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Bad IdeasBooks

The Book Nobody’s Been Waiting For

Filmation book

Lou Scheimer tells all . . . like about the time he produced something crappy, or that other time he produced something crappy, or those few decades where he had an impressive streak of producing lots and lots of crap in a row. There’s also an uplifting personal story about the time he vowed to produce something decent, but then realized it was more important to stay true to himself and produce crap.

Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation drops in July.

  • I’m in for one!

  • Ha, harsh…

  • I like his “Don’t blame me- I wuz makin’ moneys!” pose on the cover.

  • Jesus


  • Thing is, though, whole generations are very attached to some of that crap. Does that mean he had something there, something worthwhile that is actually pretty special but it’s hidden behind really godawful designs and animation? Or does it mean that children will watch any old rubbish and quality has no place in children’s television?

    I would really love to believe it’s the former.

  • Jorge Garrido

    Wow, Amid, you sure showed him! Knock him off his pedestal!

    By the way, I loved “The Art of Robots”

  • I don’t know why, but it always bothered me when they’d use lasers on He-Man. Most things were swords and magic, but then some character would use a laser (I’m looking at you Man-at-Arms) and I’d be thrown off for the rest of the afternoon.

  • Mike


  • Donald C.

    Well, someone had to say it.

  • Stephen

    Tell me there’s a chapter on Jason of Star Command…

  • Chuck Howell

    Now Amid, lets show a little empathy here. Lou Scheimer’s really crappy childhood, in which he attended a crappy school, worked the crappiest paper route and had to wear crappy hand-me-downs meant that all he ever had exposure to WAS crap. He vowed as a teenager that if he were going to make crap, it wouldn’t be of the average, everyday variety. It would be crap with World Wide Distribution! As Fat Albert would say, “Hey, Hey, Hey… the residual check is on its way!”

  • Im still waiting for a Rankin Bass book.

  • victoria

    Is this a joke??

  • ShouldBeWorkin

    It depends what is between the covers. If it is an “Art of” book, that is laughable. If it is about the business he certainly should have alot to say. About the time they came out with Fat Albert and messed about with Shazam I grew out of filmation (10 yrs old?)
    Say what you will, Filmation was successful and HB (which I loved in the 60s) did crappier animation in the 70s. Filmation was animated all in-house until the bitter end which I think says something postive about whoever was running it.
    As an animation student in the 80s, we looked down upon that stuff. It’s funny to hear Gen Xers wax nostalgically about it. Then again Iwax nostalgically about Speed Racer; my boomers’ crap.

  • I grew up watching He-Man religiously after school every day as a kid. I loved it at the time as a part of my childhood, although looking at it now I never realized how bad the animation was. The same can be said for many pieces of nostalgia.

    All things considered though, I still think the character design of Orko is brilliant.

    ….and Nick, there is a Rankin Bass book by Rick Goldschmidt, plus a separate one on the making of the Rudolph special.

  • Rat

    I remember that Isis was hot.

    Other than that, looking at any face on that picture other than Kirk will cause you to lose IQ points by the second.

  • I like Orko’s pose, as if he’s saying “No! Please! Don’t read this!”

  • joecab

    Now now.

    I enjoyed lots of Filmation as a kid so I’m giving it a read, plus Andy does know his stuff. And Hanna-Barbera had its share of budget-conscious crap too (well, maybe not as low as Filmation’s) but don’t go talkin’ no smack about them, either.

  • George

    Hey Nick, there is a Rankin Bass book, you can learn more about it here: Unfortunately, you’ll likely have to find a copy on the secondary market, but in my humble opinion it’s worth the effort/cost. Good luck!

  • Bob

    Um, why again do people actually like this poorly-made crap?

  • I can’t believe that’s the cover of the actual book. Is that the only (pixeled AND blurry) picture they had of the guy?

  • ATTS

    Well, it was clunky animation, no argument from me. I am no fan of He-man, Product of the Universe, no sir. that said, some of the stories, voices and characters were endearing, Fat Albert, Trek specifically. So as a producer he produced a mixed bag, of mostly crap, but don’t flush the good with the bad. Trek had alien crew members years before the live action did. Just sayin’, I mean typin.

  • Steve Sues

    God, even the cover is the most unappealing image I’ve ever seen. It’s just a chaotic mess of already bland characters with a low-res, crappily cut out picture of Scheimer. A high school student could have made something better the night before it was due.

  • His image on the front cover is hilarious for several reasons.

    It’s really grainy and blurry. Next to the drawn characters, it looks like a bad photo edit someone would do for a contest on SomethingAwful.

    His pose, as noted by Baron Lego, seems really smug and brazen, as if he’s saying “that’s right, I’m rich. From making these cartoons.”

    For some reason when I see it, I think ‘vampire.’ I think it’s his widow’s peak, combined with his being lit from below.

  • Jason

    Just think what the Filmation studio could have done if it had lasted until Macromedia Flash came around.
    Or maybe it would be better not to think about it.

  • vzk

    I’ll be waiting for its release at the nearest dollar store.

    Seriously, I never saw it, but was Fat Albert actually a good show?

  • I watched that Snow White sequel all the time when I was little! :D

  • I met him once about a year ago and he seems to be… how should I say it…”slipping” mentally.

  • On the plus side, they they didn’t ship the work over-seas, they succeeded in an environment almost everyone else thought was hopeless, they provided employment to artists who otherwise would have had none and in their own small way they helped keep the fire alive for another generation.

    The Wayback machine retains a fan page that looks at what went right at Filmation:

  • peu

    “Um, why again do people actually like this poorly-made crap?”

    say it with me now, n-o-s-t-a-l-g-i-a. that is all

  • david

    more negativity from my favorite website about animation.


  • cliffclaven

    I recall thinking the Filmations were a bit slicker than the HB adventure shows, mainly because whoever did the backgrounds made almost everything shine like polished metal. Also, to my young eyes the characters seemed more sturdily drawn, which may have been just the heavy outlines.

    I recently saw a few episodes of their Hardy Boys series, which makes the later live version look like PBS Mystery. Hip 60s trappings, wannabe Archies songs (with cool but repetitive psychodelic animation effects, including a faintly obscene throbbing paisley pattern), frequent shots where half the screen is filled with somebody’s profile, and TWO boiled-down books in under 30 minutes. It may not have been good, but it was sure as heck SOMETHING.

  • At least the volumes didn’t change on his action adventure characters and they were all on model. I appreciated that, even as a kid!

  • thats the best picture they could come up with for a book cover??!! if im going to go ahead and judge a book by its cover, this one isn’t looking promising.

  • I think the surest sign as to how good this will be is evident by the spectacular quality of the image of the creator on the cover…

  • Jeffrey T. McAndrew

    I’m relieved that I’m not the only one who thinks Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids was horrible junk. I’m not putting down the values it was trying to teach, but the animation was attrocious, even for the 1970’s. The only thing worse than it was the live action film adaptation a few years ago. The cover of this book seems appropriate for the subject, an ugly cut and paste job of old stock images. This thing doesn’t even appear to have a forward in it.

