19 October 2013

Farewell, Lou Scheimer.

When I heard that Lou Scheimer had passed away, I cried. Those that had been around him in the last few years knew that he was of ill health. That said, due to the incredible aura he had around him, I was sure that he was going to outlive all of us. He continuously struck me as someone that was immortal. However, Lou Scheimer would tell you himself that he was just a man. This tall gentleman, that almost always sported a suit, shaped generation after generation of children through his animated shows at Filmation Studios. Though in spite of all that he accomplished in the world of animation, he was quite possibly one of the most humble human beings I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

I first met Lou in 2001 at Lou Scheimer Productions, thanks to my friend Lee Clevenger, who himself had been visiting the studio for years. Though it was an incredibly brief meeting, myself and Zadoc Angell were genuinely speechless. Here we were in the presence of Lou Scheimer! I remember Zadoc and I conversing about our brief encounter with Lou in the days that followed.

The next time I met Lou was at the San Diego Comic Con in 2005. This time, myself and my fellow He-Man and She-Ra fans had the honor of enjoying this man's company over the course of a few days, as we all celebrated the launch of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe on DVD. Amazingly, when I walked up to Lou and began speaking to him he remembered me from 2001. "Hey, British guy. I remember you!", said the man in those King Randor-esque tones. I was kind of surprised that he would remember me. However, Lou's ability to remember people was one of his many amazing traits. The next time I met Lou was at the 2006 San Diego Comic Con. This time we were celebrating the launch of She-Ra, Princess of Power on DVD. Again, Lou was in attendance, and as enjoyable as ever to be around. Fellow fan Jon Kallis and I would laugh when Lou would remember us. "It's that guy again!", he would say, pointing at Jon. "British guy!", he would say to me, before I had a chance to open my mouth.

During those two conventions two things were very apparent. Firstly, BCI's release of all those Filmation shows was a beautiful way to publicly celebrate and recognize everything that Lou had accomplished with Filmation. I believe that Lou was genuinely surprised that his shows had such an incredibly profound affect on people. Secondly, when people met Lou Scheimer it was not only a wonderful experience for them, but for Lou also. He was touched by each and every story he heard from the fans.

The last time I met Lou was very special to me. In 2008 Andy Mangels asked me to contribute to The Real Ghostbusters DVD boxset. I hurriedly flew over to Los Angeles and contributed to the filming of the documentaries that were to appear on the set. At the time Andy had recently began work on the book Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation. Knowing I was a Filmation fan (having worked with me on the He-Man and She-Ra DVDs) Andy decided to pay Lou a visit. I not only got to meet Lou once more, but I was also invited into his beautiful house, and even sat in his office chair, surrounded by his Filmation-based memories! Once again, Lou remembered me, and was wonderfully accommodating; showing me around his house, showing me artwork that he had illustrated outside of Filmation. We had lunch in one of his favorite restaurants, and he genuinely wanted to find out what I had been up to since we last met. Weeks later I remember kicking myself at not having my photo taken at lunch with Lou. And then I realized. This wasn't a photo opportunity. This was lunch with a friend.

At the time I read of Lou Scheimer's passing I was going through a box full of He-Man and She-Ra animation art that had arrived earlier in the day. I was posting images on Facebook, celebrating and sharing that wonderful Filmation style that we all know and love. And then, whilst writing this, it dawned on me. Without Lou Scheimer, without Filmation, without him having produced the He-Man and She-Ra animated series and hired all those talented individuals, it's highly doubtful that any of us would still be talking about the worlds of Eternia and Etheria.

I am devastated at the passing of Lou Scheimer, but I can't help but smile knowing that he leaves behind a phenomenal legacy. A legacy that will continue to be celebrated!

Rest in peace, Lou Scheimer.

9 comments:

HB Potlood said...

Beautifully said, James. Lou was one of a kind. I'm going to listen to the theme from Bravestarr now which Lou sang with great gusto.

Dario N said...

Thanks for sharing our memories of Lou. It must have been wonderful to have met him. Goodbye Lou, you will be missed...

Kevin Martinell said...

Very shocking to hear this news ... Lou voiced so many memorable characters in the "He-Man" and "She-Ra" series, like Orko, Man-E-Faces, Attak Trak, Trap Jaw, Tri-Klops, Clawful, Kobra Khan, Kowl, and the Horde Troopers! He will be like a Father to us all and count me in as yet another individual who agrees that your tribute to Lou Scheimer was written just perfectly and said it best, James! I love your tribute banner with his signature on it too, Sir. :) Thanks, Sir Lou for "giving us the power!" Thanks for reading and God Bless! ~"KevyGuy" :)

GrtEternal said...

I'm both shocked and saddened by the news. I watched every interview in all the BCI DVDs and you can feel all the love and respect people had to Lou when they talked about him. He is one of a kind. An awesome individual who will be remembered forever.
Thanks for posting your own experience with him. Even yhough I never met him, he does feels like a friend who listened and understands. :)

Michael Lynn P. said...

I'm crying just reading this. Such a lovely and moving thing to write. I have been so saddened by hearing of his loss, but like you and others have mentioned, there is also a great deal to celebrate. This was a truly wonderful human being and I am so glad you got to meet him. I really loved reading this James. It further cemented for me the kind of person I thought he was from only watching the interviews and stuff. My heart just goes out to his family and everyone else that has been moved by Filmation.

Jon T said...

I can think of little more to add to James’ touching words, except that with all the Filmation creations I have ever watched and enjoyed, it was always readily apparent that Lou Scheimer literally poured his heart and soul into each and every production. That even now, nearly a quarter of a century after Filmation finally closed up shop, we still talk and read about Lou’s series, inevitably most prominently He-Man, speaks wonders about the effect those series had on us. Filmation’s series, and by extension Lou’s spirit within them, will remain in our hearts forever.

Lee Clevenger said...


Thank you for this lovely post, James.

I do feel lucky to have known Lou, if only for a few years. He was a very special person in so many ways. The reality of his passing has really struck me harder than I would have believed possible and I'm not quite sure why. I just keep thinking about all that the bulk of his work brought to my formative years. His footprint in my world is very deep, as well as in the lives of so many, who may not even be aware of how his work shaped their development. It's so amazing that his work wasn't just a job to him, but that he really intended to change the course of the developing minds of the young people he entertained for the better, and succeeded. I take comfort in the fact that he lived a long, successful, prosperous, purposeful life. it just bothers me that he wasn't recognized by the masses at large in the way Disney was.

Disney put out amazing product, but behind the scenes many say he was racist, sexist, harsh etc. Lou put out much sub-par, some passing, and some brilliant product, but all of it had merit in the pro-social values it tried to instill and he was a brilliant, sweet man who just wanted to do good in the lives of those he touched. I wish more people knew of his character.

--Lee Clevenger

Theo said...

I feel a part of me died.
Farewell Mr Scheimer and thank you so much!

Thomas Newell said...

The truth is, his legacy will outlive all us all.

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