As has been reported in many places, Lou Scheimer, co-founder of Filmation, passed away last week, just shy of his birthday.
Now, I never had the privilege of meeting Lou in person, but through the transcriptions I did for the various DVD releases of Filmation shows, as well as transcribing interviews for Lou's autobiography (still available from TwoMorrows), plus having spoken all-too-briefly with him on the phone twice, I felt like I knew Lou.
Lou was... well, to me, he felt like the kind of uncle that everyone wishes they had, but so few of us did. While his memory wasn't always precise, he had a flair for telling stories with his own unique perspective, even if he did use rather coarse language sometimes (something that had to be significantly edited for his on-screen interviews, obviously). He could be funny as hell. He had a way of making you feel like it was his privilege to have been a part of your childhood.
The first Filmation programs I would've seen were probably the Superman show they did for CBS, followed by the later Batman show, as well as Journey to the Center of the Earth and Fantastic Voyage, through The Hardy Boys, and many other shows. I watched darn near every incarnation of Archie, as well as all the live-action programs (Space Academy was probably my favorite of these), Fat Albert, Star Trek and so on. Heck, I even watched Uncle Croc's Block, which Lou didn't care to talk about much himself, although I got a kick out of it.
I have to admit, by the time that they were doing He-Man, I'd lost some respect for the company. I'd noticed that there was a lot of reuse of animation, and even musical cues were reused for many programs, as well (watching their later Batman show, I heard a lot of music that had been prepared for Star Trek). I kind of had an attitude that I'd outgrown Filmation (although to be honest, by that point I was pretty much only interested in watching Dungeons & Dragons, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and Thundarr the Barbarian, for the most part). Oh, I loved the first season of Flash Gordon, and later, I did finally watch He-Man as well as She-Ra, and enjoyed those programs for the most part.
By the time I'd been offered the transcription gig for the DVD special features, I'd had a turnaround, and found myself wishing that the Filmation shows I remembered so fondly were available to watch again. Yes, I can see the low budgets in all the shows, but I believe that they succeeded in spite of those budgets.
I'd known for some time that Lou was not in the greatest of health, and that he'd been turning down a lot of offers for personal appearances... so I can't say that I was entirely surprised to hear he'd passed. Lou and Filmation were a huge part of my childhood, and knowing that Lou has passed away leaves me missing him greatly. Fortunately, so many of the shows he was responsible for being made are available to watch, and I've enjoyed sharing some of those shows with my own kids (I'm far from the only parent to share Filmation with their kids).
My condolences go to his entire family.
Lou, you are and will be missed.