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  1. #1

    Default FILMATION animation studio APPRECIATION

    I gotta say, that growing up in the 1970s, I was a huge fan of Filmation Studios animation and (some of) their live action stuff.

    I much prefer their style over Hanna-Barbera's because even though both studios were working off the dollar-and-ninety-eight-cent budget that the networks gave them, Filmation's character designs and overall artwork was so much more realistic and meticulously detailed than Hanna-Barbera's.

    Yes, Filmation used stock animation more than anyone this side of Grantray-Lawrence (of 1967 Spider-Man fame), but since their stock animation often used rotoscoping, the results were much more fluid than any of their competitors.

    I also appreciate Filmation for the following reasons:
    - They kept their animation studio in America and did all their work here. No farming out to overseas until the late 1980s with Bravestarr, I believe.

    - They made a commitment to diversity way before it was the thing to do. They had the first African-American animated character in an ongoing series with Pete Jones from the 1969 Hardy Boys animated series. Of course, they are well-known for their long-running hit, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Other diverse characters starred or co-starred in Superstretch and Microwoman (a segment of Tarzan and the Super 7), Space Sentinels, live action's Ark II, and others.

    - For DC Comics fans, Filmation was instrumental in getting DC characters into animation. Filmation's very first ongoing series was The New Adventures of Superman in 1966.

    - Filmation did a lot of licensed properties, but they went the extra mile when they did animated adaptations of live action shows. They often hired the original actors to provide the voices like in Brady Kids, Star Trek, and Gilligan's Island. For Star Trek, they even hired some of the original writers!

    - Also, Filmation was where Bruce Timm and Paul Dini got their start!

    Share some of your favorite Filmation memories here. If you have some (constructive) critiques of Filmation, that's ok too.

    For me, I'll start by sharing that I actually spoke to Lou Scheimer, the head of Filmation, over 20 years ago. I forget how, but somehow I was able to get his office phone number (or maybe I was connected by someone I was talking to). At the time, I was thinking of writing a book that would have involved Filmation's stuff. Anyway, I have to say that Lou Scheimer was just the nicest guy to talk to me when he had no idea who the hell I was. We must have spoken for at least 10 to 15 minutes, and during the call I pretty much had an out-of-body experience the entire time because I couldn't believe he was really talking to me and sharing his stories about Filmation. Andy Mangels, who DID write a book about Filmation, also has said nice things about Scheimer. I don't think I've really heard anyone say an unkind word about him--maybe Jackson Bostwick, but he was fired as Captain Marvel. That aside, I can tell you talking to him was such a positive experience for me. It was everything I could have hoped for because during the call, not only was he forthcoming with his stories, he never made me feel that I was taking too much of his time or tried to rush me off the phone.

    Now, I'll share one of my favorite Filmation original series -- the animated Space Sentinels. This was a cool series of young superheroes who had their headquarters in an inactive volcano. Some enterprising person has actually posted the entire series on YouTube, so absolutely check it out if you've never heard of it. For me, I bought the DVD set when it came out over 10 years ago.

    I'm just glad that so much of Filmation's programming has been released on DVD and other stuff has been uploaded to YouTube for new generations to discover.

    Here's the Space Sentinels theme, followed by the link for the playlist of the complete series:


    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...0CyqzoFnbKRP8u

  2. #2
    Extraordinary Member Güicho's Avatar
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    This was my Filmation Saturday Morning Jam!
    For me, the Greatest Hr. on Saturday Morning TV

    Through the Jungle...Across the Plains...and Out of the Night
    Come three Champions of Justice:

    Tarzan Lord of the Jungle.


    The Lone Ranger rides again to fight for law and order in the old West.


    In early California, one man rides into the night to fight the forces of tyranny,
    with his swift blade he carves out justice and leaves the Mark of Zorro.


    In the: TARZAN - LONE RANGER - ZORRO - ADVENTURE HOUR .



