Category Archives: fat albert

RIP Lou Scheimer

Lou Scheimer, the father of Filmation, and the king of American television animation for many of our childhoods, has passed away at the age of 84.

Filmation was a small animation studio, one of the few still doing animation in the United States, rather than shipping it overseas. Founded by Scheimer, Hal Sutherland, and Norm Prescott in 1962, they did some little known cartoons like “Rod Rocket.” They really caught fire when they licensed the DC Comics characters in 1966.

Beginning with “The New Adventures of Superman,” they began to expand to shorts that featured other characters like Superboy, Aquaman, Batman and Robin, and later the Justice League of America and the Teen Titans, as well as those groups’ individual members. These cartoons were, along with the 1966 “Batman” TV series on ABC, my gateway drug into comic books. My love of Aquaman, Superboy, and others sprang from early viewings.

The DC deal brought another comics company to Filmation’s offices, and Archie came to Saturday morning animation for years under their guidance. Later in the 1970s, Filmation became a major player in the animation game, producing cartoons of “The Brady Kids,” “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids,” and “Star Trek: The Animated Series” among many others.

Filmation delved into live-action with shows like “Isis,” “Space Academy” and Shazam.” While the studio began to get a reputation for repeating backgrounds, limited animation, recycling designs, rapid jump cuts, and using the same music over again, they had also produced some real quality programming as well.

In the 1980s Filmation produced some of its most well known shows like “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” which featured, like many of the previous shows, a lesson at the end of every episode. Before closing up shop in 1989, Filmation also produced over the years some very cool versions of Flash Gordon, Tarzan, and the Lone Ranger, using then fairly new rotoscoping techniques.

With the loss of Lou Scheimer on Friday, we have lost one the legends of animation, and for me, a big chunk of my childhood. He’ll be missed.

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Madagascar 3

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted ~ Full disclosure first. I didn’t want to see this flick. The Bride did. And I saw the original, but not the sequel, so it’s possible I may be missing out on some pretty major plot points in this one. Nah. I didn’t think so either. We went mostly for the “Circus Afro” song we have been both been humming and singing since the ads on TV started.

Here’s the story. Somehow, the fun-loving animals from the Central Park zoo, who have the voices of comedians, have found themselves in Africa, and they want to get home to New York. To do this they have to go to Monte Carlo to get the penguins and monkeys first. Yeah, I know, just follow along. From there they join a circus to get back to the States, and as with every good kids movie, or any episode of “Fat Albert,” they learn a lesson.

Ben Stiller is not funny, and Chris Rock joins him in being that way as well. And Sacha Baron Cohen proves that even in animated form he can insult people of any ethnicity. The story and comedy are adequate. It’s not painful, it’s just not my cup of tea. Kids will love it, especially those who liked the first two movies and the TV series about the Penguins. The Bride enjoyed it, and she got to hear the full version of the “Circus Afro” song. We left happy.