Word is circulating that Lou Scheimer, one of the co-founders of Filmation Associates and long regarded as one of the “fathers of Saturday morning television,” passed away yesterday, two days before his 85th birthday.
(L-R: Filmation founders Norm Prescott, Hal Sutherland, and Lou Scheimer)
If you watched Saturday morning cartoons during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, you’ve seen something produced by him, his co-founders Norm Prescott and Hal Sutherland, and the rest of the Filmation crew. The list of animated and live action series created by the studio is long and distinguished, including such perennial childhood cartoon favorites as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, various incarnations of Superman, Batman, Tarzan, and the Archies, and the animated Star Trek. Live action fare included such cult classics as Shazam! and The Secrets of Isis, The Ghost Busters, Ark II, Space Academy and Jason of Star Command.
Many of the Saturday mornings of my early childhood were spent watching several of these shows. To this day, the trappings of a Filmation-created series–music, sound effects, even the animation style itself, which has taken its share of heat over the years–are instantly recognizable. While the “Filmation style” wasn’t the best in the medium, the studio’s many budget-conscious choices infused their shows with a persistent charm that’s hard to deny. While character movement often leaves something to be desired, some of the panning shots you’d often see across long background paintings in order to set a scene rival even some modern-day efforts. Masters of the Universe and the animated Star Trek, for example, are loaded with shots like these.
Rest in peace, Mr. Scheimer, and thanks for making our Saturday mornings so much fun.