Happy Birthday Ralph Bakshi

I thought we’d celebrate the day with a viewing of my favorite Bakshi short, the grooviest cartoon ever made: Marvin Digs (1967).


  • Christopher Cook

    Cute cartoon. I recognize Dayton Allen’s voice, but who was the female voices?

  • Roger A

    What a fun cartoon! I’ve never seen it before, but it does have some unmistakable Bakshi elements.

  • http://www.youtube.com/spiralmc michael castillo

    wow. Talk about a different generation. I love Bakshi. His style. his message. Its different. It what animation should be about. At least I think. Bakshi. My favorite animator.

  • ryan

    that was cool thanks for posting

  • joecab

    Groovy! And even Harold Peary (the Great Gildersleeve) got to do a voice in this one.

    The scene with Marvin undoing his blanket to get up out of bed sure reminded ya of Diaper Man’s similar scene in the Mighty Heroes, don’t it? I do like those old Bakshis …

  • top cat james

    Happy birthday, Ralph!

    Somebody put “The Mighty Heroes”, “Coonskin”, and “Mighty Mouse-The New Adventures” on DVD so the young ‘uns can view the genius that is Bakshi.

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com Jerry Beck

    Chris – I believe all the female voices are Corinne Orr (Trixie & Spritle from Speed Racer): http://www.geocities.com/starparty1/orr/

  • Jp

    Coonskin IS on DVD under the title STREETFIGHT.

    The Bakshi film that OUGHT to be restored and released on DVD is Bakshi’s ORIGINAL version of HEY GOODLOOKIN.’

    After Coonskin came out and was met by all that ridiculous “controversy,” Warners got cold feet and held back the next Bakshi feature which was HEY GOODLOOKIN’. It finally came out in a much edited version in 1982 minus its orginal sounbdtrack by The New York Dolls and Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks.

    I saw the original version as I worked on Goodlookin’. In its director’s cut, it may well be the best Bakshi film this side of Heavy Traffic.

  • Peter Gamatcho

    Social relevance was as unexpected in a cartoon when this was made as it would be now.

  • murray

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptGXx2Y7brI

    The amazing HEAVY TRAFFIC on you tube.
    (not for the faint hearted or easily offended)

    HAPPY birthday to a true individual!

  • DPH

    Eh, not too spectacular. Ralph Bakshi himself thought this cartoon was a piece of crap.

  • http://amymebberson.blogspot.com Amy Mebberson

    Whatever happened to the Winston Sharples, I ask you? :)

  • Charles Brubaker

    Hey thanks! I always wanted to see this short.

    Bakshi’s “Malcom and Melvin” shorts, which he produced for Cartoon Network, is also on YouTube.

  • RODAN

    I swear I saw this cartoon a dozen times or so with the family going to the drive-in movies (remember those?) back in the late 60′s and 70′s. Makes me want a hotdog real bad!!!!

  • Keith Paynter

    Like, wow, daddy-oh! Thanks for sharing Jerry – at least you didn’t show any Bakshi-era Spider-Man or Rocket Robin Hood!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Thanks for this Jerry! I remember having seen this maybe only once a decade ago when Nickelodeon once used to show the Paramount library of 1962-67 cartoons shown either in it’s own half-hour slot or on another program.

  • http://randombrainwave.blogspot.com John Surname

    Bakshi says he threw up after watching this. I don’t actually mind it myself.

  • http://trevour.blogspot.com Trevour Meyer

    Wow, I’ve never even heard of this cartoon before! Thanks, and a happy birthday to Bakshi too!

  • Mr. Semaj

    Whoa! Radically different from any Paramount/Famous cartoon I’m familiar with. Thanks for posting this rare offering.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > Whatever happened to the Winston Sharples, I ask you? :)

    It does kinda have that look of the production being hijacked by some new upstart and this is his take on ‘music’ which was like a slap in the fact of the old guard at the studio who had clinged to the Win Sharple renditions for as long as they remembered. :-)

    > Bakshi says he threw up after watching this. I don’t actually mind it myself.

    I would say the story in this isn’t too original however, as I think we’ve all seen that concept done a number of times before. The “kid with wild ideas and dreams is looked down upon by his old man, whom changes his tune once he see’s his kid getting praised for his achievement” sort of thing. I still enjoy the deisgn and social relevance contained, and I could see how Ralph might think differently about it today, he at least had the chance to work then at a time when he was going through studios and other places before settling on what he would eventually do a decade later.

    > Whoa! Radically different from any Paramount/Famous cartoon I’m familiar with. Thanks for posting this rare offering.

    In particular, the cartoons from the Culhane/Bakshi era are some of the more innovative of the studio’s final years. I only wish we could see “The Plumber” land on YouTube. In the meantime, here’s one rendered in what appears to be crayon cut-outs!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–p5QtguFQA

  • http://zekeyspaceylizard.blogspot.com Zekey

    What happened to Bakshi anyway? After the proposed sequel to Coonskin never got made, all news of the fellow seems to have faded into the wind.

  • http://www.lippy.com Lippy

    Great snapshot of a more innocent moment in time. It’s economic but it works works works.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > What happened to Bakshi anyway? After the proposed sequel to Coonskin never got made, all news of the fellow seems to have faded into the wind.

    He’s still out there, currently working on his ‘final’ animated feature, “The Last Days of Coney Island”. There’s the official website of interest to view!
    http://www.ralphbakshi.com/

  • Jay

    Zekey: last word I heard was that Bakshi was working on a movie called Last Days of Coney Island and had finished about ten minutes as a sales reel, but hadn’t gotten funding yet.

  • Some Furry Hippie

    Very cool. Thanks for sharing!

