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Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation Paperback – 4 Dec 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars 43 reviews from Amazon.com

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 43 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By MOTU Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation is Scheimer’s 2012 autobiography, which he wrote with Andy Mangels. Scheimer co-founded Filmation in 1962, and he was the only one left when the sale to L’Oreal shut the company down in 1989. As such, this book also serves as a comprehensive history of Filmation, which is best known for such cartoons as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, and Star Trek: The Animated Series.

The book begins with Scheimer’s parents’ immigration to the United States and his childhood and schooling; from the foundation of Filmation onward, Scheimer keeps things mostly chronological but largely gives a show-by-show account of events. I only have one real complaint about the way the book is laid out—it would have been nice to get more information on the animation process earlier in the book so that certain portions would be easier to follow.

The book has a very conversational tone, which makes it extremely engaging. Scheimer’s personality really comes through unfiltered, and by all accounts, he was quite a character. He never met a tangent he didn’t like, but most of what he has to say is so interesting that it’s easily forgiven (e.g., his dad purportedly punched Hitler in the face).

Scheimer heavily emphasizes his passion and vision for animation throughout the book. He was a trailblazer, he says, for incorporating racial diversity into children’s cartoons, and for producing material that communicated values, morals, and instruction. He was also committed to keeping animation jobs in the United States when most studios were sending large amounts of work overseas (this is, in fact, one of the primary reasons for Filmation’s well-known and oft-maligned stock animation system.

This is a huge book—8.5” by 11”, and almost 300 pages—and it’s kind of unwieldy. It’s worth wrestling with, though, because of the vast number of pictures. Contrary to what its Amazon page would lead you to believe, however, the book is not in full color. Only pp. 209–224 are; the rest are in black and white, so caveat emptor. The book really could have done with some serious copyediting, especially to clean up Scheimer’s serial misuse of “I” when he should have used “me” and the redundancies in the writing (Mangels, isn’t that your job?).

For me, at least, the production and editorial knocks on the book are readily forgivable. Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation gave me a new appreciation for Scheimer, for Filmation, and for some of the cartoons I grew up with; I’m grateful simply that the book exists.

If any of the Filmation shows you grew up with are still meaningful to you as an adult, odds are you’ll find Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation well worth your time.
5.0 out of 5 stars ... Scheimer's animated series on many Saturday mornings and really enjoyed his programs 22 Aug. 2016
By A. Yee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I grew up watching Lou Scheimer's animated series on many Saturday mornings and really enjoyed his programs. After a long week of school, it was an escape to tune in and see imaginative polished cartoon stories with interesting characters and situations with valuable life lessons to teach. While critics may complain about the Filmation studio animated output and the repeated character designs, movements, and backgrounds, for the target tv audience at its time, it was magic to see many great established concepts like Batman, Superman, The Archies, Flash Gordon, Tarzan, and Star Trek and some original ideas like Fat Albert and Blackstar in cartoon form...and a marvel to behold at Mr. Scheimer's great business instincts in keeping the tv network executives happy and keeping his studio staff motivated in delivering his products on time and within budget for several hours of entertaining for many weeks for over 20 years.

Mr. Scheimer's book was very informative and entertaining as he relates his stories in running his studio; dealing with staffers, voice performers, and tv network people; and revealing his personal stories and ideas that worked and didn't advance past the planning stages. He didn't pull any punches in communicating his thoughts about various creative folks, especially well-known controversial talents like Don Bluth and John Kricfalusi, who both previously worked for Filmation Studios, but probably won't list their experiences as career highlights.

For this regular tv viewer of Saturday mornings in the hip 1970s...I say thank you, Filmation.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good history of Saturday Morning Cartoons from a man who was there. 8 Feb. 2014
By W. Boyd - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this with the intention of quickly learning a little trivia about the live action tv shows like ARK II and Shazam that Filmation produced in the 1970s. Little did I know that I would really get caught up in the book and read it cover to cover. Lou is a kind and creative man and his story is interesting. The book mostly follows a year by year timeline that lets the reader absorb all that was happening in the life of the company Filmation during any given year. They began producing cartoons at a time when Network TV decided that they wanted to program Saturday mornings for kids. Hanna Barbara was their biggest rival and the two companies duked it out for most of the 1970s to see who would get the most shows on the most networks. This competition created many of the signature shows of any Generation Xers youth.

I found myself highlighting trivia to share with anyone I can find to share it with later and also heading to youtube over and over to relive some of the shows that I had completely forgotten about. It was a very enjoyable experience overall and I recommend this book to anyone interested in Filmation in particular or reliving some of the old Saturday morning magic.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Memoir OVERFLOWING with Personality! 10 Mar. 2013
By Name Withheld - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I worked at Filmation for several years and consider the co-author (and voice) of this book, Lou Scheimer, a dear friend, a mentor and genuinely one of the greatest and most inspiring human beings I've ever known. This book captures his exceptional wit, his creativity, his genius, his self-deprecating charm and, especially, his HEART -- which is every bit as big as his larger-than-life personality.

When he talks about caring for the people who worked for him -- he MEANS it!

Lou has always been a SUPERBLY ENTERTAINING raconteur -- the guy you'd most want to sit next to at dinner -- and this comes through in these pages.

The art and layout make for great eye-candy as well.

And the degree of DETAIL and its absolute ACCURACY (at least as far as many of the things which I witnessed personally) are simply stunning.

As someone who was "there" for much of this story, I'm just thrilled to know that Lou's legacy and his colorful history with Filmation have been so well memorialized for posterity. While it's hard to know if this book would be as meaningful and sentimental to an outsider, my guess is that if you're here reading this review -- then you have more than enough interest in the Filmation story to love the book every bit as much I did.

And let me assure you -- what you'll be reading is the truth -- no matter how outlandish it may sound!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! 28 May 2013
By Acherre - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With the exception of some minor typos, this book is grand. Beyond the sometimes salty language of Lou Scheimer--who does warn you ahead of time, this book is fantastic. Scheimer gives you the inside scoop as he saw things at the time, often trying to be inclusive and attentive to the politics of the day and the educational content kid programming should have. He is proud that Filmation was a pioneer in many respects—ahead of Disney or Hanna-Barbera—by including minority and female characters in its cartoons and later, real-life productions. Fat Albert, Ark II, Shazam!, The Archies, Tarzan, Gilligan’s Island, are just a few of the productions made by Filmation under Scheimer. The writing is easy to read, well written (even when Lou wanders off) and humorous with down-to-earth talk. Plenty of cartoons and celeb photos. The book also details about the workings of behind the scenes to many of its productions and challenges face with the capricious TV networks, as well as lawsuits against Filmation by former employees. Scheimer is surprisingly frank, though civil, about letting readers know who he liked and not liked working with. However, most important, Scheimer feels great pride that Filmation was spearheading the animation/kid programming industry by being very attentive to promote diversity and reflect the America that was growing and now has intensely diversified racially and ethnically. In his productions, minorities and women also had positions of power. Scheimer, who is of Jewish background, understands what it feels to be left out. This is a great book due to its nostalgic content, the stories behind the stories, and fun read. Highly recommend this affordable book that frequently slapped me in the back of my head as it brought fond memories back.
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