Saturday morning cartoon pioneer Lou Scheimer, whose Filmation company created Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Groovie Goolies, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and many other classics of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, has died. He was 84. Above, Scheimer with some of his Filmation characters in an illustration from the cover of his book, "Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation." From the New York Times:
Filmation was considered noteworthy on two counts: it kept production in the United States in an age of increasing outsourcing (then as now, the labor-intensive work of animating many American cartoons was done in Asia) and it sought to produce cartoons with a message of social tolerance.
The studio was among the first to make minority characters mainstays of the cartoon landscape, as the enduring success of "Fat Albert," broadcast on CBS from 1972 to 1985, attests. It did likewise for strong female heroines, as in its feature film "Happily Ever After," which began production the 1980s but was not officially released until 1993.
A de facto sequel to the 1937 Disney film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," the Filmation version replaces Grumpy et al. with female "dwarfelles," voiced by Carol Channing, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Tracey Ullman, among others. Snow White (voiced by Irene Cara) has little need of rescuing.