  • ovi

    hands down the best cartoons ever mand, ever.

    i grew up on all these. THESE were my saturday mornings. that and a bowl of lucky charms.

    dont be messing with HE-MAN Amid, careful now.

    haha, JK.


  • “The book nobody’s been waiting for?” That’s just wrong. I’m waiting for it. A lot of people who loved those shows are waiting for it. It wouldn’t surprise me if the hundreds of people who worked for Filmation over the years — who paid their rent and bought groceries when no one else was hiring — are waiting for it. (Hey, how about giving Lou some points for heading the only major studio that didn’t ship the animation work overseas when a buck could he saved? In its entire history, Filmation only sent a couple of shows out of the country, and I think those were mainly shows that couldn’t be done in Southern California because of a shortage of talent at those moments.)

    An awful lot of writers and artists who went on to do good, important work got their start at Filmation and have enormous affection for Lou. I would guess a few of them are waiting for this book. (In the interest of full disclosure, I worked exactly once for Filmation so I don’t count myself among the masses who are grateful to Lou and Norm for the employment and the opportunity. But I’ve been around enough of them to know that their number is legion.)

    I’m also guessing that there are a lot of animation historians who would like to understand the market conditions and restrictions and other factors under which these cartoons were made. Some of them might be looking forward to this book…which I gather you are slamming without actually having read.

    If you don’t like their shows, fine. I wasn’t wild about a lot of them, though I thought the early seasons of FAT ALBERT were as good as or maybe even better than anything anyone else was then producing. I also think it’s great that Lou, who is in poor health and who recently lost his wife, is getting to tell his story and to get out and sign books and meet his many fans. I was on a panel with him at Comic-Con two years ago and he sure has a lot of them. They packed a large room and gave him a long, loving standing ovation. Maybe, despite your claims to the contrary, one or two of them would even like to buy a book about him.

    Come on, Amid. If you don’t like those shows, write an intelligent, reasoned piece explaining why without the nastiness. And if you don’t like the book, wait until you actually get a copy to trash it.

  • Nick – see George’s comments about the Rankin-Bass book… I second his thoughts, it’s awesome…
    Andy Mangels co-wrote? I remeber that name from reading “Amazing Heroes” magazine about comic books back in the late 80’s… Always wondered what happened to him

  • Well said, Mark!

    Man, this site get more and more negative every day.

  • Dock Miles

    Thank Yod I was old enough to skip out on TV cartoons as soon as “Star Trek” began, and then return to watching animation in a serious way in college, in little movie theaters.

    In other words, what a relief not to give a poop about this era of animation one way or the other.

  • Knock it all you want man… success is success, and millions of people around the world have a soft spot in their hearts for those things you title “crap”!

  • JMatte

    Mark Evanier wrote out my thoughts more clearly than I ever could. Thank you.

    I’ve experienced the hurdles of television productions, and I’d be curious to read about the history of Filmation to see how they were working things out: the choices they had to make and why.

    I also get the impression Amid hasn’t read the book but just went and lashed at it based on the studio’s past productions. Maybe I’m wrong.
    It could be a very interesting read! Next time, a book review about its content, not the cover, would be appreciated.

  • james madison

    I would love to read this. It is always good to get a well rounded view of different perspectives, art styles, production, etc.

    I have fond memories of those cartoons and like this book, I wish there was one on Rankin and Bass as well.

  • Thomas Dee

    I don’t see this site, or Amid’s comments, as being at all negative. Critical, yes, but the lack of a critical voice in animation for decades has “blessed” us with such tripe as He Man, the commercial that masqueraded as entertainment, Dungeons and Dragons and Low Expectations, and literally any of the syndicated cartoons ruining young eyes today.

    I’m a fan of this website for its “wire mother/soft mother” approach to animation journalism, or “good cop/bad cop”, if you will. I suspect that many of the more derogatory comments in threads like these come from people who have worked on and are proud of their work on common tripe like the shows referenced above. There are fansites dedicated to the worship of C.O.P.S. and Marshall Bravestarr and the like. I’d suggest you visit those and bask in your accomplishments or your tastes. To call this sh*t “animation” is to miss the point of the Brew completely.

  • Like many, I LOOOOOVED He-Man as a young’un. Now I can’t watch more than 10 seconds of it without getting a bad taste in my mouth. Same goes for Transformers and G.I. Joe and Thundercats and TMNT and The Real Ghostbusters and Denver The Last Dinosaur and Captain Planet and, yes, even the worldwide sensation, the Snorks!

  • John

    The Filmation stuff looked cheap and was extremely formulaic.

    But (surprise!) so was most TV animation aimed at kids EVER.

    Amid could have shared his displeasure with the book without another tiresome “I’m too cool for the entire Universe and everyone but me is EVIL and STUPID, because they JUST ARE!”…but then he wouldn’t be Amid.

  • Rick

    Filmation wasn’t Disney, but in all the interviews I’ve ever seen, Lou Scheimer was always sincere in his intent, and a very nice man to work with and work for.

    And Andy Mangels is a noted pop culture and animation writer on a level with Jerry Beck, producing all sorts of supplements for DVDs.

    Why the bile, Amid?

  • Lucy

    My complete He-Man series sitting on my self tells me this’ll make a great companion piece to it. :D Personally I’m looking forward to this, I’ve got really fond memories of He-Man and other filmation cartoons, like it looks like a lot of people have.

  • Tedzey

    I can tell you this is something you wouldn’t find in John K’s stocking!

  • i want to be a producer when i grow up. just like lou.

  • squirrel

    The lack of quality is so prevalent, it oozes right onto the cover itself! That photo looks too compressed to be allowed on print!

  • lampshade

    I’m tired of people saying that Filmation sucked just because of its lack of budget. You don’t need money to be creative, it sucked for the reason of sucking.

  • sporridge

    What? “Will the Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down” isn’t represented on the cover? Oh wait, Dean Martin’s on there!

    (I’ll shut up now.)

  • Scarabim

    I hated Filmation as a kid because it effed up Archie. My brother and I were huge fans of the comics, and I remember that we were eagerly awaiting the TV show, but when we saw Filmation’s animated version, we about went into shock. The character designs didn’t look remotely like the often-wonderful art in the books, and the writing was even worse; while the comics were often hilarious, there were zero laughs in the toon. And the voices….! They made the voice actors behind Fairly Odd Parents sound good (Veronica was even squeakier than Cosmo. And a Southern accent??!!??? No way!) I think Filmation richly deserves to be dissed. I don’t care how many animators were employed there. It doesn’t excuse crap. I don’t get why people excuse crap because it’s NOSTALGIC crap. That doesn’t even excuse those wrong-sounding Muppets any more. I won’t be buying this book. Watching the crap was bad enough, much less reading about it.

