Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Unfettered Creativity Of Filmation

Animation is an imaginative medium, capable of anything you can dream up.













53 comments:

RooniMan said...

Animation is an imaginative medium, but Filmation is just plain unimaginably unimaginable in the way they think of the crap they come up with. Did that make any sense?

Martin Juneau said...

I never thinkin how Filmation characters are all bland and formulaic. They have no reasons that this stuffs comes on TV.

Patrick said...

John, you make me hate my childhood. But in a good way.

C said...

Is that a mountain lion picking on Lassie, or a big dog? Either way, I think they're both stoned.

AtomicTiki said...

Gaaaaaah! Like poison it is!

Kill it with fire!

Malik Ming said...

Way to fuel my own rage yet again, John. Now I'll have to stop browsing your blog and actually start drawing something.

Elana Pritchard said...

dear god

Cameron said...

Are any of these characters depicting any sort of human emotion? Filmmation must have had a pessimistic and uber-realist view of humanity that thought of us as little more than organic robots. Their work promotes nihilism and a bleak view of the future.

Iron maiden said...

The people who make this kind of stuff probably dosnt care about cartoons that much ,and probably just works to pay off there bills

HemlockMan said...

How do they DO it??!!

Ricky Earl said...

Hahahahhaaaaaaa!
Such imagination!
Such SPARK!

I've actually just finished a short animated film about this kind of thing...I'd be ridiculously happy to show it to you somehow...

Roberto Severino said...

I love Filmation cartoons. Period. That studio produced some of the most technically well drawn pieces of animation and wonderful draftsmanship, often superior to whatever talentless hacks including Disney, Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, the Fleischers, and their ilk produced and accomplished within less than a decade, despite the seemingly stiff drawings, constant reuse of animation, and dialog that's so good, it makes you wanna cry for joy.

Filmation took us out of the dark ages of animation with their imaginative creativity. I'm happy that their cartoons still influence us today, especially with feature films and even modern TV animation. We need to go copy every single one of these framegrabs and analyze them, so we can make cartoons just like the draftsmen at Filmation did. Forget about "cartoonists" Harvey Kurtzman and Milt Gross too. All they ever drew were imitation cartoons. Now these are what cartoons should look like now and for the end of time. These are the real thing.

In fact, Filmation cartoons are so great, that the great Lou Scheimer even wrote a history book about the studio he helped to create. John, and everybody, go out and buy this book and hear from a real creative fellow, who has accomplished so much more than what those guys with broken fingers accomplished in the 1930s and 1940s.

talkingtj said...

there were so many filmations shows on saturday mornings when i was a kid that i actually attempted to draw like them.i would sit in the back of my class with my notebook,and in the margins attempt to do their version of tarzan or rick springfield, bell bottom pants and all. i thought that was the only way to draw, then i started really getting into people like jack kirby and e.c segar and walt kelly, segar and kelly had softer more rounded imagery, kirby was explosively physical and dramatic, i soon forgot all about filmation,but i did master their style! it was easy! it wasnt until i was in my late teens that i realized what a bad influence they had, it was all generic,the hardy boys arent much different than gilligans island in their hands, tarzan looks like he-man,batman is the same as superman for filmation.im glad their reign as saturday morning kings finally ended, unfortunately the damage was done.

SandraRivas said...

It's interesting how some of the cartoons now are like this. except the drawings are even flatter and the colors are even brighter.

Mike Kevan said...

The opening sentence in context with the following images made me giggle with each new image of people walking awkwardly.

Zartok-35 said...

BLAH!

"Al" said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mykal Banta said...

Let me see is I fully understand. You don't like Filmation?

Michael E. Vernon said...

Back in my drinking days, I thought it was my hangover on a Saturday morning. I look at those cells, and realize, it was just the reality of Flemation-Oh, I mean Filmation.
Not only were the cartoons bad, but the live action series were scary too! Like the one with James Doohan (Scotty from Star Trek). He didn't use his phony, accent. Then There were those shows with Johnathan Harris (Dr. Smith from Lost In Space). I know Filmation was your bread and butter back then, but knowing that cartoons were once glorious, and watching how they devolved was sad. Sorry. Sometime I get going and don't know when to stop. All and all, thanks for the rare look at those cells.

