Over the weekend we lost one of the great creators of my youth. Filmation gets a lot of flack for the limited animation, but there has to be a reason there are those of us who remember the studio’s body of work so fondly beyond mere nostalgia. So all this week I’m going to point out some of the Filmation shows you may not remember but were important to me.
First, though, I’m going to point to shows I’ve already reviewed as part of the old “Saturday Night Showcase” category. (I also want to update a few of them since I can link to Hulu directly instead of using Vodpon/Lockerz as a go-between. So here’s what we’ve already promoted from this studio under-appreciated by my younger reviewing colleagues.
This one and one later are the shows everybody thinks of when they think of Filmation. The episode I chose was “The Problem With Power”, in which He-Man accidentally kills someone (although it turns out to be a trick by Skeletor) and is considered one of the best episodes. And if you’ve been following Twitter you know we’ll be back to Eternia soon enough.
If this one is on Hulu, I can’t find it, so the YouTube posting still works. One of, if not the most, faithful to the source material, Filmation’s version of Tarzan features what you’d expect from a Tarzan story. Except for Jane the wife or Tarzan speaking more broken English than an old Western Native American. In fact, the episode I chose DOES have Jane but is true to the BOOK’S relationship rather than every other TV show and movie that’s come before and after.
I don’t have an image in the library for this one. While the show is up on Hulu this episode is missing and it’s my favorite. Bravestarr’s mentor commits murder, and it isn’t faked this time. He actually did commit the murder…in front of witnesses…AND WE SEE IT HAPPEN ON-SCREEEN! We don’t see the corpse, just “Jingles” aiming and pulling the trigger, but seeing what his decidedly lethal gun does you can guess what shape the target was in. It’s gutsy for a kids show but it never freaked me out as a kid.
“Book Burning” is another one of those shows that pushed kids show boundaries by going Fahrenheit 451 with the Horde. If the villains were smarter, things would have ended poorly for the Rebellion.
This two-part story, featuring cameos by Captain Marvel, doesn’t focus as much on Isis as it does an attempted pilot but she still makes a good showing. Watch it and then try to convince me the DC character was the same person.
If fans of the late James Doohan should forget he made Homeboys From Outer Space (and they should), then can take heart knowing he did this kids show that was one of the reasons I got into serials later in life. This series just recently showed up on Hulu and I edited the posting for it.
These are but a few of the Filmation series that I was raised on, and over the next three days we’ll focus on a few more. You may or may not become a fan, but hopefully you’ll at least see what I saw in them and that there’s more to Filmation than bad animation.
- R.I.P. Filmation Co-Founder Lou Scheimer, ‘He-Man’ & ‘She-Ra’ Toon Producer (deadline.com)
- Cartoon studio founder Lou Scheimer dies at 84 (cbsnews.com)
- R.I.P. Lou Scheimer (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com)