  • Christopher Smigliano

    I have to agree with Mr. Evanier on this one, and anyways, what studio HASN’T produced crap at one point or another? Even those fully-animated facilities at Disney, Warner’s, MGM, etc. have made things that wouldn’t be considered watchable. And as much i love classic theatrical animation, there was a lot of enjoyable stuff made for the bowels of saturday morning. Stuff that wasn’t exactly “high art”, but still entertaining DESPITE the lower budgets (and later, restrictions) I’ve always enjoyed GROOVIE GOOLIES, and thought FRAIDY CAT had a good concept that should have had a better chance. They may be goofy, they may be shoddy, but they had a certain charm to them. And what’s wrong with a cartoon that’s simply fun?

  • Bob Harper

    I appreciate what Mark Evanier wrote here.
    I agree with the sentiment that if this a how to succed in TV Animation business kind of book, it should be a must read for anyone who is pursuing TV animation production. He has been extremely successful in the BIZ and has insight to offer on how it works. I feel we agree that artists need to learn more about how this business works. Plus I have a sentimental spot for Fat Albert.

  • Mark

    There are lots of people who will defend Lou as a wonderful person, and many who will defend the wonderful time they had working with a great crew at Filmation. And many great artists working in animation got their start there.

    But never, ever, not even ONCE, have I heard any of these people–male or female–defend the CRAP they had to produced.

  • This book was apparently supposed to come out in 2008. I’m assuming the cover is temporary, but if it isn’t, good God.

    I’m ambivalent about this book. There’s no way to get around the fact that Filmation did put out formulaic cartoons, but I’d rather read this than a book about Andy Heyward or Allen Bohbot.

    At the very least, I’d like to read how Scheimer justifies his productions, since the networks in the 1970s and 1980s were tight-asses about the content of their cartoons. The 70s/80s cartoon era would have worn Joe Murray down, never mind Lou Scheimer.

  • Give the man his due. He kept artists working, and kept the work in the United States. That alone makes Lou my hero.

    Yeah, I didn’t care for the shows either. Then again, I didn’t have to watch them. No matter. It kept people working, and that’s no small matter.

    I always found Lou to be a gentleman. And, that’s than I can say for the sharks that run animation today.

  • Pedro Nakama

    You can knock Filmation all you want but at least they never sent any work out of the country.

  • Greg Ehrbar

    Actually this is a book I have been waiting for. I had ordered it on amazon some time ago and for some reason it was taken off the available list. I clicked your link and signed up to be notified when it does become available.

    Lots of us have happy memories of Saturday Morning TV yet have no illusions about its relative resemblance to “Fantasia” or “Up.” You can enjoy rich, lavish animated films that are blessed with the luxury of time and generous resources, you can enjoy inventive independent animation that has no creative interference, and you can enjoy animation that was made at a rapid pace, under severe network scrutiny and increasingly small budgets. It’s nice to be able to take all these things for what they are and not for what they aren’t.

    Personally, I am wistful for the days when you could switch channels on Saturday morning and immediately tell Hanna Barbera shows from Filmation, from Rankin-Bass to DePatie Freleng. They all were somewhat distinctive in their designs, poses, music and scripting.

    And speaking of Rankin/Bass, Rick Goldschmidt wrote two books, “The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass: ( and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the Making of the Rankin/Bass Holiday Classic” (

    There was also a book about Filmation in the ’90s, but I just looked it up on amazon and whew! Used copies are expensive! (

    Maybe even if you don’t like Filmation it’s worth getting the new book and saving it for resale in a few years!

  • lampshade

    Floyd Norman: If he made quality cartoons he would’ve made enough money to hire more people.

    I’m tired of this hearing all this backwards thinking.

  • Is “Orko” on model or off?

  • Dock Miles

    “Plus I have a sentimental spot for Fat Albert.”

    Must be about a foot-and-a-half across.

    (Sorry. couldn’t help it.)

  • Andre

    I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s watching the Filmation toons. I didn’t like them then and I still don’t like them now. Those cartoons just never struck a chord with me.

  • Bob Schooley

    This jogged a long dormant memory of getting our first paid writing job from Filmation just as they were about to shut out the lights. Like, DIC, where my writing partner and I ended up for our first staff job, we may not look back proudly on the work produced, but the fact is a LOT of people got their feet wet in those places precisely because they were factories that needed bodies on the line. Is there really such a crime in looking back fondly on the people and time, even if the work was mostly forgettable?

  • Andy

    Nobody injects reality into a conversation quite like Mark Evanier.


    I loved my filmation 22 minute toy ads when I was a kid. Gonna buy the hell outta this book.

  • there’s worse crap being made now.. under the excuse of “design”.. at least they were honest about their crap.

  • Steven E Gordon

    Not terribly mature, Amid.
    I have to agree with Mark. As someone who considers himself an “animation historian” I would think YOU would be looking forward to this book.
    If for no other reason then he actually kept all of the work in this country when no other studio did he deserves our respect.

    And the fact that I met my wife there.

  • I can’t think of a single Filmation cartoon I ever liked — those “Brown Hornet” segments of FAT ALBERT came closest — but I certainly am interested in Lou’s book. I never worked at Filmation, although in the late 1970s I sued the studio over the similarities their “Quackula” had to my “Duckula” (and settled out of court), but every time I’ve met Lou I was impressed with what a gentleman he is. Besides, the studio that produced stuff like GILLIGAN’S PLANET, WILL THE REAL JERRY LEWIS PLEASE SIT DOWN? and UNCLE CROCK’S BLOCK (featuring “Wacky and Packy”) is definitely worth a book just for Oddness’ sake…But please go easy on Lou, Amid; a lot of talented folks I know really loved working for him, and that’s gotta count for something…

    Hell, I’d even want to read an autobiography of Sam Singer!

  • The editorial direction of Cartoon Brew has certainly become overly harsh and dare I say–mean-spirited. Was there any point to this post other than a bully pulpit rant just for the sake of posting content that will drive comments?

    Amid, I truly respect your contributions to animation journalism as do many others. Why do you feel the need to lower yourself in this manner?

  • Victor

    Amid, your books are crap! See now, that doesn’t accomplish anything…

  • mooseman

    When I was done reading the post text about the book I had no doubt that Amid had written them & not Jerry. Take their work for what it was in that time period & get your nose out of the air!

  • I recently saw a made-for-DVD special on Filmation at my local comic book store and was impressed at how everything was done in-house. I wish there were businesses like this today. Lou Scheimer mentions in the special that there isn’t a place like Filmation now where a new person can enter the business and learn how it’s done. That alone would make the studio valuable to the profession. There was also the sense that he cared about what he did. I think it’s important that the history of his studio is recorded.

  • He looks so happy, I can’t help but love him.

  • You have to admit, what Filmation did worked! The shows were entertaining to their audiences and propelled toy sales. Most cartoon shows nowadays don’t even have toys to go along with them (too bad). On the other end of the spectrum, there are beautiful-looking shows on TV that just don’t have enough entertainment value.

  • marley

    heheh, very good point Jorge Garrido, i suspect there are rather more people waiting for this book than there ever were for *ahem* “The Art of Robots”, now that truly was a pile of crap.

