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Trivia / Ralph Bakshi

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  • Approval of God: Ralph saw the Nostalgia Critic's review of Cool World and thought it was very funny, even sharing it on his Facebook page.
  • Attention Deficit Creator Disorder: Some of the animators who worked under him note how Bakshi always tried to finish projects as quickly as possible because of how ambitious he was to get to his next one, though it could also have been a personal precaution from going over-budget.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • Ralph isn't fond of the released version of Hey Good Lookin' due to Warner Bros. forcing numerous changes to the film (the original cut was a mix of live action and animation) and delayed the film for seven years before finally dumping the film in select markets. When interviewed in 2010 on the film, Bakshi spoke positively about the first cut but had little to say about the released version. He also wasn't happy with the Executive Meddling Cool World underwent from Paramount, which led to Bakshi retiring from filmmaking.
    • Ralph was not happy that he wasn't allowed to make a follow-up to complete his Lord of the Rings animated film, or for being forced to drop the "Part 1" from the films title, feeling it cheated the audience into thinking they were getting the whole story, as opposed to just the first two books.
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    • And in general, Ralph strongly disliked using rotoscoping in films like it, only using it out of desperation because it was the only possible way to make the film at the time—a triple whammy of low budgets, the realistic tone warranted by the story, the older animators he worked with dying off or retiring (and unlike with Wizards, he didn't have as much access to animator Irv Spence to help carry the workload) and the new animators he was hiring weren't skilled enough to animate on their own yet, forced him to rely heavily on the tool.
    • He's not fond of the 1989 Made-For-Tv pilot Hound Town. In his biography "Unfiltered", he mentioned it in passing, saying "It's an embarrassing piece of shit," and also said "I did it to keep the money flowing." It only aired once on NBC, and was quickly forgotten.
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    • He isn't proud of his 1967 Paramount short "Marvin Digs", claiming it wasn't made the way he intended. The short was meant to have more crude content but instead "watered down to a typical 1967 limited-animation theatrical".
    • As John Kricfalusi found out while working for him, do not so much as ask Ralph about what it was like working on Rocket Robin Hood.
  • Doing It for the Art:
    • 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.
  • Executive Meddling: He's a frequent victim of this, particularly with Cool World and his TV series Spicy City (which led to the latter being cancelled despite decent ratings).
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Some of his work is not available on home video, such as the aforementioned "Hound Town", the uncut version of "Hey Good Lookin", and the Terry Toons "Mighty Heroes" cartoons he worked on. Likewise, "Christmas In Tattertown", "Spicy City", his two "What A Cartoon" shorts have yet to receive any DVD release. His TV special of The Butter Battle Book, however, was recently released as a bonus feature on the DVD for the Horton Hears a Who!! TV special.
  • No Budget: Enforced on most of his films, usually as a means of retaining creative control, as no major Hollywood studio in their right mind would likely give him money for the kind of things he wanted to.
  • Playing Against Type: Ralph switched to a fantasy direction with films like Wizards and Lord of the Rings partly because he didn't want to get typecasted as only being an artist who made explicit, X-rated animation, a reputation given to him by his first three feature films. He even made some out and out children's cartoons, such as the adaptation of Dr. Seuss' The Butter Battle Book and Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures as a result of this.
  • Saved from Development Hell: His film The Last Days of Coney Island.
  • What Could Have Been: Since Bakshi's brushes with Executive Meddling are legion, his resumé could be this trope incarnate.
    • 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". Which was set to be a parody of the teen comedies during the time. However Tri-Star canceled the project. But artwork of this proposed project can be seen in the 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 produce their own animated shows
    • Ralph had an interest of doing a film of The Catcher in the Rye. 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 Cool World 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 Executive Meddling, the premise was changed into a wannabe Who Framed Roger Rabbit with nothing (except for the taboo of humans and animated characters having sex) from his original vision.
    • One of the 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 didn't sell as well as they expected, 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".
    • He was interested in directing Blade Runner and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as animated films.

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