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Filmation (1962)

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Filmation Associates was an American production company that produced animation and live action programming for television during the latter half of the 20th century. Located in Reseda, California, the animation studio was founded in 1963. During a period lasting from the 1960s through the 1980s, the only real competitor to Hanna-Barbera Productions in the field of TV cartoons was Filmation. Filmation's founders and principal producers were Lou Scheimer and Norm Prescott.

A trademark of the company's productions beginning in 1969 was a rotating "Produced by" (and on some shows, "Executive Producers") credit seen in the end credits of Filmation programs, a device that was supposedly created to allow Prescott and Scheimer to share equal billing (previously, Scheimer's name was placed above Prescott's), although later Filmation productions credited only Scheimer, in the form of his signature ("Lou Scheimer, Executive Producer"), starting with 1982's Gilligan's Planet.

Many of its shows—particularly the productions of the late 1970s and 1980s—are notable for imparting a simple moral or life-lesson (explained by a key character, in a child-friendly manner) in the epilogue.


Lou Scheimer and Filmation's main director Hal Sutherland met while working at Larry Harmon Pictures on the made-for-TV Bozo and Popeye cartoons. Eventually Larry Harmon closed the studio. SIB Productions, a Japanese firm with U.S. offices in Chicago, approached Scheimer and Sutherland about producing a cartoon called Rod Rocket. The two agreed to take on the work and also took on a project for Family Films, owned by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, for ten short animated films based on the life of Christ. The project enabled Scheimer and Sutherland to finance their own small Los Angeles animation studio, called True Line. Paramount Pictures soon purchased SIB Productions, and True Line's staff increased; including the arrival of former radio disc jockey Norm Prescott, who became a partner in the firm. He had already been working on the animated feature Pinocchio in Outer Space which was primarily produced by Belvision Studios, and also brought in the Journey Back to Oz project, which would be released over ten years later by Filmation. Both Rod Rocket and the life of Christ series credited "Filmation Associates" with "Production Design" in addition to Scheimer and Sutherland as directors; but True Line was not officially changed into the Filmation Associates corporation until Rod Rocket entered syndication in 1963. (SIB Productions, whose logo bore a resemblance to the original Filmation logo, would soon go on to become "Sib-Tower 12 Productions" and produce the first few of Chuck Jones' Tom and Jerry films for MGM, until becoming MGM Animation/Visual Arts for the remainder of the films).

The new Filmation studio would for the next few years make television commercials, until approached by DC Comics editor Mort Weisinger to do a Superman cartoon. This premiered in 1966, and was followed by several of the other DC Comics heroes, and then in 1968, the first Archie show. Both series greatly helped Filmation's popularity to increase, into the 1970s, when it really scored big with several of its shows.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Filmation", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.