  • No need to be so mean-spirited, Amid. Lots of people obviously respect Mr. Scheimer for his contributions to the industry and its professionals, if not necessarily to television. However, many of us DO have fond memories of his shows. Sure, many of them don’t stand up too well when looked upon by adult eyes, but I still enjoy seeing Filmation’s Flash Gordon or Batman or Lone Ranger, and watching Fat Albert can still stimulate worthwhile conversations about values with my kids (who still love the show, by the way). All derogatory remarks about the animation aside, the Filmation shows were wholesome and avoided the snark and false hipness that pervades today’s productions. As if Robots, the subject of one of your books, was a classic! ;)

  • Chris Sobieniak

    “Lou Scheimer mentions in the special that there isn’t a place like Filmation now where a new person can enter the business and learn how it’s done. That alone would make the studio valuable to the profession. There was also the sense that he cared about what he did. I think it’s important that the history of his studio is recorded.”

    This is why I think it’s a shame I sorta missed out on that era where I probably could’ve learned and climbed my way through the business through getting a job at a studio like Filmation.

  • RAB

    Count this as one more longtime reader who thinks this post shows a complete lack of class. Not cool, Amid.

  • It’s easy to say Filmation was making crap for young kids who didn’t know better but that’s not my experience. I was one of those kids who obsessed about cartoons. I used to draw up character lists, episode guides, etc for my favorite shows. At a young age I knew the difference between Warner Brothers directors but didn’t realize different units were producing cartoons simultaneously. So my Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies chronology would be amended every time I saw a new cartoon in the early morning broadcasts on the old WGN.

    Around the the same time I was keeping a character list of the ghouls and bad guys on The Real Ghostbusters. I think I knew there was a high art/low art (without understanding as much) distinction between Golden and Silver Age cartoons and Filmation’s works but I still liked them. Not all of them, mind you, and not with the lasting adoration I have for the Warner Bros. cartoons but enough that I wouldn’t want to crap on Lou Scheimer’s life’s work.

  • joe s

    amid strikes again

  • Jay Sabicer

    I’ve been fairly much in agreement with the more sober voices on this thread. Lou wasn’t out to make great art, but for what it was, the output of Filmation’s work is staggering. As one who grew up with their first series (Superman, Batman & Robin, Fantastic Voyage and the aforementioned Groovie Ghoulies), as a kid, I got up bright-and-early to see them. Looking back, I knew they were written for a juvenile audience with less-than-sophisticated sensibilities. As I approached adolescence, my tastes changed, but Lou did come up with a decent adaptation of Star Trek and Flash Gordon (the first season, anyway).
    I won’t be pre-ordering this book, but I will give it a perusal at my local bookstore, when it arrives. Then I’ll make my choice.
    FYI: John K. will probably get a copy: he needs ammunition to show how NOT to do animation. Plenty of examples from Lou’s system on his blog, which is quite informative (although it’s a little on the snarky side).

  • From this era, I would like to read a book on Jack Schleh (Colonel Bleep) or Dick Brown (Clutch Cargo). They seem like really interesting people.

  • I wish a studio like Filmation was still around today. I would have a job at least drawing something in LA. Cookie Jar (DIC) outsources their animation to Canada now anyways. Well put Mark E and Floyd. God bless Lou!!!

  • I’ll check this out. I loved the old Filmation stuff. The first Flash Gordon incarnation was a well written show, as was the Star Trek show.

  • I’m not particularly interested in the book but they were a big part of our childhoods, especially if you grew up in the 1970’s. So much animation was just putrid, both in content and in execution, and yet I was still drawn to Filmation’s work over their competition.

    For starters, they did some very interesting live action work, from Ark II right through to the superhero (Shazam and Isis) and Space Academy shows. The production quality of these shows were very high for the limited budgets they had to work with.

    Their animated output was pretty decent too. I remember enjoying their Batman and Superman shows as well as Fantastic Voyage in the 1960’s. They really did an awesome job adapting Star Trek into animated form in the 1970’s. Flash Gordon was really well done too!

    Interestingly enough, I own quite a few DVD collections of their shows, whereas I own none of the other shows from the 1970’s…not one!

  • amid

    A number of people in the comments here have made the curious (and prevalent) argument about why Filmation is worthy of our respect: Scheimer didn’t outsource overseas and kept all the work in the US. It’s an argument that reeks of misplaced nationalistic pride. Why should this matter to anybody but the American artists of that era who benefitted from the work? Are Americans inherently entitled to animation jobs over their Asian counterparts?

    Perhaps the argument would make sense if Scheimer had an artistic reason for doing this. I’d respect him if he’d insisted on keeping work stateside because of a net gain in the work, like higher quality animation. However, much of the outsourced work produced in Asia at the time actually looked better than Filmation’s output. So Scheimer was spending the same amount of money (if not more) to produce poorer quality work. With management skills like that, it’s easy to understand why the company is no longer in existence today.

  • Art Binninger

    At first glance, I thought this book was a re-release of ANIMATION BY FILMATION written by Michael Swanigan and Darrell McNeil back in 1993. If the new book is delayed, people interested in Filmation history and the series might want to hunt the Swanigan/McNeil book down. It contains model sheets from all of the studios’ series and stills from the live action ones as well (Ghost Busters, Ark II, Jason of Star Command, etc.) plus a section of storyboards.

  • Art Binninger

    Holy S***, Batman!!! I just did a Google search on the Art of Filmation and discovered a book seller peddling it for $2,475.00
    + $3.99 shipping!!!! Woo Hoo! I finally have a collectible that’s actually become valuable!

  • Aaron H

    I like how Amid excoriates Lou Scheimer, then provides a link where you can give him a commission on the sale of the book!

    I don’t read this site like I used to. Amid is a snob, has questionable taste in animation, and seems to enjoy tearing down the attempts of others rather than creating his own art (aside from “The Art of Robots” of course).

    For the record, I grew up in the 1980s watching Filmation cartoons. I knew they were cheaply made (I mean He-Man only had, what, 7 or 8 different sequences they would re-shuffle), but as far as I was concerned, the designs had some charm, the music was cool, the voices were great, and as others have said, he kept the work stateside versus farming it out to a foreign studio. (No, Amid, Americans aren’t inherently entitled to animation jobs over their Asian counterparts, but why stimulate an economy on the other side of the world when you can support your local economy?)

    I wish Jerry would start a regularly updated “Cartoon History” site and leave Amid’s “Snarky Commentary” to its own site.

  • Gerard de Souza

    I would not say Filmation animation was bad…just lacked …well..animation. But that was their system. And they reused the hell out of stock animation…even close-ups sliding in and stuff. Whereas HB originally took a pose reel approach to animation this was filmation’s method. I don’t like the results but I understand why. Animation was costlier then than it is now. Outsourcing had more to do with lack of personnel than greed. But even then a producer could have been greedy and outsourced the whole thing. I don’t think praising Filmation for keeping stuff in-house is misplaced nationalism but a surmise that the producer had some decency. Also other things that kept the product from being good were the network codes back then. EVen as a kid (11/12) I hated the lesson after every show.

    I would be interested to read what it was like working under those constraints and how or if it dictated the production technique.

