Wednesday, February 03, 2010

What Was The Most Depressing 80s Studio? 1 Filmation

ATTACK OF THE FLESH COLORED EYES






I worked at a lot of the TV studios in the 80s and I have a tough time deciding who had the worst system, practices and style. Or non-style.
FILMATION?

Filmation cartoons were the first cartoons to ever make me feel ill. When I first saw one on TV in the mid 60s I heaved up a big old fried bologna and bacon sandwich. It was shocking. I was a complete cartoon nerd and just took it for granted that cartoons were supposed to be silly, creative and fun - and nice to look at. I couldn't figure out why anyone would make cartoons that didn't look or sound like cartoons - and I still can't. Filmation cartoons actually seemed to go out of their way to be bland and not fun, which, as a kid just seemed unbelievable to me.





Ironically, my first job at an "entertainment studio" came a decade and a half later at the dreaded Filmation. They hadn't changed their style or approach in all that time. They believed in in boredom. They went on throughout their 30 or so year life span barely changing their monotonous bland ways.

Working there, I finally saw why and how. You literally were not allowed to draw anything unless you were in the model department. In layout, animation and assistant animation you had to trace the model sheets. Or xerox them off the model sheets. Each character had maybe 3 pre-designed poses and if the show went on for 10 years, you'd have 130 half hours of the same 3 drawings of each character.

The style of Filmation character designs were the blandest of all time. They were neither cartoony nor "realistic". They were merely - vacant. Expressionless. Without statement or style.




There actually was a short span of time where a few people tried to do something a little different, but it didn't work because the whole system was set up to fail.

Remind me to talk about what Eddie coined as "The Golden Age Of Filmation in a post sometime."




These are shows I actually worked on so I can tell you first hand that they were absolutely no fun and not the least bit creative. You just had to memorize a stack of rules and do everything exactly the same way every time.





Of course there are those who will say it's all about the writing. Mainly it's the writers who say that.





Next...Hanna Barbera

80 comments:

Pokey said...

Let me be the first to comment..

The way that Filmation wrecked Archie is beyond forgivable-REGGIE and RONNIE as PART OF THE GANG? They were the JEALOUS FOES of the main cast, Archie,etc. Interestingly, H-B's Josie at least let ALEXANDRA and her cat Sebastian be scheming [but that's benefit of the doubt for them, and onyl the slightest..]

Guy said...

There's something amazing about Disco Droopy. Something truly amazing.

By the way, for anyone who's seen my poo, I finally posted a face.

Ebbe said...

This stuff is just nasty and shameful. Those Star Trek clips are always unintentionally hilarious to me though.

Dan Becker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luis María Benítez said...

Now I know where many of they came from. I remember watching this cartoon of Droopy with that ugly music at the beginning and I had to change the channel when I was a kid. I remember they also had a crappy Tom and Jerry in the eighties. The voices in Spanish made them even worse.

Trevor Thompson said...

Are you angry with us, John?

Maurice M. said...

OMG, what did they do to the face of that guy next to Reggie in the 3rd image? Is there a separate cel for the eyes and they're horribly misaligned?

drawingtherightway said...

Were there any people that you knew who actually enjoyed working at Filmation? I know most were probably happy to have jobs, but I can't imagine any of them being too excited over the crap they were producing.

JohnK said...

A lot of people were happy to have jobs, of course, but I don't remember anyone running up to me and saying" Wow you gotta see the latest scenes of He Man I drew! they are so much better than the last episode!"

Demetre said...

Whoa that was awesome! I don't know why you quit working at Filmation John. It seems Filmation was in their golden age. By look of it the current crop of cartoons still use the same methods perfected by Filmation.

Tom Agnew said...

Oh man, I love how the Asian in that "The Archies" video is green.

lastangelman said...

