Happy 72nd Birthday, Ralph Bakshi!

Ralph Bakshi
Drawing by Jeaux Janovsky

Happy birthday to animation’s original bad boy, Ralph Bakshi, who turns 72 today! His attitude towards animation remains as inspiring and relevant now as it was forty years ago.

Check out the video below for one of the most inspiring animation pep talks you’ll ever see:

UPDATE: Brew reader Todd Wheeler says,

I just thought it would be worth an update on your Ralph Bakshi post: Fritz the Cat is today’s featured article on Wikipedia. I’m guessing someone over at Wikipedia HQ must be an animation fan.


  • http://handdrawnrevolution.blogspot.com/ Rodger

    American Pop is still my favorite film of all time…

    So happy birthday Ralph!

    And happy mischief night haters; may you eternally stomp out flaming bags of your own crap!

  • Doug

    Wow, I’m not even an animator and I’m inspired. This makes me want to jump out of my office window and fly!

  • http://www.animationanomaly.com Charles K. (The Animation Anomaly)

    Hear hear, Happy birthday to a living legend!

  • http://animativestate.blogspot.com vipshar

    Thank you for this. I needed it.

  • Jorge Garrido

    The John Cassavetes of animation! Actually, that’s false, he’s the Ralph Bakshi of animation! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RALPH!

    My dream is to one day meet Ralph and talk to him.

  • Demetre

    Bakshi is the man!

  • James Tim Walker

    Hey Ralph…..Happy Birthday…..I worked for you on Heavy Traffic,Coonskin,and Hey Good Lookin. How about a game of Ping Pong to celebrate…Best Wishes Tim

  • http://tedzey.wordpress.com tedzey

    Hells yeah, Bakshi! Just don’t expect R. Crumb to give you a birthday present!

    • Jay Sabicer

      Or J.R.R. Tolkien.

    • Shawn’s Bro

      Or Mark Bode.

      Went to his “cartoon concert” years ago. He referred to the referenced gentleman as Ralph Baksh*t. Or to quote Jay Ward and Bill Scott’s Fracture Flickers: “The only “ism” for me is plagiarism!”

      Yee haa.

    • Keith McCaffety

      Ya beat me to it!

  • http://inconstruction Tony

    Ralph knows exactly what he’s talking about; especially for spoiled, middle class American males who have just
    “bought into the system” of “work at Pixar, Dreamworks, et al or else you are worthless”, oh, and you MUST make a lot of money or else you are worthless, too. This way of thinking is NOT shared by animators around the world, where these days, so much of the most exciting, fresh, innovative, and original independent animation is being done(there’s peace of mind & artistic satisfaction, too)
    Namely, by animators, even students, in Britain, France, Germany, and Japan. Watch the video again and listen to the man. I worked for him once: it was a blast. The film was not a blockbuster, but it was fun. He IS an American original and he has succeeded by doing it HIS way.

  • Acker J. Forestman

    Thanks for COOL WORLD, Ralph! Greatest animated film in history!

  • http://www.3dninja.com Daniel Edwards

    Nice. You and me box, let’s do this!

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    I talked to Ralph this morning and told him that everyone here was wishing him a happy birthday. He said he shot his mouth off in that video but now he’s working on backing it up. He’s charged up and full of ideas and ready to do more animation. He’s amazed at a lot of the work of the artists he sees on the Internet. Ralph is stirring it up again. We’ll be hearing from him again pretty soon.

  • http://mrscriblam.tumblr.com/ mrscriblam

    bakshi is incredible and his films are magical and unique.

  • http://aalong64.blogspot.com Aaron Long

    That video is still one of the smartest speeches I’ve ever heard related to animation.

    Happy birthday, Ralph!

  • Manny

    Fritz made me all furry’n’wild!

    Thanx Bro & Happi B-Day!

  • http://allofmyheroes.blogspot.com/ Jeaux

    Wow! Thanks for posting my drawing of Ralph up Amid! It’s an honor. :)
    Happy Birthday Ralph!!!

  • christy

    very inspiring! just what i needed today!!!!
    happy birthday ralph!

  • Darkblader

    72 years and this guy manages to tell Disney to shove the kids stuff where the sun dont shine. Happy birthday Ralph.Speaking of which. I found a video that talks about the works of this genius, its in two parts.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD57THG9Ou8

  • Charles

    HEAVY TRAFFIC, WIZARD, COONSKIN, and HEY GOOD LOOKIN’ still hold up as cutting edge and avant-garde animation today. About twice a year I watch them all on DVD. Amoeba Music occasionally has the latter two hard-to-find films in stock, for those interested in owning them.

