Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Filmation's "Golden Age"

From 1979 to about 1981 Filmation experienced what Eddie called its Golden Age. It was at least a sort of golden age for the storyboard artists.

Eddie and Tom Minton and a crew of talented young guys drew some really funny storyboards, but when we saw the finished pictures, they didn't reflect exactly the guts and life from the boards.
The Filmation methods and style were stacked against even the funniest ideas and in the end everything came out looking like - well Filmation.

This is Filmation trying to do Tex Avery.

I started doing layouts on the Tom and Jerry/Droopy show around this time. I wasn't very good, but I learned a little about staging and posing and didn't trace the model sheets. I learned a real lot about reusing scenes over and over!
These backgrounds don't actually go with the cls. That's just the way they sell cels now for some reason and it confuses things all the more.
There were even some old animators who had worked on classic cartoons that were wacky and fun in the 30s and forties, but by the 80s that life had been beaten out of them and they were used to drawing everything blandly.

Mighty depressing.
Working on these cartoons showed me that it would take a lot more than talent to get cartoons to be funny again. The whole production system had to be turned around so that good ideas could actually make it to the screen.