They were awful to look at, and gosh knows, in my neighborhood, the kids made fun of the animation, but for some reason we still watched FILMATION shows, like The Archies spinoffs, Batman & Robin, Superman, Fantastic Voyage and Journey To The Center of The Earth. We probably were hypnotized by the crappy pop music of the Archies or Ted Knight's booming voice (he was truly one of FILMATION'S greatest asset). The background paintings were pretty good, I thought, for the adventure/action cartoons, until the end of the seventies. Everything FILMATION did got so worse in the eighties and nineties, that it was dead easy to turn it off - that Droopy and Tom & Jerry were the nadir. Even Disney (a two minute parody on an episode of Raw Toonage) was making fun of them. I think everyone was watching Fox Kids and The Kids WB before Saturday morning children's programming was essentially destroyed by dumb ass executives, non-humorous bean counters, hippy dippy socially conscious PC yentas and advertisers.

Hans Flagon said...

Archies First season was the first Filmation I recall seeing and I was greatly disappointed. Not only did the characters look wrong (although I was young, I realized they were drawings and it would not make sense for Archie to have crosshatching on the side of his head, but that was not it) but they MOVED wrong, and they sounded worse. I taught myself to read with the comics, and had voiced them with higher IQs.

However, it was about this time that H-B started really sucking too, and if something was lousy enough I would simply stop watching. I stayed up late enough anyway it was easy for me to miss cartoons.

There were some things i liked about Filmation at the time, regardless. Weird for a kid to notice, but I did. They kept a smooth line when HBsat the time was very sketchy and itchy for many shows, the xerox stuff was really showing through. They would occasionally be fed an interesting concept, like all of the Newspaper Cartoons Strips, which of course they failed, but at least they tried, and it was better than watching them ruin Archie. And they sort of, although dully as you know, inherited the mantle of Action Drama cartoons, the non funny stuff, which HB was not doing too well with at the time. There was a reason they were staying in business, as bad as they may have been, and that was, HB at the time was probably worse in some ways.

Herman G said...

I grew up on He-Man, I had a blast on the different cool characters and designs they had, and a marketing ploy for toys too. This was my young memory, then not recently got the DVD set to reminisce. The same stock actions recycled through the different shows. Really not cool they had these talented animators wasting their true skills and knowledge to be a cog in the machine. Instead of honing and evolving it.

Tupac Chopra said...

I just picked up Filmation's 1979 Flash Gordon DVDs. There were some real technical innovations in there, including the use of backlighting effects and motion control models. But by the time I got to the third episode, I realized every character shot, motion sequence, and sound effect I had seen at least five times already. Sure, there was some beautiful glittery effects work, but that didn't make up for the weak repetitive drawing.

RAKninja said...

you want some really depressing animation? try this on for size.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdG3K90LSDs

SoleilSmile said...

HHAHAhHAHAHAHAaa! I can't stop laughing! LOL!
Still, I would prefer to work on She-Ra than Family Guy.

I just like to work on girl stuff, no matter how bad it is:D

Niki said...

Honestly I didn't think it would beat Justice Friends in bull. It most certainly did though, especially that super punk with no shoes.

Niki said...

Honestly I didn't think it would beat Justice Friends in bull. It most certainly did though, especially that super punk with no shoes.

Chip Butty said...

How much did laugh tracks have to do with the dark ages of cartoons?

I know Filmation weren't the first (HB w/ The Flintstones, right?) but that was the first thing I noticed in the Archies clip and just remembered how it was a common feature of bad cartoons in the late 60s / early 70s - Scooby-Doo had a laugh track right from the start.

Seems like something a "writer" must have come up with, to make cartoons a little closer to legitimate art forms like sitcoms. It would be absurd for real cartoons to have canned laughter, but in fake cartoons where the "jokes" are mostly catch phrases, it kind of makes sense.

Chip Butty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
smackmonkey said...

The 80s were without a doubt an absolutely horrid time to be employed in animation. After a strike there was absolutely no work of any significance. Then Lou Scheimer, the head of Filmation, came up with the bright idea of pre-selling 65 half hours directly into syndication. To pull it off he had to make an unbelievably cheap product. He did this by streamlining EVERY aspect of production through the use of "stock" and re-used art. The desperate, out of work artists lined up at Filmation's door begging for freelance or a seat in one of the departments. I was told that more than half the people in the animation industry were sucking off the Filmation teat at one point. Animation has never really recovered from this abominable production model.

