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BFTP (Blast From The Past)...Filmation's "Star Trek"

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BFTP (Blast From The Past)...Filmation's "Star Trek"

Postby Greg B » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:25 am

I sat down and am watching the Filmation "Star Trek" animated series from the early 1970s.

Yes, Filmation, a company we can all spend hours cracking jokes about. You love/hate Filmation as they would have the coolest licensed properties like Star Trek, Archie, Tarzan, but would have the most limited animation that even homemade flip books could beat. They used the same scores, sound effects, tactics, and that "shifting eye" thing to within an inch of its life.

Now I have to give them their props for many things. They sure did know how to design some monsters and aliens. Used to scare the bunnytails off of us. I remember one time watching He Man and some red dragon demon monster showed up. Almost jumped through the roof. I get to work and my city editor, ( I worked at a newspaper ) was a few years older and watched cartoons too. He comes into the office with this look on his face and I knew exactly what it was about. He said that He Man monster almost did him in and we laughed.

The Star Trek series has many merits. The only drawback is the stiff animation and score. The stories are actually very good and expand on the original TOS awesomely. I had an idea that someone should take the voice track and do an upgrade on the animation. Even CG if possible. They did it with the original TOS series why not the animated series?

The background paintings and aliens and monsters and starships on the show are very well done. So if you can get through stiff, repetitive animation and a soundtrack that will grate on your nerves, check out the series again and note the high points. The voice work is done by the original cast and that's a treasure in itself.
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Re: BFTP (Blast From The Past)...Filmation's "Star Trek"

Postby Charles » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:56 am

Having worked at Filmation at the peak of the company during the He-Man / She-Ra years I can offer a unique insight into the studio.

I too was a big fan of the Star Trek animated series on Saturday mornings. I was also into Blackstar... Remember that one? Talking about cool dragons and monsters! I believe the artist responsible for those great designs was Bob Kline. There were several excellent designers there but he really was a standout.

How I got into Filmation is a story in itself. I will say that when my time came and I was being interviewed by their staff and eventually the man himself Lou Scheimer, it was a big help that I was familiar with the studio's content. They appreciated the fact that I knew what they did.

It was a great studio to work at. You couldn't find a better place to work at in the 1980s. They paid well and they were the last animation studio in all of Hollywood that produced everything in house. nothing was sent overseas or to a remote location anywhere. Everything was done under their roof. Imagine what a learning experience that would be. To walk down the hall from design to the storyboard department, to layout, to animation, downstairs to background painting, ink and paint, to camera, it was simply a fantastic place to be. And I haven't mentioned the incredible artists they had there.

Bruce Timm was my first office mate. Michael Spooner shared the room later on. He went on to become an art director for Warner Bros Feature Animation. Tom Sito worked there. Also Bruce Zick, Dan St. Pierre, Jim Gomez, Warren Greenwood, Lorenzo Martinez, many many others who became very prominent in the industry. Lots of comic book artists were employed there.

The only downside was their cartoons were, well... you know what I mean. There could've been a greater commitment to production quality and innovation. It eventually caught up to them. Regardless, it was a terrific place to be at that time and I consider myself very fortunate to have been a part of Filmation when it was happening.
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