RIP Lou Scheimer (Fat Albert, Star Trek: The Animated Series, etc.)


I’m sorry I’m only learning of Scheimer’s story now that he’s gone. As a teenager my friends and I passed around videotapes of Star Trek: The Animated Series, which we all really enjoyed. Before that I grew up watching Fat Albert. I remember one episode distinctly, which dealt with the prejudice faced by a girl whose parents were an interracial couple. I was so naive then I didn’t see anything controversial about the episode. I knew that some people had a problem with “racial miscegenation”, and I knew those people were idiots.

Only tangentially related: Years later I heard one of Bill Cosby’s routines about Fat Albert that inspired the animated series. It was about Fat Albert’s car, which had a Cessna engine in it. Cosby impersonating the engine remains one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.


Filmation had live series “The Ghost Busters” (with Larry Storch!) years before the Ghost Busters movies, and that’s why the animated version of the movies had to be called “The Real Ghostbusters,” while Filmation revived “The Ghost Busters” as a cartoon.

Frankly, I’m too terrified to click on any YouTube videos of Filmation products because I will activate the dormant ROM chip in my brain that holds all those theme songs and god knows what else that was engraved on my brain as a child. I’m still recovering from the “Banana Splits” theme song showing up in “Kick Ass.”


Oh my god, I had forgotten about that, but now I seem to vaguely remember that show… at least the picture looks hella-familiar!

The Filmation Ghostbusters was on Netflix streaming not too long ago–it was actually based on an older live action show of the same name, apparently, so they came by the title honestly.

I know it is unwise to speak ill of the dead… I was about to suggest that except for Fat Albert and Sabrina, I was hard-pressed to remember a Filmation show that did not completely annoy me (for example, check out the Bat-mite character, and/or the sound of Joker’s voice, from The New Adventures of Batman. Or… don’t).

But then I realized they did these live-action shows that I enjoyed, like Space Academy, Shazam! and The Secrets of Isis.

So… Never mind.

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Don’t forget Ark II! That was my favorite. Scheimer even did the opening narration.

they’ve been re-running it for a few years now on the Qubo network’s “Night Owl” block of programming, which I think is all Filmation shows; they do He-Man, She-Ra, and Bravestarr, too. This is weeknights while the late-night talk shows are on, on 14-3 over-the-air tv. When I was a kid, Ghostbusters annoyed me since it wasn’t the same as the movie, but now it seems like the best of that bunch, honestly. But Fat Albert crushes everything. Bounce network (36-2) uses it to transition from late night to morning television, so I get to watch a block of classic Soul Train into two Fat Alberts when I’m actually up at that hour, which is great.

One thing I really like about Filmation’s (notoriously cheap) animation is they sometimes used very cinematic compositions:

and also their use of mostly human figure drawing over cartoony simplified characters.

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Star Trek: TAS was kind of a trip. Some of the episodes were pretty straightforward Star Trek stuff–even a couple of sequels of sorts to TOS episodes–but then you had things like “The Slaver Weapon”, an adaptation of a Larry Niven Known Universe story that effectively merged that continuity with Star Trek continuity. Even as a kid, well before I’d heard of canonicity in science fiction continuities, I knew that that was… problematic. And, even though the animated format let them easily introduce non-human crew members such as Arex and M’Ress, it also led to things like the episode with the seventy-foot-tall Spock clone. Trippy!

Also, I can still sing the first verse of the Fat Albert theme song from heart.


Hands-down my favorite episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series was “More Tribbles, More Troubles”, which saw the very welcome return of Cyrano Jones. My friends and I loved how in that episode he started almost every sentence with “Friend Kirk…” but even better was the fact that in every scene he appeared in exactly the same pose.

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I don’t remember this episode of He-Man, but maybe I should rewatch the show:

that kitchen scene is a total mindfuck

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