    BUT there are some things I liked about Filmation. The Archies were my introduction to ROck albeit bubble gum. The use of the original cast of star trek to do voices. I liked the stock rotoscoped animation in the 80s. I liked the model fx in Jason of STar academy or what ever it was called and I liked the rotoed ships and spfx in Flash Gordon. I liked the character designs of the Ghoulies.

    I won’t bother restating things I put under my alias yesterday lest I seem trollish. But ya can’t judge a book by its cover and I can’t write-off Filmation. Yeh, my gut reaction is “crap” but I remember some things I liked. Even if a small portion of the output it is redeeming.

  • G. Howie Belches

    I liked the show where they did versions of Dick Tracy and Broom Hilda and Captain and the Kids and some others. It was different. It was called Archie’s Funday Funnies or something. The Dick Tracy segments were too short but it was a lot better version than the UPA thing. Fat Albert kicked ass too. It’s an American icon.

  • Being part of the generation that was supposedly raised on this junk, I have to say that I totally hated this stuff while it was on TV and never felt any emotional attachment to it, many of the animation students I attend college with love it and I can’t seem to understand why, its so bland, and just flat out horrible, but I suppose the type of work they produce speaks to the kind of influences they have picked up in their lives, so in a way I suppose all of the stuff that is being produced that was inspired by this is mostly crap as well, what can we do about it? Nothing. So I have proved nothing by writing this.

  • David Nethery

    What was the point of this post other than to generate controversy ?

    One of the first commenters says: “Well, someone had to say it.” , to which I would reply: NO , someone did NOT need to say it.

    The snarky negativity of this post is not necessary. If you don’t like Filmation’s output (I certainly don’t) why bring it up at all ? There’s so much interesting creative work being done in animation today that could be featured on this site (and often is) I just don’t see the need to dredge up this junk from the past.

    Also, Amid , in your zeal to put down Lou Scheimer you mangle the history of Filmation when you say of Scheimer:

    “With management skills like that, it’s easy to understand why the company is no longer in existence today.”

    As an animation historian you must know better than that. (?) Filmation did not fold under Lou Scheimer’s leadership, it folded when Scheimer was no longer in charge and had no say in the matter.

    The parent corporation which owned Filmation by the late 80’s (Westinghouse/Group W) sold the studio to the French cosmetics company L’Oreal. Lou Scheimer was promised that L’Oreal would keep the studio open and continue to produce shows in-house. Instead , L’Oreal promptly closed down the studio (giving employees one day notice to clean out their desks and go home) . As it turns out L’Oreal only purchased the company to acquire the broadcast and home video rights to the shows that Filmation had made in the past , but had no intention of keeping Filmation going as a production studio.

    Whatever low regard you may have of Lou Scheimer’s output at Filmation don’t lay the blame for the closing of the studio on him.

  • If anyone is interested, I have a copy of the book, ANIMATION BY FILMATION, for sale. The book is in excellent condition.

    • FCA

      I am interested in the book if you still have it.

  • JMatte

    Perhaps a new post should be made (or this one edited) with the very simple line:

    Filmation was crap. Discuss. Or vent. Whichever you feel like.

    Could have made it simpler and achieve the same effect.

    As I said before, if this post had been about a review of the book and its content, it would have been more insightful.

  • US Economy

    Are Americans inherently entitled to animation jobs over their Asian counterparts?

    Yes. When shows are getting produced in America, does it not make sense to keep it here too?. I love those other countries and I think it was great in the 1970’s and 80’s that we outsource to help their economy grow (and it was cheaper). But now OUR country has a crisis and needs help. Is Asia outsourcing to America? Is India? I don’t think so.

    However, much of the outsourced work produced in Asia at the time actually looked better than Filmation’s output.

    Don’t get me wrong Amid, some of the work going over seas looks great but their outsourcing for other reasons rather than quality. $

  • Thomas Dee


    I applaud Lou keeping the work stateside myself. It’s US produced, so I’d like to see it produced in the US. Nothing to do with “misplaced national pride”. I want Americans to work, and that seems to be something that some people seem to think should just not be the case, to save money.

    All of the Korean and Japanese animation seen on television these days is bland and flashy at the same time. Bad animation is disguised with lens flare an strobe effects, and that’s WHEN they bother to move the characters at all. In the 70’s, HB and Filmation were ridiculed for their shrugging, blinking acting style. Now, you’re lucky if a character does more than widen their already slack jaw.

    My sole issue with Filmation comes from the top: an utter lack of taste. The same limited animation, the same budgets, could have produced shows with a little bit more substance, don’t you think?

  • Jorge Garrido

    Amid, you just don’t get it, do you? You think you’re some hilarious blogger speaking standing up for art and quality, but you’re really just an immature person kicking an old man when he’s down. Grow up. You’re becoming the Perez Hilton of animation.

    Go ahead, which part is wrong?

  • High-Minded Civilian

    “All of the Korean and Japanese animation seen on television these days is bland and flashy at the same time. Bad animation is disguised with lens flare an strobe effects, and that’s WHEN they bother to move the characters at all.”

    I’m sorry, but my exposure to Japanese animation has proven this to be a bunk generalization. Unlike Filmation, Japanese animators throughout the last few decades have taken their limitations and formed a style that manages to get past with experimental and life-filled drawings.

    Where in Filmation’s history has an animator like Yoshinori Kanada been born? It was entirely worthless animation, and even most mediocre Japanese animation at least has some level of HUMAN EMOTION, something entirely beyond Scheimer and his imitators.

  • Brian S.

    Amid, you apparently have no nostalgia for anything below a certain level of accomplishment, be it animation, artistic technique, performance, humor, or cleverness. There’s nothing wrong with that, although being a snob in any artform can lead to bitterness when you realize the vast majority of work out there IS crap. But some of it still resonates with an audience. It may be forgettable, and not stand up to the tests of greatness or time in the long run, but it can still inspire a fondness or even inspiration in people.

    One could argue that any Saturday morning fair of the 70s was crap, and they’d be right when compared to Pixar, classic Warner Brothers, or EPA. Sid & Marty Kroft, Filmation, and Japanese Keiju monster movie companies were the primary sources of every show I watched in my youth. Watching any of it now would be disappointing, sure. But that’s not the point! Compared to the (in my opinion) corporate toxic garbage that kids have available to them now though, these shows showed vast diversity in imaginative ideas. They had heart. They made me want to draw or build things out of Lego. I remember building my own Arc II, my own spaceships and robots from Jason of Star Command, and Space Academy out of Lego. Manta and Moray got me thinking about underwater superheros and vehicles. Isis and Shazam made me want to come up with original superheroes. Fat Albert had a wonderful catchy theme song and featured great intersititial music (compare to the Garageband McMusic they play now)

    If you didn’t watch this crap then as a kid, then it’s rather silly to get all worked up about how horrible it was from an animation perspective or the fact that there’s now a book available for those who want to wax nostalgic.

    Of course, I suppose it would be very easy for me (as a puppeteer) to get riled up and bitter when somebody decides to write a book about the history and makers of Barney and how great those were. Maybe there will be grown-up kids who think that was just the shit.
    God, I hope not.

