Review: Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation

Review: Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation

By Lou Scheimer and Andy Mangels
My earliest memory in this life, other than eating delicious
Play Doh on Christmas morning 1971, was watching a Batman cartoon with my
sister in the TV room one random morning in  1972.

The Penguin was stealing a tank and gassed a soldier, the whole thing just intrigued
me and I think started me on my love affair with Batgirl but that’s another story.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, Filmation hooked me at an
early age. So much so that I even identified the name “Scheimer” (I dopily mispronounced
it as “Schemer” until adulthood) with joy in the mid 1970s. 

I cherish this Ark 2 Halloween costume.

Sure, I have love in my heart for the
Kroffts and Hanna Barbera’s of this world but Filmation always remained my
favourite. I never missed a Shazam!, Ark 2 or Tarzan as a kid, hell, I even
regularly watched (but clearly did not grasp) Uncle Croc’s Block when it aired.
So it was pretty much a given that I’d invest in this new
tome. Actually, I bought it twice by accident. What I worried about though, was
how much of this was going to be new to me.
 As the images in this piece suggest, I’m an ardent
filmation collector and fan.  I’ve bought every DVD set near and dear to me and watched
the resulting documentaries many times (coincidentally, those great extras also
included Scheimer and Mangels) and I even asked Mr Scheimer questions in person
(he’s a nice man btw).  I worried it would
just be a rehash of stuff I’ve heard ad nauseum, I like to call that the “Stan
Lee Situation”.

Lou signed this for me in 2006, I can’t find it now. Grrr.

Fortunately, my worries were put to rest the minute the book
arrived. I lost nearly an hour pouring through the information, I’m not even
done reading it but I’ve seen enough to say this book is exhaustive and absolutely
Scheimer has an incredible memory of the events that shaped
Filmation starting from the beginning in landing the Superman contract to the  hey days of the 70s and 80s. Everything is
there, from the successes, to the flops laid out in riveting detail.
Included are fun anecdotes like Charles Nelson Reily
wandering the set of “Uncle Croc’s Block” in leopard print short shorts,
replacement Shazam John Davie showing up for work with a moustache  and a story that will never make you look at
Schneider from “One Day at a Time” in the same light again.
If describing things like the creation of the animated Star
Trek series weren’t enough Scheimer goes into detail on what didn’t get made,
stuff like a 60s Godzilla cartoon, Metamorpho, a Marx Brothers caroon, Dracula
in Space, the list goes on and on and makes you wish you grow up with those
shows as well.
Also unapologetically is all the lawsuits, the acrimonious
split with original Captain Marvel Jackson Bostwick, the long running suit
between DC comics and Filmation that occurred over (my personal favourite) the
Super 7 cartoon characters.
Honestly if you were a child between the years 1966 and
1987, you’ll find something of an interest in this book.
The later chapters delve of course into the 1980s and the
huge success of programs like Fat Albert, He-Man and the Masters of the
Universe and Bravestarr. My one quibble of the book is that it’s sole
colour chapter is spent on He-Man, however that’s just me and I admit it is a pretty bright marketing move
as He-Man will help sell a lot of these.

In summation, I couldn’t be happier with this book, it is jam
packed with interesting new information on one of my favourite subjects. As a bonus, it’s written in a snappy style that makes you feel that Scheimer is talking directly to you. I buy a
lot of informational books such as this but I rarely read them cover to cover,
Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation is one I have trouble putting
down and will likely read more than once.

Ask your local comic shop to order it, otherwise Amazon has the book for $20, which is a steal.

As I mentioned, I accidentally ordered two copies of this
book for myself. I don’t plan on taking one in the tub with me so there is no need for a double. That means the second copy is up for grabs, here is the skill testing

What was your favourite Filmation

Send the answer to
and I’ll draw one lucky winner out of my hat next Sunday. 

About The Author

AKA Brian Heiler author of "Rack Toys: Cheap, Crazed Playthings" and co-editor of "Toy-Ventures Magazine". Co-Host of the "Pod Stallions" podcast. Host of the Brick Mantooth Youtube channel, painter, designer, writer, mental health advocate, toy collector, Mego, and Mego Knock-Off enthusiast. I have large feet, ADHD and I live in Canada. Talk toys, not others.


  • Jeremy355 on November 25, 2012

    I got this book when it came out, and was lucky enough to get one of the autographed copies. It is truly an awesome book for any Filmation fan, and a great look into how cartoons got made and sold in 60's through 80's.

  • Jon K on November 25, 2012

    Been looking forward to this book for a long time myself, ever since I suggested it to Andy when I was transcribing interviews for those DVD sets you mentioned! In fact, I had the privilege to do tracscriptions for the book, and offered some ideas that Andy used (like the preface starting to tell the story of how Superman saved the company). There should even be a few pics in the book provided by me.

  • Mike Gutierrez on November 26, 2012

    I just bought the New Adventures of Batman and Robin dvd set. I remember watching this show as a kid and loved it. Watching the DVD bought back so many memories. I also watched the Adventures of Superman DVD set. I want to find the other superhero sets and would love it if the Batman and Robin cartoon from the 60's was released as wel.

    I will look and see if this book is avalible for my kindle and pick it up if it is.

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