You didn't have to be super-talented to get a job there. No, Just willing to put up with the Rouge's gallery of absolutely freakin' nut jobs that ran each department and a willingness to bury any sense of artistic integrity in the darkest corner of your tormented soul. Idiots like the the failed live action director cum production manager, the no-talent tyrannical head of writing, the Nurse Ratchett-like head of the assistant department, the wack-job Stepford wife who headed the character design department, the Eva Braun wannabe production assistants that would voluntarily go under the surgeon's knife to "enhance" their chances of sleeping their way to the top, and a slew of other back-stabbing greasy little ladder climbing a-holes seemed to exist solely for the purpose of driving a stake through the heart of real animation. They trampled psyche's and constitutions indiscriminately in their vainglorious attempts to exceed last week's footage quota. And the sad part was that there were artists employed there that actually began to believe that they were creating art. I guess if you're kicked enough you start to like it.

I saw no reason to attempt any type of artistic excellence in the shit-factory that was Fimation but, like everyone else, I needed a job. I could crap out a week's worth of mediocre-but-acceptable chicken scratchings in about a day and a half and spend the remainder of the week drunk or asleep under my desk. I was convinced there was no future in an animation career. I wasn't alone in this.

Kali Fontecchio said...

EW.

Look at my latest post winky winky nudgy nudgy.

One more comment about this post...

BARF!

Allyn said...

i know a company that has the same kind of cels on their hallway walls from shows they did in the 80's that look exactly like all them. so the only thing more depressing than Filmation are the studios that adopted their style.

Nick A said...

I'd prefer to watch the worst animation on newgrounds than these dead cartoons.

smackmonkey said...

"There were some real technical innovations in there, including the use of backlighting effects and motion control models."

The backlighting FX were mostly standard DX burns but the motion control stuff was done on a Cray.

Dan Chambers said...

Ugh - I remember Filmation's Groovy Goolies (directed by Hal Sutherland, the same guy who did Star Trek and later He-Man) when it aired in the 80s in the UK. I vividly remember suffering through an episode when in a fever, couldn't summon up the strength to get up and change the channel. It gave me nightmares after that - not about the parody horror-film characters, but about the aggressive ugliness of the show, the canned laughter, the awful jokes, the claustrophobic cheapness. The theme song's still burned into my brain and catapults me back into that feverish state.

"Come on now sing out! Everybody shout! It's time for the Groovy Goolies get together!" Hwoooourrrgh - I am suddenly a puke geyser.

Yowp said...

Ahhhhh! My eyes! My eyes!!!

I can't bring myself to watch any of this.

Filmation was part of the reason I stopped watching cartoons on Saturday mornings (Scooby Doo was the other). That was somewhere around the mid-70s. I understand the industry got worse afterward.

Archie epitomised everything that was wrong with the studio. Ugly designs (Fat Albert was worse), stiff animation with whole sequences re-used every week and sometimes more than twice in the same episode, a voice cast of maybe five that sounded like a voice cast of five, including Dal McKennon doing Dick Crenna doing Walter Denton (the original already sounded like an adult trying to sound like a teenager). And the music went from watered-down sugary pop to background stuff that sounded like it was from a porn movie but played at the wrong speed.

Scooby was equally bland and repetitious and, therefore, unentertaining, annoying and not worthy of my valuable youthful time.

I have never heard of Hero High, but I'm in disbelief something as lame as that is on DVD .. with commentary tracks! .. but the second season of Huckleberry Hound and the Quick Draw McGraw Show are not. I can only presume DVD producers are mesmerised by his super-hero sized bulge, albeit toned down for TV (and why does he have bare feet?).

