can the star trek animated series be reanimated?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by tmosler, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Navigator_NCC2120

    Navigator_NCC2120 Captain Captain

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    Thanks for posting the link. I feel sorry for all of the work Ptrope put into TAS Project and lost, but at the very least he should have been copying those files from his disk drive to either a CD or DVD on a weekly basis. So that when his disk drive crashed he would have only lost 1 week's worth of work.


    Navigator NCC-2120 USS Entente
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  2. T'Bonz

    T'Bonz Romulan Curmudgeon Administrator

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    I didn't mind the animation in TAS, but I'd love to see the music redone. I really felt at the time I first saw it (first run as a young teen) and even today, that the music just didn't do anything for the show and took away from it.

    Also - I'd have someone else do young Spock in Yesterday. The kid who voiced it did so with a whiny voice.

    Some of TAS (like Yesteryear and the Tribble ep) was really good and holds up pretty well. I wish some of it could be converted to live Trek.
     
  3. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    And I liked a lot of the music and wouldn't want to see it changed. Just goes to show how difficult a revamping would be in terms of pleasing the fans.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That was another studio, Format Productions. Here's Wikipedia's entry on the show itself, which apparently took a Wild Wild West sci-fi/steampunk approach on occasion.
     
  5. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I Like it as is. The only real hang up I have over it is the voice work. The actors were tracked down and did their line readings into a tape recorder and put together later. Now, I know it's petty standard to no have everyone in the booth, but a lot of the readings were pretty flat and their tones didn't always match. Oh and some of the actors they reused to cover multiple characters in order to save money. This is fine if they're talented like Jimmy Doohan. But Takei, Nichelle and Majel just couldn't handle the changes and you can spot them a mile away.

    Aside from that, Christopher is right: the animation is above standard for 1974 Saturday morning TV fare (don't look at it with today's eyes). The stories were really good considering the time slot and the audience. It DID win a daytime Emmy after all. Credit to DC Fontana, since she was story editor. And the music was great, something I'd love on CD - impossible as it is really.

    So no, please don't touch it.
     
  6. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I too, would love the music on CD.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Not exactly. They all went to whatever recording studios were convenient to do their lines. But they didn't have anyone to give them any real direction, and most of them weren't experienced at voice acting, so their performances tended to be flat.

    I think Nichols did pretty well, and Takei did a fair job. It was actually pretty common for Filmation shows to rely on a small ensemble of actors, with producer Lou Scheimer usually doing uncredited (or pseudonymous in the '80s) work as a lot of background characters, though Scheimer's voice is rarely heard in TAS. It's actually kind of impressive that TAS used as much of the original cast as it did.


    In some ways, yes -- it's better-looking, cleaner, more elegant than what Hanna-Barbera was doing at the time. But TAS's first season wasn't quite up to Filmation's usual standard, because its production was extremely rushed -- the network only gave them 6 months to produce 16 episodes, which for animation is an insanely tight deadline. The last 6 episodes which constitute the second season are more polished because they had more time with them.


    Right -- making it the first Emmy-winning Trek show, and the only Trek show that's ever won an Emmy in a non-technical category.
     
  8. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    George Takei had done voice dubbing work early in his career. He did American dubs on the Japanese films 'Godzilla Raids Again' (aka 'Gigantis the Fire Monster'), and I was able to recognize his voice in 'Rodan'.
     
  9. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I had read that they got Shatner in his dressing room during a stage play to do his lines at some point. Granted, this may or may not be the solid truth.

    George's deep tones were way too recognizable. In Magicks of Megus Tu, when his voices blasts in as one of the spirits, it yanks me right out of it. Nichelle in BEM....way obvious to me. I'll give Majel credt for M'Ress. She did put a nice feline quality to the character. But when they stretched two actresses into the female population in Lorelei Signal, it was pretty blatant.

    It wasn't until I watched him on a making of documentary that I placed the voice. He was all over his shows. Actually, I didn't mind that and he had a great voice for certain things. His opening narration for SHAZAM was outstanding.

    Agreed, but I wonder if they got paid for the extra work. If not, wotta rip-off. If so, why not hire Walter Koenig? They had Ed Bishop on and a couple of voices I couldn't recognize, too bad they couldn't get Chekov for one or two in that case.


    I'll still take it over The Funky Phantom and the Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan.

    Well deserved, IMO. I was crushed as a kid when the show was cancelled. I'll never forget this voiceover coming on at 11:00:

    "Star Trek will no longer be seen at this time. Now stay tuned for Westwind." A show I never even tried....
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.


    Scheimer was the announcer for most Filmation shows, and he also did lots of comic-relief characters, from Dumb Donald on Fat Albert to Bat-Mite on The New Adventures of Batman to Orko on He-Man (who was essentially the same character as Bat-Mite). He also usually did robots and computers, such as the bizarrely sentient Batcomputer of Batman and Peepo on Space Academy.

    Scheimer had a moderately good range of voices, but there were times when it was stretched past its limits. The '80 Lone Ranger series, which I recently rewatched on DVD, has a lot of episodes where aside from the two leads (a pseudonymous William Conrad as the Lone Ranger and Ivan Naranjo as Tonto), every other male voice was done by Scheimer, and it got pretty tiresome. Fortunately there were other episodes where the supporting voices were done by Frank Welker (who, surprisingly, did very little work for Filmation except in the very early '80s, even though he was ubiquitous everywhere else in TV animation for decades).


    From what I can gather, an actor may be paid more for multiple roles, but it costs less to pay one person to do 3 or 4 roles than to pay 3 or 4 people to do one role each. And hiring Koenig as a series regular would probably have cost more than bringing in the occasional guest star like Bishop, Ted Knight, Mark Lenard, Roger C. Carmel, or Stanley Adams.

    They did have some uncredited voice actors beyond the regular cast, though. A lot of the voices that are incorrectly credited to James Doohan in modern references were really played by a different actor who worked on several '70s Filmation shows -- I think it may have been Lennie Weinrib, who did all the male voices in New Adventures of Batman other than Batman & Robin themselves (who were Adam West and Burt Ward).
     
  11. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  12. jayrath

    jayrath Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  13. alchemist

    alchemist Commander Red Shirt

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    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!

    [​IMG]
     
  14. BoredShipCapt'n

    BoredShipCapt'n Commodore Commodore

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    Wait! Don't throw that out!

    (runs forward with fists directly in front of shoulders, palms downward)
     
  15. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.


    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.


    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.


    This proves it! Fat Albert is canonical within the Trek universe!
     
  17. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.
     
  19. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^And the various uncredited actors including Scheimer -- although his voice is instantly recognizable to any experienced Filmation viewer.