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USTownhall RealStories presents author ANDY MANGELS
Written by Scott Katz   
Friday, 07 December 2012 13:45

Lou-Scheimer-Filmation-resize2We recently interviewed USA Today best-selling author and DVD documentary producer Andy Mangels to discuss his latest book, the years-in-the-making Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation.  Weighing in at 288 pages, this book, co-written with Lou Scheimer himself, is part biography and part business history as it chronicles both Lou's life and the life of the Filmation animation studio, one of the preeminent television animation producers for over 25 years.

As in-depth as this interview is, it can give you only a taste of what happened behind the scenes in the often harsh world of television production.  Although shuttered in the late 1980s, Filmation's legacy endures today as many of its classic series are available to own on DVD, and many of today's top animators got their start at this legendary animation studio.

For more, including information on how to order Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation, please visit www.andymangels.com and www.twomorrows.com


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Intro & overview of the Filmation studio and the shows it produced

1:09:40 L'Oreal buys Filmation leading to the demise of the studio
3:25 Filmation's use of licensed properties such as The Archies, Star Trek, etc.; Archie song segments as a precursor to music videos; Fat Albert introduces stories with morals and messages 1:13:00 Lou Scheimer's mood as he realized Filmation was being closed for good
9:30 Lou Scheimer's dedication to shows with a pro-social message & stories that had value in addition to entertainment; Filmation was first animation studio to feature minority characters that weren't racist caricatures 1:16:50 Mr. Mangels' personal appreciation for Filmation's output and innovations in the process of creating the book
12:20 Mr. Mangels discusses how he met Lou Scheimer while creating DVD documentaries for BCIEclipse animated DVD sets 1:20:00 Why is Filmation considered the also-ran when discussing television animated studios?; Stories of how Filmation cartoons have affected its audience
16:10 Interviewing Lou Scheimer for the book and including information that couldn't be included in the DVD documentaries 1:25:50 Lou Scheimer's feelings regarding fan reaction vs. critical reaction
19:35 Mr. Mangels talks about his extensive time interviewing Lou Scheimer and his sense of Mr. Scheimer as a person 1:28:25 Unfair critiques of Filmation by animation historians; Filmation's use of more realistally drawn characters, detailed backgrounds, and rotoscoping
22:40 Animation & special effects legends who got their start at Filmation; Filmation's commitment to keeping all its animation work in the United States 1:34:00 Filmation's going the extra mile in developing their licensed series in terms of hiring DC and Star Trek writers and hiring the original actors to reprise their voices for the animated series
27:35 How Pinky and the Brain was inspired by a Filmation cartoon; Some behind-the-scenes stories about the history of television animation; Filmation creating the weekday syndicated animation boom in the 1980s with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
1:37:10 Did Filmation's having so many licensed properties hurt their standing among animation historians?; Using Laugh-In writers in Filmation shows; Being ahead of the curve regarding diversity in series such as Isis and Fat Albert, among others
34:00 Relationship between Kid Super Power with Shazam and the Archies; Presenting all sides of the story besides Mr. Scheimer's recollections in the book; DC copyright lawsuit regarding Tarzan and the Super 7 characters 1:44:00 Many Hanna-Barbera shows could be traced back to a successful Filmation series
39:30 Filmation being sued by DC at the same time as being in business with DC; Filmation's plans for a new Batman live-action series starring Adam West & Burt Ward in the 1970s; Why Filmation never did a series for Marvel Comics; Batman being used by both Hanna-Barbera and Filmation in the 1970s; Behind the scenes in selling animated series to networks; Being inspired to create animation for weekday syndicated market 1:47:20 Status of Filmation series original materials today
51:50 Did the DC lawsuit hurt the working relationship with DC?; Changes in licensing in the post-Star Wars era; Cartoons based on toys including He-Man and the Masters of the Universe 1:52:00 Status of materials for projects that never made it to series and never seen by the public; Filmation library recently purchased by DreamWorks
56:25 Filmation working with Mattel in creating the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series 1:55:30 Who has video rights to Filmation's licensed properties?; Why are some series released on DVD, but others are not?; Non-Filmation animated series Time-Life may release in the future
1:00:00 Internal thoughts at Filmation on their big gamble in producing the He-Man series; Increased competition in the wake of He-Man's success 2:00:00 Final notes from Mr. Mangels about his book and what readers can find in the book including the real story of how the Flintstones were created and when Lou Scheimer's father punched out Adolf Hitler!
1:05:00 Filmation's moral-based style suffering in comparison to GI Joe and Transformers; The rise of video games and their impact on animated programming



US Townhall RealStories presents BRUCE CANWELL of The Library of American Comics
Written by Scott Katz   
Sunday, 13 November 2011 13:39

On Friday, November 11, we had Bruce Canwell, Associate Editor of The Library of American Comics, back on our show to give us the scoop on the upcoming projects that the Library will have available in time for the upcoming holiday shopping season and beyond.