Scrawnypumpkinseed said...

My Gawd! The zaniness! The Wackiness!

Its too much stimulating visual imaginative eye candy for my brain to take!

Omar Momani said...

oh yach...

Luis María Benítez said...

They look so empty...

Martin Juneau said...

As a young kid, i remember of Filmation by the Zorro and Fat Albert cartoons but i rarely paid attention because i wanted to watched more interesting things.

Did it's true that Filmation inspired the modern Disney animated films? I start to seriously trust this.

ardy said...

Wow. Lassie being bitten by that dog-head attached to a beanbag made me chuckle, but everything else has put me in a bad mood. There must've been at least one show from one series that someone snuck something creative and fun into. Otherwise there must've been a number of suicides.

Paul B said...

awful drawings... this is so depressing...

Pete Emslie said...

I think that second drawing of the Professor from Gilligan's Island may be slightly off-model from the first one. Hold on while I go fetch my calipers...

Tim L. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Niki said...

Animation is an imaginative medium, obviously they only have nightmares.

Rusty said...

Filmation basically burned all the money that could have gone into making a good cartoon. I think that is quite common now a days with low brow sitcoms such as Family Guy and The Simpsons or the gory, pornographic material you get out of Anime. Animation has been diverted from reaching its fullest potential and Flimation is the Gold standard at wasting money but there are many more.

Rusty said...

Since you had to work at Flimation. Were the people forcing you to do these cartoons just as bland and uninspired as the cartoons themselves? It seems to me atleast that the personality of a person that makes the cartoon effects the cartoons quality.

Oscar Grillo said...

....And the visuals are nothing compared with the sountracks!....Not to mention the way they sounded dubbed in other languages...Specially the dubbing in Spanish or Italian!...
The Horror! The Horror!

TedM said...

Flimation blows. Ugly cartoons. But I one question for you about your days at Flimation. Is that how you met Bruce Timm? and if not how did you meet Bruce Timm?

Zoran Taylor said...

@Tim L. - If you haven't figured out yet how much all of this is FUNNY as well as painful to John, myself and the rest of us by now, you're beyond help.

Mattieshoe said...

Stunningly dead and ignorant.

This was made by humans? and ARISTS, no less??

Mattieshoe said...

I wonder what the musical equivalent to this would be.

Microsoft Sam?

JohnK said...

DJs

Fabián Fucci said...

Pink little fluo creatures in a row rule!

Chris said...

hahaha, wow, the truly sad part is those are all of the wild, crazy "dynamic" Filmation poses.

Saskia said...

Ahaha, I think the last one absolutely killed me XDD

Jordan said...

these drawings make me want to blow my brains out

Andrew said...

Didn't Lou refer to these years as "The Golden Age of Filmation", sort of like singling out the best years of the Black Plague.

misterzulu said...

Hey Ardy, hunt down the Filmation Droopy short Disco Droopy.

Correct me if I'm wrong John, but some of those characters in the background look like they were drawn by Eddie Fitzgerald. A nice li'l look into the future of the drawing style of Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures.

Filmation cartoons truly are sad, reading the end credits to those shows, seeing the names of legends like Don Towsley, Orestes Calpini, Dave Tendlar, Bob Carlson, and Ambi Paliwoda, people who helped shape what great cartoons are supposed to be, makes me want to cry.

coolhand said...

last one looks like a guy at a gay parade

Sven Hoek said...

That's it. That type of animation is like the musical equivalent of the worst DJ ever, who samples some piece of a song and plays it over and over and over.

The only difference is, the DJ would usually take the most interesting part of the song to repeat, whereas these old animators seem to have taken the worst parts of animation and made it bland, and then repeated it until you cant watch it anymore.

Those cartoons make my eyes want to throw up.

kurtwil said...

