Friday, January 22, 2016
Lou Scheimer and Filmation
Lou Scheimer, co-founder and president of Filmation, passed away on October 17th, 2013 at the age of 84.
If you were alive in the 80s and old enough to watch cartoons, you’d probably remember some of Filmation’s more popular animated productions: The Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour (1981-1982), The Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour (1981–1982), He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983-1985), The Adventures of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (1984-1985), She-Ra: Princess of Power (1985–1987), The Original Ghostbusters (1986 - 1988) and possibly even BraveStarr (1987–1988).
As far as collaborations with DC comics are concerned, in 1981 Filmation produced The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam!. This one hour program combined animated segments of Filmation’s Shazam!/Captain Marvel cartoon, animated segments of Filmation’s Hero High and live-action segments of Filmation’s Hero-High (usually as a song or a sketch between cartoons). Originally, Filmation wanted to create a Superman cartoon, but they couldn’t get the cartoon rights (possibly because Hanna-Barbera currently had them?) so they settled for Shazam! instead, since he was pretty similar in design to Superman*. The Shazam! cartoon was a pretty faithful adaptation of the DC comics’ version and featured the entire Marvel Family and villains. Not surprisingly, the Shazam! cartoon was easily the best part of the hour (13 cartoon segments were produced - watch ‘em if you can). The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam! was cancelled on September 11, 1982 due to poor ratings.
When the Super Powers Collection toy line was in full-out marketing mode, Warner Home Video re-released episodes of Filmation’s late 1960s Superman, Superboy, Batman and Aquaman animated segments but repackaged it as a Super Powers Collection VHS set.
Filmation had a really strong run of cartoons during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, most likely because they owned the animated rights to Archie, several DC characters, Star Trek, He-Man and a few other popular properties. Filmation shut down it’s animation studio in 1989.
Lou Scheimer and Filmation, you will be remembered fondly.
TwoMorrow’s publishing has a book entitled Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation, which I’d strongly urge you to check out if you’re into this sort of thing.
Cartoonbrew.com wrote up a quick bio on Lou Scheimer, which you can read at: http://www.cartoonbrew.com/animators/r-i-p-filmation-co-founder-lou-scheimer-89971.html.
*It should also be mentioned that Filmation produced the live-action Shazam! television show in 1974.
This article was originally published in Oct 2013, immediately following Lou Scheimer's death.