Sunday, February 03, 2013

RALPH BAKSHI DOES CONEY ISLAND


Ralph's started a Kickstarter campaign to fund a short animated film/pilot about one of my favorite subjects: Coney Island. Ralph wasn't born when Coney was at its spectacular height, but he witnessed its later years, when magic of a strange sort could still be seen in the dying embers. I can't wait to see what he's going to do with this!



If we're lucky, Ralph'll do some of the backgrounds himself. Here's (above) one he did for the Kickstarter pitch.


Why am I interested in Coney Island? Because the amusement parks there were collectively the best America ever produced, barring Disneyland and World Fairs. There were three adjacent parks: Luna Park, Dreamland and Steeplechase. That's the entrance to Dreamland above, circa 1905.


I ache when I see old pictures of Dreamland (above) because they contain hints of what a modern city might look like (in a modern style, of course) if only we chose to build that way. And the sculptures...who doesn't like stuff like that? We should take a tip from Dreamland and fill our cities with them. With new materials and computer guidance we could sculpt amazing figures that would be quick to make and fairly durable...fairly. They don't have to last forever.


 That's (above) Dreamland's exit.


Here's a high res picture of Luna Park. Geez, I shouldn't put up pictures like this...they don't load onto phones very well.


Here's (above) the Dreamland ballroom. I'm guessing that the electric lights overhead would have provoked awe from the earliest dancers. Imagine seeing something like this only a few years after Edison wired the island for electricity.


This (above) looks like the parachute ride from one of the later incarnations of Steeplechace Park, maybe from the late 50s or early 60s. No doubt Ralph saw scenes similar to the one we're seeing here.

So here's one of the best cartoonists around, doing a film about one of my favorite subjects. 'Sounds good to me! See the whole pitch at:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ralphbakshi/last-days-of-coney-island-0

BTW: I don't know who painted the title card. The caricature of Ralph is based on an original sketch by John K.


8 comments:

Joel Brinkerhoff said...

Ahh, Coney...
I hope you don't mind my diversion to my blog posting on Coney here:
http://www.joelbrinkerhoff.blogspot.com/2012/09/little-nemos-slumberland-and-coney.html

I've not seen some of these pictures of the parks before so thanks.

Did you watch the documentary on Coney I sent you?

Joel Brinkerhoff said...

One more Coney related intrusion:
http://joelbrinkerhoff.blogspot.com/2013/02/alice.html

You may have some connections, or even be interested in making this happen?

Thanks, and no more from me about Coney.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Joel: Holy Cow! It seems so obvious after reading your comment, but it never occurred to me til now that Nemo was inspired by Coney Island. very interesting!

About the Tom Waits record...if you're not going to make your own film based on that you might want to tell Ralph about it. I'm sure he'd love to hear from you. Contact him via his kickstarter site.

Jesse Oliver said...

I hope Ralph gets to finish "Last Days of Coney Island"!

Hey Eddie, are you ever gonna start a kickstarter for a cartoon film?

We need more Wacky & Funny Cartoons from guys like you!

Roberto Severino said...

I have still always wanted to visit Coney Island, but people who live in New York who I've met have told me about how rundown that place has become. Ralph Bakshi is one of the many animation geniuses that has ever lived, and I wish him good luck on his latest Kickstarter venture.

kurtwil said...

I sincerely hope that should RB succeed with his Kickstarter venture, he'll finish the project.

LDOCI's been an on again, off again project for some time. Web articles suggested either story or money problems.

JK's going gangbusters with his Kickstarter funded George Liquor project and perhaps that will give RB more inspiration towards his!

kurtwil said...

Very nice photos BTW, Eddie! Dorney Park in Allentown, PA, retains a little of that flavor.

Pete Emslie said...

Hey Eddie, if you're a fan of Coney Island, I'd highly recommend you watch "The Little Fugitive" (1952), that is, if you aren't already familiar with it. Nostalgia at its most charming best!