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The Big Fade Out

If you are a cartoon fan, or have been, you may already know that Lou Scheimer, the president of Filmation Studios, passed away last week. Lou was my very first boss in the cartoon industry, and I doubt anyone will argue that he was one of the best. I was young and snotty and didn’t always agree with him during my years there — in fact, I was downright obnoxious at times — but he tolerated me with that grace which was such signature part of his personality.

You can argue the technical shortcomings of Filmation’s work — trust me, many of us who worked there certainly did — but then, we were shielded from the realities of what it took to get shows made and aired during that period. Especially if one was a studio boss like Lou who did not demand unpaid overtime, did not ship stuff overseas to have it done by cheaper labor, and who did not treat his employees like dirt. Hearing the plight of VFX artists today, when I think back on Lou now he has taken on an almost rose-gold glow in my mind, like Fezziwig from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Lou protected those who worked for him to a degree that would be unheard of today. Filmation was one of the few places willing to take on new, untried artists, and train them while actually paying them. I was one of those artists. So was my wife-to-be. In fact, it was our assignment to share a cubicle which was actually a former set from Jason of Star Command that lead to the creation of this comic’s artist.

We were hardly the only ones. Filmation started many, many others in the industry today, from Bruce Timm to Tim Burton. And I think, no matter where we ended up, we all remember him fondly. Not just with respect, like most of my bosses, but actual fondness.

Rest easy, Lou. You were one of the good ones.

–Bob out


Artist’s Notes:

So, Fynch makes his getaway!  Lucky guy, I have to keep drawing this darn thing… well, he’ll be back, I’m sure.  Could’ve used one of those diamonds last year when I was proposing to my wife, though.