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Ralph Bakshi

A great collection of original production animation cels for sale from Ralph Bakshi.


Original hand painted production animation cels of Frodo, Sam, & Aragorn from "The Lord of the Rings," 1978, Ralph Bakshi; Aragorn cel hand signed Ralph Bakshi in ink upper left; Matching production numbers lower cel edges; Set on a lithographic background; Size - Frodo, Sam, & Aragorn: 9 x 11 1/2", Image 9 1/4 x 12 1/4"; Unframed.

Ralph Bakshi (b. 1938) is a producer, animator, writer, actor, and painter; but his most known as a director of independent and adult-oriented animated and live-action films. He began his career at Terrytoons cartoon studio as a cel polisher, was eventually promoted to animator, and then director. In 1967 he moved to the animation division of Paramount Pictures and a year later started his own studio, Bakshi Productions. The debut feature film from the new studio was Fritz the Cat (1972) which was the first animated film to receive a X rated from the Motion Picture Association of America; it would go on to become the most successful independent animated film of all time. Between 1972 and

2015 he would direct ten feature films (six of which he wrote); the most famous being: Wizards (1977), The Lord of the Rings (1978), American Pop (1981), Fire and Ice (1983), and Cool World (1992). Bakshi was also involved in numerous television projects as director, writer, producer, and animator including: Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures, Cool and the Crazy, and the anthology series Spicy City.

Ralph Bakshi was very familiar with J.R.R. Tolkien's writing very early in his career and had made several attempts to produce The Lord of the Rings as an animated film before finally securing funding from producer Saul Zaentz; in collaboration with distributor United Artists. Bakshi's film The Lord of the Rings would be based on Tolkien's books The Fellowship of the Ring and the first half of The Two Towers. The story follows a group of hobbits, elves, men, dwarves, and a wizard who form a fellowship on their quest to destroy the One Ring (made by the Dark Lord Sauron) and ensure it's destruction in Mount Doom. The screenplay was written by Peter S. Beagle (based on an earlier draft by Chris Conkling). The film features the voice talents of William Squire, John Hurt, Michael Graham Cox, and Anthony Daniels; and it was one of the first animated films to be shown in the Dolby Stereo Sound System.

Publicity for The Lord of the Rings heralded it as "the first movie painting" which was created by "an entirely new technique of film making." This was accomplished through the extensive use of rotoscoping, a technique whereby scenes are first filmed in live-action but then later traced onto animation celluloids. The result is a blend between traditional cel painted animation and live action sequences.

"I was told that at Disney the actor was told to play it like a cartoon with all that exaggeration. In Lord of the Rings, I had the actors play it straight. The rotoscope in the past has been used in scenes and then exaggerated. The action becomes cartoony. The question then comes up that if you're not going to be cartoony, why animate?... It is the traditional method of rotoscoping but the approach is untraditional. It's a rotoscope realism unlike anything that's been seen. It really is a unique thing for animation. The number of characters moving in a scene is staggering. In The Lord of the Rings, you have hundreds of people in the scene. We have cels with a thousand people on them. It was so complex sometimes we'd only get one cel a week from an artist. It turned out that the simple shots were the ones that only had four people in them." — Ralph Bakshi

This is a rare and very nice two cel setup of Frodo, Sam, and Aragorn from the Ralph Bakshi 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings. All three characters are eyes open and the setup has been signed by Ralph Bakshi in black ink. A wonderful original hand painted cel setup that is perfect for any animation art collection!

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