Filmation is best known for their pioneering work using animation that is vibrant and two-dimensional as opposed to the dulled colors and flat one-dimensional offerings as in the original Johnny Quest cartoons. They dabbled in live-action shows but even their own website only lists Ark II as being significant. Lou Scheimer, head of Filmation, led the way in the cartoon series genre. Star Trek, Tarzan and Super 7 and Fat Albert are only three shows out of an impressive line-up that aired in the late 60's and 70's.
Fat Albert as well as other shows had a 'message', as required by the FCC. However, there was an episode of Fat Albert that dealt with kidnapping; a bold move on Filmation's part in the 70's. Lou Scheimer and his staff broke the barriers of color and body image by airing this remarkable show. As Bill Cosby's appeal seems timeless, re-runs still have a viable market.
There is discussion among those who are aware about how budget conscious Scheimer was. He was laughed at in some circles. In others, specialized actors such as voice actors and other professionals were unhappy with Filmation was they were unable to find employment with them due to the use of in-house production work. This may have included extra voices, extras, re-using sets for Jason of Star Command (and of course, the biggest item that was reused, other than sets, was the front of the Seeker-used for the Ark II and even in Jason of Star Command episodes). On the other hand, those who remained with Filmation had a steady job through trying times in the entertainment industry.
Mr Scheimer sold Filmation 1989. Later it was sold to Hallmark, Inc., then to British owned, BCI Eclipse who licensed the content from Entertainment Rights*. Both Entertainment Rights and the Filmation vault are owned by yet another company. According to Andy Mangels in an email (9/09), the Space Academy DVD material has been resold to another company who will re?release the DVDs in a new format, with the same material (if I understood this correctly). I'm curious to see what else will be re-released... With the renewed interest of older programs, I imagine the entire playlist of shows from television's beginning will eventually be available to consumers, either in hard copy (DVD, VHS) or on the net.
When I first planned this website (2002--yeah, it's taken a rather long time), none of the owners had plans to re-air or market them in another format and many of the people I've been in contact with who liked the show hoped this would change. Even a letter-writing campaign swayed them not. Now, no longer the case, Space Academy, Ark II and other Filmation creations are available on DVD. Andy Mangels has attempted to capture the nerve of each of these shows in interviews with cast and production members. I had the privilege (along with several Space Academy fandom) to provide information for the DVD interviews. (*Though, he apparently left several fandom out of the credits who also provided "research". I know material was not returned after a year. Fandom learned a bitter lesson when dealing with the entertainment industry; they will not be so eager next time, I think.*)
Mr. Lou Scheimer was assisted by Norm Prescott and Arthur Nadel on the Space Academy series. Mr. Scheimer runs, Lou Scheimer Productions, with his daughter, Ericka.
These were scanned from Starlog 36. They were 'good luck' type messages from producers and people in the industry. Asimov is even in this. Our three Filmation friends were included.
Arthur H. Nadel
Filmation Archives offer select 'cells', one frame of the cartoon, to buyers. eBay occasionally has an interesting selection as well.
SA friend, Jim Hoff, has an impressive site dedicated to Filmation. http://www.geocities.com/sshumsuper7fan78/JimsFilmationpage.htm
For more Filmation information, see the links page.
Entertainment Rights Links: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/feb/27/entertainment-rights http://www.reuters.com/article/industryNews/idUSTRE51P1GU20090226 http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=645700
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