    Still, I’d put Jason of Star Command and its ilk up against Barney any day.

  • Well, if nothing else, this thread has disproven the assertion that no one would be interested in a book about Lou Scheimer and Filmation. Perhaps Amid would like to concede he was wrong about that.

    I think he’s also missing the point of those of us who are praising Filmation for keeping the work in town. First off, it’s commendable for anyone to want to maintain some sort of control and responsibility for their product. Filmation operated at a time when it was difficult to produce cartoon shows; when network restrictions, interference, schedules and budgets saddled everyone with enormous handicaps. That’s why there weren’t a couple of studios doing vastly superior shows for Saturday morning TV. The game was rigged against everyone.

    To all the other handicaps, every studio except Filmation added an additional one out of simple greed: They would have the animation work done wherever it could be done the cheapest. If that meant laying off people in L.A. and exporting their jobs to Korea, fine. That usually meant that they never knew what the hell they were going to get back. Heck, in some cases, they never even knew who was going to do the work or where it would actually be done…because the studio in Korea might outsource the work to a studio in Manila which would then job ink-and-paint out to some kids in a grass hut in Botswana. In some cases, the trail might be filled with kickbacks and skimming and bribes and all manner of dubious financial ethics. I like that Lou refused to participate in that often-corrupt system.

    I believe I disagree with Amid that some Asian subcontractors of that period did notably superior work. He’d have to tell me which ones he has in mind because at the moment, I sure can’t think of any shows done back then by Hanna-Barbera or DePatie-Freleng or Ruby-Spears or anyone that went overseas and came back looking great. If there were any, it was probably by dumb luck. More likely, it was by keeping some key elements of production in-house and local.

    This is not because American animators are or were any better or more deserving of the work. It’s simply a matter of not fragmenting the process and having key parts of the assembly line done in other lands by people who lacked a common language. At Filmation, writers could walk down the hall and talk to animators and vice-versa. I believe there were times when that elevated the product a bit.

    It sure as heck beat out the situation we too-often had on shows animated overseas, which is that when it came time to assemble an episode for broadcast, key scenes were missing because retakes had never arrived from India or wherever. There’s more to a cartoon show than whether the animation looks good. It also has to be there.

    So I think it’s commendable that Scheimer kept production on Reseda Boulevard and didn’t surrender it to that crapshoot…because that’s pretty much what it was back then. It might come back better but it also sometimes came back worse or incomplete, not because the artists 6000 miles away were bad or because they were not American but because they were 6000 miles away.

    It is also commendable that Lou kept work here because the current animation industry would not be what it is today if there had been a lot less work in this town in the seventies. Many people who now produce fine animation would have gone into other occupations. The opportunity to break in on less-than-wonderful shows has a lot to do with them being around (and experienced enough) to later do wonderful shows. That folks are able to continuously make a living is vital in a field like this. Scheimer and Prescott gave a lot of new kids a chance to work in animation, as opposed to the alternative, which in most cases was to not work in animation. They also gave a lot of old-timers and veterans a place to earn a living in cartoons when no one else was hiring.

    Someone earlier in this thread said no one ever defended the quality of Filmation shows. Well, some have here. I’ll defend them to this extent: I think they compared favorably with what was possible at the time. Obviously too, Filmation shows were very popular in their day and are fond memories for some. I wasn’t wild about a lot of programs for which some now have nostalgia but I think I’d rather try to understand that fondness than to piss on it and insult an old man in failing health.

    I don’t know Lou all that well. My one experience working for him was not a happy one, which is why there was only the one. But I do believe he tried hard to do the best shows he could under crippling conditions and apart from the simple monetary benefits, it’s obvious he wanted to keep his studio open and thriving so that one day, it could perhaps produce better shows. Suggesting he wanted to output crap is, I believe, missing the whole dynamic of the business in those days and insulting him for an attitude he never had. That was a dark era for the cartoon business and if this book can help some of us understand that era better, it could be a very valuable volume.

  • I like most of the Filmation stuff still.

  • Abu

    I also applaud them for keeping their production in the US. Ever wonder why unemployment here is so high? You can’t keep sending everything away then wonder why you have no jobs left.

    I’m not the world’s biggest Filmation fan but their Star Trek series was good and for the most part true to the original show. Fat Albert was also a good show. The animation was nothing to be amazed by but they were watchable. If Filmation was still around today I’d sooner work there than what I currently do for a living. Who knows maybe I could have worked my way up and made some great shows for kids? I sure would like to have the opportunity to try.

  • I wish that Filmation was still around today, they gave so many opportunities to artists.

  • I know that many of the greats like Bruce Timm and others got their start there.

  • In his one response thus far, I’m am disappointed that Amid did not address nor defend the very apparent malicious nature of his post that so many of us here have made comment upon.

    Again Amid, why did you write this post?

    Was it simply a means of driving page hits by provocation? Advertising revenue vs. respectable journalism? If that is the case, it certainly seems disingenuous of you to accuse Lou Scheimer of compromising art in the name of business.

    Or are you every bit as immature as you come across in this post?

  • Kristjan

    I wonder if the other brewmaster has any response to this Filmation matter.

  • Shmorky

    Christ you guys are sensitive!

  • I hate everything Filmation ever did, and I couldn’t imagine spending a dime on this book. But I’m glad a book on it exists so the history of the place will be out there. Perhaps it will offer insight as to why the shows were bad. (Not that it will come out and flat out state that fact.) Maybe I’ll get it at the library.

    Let me add that while I don’t like anything the studio ever did, I too at least admire that Lou kept jobs in America rather than exploit cheap labor, and that I have never heard any stories of Lou shortchanging/ripping off anybody. I just wish that he allowed artists to be constructive as they earned their livlihood – that’s his failing.

    I am curious why this site always sets up straw men to knock down, smiting lesser players in the name of ‘art’ or ‘integrity’. Why not go after the guys who walk around town with their chests puffed out and hailed as heroes while they leave all of their employees and suppliers out to dry? The transparency is illuminating.

  • pheslaki

    The cartoons were made for kids, not adults. As a kid, I enjoyed them. It’s just that simple! That may not make them Great Art, but they accomplished their purpose.

  • George & Junior

    The website of Andy Mangels who cowrote the book says this is not the final cover but a mockup so people can stop judging it by that.

    I am no big fan of most Filmation shows but I was not a fan of most shows done back then. Fat Albert and Archie and Superman and Star Trek were better than a lot of stuff Hanna Barbera put out. I also see a lot of crap being produced today by DIC and Cartoon Network and I wonder why we are not bitching about that. Filmation is interesting as history but it is hstory.

    I agree with those who say this site is sometimes very snobbish and negative. It is also sometimes unconstructive. I like good animation and I like entertaining animation which is sometimes not good animation in the classic sense.

    I also like watching Mark Evanier politely demolish other people’s arguements.

  • Brendan Spillane

    If nothing else, Filmation had some good walking/running cycles in their cartoons. And they certainly didn’t skimp on the rotoscoping, either! “Daffy Duck & Porky Pig Meet the Groovie Goolies”, to this very day, remains the ODDEST crossover in all cartoondom!

