So, I recently became a father. Among the myriad of things on my mind these days, one of them is oddly what kind of TV or online shows will my daughter be watching while growing up? As a kid, there wasn’t much selection. There were the three major networks and a few syndicated channels in the UHF bands. Of course there were no dedicated Disney channels, cartoon channels or general kids channels. The best variety was available in those brief hours Saturday morning of back-to-back cartoons and super hero live action shows was a weekly treasure. I remember going to Hawaii with my family one Summer and through the whole trip I was wondering if we’d make it back in time for the Fall Saturday morning cartoon premiers. There were prime time Fall lineup preview shows that almost made me salivate at the thought of new adventures for old favorites and new characters to come to know. These days, with so many choices, I wonder if children develop a real bond and fondness for what they’re watching or is it simply something to pass the time between toy commercials?
At Comic-Con this year, a lot of the Saturday morning joy came flooding back when I attended the Filmation panel. Filmation was the alternative to Disney and WB cartoons through the 70s and early 80s. The animation was relatively cheap and employed frequent stock footage but the action was good and there was a clear moral message in many of the shows and episodes. They had a wide variety of original and licensed IP including Batman, Tarzan, Star Trek, He-Man and She-Ra. What felt really unique for the time was Filmation’s venture beyond animation to create original live-action shows. The Comic-Con Filmation panel gathered together some original cast members from two of the shows, Jason of Star Command and The Secret of Isis, including character actor and recently revitalized horror movie star Sig Haig. Former Filmation head Lou Scheimer was also present.
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