    All three Intros - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4_kt4spGzE
    Last edited by Güicho; 08-01-2020 at 03:25 PM.

  3. #3
    Extraordinary Member Güicho's Avatar
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    The Tarzan, Lone Ranger, Zorro adventure hour...


    And then rocket to space with Flash Gordon!


    which followed on another channel if I remember.



    All the Intro Narrations -
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4_kt4spGzE

    Tarzan:
    The jungle: Here I was born; and here my parents died when I was but an infant. I would have soon perished, too, had I not been found by a kindly she-ape named Kala, who adopted me as her own and taught me the ways of the wild. I learned quickly, and grew stronger each day, and now I share the friendship and trust of all jungle animals. The jungle is filled with beauty, and danger; and lost cities filled with good, and evil. This is my domain, and I protect those who come here; for I am Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle!
    ---
    The Lone Ranger: Hi-yo, Silver, away!
    A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty "Hi-yo Silver" - the Lone Ranger! With his fearless Indian friend, Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early West. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. From out of the past come the thundering hoof beats of the great horse Silver. The Lone Ranger rides again! Hi-yo, Silver, away!
    ---
    The Mark of Zorro:
    In early California, one man rides into the night to fight the forces of tyranny, with his swift blade he carves out justice, and leaves the mark of Zorro.
    As Don Diego I pretend to be afraid, but with a mask as my disguise I ride into the night, and raise my sword in the name of justice. For I am Zorro.

    Flash Gordon:
    Blasting off, on a desperate mission to save Earth from the evil plotting of the tyrannical space lord Ming the Merciless. .Dr. Hans Zarkov, and Dale Arden have joined me Flash Gordon on a fantastic journey, into worlds where peril and adventure await us.
    Last edited by Güicho; 05-25-2020 at 09:46 AM.

  4. #4

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    Yes, Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro was on CBS, which had the lion's share of Filmation's output, while The New Adventures of Flash Gordon was on NBC.

  5. #5

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    "I...am John Blackstar!"


  6. #6
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    I wish they would release more earlier stuff on dvd/bluray some of it was before my time but looks good. Blackstar,Bravestar,MOTU.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by CliffHanger2 View Post
    I wish they would release more earlier stuff on dvd/bluray some of it was before my time but looks good. Blackstar,Bravestar,MOTU.
    Do you have a specific series that you are thinking of because most of their stuff has already been released including the 3 you mention.

    I'm not sure how much of everything is still in print, though. BCI Eclipse had the license to release their stuff on DVD, but they went out of business years ago. However, the DC cartoons that Filmation made are property of Warner Bros. and Warner Home Video has released all Filmation-DC on DVD except for the Superboy shorts from 1966-1968 and the Shazam segments from 1981's Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam.

    The problem is that Filmation did do a lot of licensed properties, so some stuff, like DC and Star Trek would have to be released by their copyright owners like Warner Bros. and Paramount.

    Other stuff might never get released like "Will the Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down" because it contains Asian caricatures that would be considered offensive today.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comic-Reader Lad View Post
    Do you have a specific series that you are thinking of because most of their stuff has already been released including the 3 you mention.

    I'm not sure how much of everything is still in print, though. BCI Eclipse had the license to release their stuff on DVD, but they went out of business years ago. However, the DC cartoons that Filmation made are property of Warner Bros. and Warner Home Video has released all Filmation-DC on DVD except for the Superboy shorts from 1966-1968 and the Shazam segments from 1981's Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam.

    The problem is that Filmation did do a lot of licensed properties, so some stuff, like DC and Star Trek would have to be released by their copyright owners like Warner Bros. and Paramount.

    Other stuff might never get released like "Will the Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down" because it contains Asian caricatures that would be considered offensive today.
    Yeah I got most of the stuff they've released including the ones I mentioned. Mostly talking about stuff I've seen on youtube that was more obscure like Super stretch and Micro woman, web woman etc.