  • i’d check it out once it hits the library shelves.

  • Marc Baker

    I plead guilty to watching most of Filmation’s output. Sure, Lou Scheimer was know for cutting corners by re-using animation cels to save a few bucks, and for doing some of the voices along with his daughter, Erika, but at least Scheimer kept the animation work here in the states while the competition was out sourcing to other countries.

    Plus, He hired people who would become major players in the animation world like Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Tom Rugger, Eddie Fitzgerald, and of course, John Krisfalusi. Also, you gotta admire how his studio was able to employ some innovative special effects in their action/scf-fi based cartoons like ‘He-Man, ‘She-Ra’, and ‘Blackstar’.

    I can understand people’s distain for Filmation’s approach to animation, and it’s kinda like how i scoff at those who ‘Hanna Montana’, or ‘High School Musical’. Of course, i’ll take the worst Filmation toon over those properties any day.

  • Graham

    Filmation made a bunch of wonderful hits, like… Um…

  • When writing many commit the Journalism 101 sin of doing too much telling (giving opinion) and not enough showing (describing and interpreting).
    For e.g. they will say, “That film/book/music is crapl”
    This statement however is Evaluation.
    However Evaluation is not a substitute for an actual argument.
    First you need 1) Decription & 2) Interpretation.
    “It’s crap!”
    WHY is it crap?
    Keep these 3 points in mind as you discuss today’s film/book/music.

    1) Description
    2) Interpretation
    3) Evaluation

    Thank you for your kind consideration.

  • lampshade

    Marc Baker, I want to hear more about these “special effects” that they “innovated”.

  • Curt Vile

    I think the biggest diffirence between Filmation and a lot of the crappy Hanna Barbera stuff is that Filmation was part of one generation’s childhood and HB was part of another’s. Fat Albert was delightful, and as Robot Chicken attests, a lot was inspired by many of the other properties. I found the Hanna Barbera cartoons infuriatingly dull when I was a kid, yet here they are being adored on Cartoon Brew.

    Also, wondering wether or not something is “worth your respect” is terribly creepy.

  • Dang, what is with the live-action photo quality on that cover?… Not one to read, that’s for sure. A lot of the character images on the cover have dwindling quality, in general.

    Also, there are two Rankin Bass books… but there MUST BE MORE! For all us bloodthirsty Christma special fans. :P

  • Tsimone Tse Tse

    I was one of the eight people that saw Black Cauldron in the theater in ’84. I kept wondering “why does this look like Filmation?”

    I did grow up watching the fun H&B of the late ’60’s & more “serious” Filmation of the ’70’s. I LOOOOVED the Groovy Ghoulies, Tarzan & Star Trek. Since then I have learned to appreciate the art, beauty & purpose of animation. (Filmation was clean, Saturday morning entertainment.)

    There is no need to try to dismantle a persons lively hood over personal taste. For Lou’s sake (& anyone who was employed by him) I hope this develops into some sort of appreciation for what he contributed to the industry.

  • nate

    Amid’s journalistic integrity shines again. If there is a conversation to be had about this book or about Filmation cartoons and the way they were produced, there is surely a more professional way to go about it.
    Jerry, please dump this troll and get a proper historian to write with. This kind of post debases Cartoon Brew and it’s readers.

  • Simon

    As a kid I hated Filmation’s cartoons. As an adult nothing has changed.

  • I love many of the FILMATION series…SUPERMAN, AQUAMAN, THE fact, I have them all on DVD and I love Lou’s interviews on the sets. Like many other Producers, he is a fun guy to listen to and is proud of much of his work. I was told to come over here by some of the other posters and friends that caught this. I still have my RANKIN/BASS books at my blog I would like to do a few more BUT we will see how the economy does in the future :)

  • Greg Ehrbar

    Everybody doesn’t like something, but nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee.

  • Oh come now, Amid! What about…

    No, fair enough.

  • Mykal Banta

    Why’s everyone picking on poor Amid? He just wants JohnK to think he’s cool like everyone else in animation today. Without sarcasm, this post was a cheap, easy shot.

  • joe g

    Between Filmation and Hanna Barbera whose the crappiest?

  • uncle wayne

    I find it sad that someone (truly) iconic, like Mighty, has to be intertwined in there.

  • A couple of weeks ago, an ex-Filmation artist told me that there was one Filmation show that actually was animated outside of the US. He was responsible for assembling the layouts and x-sheets and packing them up to be shipped. I can’t remember which show he said it was… they’re all the same to me. Blackstar, perhaps?

  • There are few things in this world I love more than cartoons, but when I was a kid, Filmation was the studio that convinced me to stop watching them and watch Sid & Marty Kroft foam rubber monster shows like H.R. Pufinistuf, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters and Lidsville instead. You gotta draw the line somewhere!

  • Alfons Moline

    Stephen: the only show Filmation ever outsorced outside the U.S. was ZORRO (1981), which was animated in Japan by Tokyo Movie Shinsha (LUPIN THE 3RD, SHERLOCK HOUND, etc.). It is even said that Hayao Miyazaki, who by then was working at TMS, did some animation on it!
    And hey, I am of those that think that this book deserves to be published. Filmation´s speciality was cheap made-for-TV stuff, yes, but it was no worse than the stuff made at the same time by Hanna-Barbera or other studios. But they were able to create shows who are fondly remembered by those who were kids from the 60´s to the 80´s (my favorite Filmation show is GROOVY GOOLIES; the jokes were silly but the characters were appealing and the bubblegum tunes were catchy. Besides, some of the backgrounds and layouts had an interesting gothic look, maybe because Don Bluth worked on the latter), while giving work to a lot of people in the U.S., including big names in today´s animation who started their careers there, like the aforementioned Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and John K., or even Glen Keane and Tom Sito.
    Like somebody else said, I would buy this book rather than a book on the history of DIC. I´d even would even like to see a book about Format Films (the original ALVIN and LONE RANGER shows) or Pantomine Pictures (ROGER RAMJET, THE FUNNY COMPANY, SKYHAWKS).

  • Marc Baker

    Well Lampshade, the ‘special effects’ i was referring to were the moiré effects. (the three-dimensional laced energy backgrounds.) Which were pretty cool to look at, and very few studios tried this technique. They might be tame now, but were pretty neat for the time.

  • Quote: “Marc Baker says:
    Well Lampshade, the ’special effects’ i was referring to were the moiré effects. (the three-dimensional laced energy backgrounds.) ”

    I always thought that those FX were cool for it’s time.

  • Zartok-35

    Lou Scheimer sounds like a nice guy, and he had some great people working for him. I think it’s a shame they couldn’t put out something that looked nicer. I hate those “Facial Closeup” shots.

  • matt Sullivan

    Yeah. Shame on this guy for keeping animation in AMerica and keeping people EMPLOYED.

    He should be HUNG for trying shouldn’t he Amid?

  • J. J. Hunsecker

    Whether or not Lou Scheimer was a nice guy is irrelevant to the quality of Filmation’s output. The shows he produced were God awful schlock.

