Ralph Bakshi (born October 29, 1938) is an American director of animated and, occasionally, live-action films. As the American animation industry fell into decline during the 1960s and 1970s, Bakshi tried to bring a change in the industry by establishing an alternative to mainstream animation in independent and adult-oriented productions. From 1972 until 1994, he directed nine theatrically-released feature films, writing five of them, and oversaw ten television projects as a director, producer and animator. Beginning his career at the Terrytoons television cartoon studio as a cel polisher, Bakshi was eventually promoted to director. He moved to the animation division of Paramount Pictures in 1967 and started his own studio, Bakshi Productions, in 1968. Through producer Steve Krantz, Bakshi made his debut feature film, Fritz the Cat, released in 1972. It was the first animated film to receive an X rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, and the most successful independent animated feature of all time.