    Bakshi “The Badass” has a singular place in the history of animation in my opinion. Most American animators, aspriant and eminent, should take a page out of his book!

    Happy B-day Badass!

  • Fleetwood Shrumm

    Thanks for Cuckoo Man too, man.

  • http://weirdocorner.blogspot.com Eric Noble

    Happy Birthday, you magnificent bastard. You are one of my big inspirations. You make me want to do animation my way. I hope one day I can meet you and say thanks.

  • http://www.stevelightart.com Steve Light

    He speaks the truth.

  • Tom Minton

    Happy birthday, Ralph!

  • http://art-candy.blogspot.com/ Andrea

    Thanks for posting! I’ve got a short film in the works, this video was super inspiring. Happy B-Day Ralph!

  • http://chuckfialacomicart.blogspot.com/ Chuck Fiala

    Happy Birthday! That speech at SDCC was brilliant!

  • DonaldC

    I can’t say I particularly care for his work, but I do appreciate what he has done for the industry and the historical value his works have. May he have a Happy Birthday.

  • http://strangespanner.blogspot.com/ Lazarus lupin

    I love bakshi so much but I also find a frustrating figure in animation because at times he seemed like he was going to go much farther than he did. Can we fault a man for not revolutionizing the world? OF course not, but there is still that part of my mind who wishes for the Bakshi that could have been.

  • Chris Wbb

    Kudos to Steve Worth for his part in that video: he asked a question, then got out of Ralph’s way and let him talk.

    • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

      There wasn’t a lot of time, so I chose my topic carefully. That particular question was like lobbing a ball right through the sweet spot when Babe Ruth was up to bat. I knew exactly what was going to happen.

      My favorite part is when Ralph channels his old Terrytoons days. The Connie he refers to as saying “we can’t compete with Disney because we don’t have the budget” is director Connie Rasinski.

  • http://cheekyentertainment.blogspot.com/ Craig Clark

    It’s ironic I’ve been listening to his podcasts around the net for the last two days, I didn’t even know it was his birthday! Happy Birthday Ralph! It was a blast working on Cool World! And yes, I too am working with the studio in a box, the result: my Kustomonsters and Friends show…www.kustomonsters.com. Thanks for the inspiration and I hope to see more of your work very soon!

  • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ Mick

    bakshi bakshi rah rah rah… our very own…. he is our hero… no doubt… many more years to the lad

  • http://2dwannabe.blogspot.com robcat2075

    Happy Baksh-day!

    The only time my mother expressed interest in seeing an animated movie without me asking about it was when “Fritz the Cat” came out.

    “He’s X-rated and Animated!”, she read the newspaper ad aloud. “It’d be interesting just to see what that could possibly be.”

    But I was only 13 at the time so that expedition never happened. I had to wait for VHS in the 80′s.

  • greg m.

    I LOVED working with Ralph on Coolworld!! Really, it was one of the best gigs I was ever on! Go Ralph, GOOOOOOO!

  • Rooniman

    Happy Birthday, Ralph! May you continue to beat down Disney and other big studios for the wimps they are.

  • thomas K

    Amen! Happy bday ralph!

  • http://UncleEddie'sTheoryCorner Eddie Fitzgerald

    Happy Birthday, Ralph!!!

  • http://www.animatedviews.com Randall Cyrenne

    That SDCC speech was one of my favorite moments from attending that year. It was also an honor to meet him afterwards, and to get a signed copy of his book. I have to admit I don’t love his films, but they’re always intersting, I do respect his passion.

  • james madison

    Happy Birthday Mr. Bakshi!!!!

  • Abu

    Wow, he’s right! I don’t agree with every opinion there but his advice is top notch. He’s one guy I’d like to meet in person as well, his speech was more inspirational than anything from Tony Robbins or any of those ‘self help gurus.’ Preach on Brother Bakshi and Happy Birthday!

  • John Tebbel

    Happy Birthday, Ralph. A definite torch carrier when things were dark.

  • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ a peanut shaped ghost klan member

    big happys to Big Ralph, the king of cartoons

  • Cord Nielson

    As a tiny aspiring animator looking up at the towering walls of the industry, that speech helped me ALOT. Maybe now i’ll go about things a little differently. Thanks to you, Mr. Bakshi. And happy birthday.