By the way, if you want to see some "flesh-coloured eyes", you'll find some designed by Ed Benedict in Robin Hood Yogi. Cue in to the 6:10 mark. I suppose Ed does it for stylistic reasons to contrast with the male characters. To me, he uses the concept fairly well. But I'd expect no less from Ed Benedict. It doesn't stick out like a festering boil, which describes Filmation perfectly. I feel sorry for the artists who had to work there.

Yowp

Khato said...

Ah, Filmation. I have a hard time watching any of their stuff, or even telling it apart - it all seems to blend into one giant lump of "Filmation Cartoon". I guess one 'blessing' could be that you could take out the voice acting and replace it with anything else, and it would probably be just as coherent. Better, even.

Smackmonkey's anecdote kind of makes me want to make an animation based off of that, mixing fluid real animation and bland filmation stuff to describe this kind of despair and bleakness visually. Dunno, might work for a very short short.

Can't wait for the next one. I'd like to hear more about what stupid rules and regulations they put animators under. Makes me glad to be not getting a job in that era.

Jeffery Wright said...

Animation done on the cheap = rubbish.

Filmation was one step above "Clutch Cargo" production value-wise...

If its all about the writing, then why not simply replace the stodgy drawings with actual text on the screen?

Or just read a book? Feh.

K. Nacht said...

My brother and I would watch He-Man hoping to find this very specific recycled rotoscoped shot, where He-Man enters frame at lower left in 3/4 overhead view and comes to a halt, and there's this absurd little wriggle his arms do following his halt that would send us into hysterics.

Beef Witted Klingon said...

well, say what you willabout these toons but one things for sure - that dog thats conducting in that archie clip is gettin his groove on. He's like a white bootsy collins.

Karl La Fong said...

Hi folks. Not sure if you chaps are UK based but here in Blighty we were force-fed a limited selection of FILMATION masterpieces throughout the 70s and into the 80s. Though I fully concur with your splendid post that they were all awful, and, even as a child, I did indeed groan at their cheapness and the fact that they seemed really to be trying to make them as bland and objectionable as possible, I did used to like the strange library music that backed the TARZAN cartoons (how I wish it was out on CD), and always enjoyed the episodes of that particular series that featured strange robots in lost futuristic cities (it seemed like every episode). And, in more recent times, I got hold of a VHS of old SHAZAM cartoon episodes and "marvelled" at the fact that they were actually pretty good (if you could ignore the animation)and more in the spirit of the Fawcett comic books than the live-action Filmation series.

thomas said...

Technical stuff aside, I think kids liked the wooden-mess of the animatiom (maybe they should have called it death-i-mation) because it accurately reflected the wooden-ness and hollow gestures of the adult world, around them.

I think it also made them (us) a little cynical.

Nevertheless, there's some amazing stuff in that droopy cartoon!

Chris Rank said...

Isn't that Superman intro a direct rip off of the Fleishman intro, just AWFULLY done?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WU8JdKp5BtI

Nicol3 said...

... Can a cartoon make you infertile? These toons 'gotta baaaad vibe.

Lemme' Holla at them hawt mamas in the back of 'Disco Droopy'.

Andrés Sanhueza said...

Between the first Star Trek video and the text, is there a couple of missing images?

C said...

Those monsters! They took away Archie's checkerboad!

spaz said...

John, i have no idea why you're not in jail for killing someone in the 80's.

Bill White said...

Great diatribe, John. You are 100% correct!

As a sequel to this post, I would love to hear the story of how you came to work at Filmation, what your first job was and what a typical day working there was like.

Please?

Oliver_A said...

Hey John,

Hanna Barbera was a more depressing workplace than DiC, when you worked on Heathcliff?

Jeffrey said...

I was only a VERY wee lad at the time (born in '72), but somehow I knew when I saw the spinning circle that said "Norm Prescott, Lou Scheimer"; I should change the channel.

My first filmation exposure was Fat Albert and, I believe, a terrible Tarzan cartoon that was on (and something called Brave Star, I think). A little later on I had to stay with a family after school and the kids would torment us with He Man.

