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Lou Scheimer (1929-2013)

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by Jerry Beck
October 18, 2013 11:11 PM
8 Comments
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TV animation producer Lou Scheimer has passed away at the age of 84 from complications of Parkinsons Disease. 

He started his career as an artist at Walter Lantz and for Warner Bros.Cartoons commercial division in the 1950s, and later began making TV animation with partner Norman Prescott and director Hal Sutherland as one of the founders of Filmation in the 1960s. He was the exec producer of numerous Saturday Morning TV series including The New Adventures of Superman, The Archies, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Fat Albert, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Shazam,  He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and She-Ra Princess of Power... among dozens of others. Among the feature films he was involved with was Journey Back To Oz, which starred the voice of Liza Minelli. 

A hero in some circles, vilified in others, Scheimer gave work to many animation veterans who were laid off from Disney, Warner Bros. and MGM - and gave starts to many of today's leading lights including creator John Kricfalusi, director Tom Sito, and writer Tom Minton. 

He received a primetime Emmy nom for the 1977 production Fat Albert Christmas Special. In 2003, ASIFA-Hollywood gave him an Annie for Special Achievement in Animation.

In tribute, here are just a few of the things Scheimer will be remembered for...

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8 Comments

  • John Richardson | October 21, 2013 2:40 PMReply

    I've also read - on the FLIP blog - that many animators appreciate him for having resisted the trend toward outsourcing. He kept lots of animation artists working in well-paid union jobs when more prestigious studios cut them loose. Morale was apparently pretty high at Filmation.
    See
    http://flipanimation.blogspot.com/

  • cg | October 21, 2013 1:46 AMReply

    His work was what filled my Saturday mornings growing up. Even at the age of 6 I could tell there is something missing with this animation compared with the animation I saw in the theatres.

  • Greg Ehrbar | October 20, 2013 11:35 AMReply

    It's easy to take cheap shots at low-budget productions and how corners were cut. It’s not news, nor particularly observant. Everyone can see that already and we even could tell as kids.

    What is more significant is how the low budgets were transcended by the clever use of layouts, versatile voice acting and inventive writing designed to make optimum use of the animation cycles, repeated scenes, etc. Put talented creative people in place and they can often come up with superb results despite – and sometimes because of – the limitations. Ask a creative person their favorite projects and you’ll be surprised that they don’t always name their most expensive or highest-profile work.

    Sure, it's easy to come up with something amazing with a huge budget and fluid animation -- or is it? How many fully animated films or technically spectacular VG movies failed to move you or stay in your memory?

    The Archie craze was HUGE. "The Archie Show" has astronomical ratings. "Sugar Sugar" was the number one song of 1969. They even beat The Beatles. Filmation's "Star Trek" won an Emmy, something the live action original never did, nor did it successors. There's no way to calculate how many kids thought twice about doing something that might have destroyed their lives but refrained because Bill Cosby talked straight to them on the Fat Albert Show.

    No one denies Filmation's stuff was limited in movement and budget, even Scheimer himself. But if you only measure things in terms of "how good they moved," I've got news for you.

    Filmation's stuff did move. It moved me, and untold millions of kids like me who remember all those Saturday mornings, weekday afternoons, bubblegum record dance parties, movie matinees, visits to the store to get cool cartoon stuff, comic books -- and just the background music that still plays in our heads.

    Here's to a life well lived, Mr. Scheimer.

  • Robert Fiore | October 19, 2013 11:42 AMReply

    I think it's disgusting that you would print a picture of a man standing in a huge pile of oh wait I bet this is an all-ages blog.

  • Nic Kramer | October 19, 2013 5:52 PM

    Have some respect, Fiore. This is not "Cartoon Brew".

  • Mark Kausler | October 18, 2013 11:34 PMReply

    Sorry to hear about Mr. Scheimer's passing. Thanks also for the clips, I've never seen a Rod Rocket episode before. I noticed that it was presented by SIB. I remember when SIB was associated with Tower 12 productions that was Chuck Jones's studio at one time. Were Lou Scheimer and Chuck Jones ever in business together??!!

  • Jay Sabicer | October 21, 2013 3:22 PM

    The SIB commonality was producer Walter Bien. He brokered the deal to produce the Tom & Jerry shorts for MGM (just after the Deitch era) and was able to get Chuck Jones on board. After 2 years, MGM bought SIB Tower 12 out and it was reformed as MGM Animation/Visual Arts in late 1964.

  • Jerry Beck | October 18, 2013 11:59 PM

    Chuck and Lou worked together on the Bell Science films, when Lou was at Warners... but after that, I do not know.

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