Before closing its doors, Filmation produced some of the most beloved shows of my youth. With the last of the founders passing away I felt the need to do another huge tribute. Lou Schimer has been the most well known of the trio (perhaps by adding his and his kids’ voices) but Hal Sutherland and Norm Prescott did just as much to make Filmation what it was.
Filmation used to have some great stories from licensed work to original ideas and by searching for Filmation in BW’s search engine you will find a bunch of them. However, there are some that, due to rights issues or just not getting to them, that I can’t bring you through legal channels. There are some posted that are technically “illegal” postings like some of the superhero shows. Then there are the select few that I’m lucky if I can find an intro for much less an episode, at least in English. I couldn’t do a proper Showcase of them and there aren’t enough episodes on DVD that I’m aware of to do a video review of. In our final installment of the Filmation tribute we will look at those intros of forgotten Filmation.
This was how I learned about some of these shows, a syndicated collection of some of their wackier shows, although our first entry was a more serious show. Lassie’s Rescue Rangers stars the famous canine teamed with a group of forest rangers. I didn’t watch a lot of this one when it was bundled in syndicated reruns with other shows as part of Groovy Goolies And Friends. The show had Lassie aiding her ranger family with the help of other forest animals.
Sport Billy was based on a European comic. The title hero and his friends Lilly and Willy were on a mission from planet Olympus (which is on the other side of our sun, right next door to Mondas) to promote teamwork and sportsmanship. His enemy wants to destroy all sports and yes the clock shaped ship could travel through time. You wouldn’t think I’d be interested in a show about sports Filmation made this one work and I loved the daylights out of this show as a kid. I would love to find some episodes in English but I haven’t found any except in other languages which I don’t speak.
I’m kind of upset my local market never seemed to have episodes of Waldo Kitty in that Groovy Goolies collection show. The live action title character would use his animated imagination to give him the courage or idea to deal with a situation. I want to see this show so bad.
You can search this site for even more animated and live-action shows from Filmation, and this won’t be the last you hear from this studio in future Saturday Night Showcases and BW Video Reviews. These shows were a huge part of my childhood and one of the influences on me as a storyteller. Complain all you want about the animation but they got a full season out on time, with some of the best written stories out there and effects live action series would be jealous of. (They didn’t just draw a laser beam, for example, they made that laser beam look like an effect.)
I’ll never get to meet Norm Prescott, Lou Schimer, or Hal Sutherland but if I could I would thank then for the great work they put out, the positive influence on my childhood, and the fun they brought into my television viewing. It’s not just nostalgia. Most of these stories still work today for kids and kids-at-heart. I have nothing but the greatest respect and praise for the writers, animators, actors, foley artists, and everyone else involved with making some of the best television I could have grown up with. My thanks to all of you.
Groovie Goolies, play us out!