One of my favorite animators, Lou Scheimer died on October 17th, 2013. He was one of the driving creators of FILMATION - the animation studio based in California that touched millions of lives in the last half of the 20th century.
Through Filmation's extensive library of series television shows, Lou Scheimer's passing feels more like the lost of an old friend. Lou, along with Hal Sutherland and Norm Prescott, are the men responsible for changing the face of Saturday morning cartoons in the 1960's
I'm sure that I've mentioned this before - Saturday mornings in the 1960's are a tale of two vintages; before 1965 and after 1965. As a little boy I remember the early 60's SatAM as a quiet, innocent romp of old-fashioned shows aimed at children, many hold-overs from the 1950's.
In fact the early 1960's saw many local stations in the driver's seat since the national networks played only a limited role in weekend programming. There were of course a few exceptions; Beany and Cecil for one, The Jetsons for another. Only decades later did I realize how much of what you saw on Saturday morning depended on where you lived.
But all that changed by mid-decade as the networks carried their battle for viewers into the weekend. Studios like Hanna-Barbera and Filmation were ready too , and in the case of Filmation blew the SatAM walls down with the introduction of "The NEW Adventures of Superman" in 1966.
By 1967 Filmation and CBS ran away with Saturday mornings and all NBC and ABC could do was play catch-up as Lou Scheimer's team unleashed every Superhero they could get broadcast rights to. Is it the storyline or narrator Ted Knight's voice that gripped me as a grade-school kid? You can laugh now but in 1967 it was hard to top Filmation's action- see for yourself with this "Flash" episode:
Lou Scheimer and Filmation turned the thermostat to "high". Saturday mornings would never be the same for the rest of the 1960's. My friends and I owe a tremendous thank you to everyone involved in the turnover of Saturdays into a superhero battleground.
Filmation's star got even brighter as the studio released ever more popular series. From "The Archie Show" to "Star Trek" to "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" . . . and Beyond!
Anyway you look at it, entertainment was vastly improved for kids in the 20th century and the 21st, imho. And Mr. Lou Scheimer certainly made my Saturday's a lot more exciting during one of the most unforgettable decades in US history.
Saturday mornings after 1965 were sooo different from the first part of the decade. Those gentle kiddie toons that made up the bulk of local television were gone, replaced with superpower Zaps! and Zoings!
These old Filmation cartoons don't get much respect now, but back in the day these were the hottest things going on SatAM. Not a lot of school work got done on Mondays when I was a kid - we simply had too much to talk about from Saturday, lol.