Roberto, having not read the book you referred to but having grown up with Filmation products, and a great association with one former Disney artist that saved Filmation's HAPPILY EVER AFTER from crashing and burning, my question is:

What exactly makes Filmation "great"? Their BG's? Their live action model rotoscope (also used in HEAVY METAL and by Don Bluth)?

It's not their drawing or (in general) animation. JK's samples here are pretty typical.

ca60gregory said...

That last pose is pretty funny... I cant stop chuckling.

John A said...

Kurtwil, Roberto is pulling your leg.

Nahun said...

I actually used to enjoy Tarzan, and the Space Sentinels. They had adventures in colourful places like other planets, or the jungle, and there were dinosaurs and things. What's not to like about that? Astria could change into animals, Herc could lift giant rocks, and Merc could run really fast. I still remember the eagle shrieks, and loud thumpy steps of of the giant robots. I was about 6 or 7 at the time. I had a similar feeling of nostalgia for the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079474/ until recently, when I saw it and noticed how crappy the animation was, but that kind of thing didn't register with me as a six year old. I wonder if it kicks in at any particular time for kids in general.

Alvaro said...

"Animation is an imaginative medium, capable of anything you can dream up."

I agree! I don´t understand why animated films try so hard to be "realistic" while live action films (like "Hellboy", "Sin City",
"300", "Watchmen" "The Fall" "Clash of the Titans" and all the hideous live action cartoons) try to hard to be "cartoony" and unrealistic. This is madness!

hc said...

I think this is really unfair.

Filmation worked under budgets of practically nothing and under time constraints demanding delivery practically 'yesterday'.. If you genuinely expect them to experiment, play around, or produce high art, then you're expecting way too much.

Fact is that without Filmation there wouldnt be a lot of the super stuff being done these days, much less would we have Batman:The Animated Series by Bruce Timm, who was trained at Filmation.

As much as you like to think of animation as an artform, it's a business more than an art. It's job is to tell stories to it's audience, especially on low-budget television, not provide you with exaltant 'art'. If you want that, go to a museum.

Pokey said...

"hc", that's not a good excuse, and it's another bad attempt to rationalise a defense for Filmation: a studio that didn't actually use "The Archies", or, Veronica and Reggie, that is, as their classic diva prima donna selves [like I';ve said, and even the crappy HB "Josie" series used teen Cruelle De Vil and that cat as their comic book villian selves, another poin that I've made before].

Did none other than...I.Takamoto do the Filmation designs? [his mid 60s HB designs were pleasant at best but they were just one-not the onlty, natch, but among the main hallmarks, or eyesores, of the eventual Hanna-Barbera waste.] Those fleshy eyes...yeeech...!!! 'Scpecially after seeing Archies, Superheroes and others on the printedpage before that late 60s and onward era.

Pokey said...

I'll take a quote popularized by Rachel McAdams through the smart
horn-rimmed glasses-pen of Tina Fey from "Mean Girls"
Fugly--Filmation should be called Fugly-Mation!

Anyway, TV Party had THIS that you, John K., did:
Here

Pokey said...

Roberto Severino sayeth:
" love Filmation cartoons. Period. That studio produced some of the most technically well drawn pieces of animation and wonderful draftsmanship, often superior to whatever talentless hacks including Disney, Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, the Fleischers, and their ilk produced and accomplished within less than a decade, despite the seemingly stiff drawings, constant reuse of animation, and dialog that's so good, it makes you wanna cry for joy.

Filmation took us out of the dark ages of animation with their imaginative creativity. I'm happy that their cartoons still influence us today, especially with feature films and even modern TV animation. We need to go copy every single one of these framegrabs and analyze them, so we can make cartoons just like the draftsmen at Filmation did. Forget about "cartoonists" Harvey Kurtzman and Milt Gross too. All they ever drew were imitation cartoons. Now these are what cartoons should look like now and for the end of time. These are the real thing.

In fact, Filmation cartoons are so great, that the great Lou Scheimer even wrote a history book about the studio he helped to create. John, and everybody, go out and buy this book and hear from a real creative fellow, who has accomplished so much more than what those guys with broken fingers accomplished in the 1930s and 1940s."

You're kidding, right?