  9. #9
    Extraordinary Member Güicho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nate Grey View Post
    "I...am John Blackstar!"

    Loved this show, Blackstar & Warlock looked epic, Warlock still stands as one of the greatest looking dragon designs, liked the premise, the broken sword, split with the Overlord, allies Enchantress Mara & shape-shifting Klone, everything,

    ...exceptthe freakin Trobits made it near unwatchable.

    Man Filmation loved it's big opening narration:

    John Blackstar, astronaut, is swept through a black hole, into an ancient alien universe. Trapped on the planet Sagar, Blackstar is rescued by the tiny Trobbit people. In turn, he joins their fight for freedom against the cruel Overlord, who rules by the might of the PowerStar. The PowerStar is split into the Power Sword and the Star Sword. And so, with Star Sword in hand, Blackstar, together with his allies, sets out to save the planet Sagar. This is his destiny. "I am John Blackstar."
    Last edited by Güicho; 07-10-2019 at 06:33 PM.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by CliffHanger2 View Post
    Yeah I got most of the stuff they've released including the ones I mentioned. Mostly talking about stuff I've seen on youtube that was more obscure like Super stretch and Micro woman, web woman etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by CliffHanger2 View Post
    Yeah I got most of the stuff they've released including the ones I mentioned. Mostly talking about stuff I've seen on youtube that was more obscure like Super stretch and Micro woman, web woman etc.
    Well, 3 of the segments from Tarzan and the Super 7 likely will NEVER be released. Those include Superstretch & Microwoman, Manta & Moray, and Web Woman because DC apparently sued Filmation in 1978 because they felt that the characters of Superstretch, Manta, and Moray were too similar to DC characters and that Filmation created these characters so they wouldn't have to license, Aquaman, Mera, and Plastic Man from DC.

    DC lawsuit involved 8 claims, which DC won on 7 of them. In 1980, this was reduced to 6 claims in DC's favor after Filmation tried to get the whole thing overturned. Originally, DC insisted that Filmation destroy all the cartoons, but the 1980 decision reversed that. However, even if the films still exist, I don't see them being released to home video because DC won the lawsuit and why would the current owners of Filmation's library (NBC Universal) want take a risk with a product with a legally troubled history?

    You can read the 1980 decision NOT to proceed with a new trial as requested by Filmation and let 6 of the 7 verdicts in DC's favor stand.
    https://law.justia.com/cases/federal.../1273/1754107/


    I think YouTube is the only place you'll get to see those Super 7 segments, but Freedom Force was released with the Space Sentinels DVD as you might be aware. There were rumors that Marvel sued over Web Woman, but all they did was object to the use of Spider-Woman as Web Woman's original name. Once Marvel trademarked that, they didn't pursue things further, but it still seems the Web Woman episodes have also vanished except for YouTube.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comic-Reader Lad View Post
    Well, 3 of the segments from Tarzan and the Super 7 likely will NEVER be released. Those include Superstretch & Microwoman, Manta & Moray, and Web Woman because DC apparently sued Filmation in 1978 because they felt that the characters of Superstretch, Manta, and Moray were too similar to DC characters and that Filmation created these characters so they wouldn't have to license, Aquaman, Mera, and Plastic Man from DC.

    DC lawsuit involved 8 claims, which DC won on 7 of them. In 1980, this was reduced to 6 claims in DC's favor after Filmation tried to get the whole thing overturned. Originally, DC insisted that Filmation destroy all the cartoons, but the 1980 decision reversed that. However, even if the films still exist, I don't see them being released to home video because DC won the lawsuit and why would the current owners of Filmation's library (NBC Universal) want take a risk with a product with a legally troubled history?