Of course, bad animation can be helped with the aid of decent scripts and voice acting. Unfortunately Filmation inflicted upon us the voice acting of John Erwin as well as Lou Scheimer himself doing the voice of Orko and most other side characters that all sounded like a radio announcer on quaaludes.

I've mildly defended my generation here before, saying we watched what we were given access to. Going against my argument, even as a 10 year old, I knew the word "filmation" meant crap, and would rather go outside and ride my bike than watch it (which was probably a good thing).

talkingtj said...

i actually loved the groovy ghoulies..still do. i always felt thats the one show they got right..i believe the reason why filmation did what they did was cost..they simply wanted to undercut hanna barbera-if hanna barbera squeezed out a show for $40,000 filmation would promise to do one(maybe even 2) for $20,000.selling to advertisers was the name of the game, not selling quality to kids.the unfortunate downside to this was the long term effect it had on hanna barbera and tv animation in general, they began the cartoon dark ages with their aggressive underselling/cookie cutter practices.lou scheimer still thinks hes some kind of animation hero because he kept people working and refused to ship work over seas-maybe to a certain extent thats true-but you dont see that in the cartoons-all you see is how cheap and limitating they are.i grew up on these cartoons-by the time fat albert rolled out i had enough-pity you guys worked there-i wanted badly to be an animator but im glad i never had to work during the 80's, it just wasnt worth the disillusion.

Inkskin said...

I've always detested Filmation. Especially because they produced that bastardized movie "Pinocchio and the Emperor of The Night" and play it off as a follow up to Disney's version.

Jorge Garrido said...

John, when you're talking about the Golden Age of Filmation, is this what you're talking about?

"If you want a peek at further examples of art being compromised by commerce, take a look at any episode of Filmation's 'Quacula' series. ..The reason to check it out is Eddie Fitzgerald's radical (for 1979) idea to incorporate "The Dover Boys" style smear inbetweens into the action, in an attempt to pep up Filmation's hopelessly lame internal scene timing. The powers that be almost listened: they incorporated smear inbetweens into the "Quacula" stock shots but THEY insisted on painting all of them BLUE (because they moved as fast as a blue streak, get it?). Storyboard artist Tom Minton finally sold them on doing a new, far faster than was their norm, 10 frame cut-in wipe to get the hell off of their punch lines when a given joke was done, (four frames in, two frames black, then four frames out) which they only opted to do because it contained two frames of black in the middle, enabling them to cut cheaply from one thing to another in post. Prior to that, Filmation's wipes took an interminable two foot eight or longer, which made their comedy play about as funny as watching grass grow. If you look closely, you can see the young guys beating their heads against the wall in those pictures. John, Tom, Eddie and Kent got their revenge with Bakshi's Mighty Mouse, after having paid nearly a decade of dues working on crap. And it wasn't because they didn't try to sell new things. The industry just wasn't ready to listen. Bakshi's Mighty Mouse series was the opening salvo of the 1990's animation revolution and it deserves to be out there on DVD. The likes of Don Bluth have taken undeserved credit for too long."

I actually watched a bunch of your Filmation episodes one time and notice that 10 frame wipe. It made everything go faster.

John Pannozzi said...

I think the reason people say the Star Trek cartoon had good writing is because they managed to hire some of the writers from the original series. BTW, Gene Rodenberry deemed the Trek cartoon to be non-canon, though elements from at least one episode ("Yesterdayland", I think) cropped up in later continuity.

I hear the He-Man comics that DC Comics published were actually a lot better than the Filmation series.

Even some of the writers at Filmation weren't fans of the stuff they were putting out. Paul Dini and Tom Ruegger have made some rather negative comments towards Filmation in recent years.

It's funny that John often complains about how in the 80s you had to draw the characters "on-model", yet one common gripe about 80s cartoons is that characters went hideously off-model very often in most episodes of most shows.

Freckled Derelict said...

Oh man this looks grim. I'm amazed you survived. You definitely are of tough stock.

RooniMan said...

God, now I feel sick... *barfs*

glamaFez said...

My little friends and I used to mimic Archie and Reggie's limpwrist guitar technique to make fun of it.