  • Alfons Moline

    Far out, man!! I had been wishing to see MARVIN DIGS since… well, since I read about it in Leonard Maltin´s OF MICE AND MAGIC about 25 years ago!! Even if the script is not terrific, everything works on this cartoon: the characters´design, the backgrounds, the color, the music… and the message. This is truly one of the few theatrical cartoons made in the 60´s which truly catch the spirit of that decade (together with DePatie-Freleng´s HURTS AND FLOWERS and PSYCHEDELIC PINK and probably -I say ‘probably’ because I haven´t seen yet that one- Warner´s NORMAN NORMAL). Sadly, the Paramount/Famous animation studio closed shop shortly after this, when it had taken a new direction… had it not disapperared, this studio certainly would have offered us many more animated little gems like this one.
    Now, everybody shout all toghether with me: We want the Shamus Culhane/Ralph Bashki Paramount cartoons on DVD! When do we want them? Now!!!

  • Doug Drown

    Wow! This is a far cry from the stuff Paramount put out in the mid- to late ’50s. I loved it! Cute, clever little cartoon. It goes to show that limited animation can be used creatively.

    I can’t get over the fact that Winston Sharples arranged the music.

  • Ed Barrington

    You haven’t lived until you’ve seen NORMAN NORMAL. It’s the best cartoon Warners did in the 1960′s, and the most atypical. There is nothing else like it partly because it didn’t have its genesis in the Warner cartoon studio. It was a project brought to them, they did the animation and Warners released it as a one shot special. Few cartoons stand the test of time better than NORMAN NORMAL. The story is about integrity, so of course Warners never knew what to do with it.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > Far out, man!! I had been wishing to see MARVIN DIGS since… well, since I read about it in Leonard Maltin´s OF MICE AND MAGIC about 25 years ago!!

    I only wish I had that book!

    > Even if the script is not terrific, everything works on this cartoon: the characters´design, the backgrounds, the color, the music… and the message. This is truly one of the few theatrical cartoons made in the 60´s which truly catch the spirit of that decade (together with DePatie-Freleng´s HURTS AND FLOWERS and PSYCHEDELIC PINK and probably -I say ‘probably’ because I haven´t seen yet that one- Warner´s NORMAN NORMAL).

    Funny you didn’t see Norman Normal yet. It’s a pretty unique film on it’s own, though I felt it was a little too short for the time frame of the story and needed a few more minutes to come up with a closure to that personally, but otherwise, something a little out of the ordinary to what the audience might’ve expected for it’s time.

    > Sadly, the Paramount/Famous animation studio closed shop shortly after this, when it had taken a new direction… had it not disapperared, this studio certainly would have offered us many more animated little gems like this one.

    If only Gulf & Western didn’t think to close the studio after buying out Paramount, we could’ve have a few more years of this sort of thing before teetering into oblivion in the 70′s.

    > Now, everybody shout all toghether with me: We want the Shamus Culhane/Ralph Bashki Paramount cartoons on DVD! When do we want them? Now!!!

    :-) I was more interested in a letter-writing campaign myself, but I don’t have much the strength for that.

  • http://johnpannozzi.blogspot.com John Pannozzi

    I caught the credits of Halloween 3 on AMC today, and noticed that Bakshi Productions was credited for providing animation. Interesting.

  • Jay Kormann

    Very cool! Unfortunately, after watching this we are now out of Cheetos and Balogna….

    Seriously though, until today, I had never seen or heard of this short. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Jerry. It’s FANTASTIC! Bakshi was definitely ahead of the times.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > I can’t get over the fact that Winston Sharples arranged the music.

    It does go against everything ‘wholesome’ people would equate Sharples for!

    > You haven’t lived until you’ve seen NORMAN NORMAL. It’s the best cartoon Warners did in the 1960’s, and the most atypical. There is nothing else like it partly because it didn’t have its genesis in the Warner cartoon studio. It was a project brought to them, they did the animation and Warners released it as a one shot special. Few cartoons stand the test of time better than NORMAN NORMAL. The story is about integrity, so of course Warners never knew what to do with it.

    Same could be said for another short that was lumped in with WB’s usual cartoon package from Ken Mundie, “The Door”. There was just rather unusual pickings during that time if only more interest had been given to see further projects develop.

    Really, thinking of shorts like this kinda made me wonder how this could’ve played out if a thought came to do away with the usual studio system and allow for individual efforts on the same vain as that of the National Film Board of Canada or Zagreb Film or such, leading to more shorts such as the ones stated above to flourish in America into the 70′s. Theatrical animated shorts wouldn’t have to die out the way they had if it could’ve found a new place among the generation of young people who might wanted to see something that wouldn’t just be the same ol’ formulas in favor of more contemporary and social commentaries of their world and themselves.

  • Chris

    Any chance of Last Days of coney island being finished or any word of that film?

  • G.W.Lantz

    In response to Doug Drowns posting of 10/07: FYI: Winston Sharples did not arrange the music for “Marvin Digs”. All music was written and arranged by Gary W. Lantz of the group Life Cycle, based at that time in NYC. Vocals were performed by myself and Verna Martel and and the instrumental tracks were performed by myself (guitars and melodium), Johnny Cappadonna (drums, percussion, and some sound FX), and Sal Guglielmo (Fender Bass). Winston Sharples was the music director for the project.

    • KEVIN LANTZ

      I WAS ONLY 12, BUT I WAS THERE FOR THE WHOLE THING, AND YES G.W.LANTZ, MY OLDEST BROTHER,NOW DECEASED IS CORRECT IN HIS STATEMENTS, I GREW UP IN THAT STUDIO.