    You can read the 1980 decision NOT to proceed with a new trial as requested by Filmation and let 6 of the 7 verdicts in DC's favor stand.
    https://law.justia.com/cases/federal.../1273/1754107/


    I think YouTube is the only place you'll get to see those Super 7 segments, but Freedom Force was released with the Space Sentinels DVD as you might be aware. There were rumors that Marvel sued over Web Woman, but all they did was object to the use of Spider-Woman as Web Woman's original name. Once Marvel trademarked that, they didn't pursue things further, but it still seems the Web Woman episodes have also vanished except for YouTube.
    Damn didn't know it was that deep. Not that there weren't similarities but still. Kinda reminds me of how Hanna Barbera sued over Mighty Orbots claiming they were a rip -off of the go-Bots. amazing how they won that case when GB was a clear rip-off of Transformers lol.

    But Mighty Orbots got a dvd release about a year ago. Even though the picture quality was disappointing.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member jetengine's Avatar
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    I know Netflix has the animated Trek series on it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Güicho View Post
    Loved this show, Blackstar & Warlock looked epic, Warlock still stands as one of the greatest looking dragon designs, liked the premise, the broken sword, split with the Overlord, allies Enchantress Mara & shape-shifting Klone, everything, but the freakin Trobits made it near unwatchable.

    Man Filmation loved it's big opening narration:

    John Blackstar, astronaut, is swept through a black hole, into an ancient alien universe. Trapped on the planet Sagar, Blackstar is rescued by the tiny Trobbit people. In turn, he joins their fight for freedom against the cruel Overlord, who rules by the might of the PowerStar. The PowerStar is split into the Power Sword and the Star Sword. And so, with Star Sword in hand, Blackstar, together with his allies, sets out to save the planet Sagar. This is his destiny. "I am John Blackstar."

    Glad to see some love for Backstair--It was one of my favorite saturday morning shows growing up. The last episode of the series where Katana comes to Sagar to bring Blackstar back home was my favorite. And we got to see the PowerStar in action. In the opening narration when its said the Overlord rules by the might of the PowerStar--this episode at least gives you an idea of what it can do.

  14. #14
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    Great thread. Filmation and Lou Scheimer were responsible for a lot of great afternoons and saturday mornings growing up. Even though they were constrained by ridiculously low budgets and the limits on action and violence, Filmation managed to put out some pretty decent animation.

    Interestingly some of their late 60s stuff was fairly mature compared to their later efforts. I actually loved their adaptation of Fantastic Voyage


    And although I know its not considered official cannon, for us Star Trek fans of the 70's STAS was really the only other outlet (besides books) we had

    Besides its hilarious to hear Shatner underact so much compared to the original series. He sounds like he is in a coma in some episodes

    I could on and on--I always thought the Freedom Force was a cool concept--kinda of a "league of extraordinary gentlemen" using different mythos to populate the team. I mean honestly who could stand up to Isis, Merlin and Hercules working together?

    Unfortunately a lot of Filmation stuff was terrible of course (I mean, Gilligan's Planet???). But their gems really shown through. Even their live action stuff was pretty decent--again given their $19.99/episode budget. Ark II was a great concept but only ok in execution. Apparently they blew their whole budget on the Bell Rocket Belt
    Last edited by TheBlackTerror; 11-10-2018 at 11:18 AM.

  15. #15

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    One thing about Blackstar, that I and perhaps many others have always heard for years, I didn't want to mention until I had something close to a source. Well Lou Scheimer's words will have to do. Taken from Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation:

    "In our original model sheets, Blackstar was an African-American, but by the time we shopped it to the network with presentation art, we had decided to make him Caucasian-but-vaguely-Native-American instead. It wasn't motivated by racial prejudice; we had led the way in utilizing ethnic diversity in the industry since the 1960s. He wasn't the only one who went through skin color changes; the Trobbits went from blue to green to purple to bright orange before I picked the dark pink color that they were on the show."

    So, after all these years...it is true, the only thing that was false was the belief the network made him change Blackstar from black to kinda-sorta-Native American.

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