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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old January 12 2013, 08:14 PM   #31
Cap'n Claus
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Re: can the star trek animated series be reanimated?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Well, like I said, lots of Filmation shows had the same few people doing all the voices -- and then of course there were the older cinematic and early TV cartoons that had even smaller casts, like Mel Blanc doing virtually every voice for Warner Bros., Daws Butler & Don Messick being nearly the entire ensemble of Hanna-Barbera's early shows, etc. So recognizability isn't a deal-breaker for me, since it's what I grew up with.
Oh sure, me too. I think the difference is, those guys (Blanc, Butler,etc.) were for the most part strictly voiceover guys and could vary their voices enough to make the characters different. That's how they made their living. The Star Trek cast were not voice actors, so reusing them was a cost cutting decision rather than a creative one. When you hear Sulu coming out of Koloth, it's not because Takei was the best guy for the job. I would have preferred Doohan because he could put a little more variety into it. But, as you say, these were done quickly and I admit that I am totally nit picking. My love for Filmation is boundless.

Well, okay, not so much for Hero High. That was just awful.
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Old January 12 2013, 10:54 PM   #32
jayrath
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Re: can the star trek animated series be reanimated?

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.

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.

It is what it is. I enjoy TAS very, very much. 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.
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Old January 12 2013, 10:57 PM   #33
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Re: can the star trek animated series be reanimated?

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!

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Old January 12 2013, 11:07 PM   #34
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Re: can the star trek animated series be reanimated?

alchemist wrote: View Post
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!

Wait! Don't throw that out!

(runs forward with fists directly in front of shoulders, palms downward)
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Old January 12 2013, 11:22 PM   #35
marksound
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Re: can the star trek animated series be reanimated?

I've said it before and I'll say it again. TAS was extremely well done given the time and budget constraints. The Filmation 'style' including the music was part of its charm.
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Old January 12 2013, 11:30 PM   #36
Christopher
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Re: can the star trek animated series be reanimated?

jayrath wrote: View Post
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 and Tarzan 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.


alchemist wrote: View Post
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!
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Old January 13 2013, 02:05 AM   #37
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Re: can the star trek animated series be reanimated?

Sure, the music was repetitious, but Hanna Barbara also reused a LOT from their own library as well. Great cues by Hoyt Curtin (and other) got recycled throughout the 60's and 70's. Filmation just seemed to have a smaller library and/or fewer shows.
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Old January 13 2013, 03:07 AM   #38
Christopher
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Re: can the star trek animated series be reanimated?

Actually, in revisiting Filmation's shows on DVD in recent years, I've found that they didn't do as much music recycling between shows as I thought. There were some cues that were used in multiple shows; a lot of their comedies recycled the same cues, and music from Lassie's Rescue Rangers was heavily featured in Tarzan, Shazam, Isis, Batman, and occasionally TAS, while TAS cues showed up in Batman and occasionally Jason of Star Command. But each show had its own original library of cues as well, music that was used constantly within that show but rarely or never used elsewhere. And nothing from before about 1979 was used afterward. There's no TAS music in Flash Gordon or Blackstar or The Lone Ranger or Zorro, though Blackstar recycled quite a lot of Flash Gordon music, and at least one Lone Ranger cue was frequently used on Zorro. (I recall a specific horn-fanfare cue from Tarzan that was used once or twice in Flash Gordon, but there was a Lone Ranger episode that could've used it at a certain point, but instead used a less fitting music fragment from Flash Gordon's score.)

Of course, the Flash Gordon movie is a special case, since most of the scoring was scene-specific rather than written as library music. So it didn't need to reuse any old music, and it provided a large library of cues for the FG series and Blackstar to draw from.

As for Hoyt Curtin, like I said, I just never got as much into his work as into Ellis/Prescott (or Yvette Blais and Jeff Michael, as they were pseudonymously credited). The main things of his I remember are a recurring Scooby-Doo leitmotif (which is semi-pastiched at times in the score to the current Mystery Incorporated series) and some of his Flintstones cues.
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Old January 13 2013, 03:19 AM   #39
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Re: can the star trek animated series be reanimated?

Regarding the use of Majel and Nichelle to play every woman, I somehow never noticed it in first run when I was eleven or twelve. I don't recall ever noticing George doing multple roles.

Today I'm sure it would jump out and bite me. But the Doohan parts should still fly.
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Old January 13 2013, 04:12 AM   #40
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Re: can the star trek animated series be reanimated?

^And the various uncredited actors including Scheimer -- although his voice is instantly recognizable to any experienced Filmation viewer.
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Old January 14 2013, 02:43 AM   #41
jayrath
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Re: can the star trek animated series be reanimated?

I don't want to give the impression that I'm down on Filmation. As I wrote above, they did the best that they could with the funds at hand. It's really a miracle that the did so well with TAS.

And I'll admit a strange love for their "Archie's Fun House." Very fast-paced and often amusing, even when the humor was of the Jokes by Cracky mold. (600 quatloos to anyone who gets the reference.)
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Old January 14 2013, 05:25 AM   #42
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Re: can the star trek animated series be reanimated?

I'd love to see a two-hour, computer-animated TOS TV movie with Bill, Leonard, Nichelle, Grace, and George doing their voices again. Maybe directed by Joss Whedon or someone.
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Old January 14 2013, 05:28 AM   #43
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Re: can the star trek animated series be reanimated?

jayrath wrote: View Post
I don't want to give the impression that I'm down on Filmation. As I wrote above, they did the best that they could with the funds at hand. It's really a miracle that the did so well with TAS.

And I'll admit a strange love for their "Archie's Fun House." Very fast-paced and often amusing, even when the humor was of the Jokes by Cracky mold. (600 quatloos to anyone who gets the reference.)
Yeah, but Hot's Dog's dancing using to creep me out lol
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Old January 14 2013, 02:45 PM   #44
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Re: can the star trek animated series be reanimated?

Christopher wrote: View Post
^And the various uncredited actors including Scheimer -- although his voice is instantly recognizable to any experienced Filmation viewer.
But to the inexperienced, he sometimes sounds like James Stewart.
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Old January 14 2013, 06:59 PM   #45
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Re: can the star trek animated series be reanimated?

jayrath wrote: View Post
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.
Interesting, because everything you posted applies to Hanna-Barbera. How many times did we hear the Hoyt Curtin action cues composed for Jonny Quest re-used--to death--on Space Ghost, The Herculoids, The Fantastic Four, Dino Boy, Shazzan, The Galaxy Trio, Birdman, Mightor, Moby Dick, and other action cartoons? Similarly, the next wave of cues composed for Young Samson and Goliath and Scooby Doo would end up reused to no end on most H-B series produced between 1970-77, notably on Josie and the Pussycats, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids, Devlin, The Super Friends (most versions), Sealab:2020, Goober and the Ghost Chasers, Jeannie, Blue Falcon and Dynomutt, etc.

Then, there's H-B's animation--easily the worst from any studio in the decade, as the care and attention once paid to Jonny Quest and The Flintstones quickly gave way to severely watered down versions in the late 60s, then the deliberately cheap move of using an australian animation studio--perhaps the biggest offender being the orignal The Super Friends (1973). where arms regularly shifted from bodies, symbols would change colors, or not appear at all, or voices were mismatched to their characters.

Cheap is too kind a word for the Hanna-Barbera process, and its leading position as the example of TV animation judged as inferior.
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