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Filmation

From Academic Kids

Filmation was also the name of a technique for isometric graphics in 8-bits video games by Ultimate Play The Game.
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Filmation.JPG
The first Filmation logo.

Filmation Associates was a company that produced cartoons for television during the later half of the 20th century. During a period lasting from the 1960s through the 1980s, the only real competitors to Hanna-Barbera Productions in the field of TV cartoons were Filmation and DePatie-Freleng Enterprises. Filmation's founders and principal producers were Lou Scheimer and Norm Prescott. (Supposedly, the trademark rotating "Produced by" credit at the beginning of Filmation programs was a clever device to allow them to share equal billing; later Filmation productions credited only Scheimer.)

Contents

Animation style

Filmation has a reputation for exploiting the technique of limited animation to produce a number of animated series with a distinct look. They made heavy use of rotoscoping, and they also re-used the same animated sequences over and over, many times, to the point where the Filmation style was instantly recognizable (and often despised by TV critics and animation scholars). The studio is noteworthy for refusing to rely upon animation studios outside the United States for the bulk of its production.

As with other producers of Saturday morning cartoons, Filmation was more concerned with quantity than quality; however, they did make a number of attempts to rise above the standard animated fare and produce reasonably well-written cartoons. The best-known example of this is their animated adaptation of the Star Trek series, which included scripts contributed by well-known science fiction writers and starred most of the original cast. Other favorably remembered Filmation series included a 16-part animated serial of Flash Gordon (originally intended as a movie for theatrical release but shown in its entirety only once on NBC) and Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, an animated educational series created by and starring Bill Cosby. The animated adapatations of the Archie Comics characters were also noteworthy for the rock music produced for it, particularly the song, "Sugar, Sugar," which was a #1 hit single.

There were very few original animated characters created by the studio. Two examples were Fraidy Cat, a timid feline who has lost 8 of his 9 lives, which come back to haunt him; and Wacky and Packy, two cavemen who enter the modern age through a time warp. Both of these originally aired as segments of the Uncle Croc's Block show on ABC. (Which was hosted by Charles Nelson Reilly). Apparently, the show did so poorly, that ABC ceased ordering programs from Filmation. So in a period where ideas for cartoons had run dry (comedy was heavily scrutinzed for violence, and everything else seemed to copy the popular Scooby Doo format), Filmation's strong point was its adaptations of popular TV shows. (The studio also reportedly wanted to do a M*A*S*H cartoon, but was turned down; leading them to do the canine M*U*S*H spoof, which was the third animated segment on Uncle Crock's Block).

Filmations's other strong area (and where we see the most original concepts) was its live action shows, including Space Adademy, its spinoff Jason of Star Command, Ark II, and Shazam and Isis. Also deserving mention was a special featuring several of Warner Brothers' Looney Tunes stars (paired with Filmation's own Groovie Goolies, a group of classic monsters). This aired in ABC's Saturday Superstar Movies in 1972. While most of the Warner Brothers characters were drawn well (veteran Warners animator Virgil Ross was working there at the time), and voiced by veteran voice actor Mel Blanc, the special is not liked by many fans of classic Warners animation; once again, because of the limited animation, as well as a weak storyline.

The Filmation studio was owned by TelePrompTer, then by Westinghouse during the 1980s, though in 1987 it was purchased by the L'Oreal cosmetics company. L'Oreal promptly closed the studio and ended Filmation's legacy. Animation scholars and fans believe the studio was closed for tax purposes. Filmation's last production was the feature film Happily Ever After (an unofficial sequel to the story of Snow White), released to theaters in 1993. Also, at the time of the closing, two new animated TV shows, one of them called "Bugzburg", were beginning production.

Since then, most of the Filmation back catalog has come under the ownership of Hallmark Cards, through their Hallmark Entertainment subsidiary; however, since a large amount of Filmation's output was based on characters licensed from other companies, many titles are actually under the control of other studios (notably Paramount and Warner Bros.).

In March 2004, ownership of the Filmation back catalog which was under the ownership of Hallmark was sold to a British company called Entertainment Rights.

Filmation series

Notable TV animated series from Filmation included:

1960s

1970s

1980s

External links

fr:Filmation fi:Filmation sv:Filmation

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