Ralph Bakshi’s “Last Days of Coney Island” to premiere online on October 29th

By on October 17, 2015

Ralph Bakshi’s Last Days of Coney Island“an animated cop, mafia, horror movie set in the 1960s in Coney Island, with political overtones both realistic and outrageous” – will premiere exclusively via Vimeo on Demand on October 29th, 2015, Bakshi’s 77th birthday.

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Earlier this year, Bakshi was on hand at a two-night retrospective of his films at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, California, where he premiered this work-in-progress (we told you about that here). Now the project is finished and it will be available for viewing on Vimeo for $5 later this month. You can pre-order now for $3.99.

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The 22-minute film is the first major film project from director Ralph Bakshi (Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic, Coonskin, and Wizards, plus so many more) in decades, and it was animated by Bakshi himself (he also painted the backgrounds). Voices were provided by the following actors: Omar Jones as Shorty, Rick Singer as Louie, Tina Romanus as Molly, Esperanza Quintero as Louise, Robert Costanzo as Max.

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Here’s a description of the short film’s storyline from the Vimeo page:

In the cheap glitter and glow of a fading Coney Island a group of characters live out their sordid, strange lives trying to get somewhere fast – any way they can. Desperately trying to love and be loved. These cops, call girls, mafia hoods, transvestites, fortune-tellers, clowns, and freaks are all intertwined, heading on a crazy roller coaster ride into a black hole they think is life.

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All of these characters are totally removed from the 60s America that, at the same time, is violently changing its values, fast. It is how hard they try, with the deck stacked against them, that we root for them in amazement. The film is done in funny hand drawn animation which makes their story even more amazing to watch. We invite you to enjoy the show.”

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Louie laughs with Louise and “The Girls” at Louise’s bar in 1960s, from Last Days of Coney Island (character color test w/o background)

Last Days of Coney Island features music by Mark Taylor. Zac Wittstruck is the editor, and the sound design and mixing is by Kathleen Edwards, Tor Kingdon (Hear Kitty Studios). 1,290 backers pledged $174,195 to help bring this project to life via Kickstarter.

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Watch a “Making Of” video here:

In case you missed it, we also have this awesome post about Bakshi’s “Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures,” which aired as a CBS network Saturday morning cartoon for just two seasons and 19 episodes in 1987-88.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.