It is with sad news today that I report of the passing of another of animation’s great pioneers. Lou Scheimer, head of Filmation Enterprises, has passed away at the age of 84, just 1 day shy of his 85th birtthday, which would have been tomorrow Sat. Oct. 19.
He was one of the greatest animators of our time, and was responsible for many animated classics coming out of his studio, such as the many Archies series from Archie Comics, along with spin-offs Sabrina and the Groovy Ghoolies; DC superheroes such as the JLA, Batman, Superman, and Aquaman shows that preceded Hanna-Barbera’s ‘Superfriends’ series and later Warner Bros.’ many animated incarnations of those heroes from Batman:The Animated Series up to currently Beware The Batman on Cartoon Network. But his greatest accomplishment was securing the rights to air He-Man and The Masters of The Universe from Mattel, as a daily program- His show pioneered the way for other toy tie-in shows to be produced after the deregulation of such tie-ins during the Reagan administration. He also produced the She-Ra spinoff as well, and was responsible for other original animated series, such as Bravestar and Blackstar, also made into toys as well. Another of his crowning achievements was having one of the 2nd longest running animated series on the air, with the Fat Albert show from 1973-88 both on CBS and in syndication later on with new episodes,produced alongside comedian Dr. Bill Cosby, the simpsons garnering the top spot at 25 yrs currently. He also produced series based off of radio programs such as the Lone Ranger and Zorro animated shows, and also produced other programs from either books, or newspaper series, such as Flash Gordon and Tarzan.
But one of his crowning achievements was creating live action shows for Saturday morning programming, which were few and far in-between by the 70’s, such as DC Comic’s Shazam! tv series from 1975-78, which later spawned Isis from 1976-78 and created a full hour for them together in 1976-78. Another show was Space Academy, about a gropu of special teens led by Commander Gampu (Jonathan Harris from Lost In Space- Dr. Smith), as they explored the galaxy from their floating science base, as well as its own spinoff, Jason of Star Command, which used the same ships and props from that show as part of the ‘Super 7’ show, which featured other animated series such as Freedom Force, Space Sentinels, and a few others. Another live action series was ArkII, which was the story of a group of scientists trying to reeestablish Earth back to normal, since the planet’s pollution had led it to ruin alongside its population. One of their most surprising shows for Saturday was The Kid Superpower Hour with Shazam show, because it was one of the few Filamtion shows that mixed live action and animation together, like the opening and closing segments of Fat Albert that had Bill Cosby in them.
For more information on Filmation follow this link:
He is survived by his daughter Erika, who also did many a voice on Filmation like her dad did to save on the cost of voice actors, and his son.