I beg to differ from some of the above assessments -- and I've worked in animation for three studios, including Disney. Filmation was the bargain basement of animation. Always was. They did have great character design for TAS, and the music was good -- until you heard the same cues for the 10th time. But they used many, many animation shortcuts. Yes, for the budget they had, they delivered, but that's about all that can be said.
And yet despite that, their shows still didn't look as sloppy as Hanna-Barbera's work from the same era. I acknowledge their work was something of an acquired taste, but there's a lot they deserve credit for. Their '79 Flash Gordon
TV movie, unfortunately aired only once, is probably the best screen adaptation of Flash Gordon that's ever been done, and it experimented with innovative animation techniques like moire and light-box effects, as well as a very clever technique of filming miniatures with black lines on white and printing them onto animation cels to achieve 3D ship effects (the "Taarna" segment of the film Heavy Metal
used the same technique for its landscape flyover sequence). They were, of course, the last US animation studio to do all the work stateside after everyone else was subcontracting the animation to Asian studios -- although admittedly the Asian studios often did better work. And a lot of notable people in SF and animation got their start at Filmation, including Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and J. Michael Straczynski. In live action, their Jason of Star Command
was praised in the FX community for its miniature and stop-motion work.
And while the music certainly was repetitive, I think it was gorgeous, especially in the later '70s and early '80s. True, partly it's because I grew up with that music and it helped define my tastes, but Filmation's music left a much greater impact on me than the music from other animated shows I also grew up watching.
On the other hand, GR had been talking with Hanna-Barbera as well. Only Filmation gave him (and by extension D.C. Fontana) a free hand. That's very much to Filmation's credit.
Absolutely. Filmation was generally pretty good about faithful adaptations of their source material. I've praised their Flash Gordon
above, and they also did pretty good work with characters like the Lone Ranger and Zorro. Although, granted, they did have some adaptations that were rather major departures from the source material, mainly in their comedies -- The Brady Kids, My Favorite Martians, Gilligan's Planet
. (Their earlier New Adventures of Gilligan
was more faithful to the original format and had all of the original cast except Tina Louise and Dawn Wells, but it made some changes too, like giving Gilligan a monkey sidekick. And it inverted the original's formula in order to make it more "educational": instead of Gilligan constantly screwing up the others' escape plans, he became the pure innocent who was untouched by the petty greed, jealousy, paranoia, and other character flaws that led the others to sabotage their rescues, resulting in the moral lesson of the week.)
In the case of Star Trek
, they were the only animation studio willing to do the show in the same vein as the original series (albeit with less sex and violence, shorter running times, and more elaborate aliens and effects) rather than turning it into a simpler, more kid-oriented show with teen heroes and cute alien sidekicks. So for all TAS's flaws, it's far better than what we would've gotten from any other animation company.
So far as taking the dialogue track(s) and creating new visuals, that depends on how the sound was mixed and what original elements remain. I think it's a very safe bet that it was all mixed to mono -- music, effects and dialogue all on one track. Unless the original dialogue tracks are out there somewhere (unlikely), I don't think new animation is worth the effort.
The music and sound effects were mixed together, but the dialogue was on a separate track, to make it easier to redub the show for foreign markets. I know that some people have been able to isolate the music/FX tracks from the voice tracks, and some have tried to pick out "clean" bits of music from various episodes and compile full versions of the various TAS cues. Here's a compilation of many of the major cues.
I was cleaning out my archives the other day and ran across this page from the 28 May 1974 issue of The Hollywood Reporter
. It seemed appropriate for this thread so I scanned it before tossing it into the circular file.
Hey, Hey, Hey!
This proves it! Fat Albert
is canonical within the Trek universe!