Book Review - Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation
This is not the end of the book. In the closing twenty pages, Scheimer tells briefly what he has been doing since 1989. He formed a new company, Lou Scheimer Productions, and developed many new proposals for television animation, but nothing sold. In 2004 he gave up and retired. “I had done presentation after presentation after presentation, and I couldn’t sell them. The office was costing a ton of money. I got to where I was really unhappy. I felt like I had wasted 15 years in semi-retirement trying to get things started again, and had not been able to be successful at it.” (p. 273) Declining health including triple bypass heart surgery was an increasing problem. But since 2004, Scheimer has found himself in increasing demand for commentaries on DVD releases of Filmation programs, and at Filmation staff reunions at fan conventions. So in a sense, Filmation still lives. At the 2012 Comic-Con International, it was announced that DreamWorks Animation was purchasing Classic Media, the current owner of the entire Filmation library. Does this mean new productions of some Filmation titles?
“Almost all of the interviews with Lou Scheimer and others for this book were conducted 2004-2012 […] (p. 287) Scheimer says that his memory has been affected by Parkinson’s disease. “While I can remember a lot of details about a lot of things, in the last five or six years, my memory has gotten far worse. Mostly what escapes me are very specific items, such as names; I can remember the events and details, or even colors or things that are said from the past, but the specific name might fail me. […] This made assembling this book a challenge for my co-author, as he had to research a lot more details than expected to make sure that none of the facts were incorrect.” (p. 280)
Scheimer, and his co-author Andy Mangels, have succeeded. This history of Filmation Associates may lack a few minor details, but between Scheimer’s memory and personal files, and Mangel’s research to fill in missing details, this is an “all that you want to know” history of the animation studio from start to finish. It is illustrated on almost every page with production and publicity art of Filmation’s titles, and with photographs from throughout Scheimer’s life for his autobiography. Filmation may not have been the most prestigious of studios, but for anyone interested in its history, or in the history of animation in “the Saturday morning years” of 1965 to 1990, Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation will be indispensable.
Fred Patten has been a fan of animation since the first theatrical rerelease of Pinocchio (1945). He co-founded the first American fan club for Japanese anime in 1977, and was awarded the Comic-Con International's Inkpot Award in 1980 for introducing anime to American fandom. He began writing about anime for Animation World Magazine since its #5, August 1996. A major stroke in 2005 sidelined him for several years, but now he is back. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.