonCute enforced by [[DesignatedHero Designated Heroes]] who think ScienceIsBad and yet aren't afraid to [[spoiler:[[HypocriticalHumor shoot the villain]].]] Actually, Bakshi has stated that the message behind ''Wizards'' isn't that ScienceIsBad, it's that propaganda is bad. Note that this is a common theme in Bakshi's work.
* MushroomSamba- Heavy traffic, Coonskin, and Hey good lookin have scenes that describe this perfectly.
* RogerRabbitEffect: ''Heavy Traffic'', ''Coonskin'' and ''CoolWorld''
* {{Rotoscoping}}: On ''WesternAnimation/AmericanPop'' and ''WesternAnimation/TheLordOfTheRings''. Contrary to popular belief, Ralph strongly disliked using it and sees it as a uncreative dead end for animation, which he fell back on due to several factors, including his shoestring budgets, the fact that the veteran animators he previously worked with were retiring, and the new college students coming to work for him weren't skilled enough to animate on their own yet.
* SavedFromDevelopmentHell: His film ''The Last Days of Coney Island''.
* ShownTheirWork: In the special features on the DVD of Wizards, Ralph talks about some of the animators that worked on the film.
* TenMinuteRetirement: After behind the scenes trouble in ''Spicy City'', Bakshi retired from film-making for many years and chose to focus on painting, but came back into it with ''Coney Island'' when he realized his films and influence were much more appreciated than he initially realized in later years.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: Sometime during the 1980's when Ralph was working on ''Mighty Mouse'', he had recognized John K's talent. Ralph and John were planning on teaming up to do an animated film called "Bobby's girl". [[TeenDrama Which was set to be a parody of the teen comedies during the time]]. However Tri-Star [[ExecutiveMeddling canceled the project]]. But artwork of this proposed project can be seen in the [[http://www.amazon.com/Unfiltered-Complete-Bakshi-Behind-Mighty/dp/0789316846 Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi]] book. One can wonder what would have happened if this film had been made.
** "Christmas in Tattertown" was actually the pilot for what would've been Nickelodeon's first animated series. It didn't get picked up, but was successful enough to convince Nick to [[{{Doug}} produce]] [[{{Rugrats}} their own]] [[TheRenandStimpyShow animated shows]]
** Ralph had an interest of doing a film of ''Literature/TheCatcherInTheRye''. He intended to shoot the story's bracketing sequences in live action and to animate the core flashback scenes. J.D. Salinger rejected this offer (as well as the other offers that were made beforehand to adapt the book).
** Originally, Ralph Bakshi envisioned ''CoolWorld'' as an animated erotic horror film about a cartoonist who has sex with his hot female creation and spawns a half-human, half-cartoon daughter who sets out to kill her parents for being born a freak. Sadly, due to ExecutiveMeddling, the premise was changed into a wannabe ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'' with nothing (except for the taboo of humans and animated characters having sex) from his original vision.
** One of the ''ComicBook/ElfQuest'' supplement books contains a couple of character sketches done by Bakshi with commentary and pointers from artist Wendy Pini (since his elves and Pini's elves have a measure of similarity) as part of an (ultimately fruitless) project to create an ''[=ElfQuest=]'' animated series.
** Bakshi's plan for ''The Lord of the Rings'' was to make two films, one of which would cover as much of ''The Fellowship of the Ring'' as he could and ''The Two Towers'' up to the end of the battle of Helm's Deep, and the second film would cover the rest. The studio, however, would not greenlight two films at once, and then released the first film without the "Part One" that Bakshi wanted in the title, since they did not believe anyone would pay for "half a movie". The film bombed, mostly due to audiences realizing only after they had bought a ticket and sat through the whole thing that it wasn't the full story, and thus, the studio ruled against greenlighting the "sequel".
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