JLG said...

Good God.

This is why, as bad as I think trends in the animation industry have gotten since the early '00s, I'm grateful that THIS is history. Let's hope things never get THIS bad ever again.

I'm so glad I was born when I was, so I didn't have to see most of this stuff on TV. Say what you will about the 80s, it was a transitional phase between [shudder] THIS and the 90s renaissance. But if I'd been a kid in the 70s, I might not have ended up interested in animation at all. Now that's a scary thought.

What I find amazing is that, during this dark age in America, at the same time in Japan they were having something of a golden age. Sure, we're not talking about artistry anywhere near 1940s Hollywood stuff, but the sheer gap between the lifeless Filmation characters and the dynamic Japanese characters is jarring. Anyone ever see the, for instance, the Lupin III series (especially the 1971 version)? A lot of dynamic poses and hilarious expressions that make up for the jerky animation (though itself miles beyond what anyone in the US was doing on TV at the time.)

smackmonkey said...

"...and Tom Ruegger have made some rather negative comments towards Filmation in recent years."

Hahahahahahhahha..ha....whew!

That's the funniest thing i've heard all year.

HemlockMan said...

Damn. All I can say is that Leonard Nimoy must have REALLY been down to his last pennies.

Zartok-35 said...

I feel the exact came way about Filmation designs...It's crap! It's even worse when they can't keep their Cricatures seperate from their Super heroes.
Say what you must about 1980s Hanna Barbera, but at least they were cranking out better quality stuff that this.

Chuck said...

Even as a kid I hated what they did to Droopy and especially Tom and Jerry; cartoons that in their prime were fantastically drawn and written.
The horrible sound effects and music still gives me shivers.

Zoran Taylor said...

@JLG - It's been my observation that much of the best animation ever to come from outside of North America happened almost exactly in step with our own plunge into crap, as if a void was being filled in some cosmic sense. Tezuka was in his cartoony prime in the 80s, and Gerald Scarfe and his crew's work on Pink Floyd's The Wall would do Dali or Francis Bacon proud. Next time you see that, look out for animated crosshatching that actually has volume and moves sensibly. I have NEVER seen that anywhere else. Usually it kills the design, flattens everything out, melts and wiggles like crazy (sometimes on purpose - GOD I HATE THAT S**T!!!!!!) and makes the scene totally incoherent.

It's also worth mentioning that claymation probably experienced it's golden age in the 80s. Will Vinton studios did some great stuff - The Great Cognito is my favorite.

@Jorge - What is the source of that paragraph you quoted?

Raff said...

Let us one day speak like this about Anime. Not all of it, but far too much of it out there.

Jorge Garrido said...

Zoran: A mysterious all-knowing entity named Narthax. He worked with John and Eddie at Filmation but nobody knows who he is.

Elana Pritchard said...

Yikes. Corporate America has truly ruined all of our lives.

You really xeroxed? That is shocking.

Shocking!!!

CartoonSteve said...

"Dammit Jim, I'm an artist, not a xerox machine!"

Pokey said...

Yowp, you are absolutely right on why Filmation's Archie [very Walter Denton like indeed] was a perfect example of a far less than perfect cartoon, and the reason that I gave involving Reggie and Veronica character portrayal-goodie two shoes versus the evil comic version-is an example. [For the unititiated, Richard Crenna's Walter Denton who Yowp and I refer to here, was a radio/TV character on "Our Miss Brooks" with Eve Arden and Gale Gordon, who historically, seemed to have a beef with Mel Blanc.

And Fat Albert was a uh, FAT part of the problem why 70s and 80s cartoons went so wrong. At least there was no Fat Albert theatrical cartoon feature [2004's Fox mixed media one of course would technically not count, and also chronologically, also there would not count].

And the music---when I read [past and present tense] the Archie comics, among other things I imagine the Capitol Hi Q music being used..and see better writing.[Secret to all---I have many disgest and regular Archie comics. Those, and especially Mr.Samm Schwartz's, usually portray the Betty and Ronnie rivalry, similiarly making Reggie correctly a villian].


