Saturday, October 19, 2013

Lou Scheimer, Gone to the Green and Purple Valley

Lou Scheimer, co-founder of Filmation Studios, died Thursday at the age of 85.  His studio made an awful lot of awful TV, but the man himself was highly respected in the industry in the 1970's and '80's for bucking the trend and not shipping production work overseas.  He kept hundreds of artists employed for many years, in union jobs, in his cartoon factory.

In my young animator years, my colleagues and I would argue the merits of Filmation.  Their shows were consistent in their heavy use of stock footage, straight out of the tube color styling, stiff voice acting, and tepid writing.  Why bother?  But I found out that badmouthing Filmation was like hillbilly hand fishing. You never knew when a Filmation artist would jump out of nowhere and take your arm off.  For the artists of that studio, it was a job that not only paid their bills but introduced them to lifelong friends.  Today, I get that, and respect Lou Scheimer not as a great entertainer, but for being a good boss.

I never worked at Filmation, but I know a lot of very talented people who did.  I interviewed Tom Sito, Bronwen Barry and Tom Mazzocco a few years ago for the old format FLIP, in an article called "I Freely Admit I worked for Filmation". You can read it here:

And if you, dear reader, have any Filmation stories you would like to share in tribute to Lou, please do!


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