    I’m glad some American animators were gainfully employed during Filmation’s reign, but that doesn’t make the shows any more enjoyable to watch. Amid is not crucifying Mr. Scheimer, but only pointing out an obvious truth: the majority of the paying public is apathetic towards these mediocre cartoons. I highly doubt the book will rake in much in sales. Expect to see it in bargain bins shortly.

  • Caspar the friendly executive

    Amid, you really are damaging your claims to be a journalist or an animation historian when you write snarky rants like this one, which get you lots of extra responses but damage the credibility of this site as something more authorative than just a personal blog.

    And when you don’t deign to reply to any of the people who try to engage with you (maturely) over what you’ve written you damage your credibility even more.

  • Andy V.

    Mark Evanier, as far as I’m concerned, said it all. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, I could tell the difference between good animation and crap! The Bugs Bunny Show and WB were the cream of the crop…HB had some good stuff with their superhero shows and then lost me when they started reeling out the cookie-cutter Scoobies, Speed Buggies and talking sharks.

    But no matter if it was Superman, Star Trek, or Archie, Filmation’s stuff always impressed me. They were always knocked because of their “limited animation”…sure it was limited, but come on, it looked good!!!

    Star Trek was spot-on…Batman was perfect…Flash Gordon was beautiful! I am looking forward to this book to learn the background on my favorite Saturday morning animation studio!

  • Was Filmation the equivilent of a TV Disney? No. Was He-Man basically a cheaply animated advertisments? Yep. No one is arguing that one. But when I was a kid there was Batman, Aquaman, Space Academy, Jason of Star Command, Captain Marvel & Isis, Star Trek, the US of Archie and probably a half-dozen other shows I can’t remember that I adored. Yeah, they were simple. Yeah, they cheap. But they were entertaining to me, and in the end that’s all that matters. Artistic intregrity be damned, they were all commerical products and they did the job they intended to.

  • I worked at Filmation for a few seasons in the early 70’s. I can only say that while it was a fun place to work, there appeared to be nobody in charge. There were people turning out the work, but in terms of a “vision” or style, it was as if the place ran itself. Lou is a really nice guy, but he was the most hands-off producer I’ve ever seen. Norm Prescott was hardly ever there. I gather he was off selling the shows. They had a formula that never varied. It always bothered me to see all of these really talented people (some of whom were top animators from the 40’s) have to turn out such bad stuff. The presentation art for the shows were gorgeous. If only the shows had been of the same quality it would be a different story.

  • People are still bashing this guy/his company? Lay off, already!
    Sure, it was not golden age animation, but it was #2 to Hanna Barbera on Saturday mornings, and most of it was memorable, even if not original or perfectly animated.

  • Keith

    As a kid watching TV, I grew up on the MICKEY MOUSE CLUB and other Disney cartoons, the Fleischer Popeyes, the MGM TOM AND JERRYs, and the early 1930s WB Harman-Ising cartoons. At age nine I first saw this Filmation stuff on network TV. It was obvious to me that it was really inferior to the older animation. And it really stunk when the JERRY LEWIS series was broadcast.

  • It’s attitudes like these why the bulk of the Filmation library exists only in time-compressed, DVNR-heavy PAL-format form.

    When they could get afford to, Filmation shows were better than anything short of the Golden Age shorts they shared the airwaves with. Flash Gordon (before NBC tinkered with it) was absolutely sublime, and I still refuse to watch Disney’s take on Tarzan because it simply can’t compete with Filmation’s show. The Lone Ranger and Zorro were cut from the same cloth, to their benefit. The best of He-Man and She-Ra (“The Problem With Power”, “Teela’s Quest”, “The Arena”, “The Price of Freedom”, “Sweet Bee’s Home”, and “My Friend, My Enemy” are all excellent places to start) rise far above the ranks of a simple toy commercial. And Filmation’s Star Trek was closer to the “too cerebral” feel of “The Cage” than the rest of the original series, with most of the original cast and many of the writers contributing.

    Mark Evanier mentions the follies of dealing with foreign studios, and he’s right, especially in comparison to the outsourced work of the ’70s and ’80s. The DVDs of G.I. Joe, Jem, and The Transformers are all terrible because Rhino and Shout! Factory went to incomplete 35mm masters as opposed to the completed 1″ broadcast masters (although the digital tinkering and censorship didn’t hurt), an issue rooted in the goads of faulty animation that Sunbow ordered re-takes for (and many more scenes begged for corrections that never came). Other than Toei and TMS, NONE of the Asian outsourcing studios created backgrounds as lush as Filmation’s on a consistent basis.

    Oh, and Lou, for someone who had to work alongside giants like Alan Oppenheimer and the late, great Linda Gary, was a pretty damn fine voice actor.

    • Filmation Fan

      Finally someone who thinks for themselves. Thank you.

  • marbpl

    The film JOURNEY BACK TO OZ wasn’t bad, either.

  • Rooniman

    The devil himself releasing his demons to torture the world. That’s Lou Scheimer for you!

  • Al Marsh

    The first five episodes of “Tarzan” marked the highest quality level of Filmation’s rotoscoped TV output. Every Filmation action adventure series after that traced off of roto tracings of roto tracings until it all became wonky.

  • Clint H.

    Man, all the male human characters look EXACTLY THE SAME!!! I’m glad I didn’t grow up on that stuff.

  • Joe American

    “A number of people in the comments here have made the curious (and prevalent) argument about why Filmation is worthy of our respect: Scheimer didn’t outsource overseas and kept all the work in the US. It’s an argument that reeks of misplaced nationalistic pride. Why should this matter to anybody but the American artists of that era who benefitted from the work? Are Americans inherently entitled to animation jobs over their Asian counterparts?”

    Amid, let’s get a few things straight.

    Who are you to decide the motives of people? Those that believe Mr. Scheimer’s keeping jobs in the US for US CREATED cartoons, is not “misplaced” to them.

    Furthermore, you do not speak for all Americans. You speak for yourself. Though at times,it must be hard speaking with your foot in your mouth.

    Finally, yes, Americans are entitled to animation, or any other job with a company that originated here. Just as someone in a company in Asia or another country has the right to keep their job. Many times outsourcing causes problems on both sides. Including lost jobs, inferior quality, lower pay, and bad working conditions.

    You need to get over yourself and learn to respect other people’s views and lives.

    First and last time I read your “crap”.

  • Filmation Fan

    All who bash Lou and Filmation wouldn’t know a good cartoon from Family Guy. Now THAT show sucks, but people love it. Just because something’s more popular doesn’t mean it’s better, and in this case, you all sound like the types who say mindless nasty comments about things you don’t appreciate. Each of you is clearly proud to be just another predictable cynical jerk, but keep in mind that none of you have ever made as many people happy as Lou and Filmation with their art…and never will.

  • mkdestasio

    exactly what did Lou win awards for specifically? I loved all his cartoons in whatever incarnation…I’ll be ordering this book…but who knows the answer I’m dyin’ ovah heah!!!