Pokey

JLG said...

I will say though---one 80s show did have strong writing, and that's why it has the kind of following it's retained over 26 years: The Real Ghostbusters.

Or more specifically, the 1986 ABC season and the 1987 syndicated season, when J. Michael Straczynski was the story editor. This blog has a strong anti-"cartoon writer" bent for very understandable reasons, but viewing the scriptwriting in its own context, "Ghostbusters" had a great double-layered tone that remains greatly entertaining to an adult viewer. It has a very dry, laid-back, sarcastic sense of humor that was a lot more intelligent than what surrounded it at the time. The writers were clearly having fun. Unlike most kids' shows then, it had a great collection of characters with developed chemistry between.

That was all pretty thrown out when Straczynski walked out in '87, and immediately the show's tone became much more typically "kid show-ish." The characterization was simplified and the stories were watered down, and it went on for four more seasons that way.

Still, 78 good episodes out of 140 isn't bad.

Of course, it's too bad that the animators couldn't possibly have had as much fun as the writers, although it's clear that the worst of the conditions JohnK describes had to have been modified by then, since the environment he describes would seem to make even the kind of boilerplate cinematic layouts used in the show impossible.

It's especially cruddy that the decline in the show's writing directly coincided with improvements in the animation. The first 78 episodes had varied wildly in this area, being farmed out to the full range of A and B crews to beyond Z crews. (The most horribly drawn episodes are found among the syndicated package, big surprise.)

Kaiser Fate said...

Wow. That Archie song had an Asian in it with the most slanted eyes I've ever seen. Not even the lucky cats in chinese restaurants are that slopey-eyed. And his skin was green. Apparently Filmation didn't believe in subtlety, either.

sharprm said...

I liked the star trek cartoon as a kid.

Was Roger Ramjet making fun of low budget cartoons?

GoldDarkShadow said...

I really thought Hanna-Barbera was so bad in the seventies and eighties with their cartoons. But by looking at these, OH GOD, these are lifeless, But Hanna-Barbera was going in that direction 2 anyway til early ninties.

Oscar Grillo said...

Bloody right you are,John!...And you should see what Halas and Batchelor and Hanna and Barbera were doing at the same time!
Have you ever seen "The Jackson Five" or "The Osmonds" for instance?

Niki said...

JohnK, I need to ask for a critique on a drawing I've done. I need to know if I constructed the picture well because it's for a friend of mine so I decided to study a lot to make her proud. Although I'll be needing a critique from you and your students. The link is below.

Link

Kingfish said...

What kind of kid would want to watch a cartoon version of Gilligan's Island, in the first place. What the h-e-double hockey sticks is the point of that?

PowerRangerYELLOW said...

I grew up on teenage mutant ninja turtles and because of it i taught myself how to draw because of it.

I'm still learning how to draw since i don't think i'm ready to learn construction just yet.

Every time i attempt construction i get frustrated and give up after a few failed attempts.

JohnK said...

That's your problem. Those turtle-men didn't have any construction...or line of action, or silhouettes or any number of drawing principles.


They are just hobbled together out of random ill-designed bits of detail that don't hang together.

O gato said...

Ughhh, I hated the flesh eyes. A real eye sore to look at.

Racattack Force said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmbazD8uD0U

Looks like Filmation has an Italian successor. Believe it or not, this has been picked up for 26 half-hours over in Italy.

Martin Juneau said...

"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmbazD8uD0U

Looks like Filmation has an Italian successor. Believe it or not, this has been picked up for 26 half-hours over in Italy."

It don't surprised me. Now Italians take over not only the most brillant cartoonists but the comic-artists themeselves with their overatted Anime and Disney knock-offs.

I don't have the knowledge to the Filmation libraray except for Fat Albert but now they started to showed their catalogue but god, the writing, the animation and the re-used music and laughs tracks pee me in my pants. (Quebec proverb)

DAGO said...

I still love He-Man, the Filmation logo and sound takes me back to my childhood like probably nothing else in TV ever.

Now I watch it as an adult and I realize that the animation sucks big time, the poses are stiff and they reuse the same 2 or 3 rotoscopied animations every single episode.
But still, I love that show no matter what my jaded over 30 year old current self thinks of it, the 10 year old me wants to run around with a chunky sword beating bad guys and telling good boys and girls why it's important to brush your teeth and stuff like that.

toonguru said...

Hey, John! LEt me say (1st of all) I just stuumbled onto your blog and really enjoy it. It's great to hear about your experiences in the business. As a fellow "cartoon nerd" (been watching them at least since I was two or three. I have to say, that I agree w/ much of your opinion. Was filmation really that bad though? I've heard guys like Bob Forward praise it to some degree (of course, he did mostly writing, I believe), and heard from animators that really enjoyed doing shows like "Masters of the Universe." I do see where you are coming from though; others at filmation also mentioned that it was structured almost like an assembly line @ times.

This is a great blog. I'm glad I stumbled onto it.:D

Recedebo said...

This cartoons are still broadcasted in my country (Mexico) the saturdays when theres nothing else to see on TV. I used (and still) had a bad feeling in my guts when watching this programs, like a dizzyness, kije you said before the scenes were repetitive, and i didn't knew why until know. Another nasty thing about that shows was the horribly boring music... the ones who composed that scores must had one one finger to play the syntetizer or the piano...

Pokey said...

If you wanna really see something sad, especially on a self-respecting forum:
Go Here


Pokey
[and sad to say a truly great character Pokey and Gumby, and Filmations worthless treatment olf the Archies, shared one of the undersung voices]

Pokey said...

Oh, & if you want to see a real contradiction:ToonZone--Filmation classics:
Go here

Pokey said...

Re;"Tarzan":I didn't even know post 1966 Filmation used library music [possibly the later John Seely music, OGM or Roger Roger's, vis a vis Eric Swan or Syd Dale's music out of some other firm].

Re: My next to last post before this-whoops, looks like the link was broken now, but it was an AnimationNation.com look for Filmation stuff.



And this is a respectable vBulletin entertainment forum.


The people interested included the moderator [who shall go anonymous, but wasn't me. I used to post there, btw.]


And that is a respectable animation person.

My Websites:
Blog
Facebook
And now, coming soon as if the other two and my activity online were not ENOUGH:
My MySpace page.
<a href=

Pokey said...

In a now "Comments-Disabled" blogpost, "Beyond Crap", so I'll just post here:
John K or someone said:
The scripts were even worse than the designs.

After which Oliver A.said:
I second and triple that.


Me:
Me, and I fourth and fifth it, too.

You know things get bad when even a decade BEFORE cable [when Bruce Springsteen's famed "57 channels" ditty became a reality plus many more channells] when there are too MANY animated shows----John's pretty much summed it all by the illustrations.I'll take what is IMO even worse than the seventies, when Filmation--or, Fuglimation [HA! Fits IT SOH-OH well!] had it's second era of crap--I mean, artistic gold [sarcastic snigger]..and Hanna-Barbera went into even worse years and were joined by Dic and the animation unit of Marvel, NEE DePatie-Freleng, ALIAS formerly Warner Bros.Animation..


He-Man. Popples. My Little Pukey-I mean, Pony. Care Bears. Smurfs. YEEEEECH! The eighties.

Felicity Walker said...

I have respect for Filmation Star Trek. Despite the obviously low budget, they still had:

1. Realistic art, rather than taking a serious premise and giving it wacky, deformed proportions;
2. The likenesses of the original series cast;
3. Some of the writers from the original series;
4. Most of the actors from the original series, reprising their roles;
5. Nice music.

I kind of like how mellow and relaxed the show is, from the calm delivery of the actors to the gentleness of the music. I can see how others would not, though.

If I had one complaint about the show it would be with the pacing, not the animation. In spite of being half the length of the original series, some of the episodes had a lot of padding, like there was 15 minutes of story in a 30-minute episode.