Highlights include what promises to be the definitive version of Alex Raymond's classic comic strip Flash Gordon as well as Milton Caniff's masterpiece Steve Canyon.  And what's this about a book featuring Chuck Jones' little-seen brief foray into the world of comic strips?  Listen in and find out.


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Steve Canyon vol. 1 1947-1948

The Definitive Flash Gordon &

Jungle Jim vol. 1

Chuck Jones: The Dream That Never Was


During our chat, we also run down the current status of each of the major book series from the Library of American Comics and when readers can expect the next volumes to arrive in stores.  As Mr. Canwell is also a comic book fan, we also take a few detours to reminisce about some childhood favorites from Marvel and DC.

Pop some popcorn and settle in because this interview clocks in at almost 3 hours, and we think you'll agree that it's time well spent.  For more information, about The Library of American Comics, please visit http://www.libraryofamericancomics.com


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To listen to the first interview we did with Mr. Canwell back in 2010, click here...


USTownhall RealStories presents Nick Purpura of Jim Hanley's Universe
Written by Scott Katz   
Sunday, 07 August 2011 22:37

Recent news from the comics industry – particularly DC Comics' May 31 announcement that it will be relaunching its entire line of superhero titles in September with new number one issues – has rocked comics fandom and has made headlines across the country in various entertainment-related websites and publications including USTownhall.com.

We wanted to go beyond the marketing hype and get a retailer's perspective on all of this in order to gauge just how effective, or risky, this bold move may be and what it, and other annoucements made recently – such as offering comics in digital format simultaneously with their print versions – mean for comics fans and for the comics industry as a whole.

JHU_logo_COLOR2-resizeToward that end, we sat down for an extended interview with Nick Purpura, the General Manager of Jim Hanley's Universe.  Since Jim Hanley's Universe first opened its doors in 1985, it has become one of New York City's – and the country's – most preeminent retailers of comic books, graphic novels, and related merchandise.  Mr. Purpura himself has been an enthusiastic advocate and cheerleader of the comic book artform during his long career at Jim Hanley's so his observations and insights are of particular interest both to comics fans and to the companies who put a lot of time and money into their publishing initiatives.

This interview was filmed in Jim Hanley's Universe's Manhattan location on Wednesday, August 3, 2011 and will be posted here in four parts.  Enjoy part one now, and keep checking back during the week as we upload the remaining segments.

If you are in New York City, be sure to visit Jim Hanley's Universe at either of their two locations: 4 West 33rd Street (opposite the Empire State Building) in Manhattan, and 299B New Dorp Lane in Staten Island.  Go to http://www.jhuniverse.com for more details.






• When did retailers learn about DC's new 52 initiative?

• What were the initial reactions from fans?

• Inside info from the DC retailers roadshow

• Honoring scheduling and shipping dates

• Retailers' feelings about DC's relaunch before the roadshow vs. after

• Ordering the more speculative series & returnability

• Lessons learned from the Superman: Earth One graphic novel

• Fans voting with their dollars

• DC's planning and soliciting pitches for their relauches

• Superman titles declining sales

• Why did DC change their character designs for the relauch?

• Superman's power as an international icon

• Is Flashpoint selling to expectations? Are fans avoiding the tie-in miniseries?

• Was it wise for DC to launch 52 number ones in the same month?

• DC's continuing publishing efforts beyond the 52

• Can a fan possibly sample all 52 titles in a single month?





• Does renumbering lead to increased sales in the long run?

• Digital day-and-date

• Will DC relaunch bring in new customers?

• How much will Jim Hanley increase its DC orders?

• Which new titles are fans interested in?

• Does a title always need to be published?





• Is Marvel Comics currently in a good place creatively?

• The Image advantage

• Creator-owned comics

• Quality of Amazing-Spider-Man

• $3.99 comics

• Has the recession affected store sales?

• Notable projects from the Independents

• Can a non-DC or non-Marvel comic succeed in today's market?

• What to do and what not to do in order to make comics appeal to today's teens





• More non-mainstream projects of note

• Do comic book movies still bring people into stores?

• Do DC and Marvel do a good enough job in bringing in new readers?

• Updating old properties for today's audience

• Comic fans getting upset by revamps

• Internet spoilers' effect on fan reaction and sales

• No more guaranteed trade paperback collections from DC

• Done-in-ones vs. writing for the trade

• Trade paperbacks that need to be available in print

Secret Wars as a gateway comic for lapsed readers

• DC's new 52 titles: a recommendation from Nick



USTownhall RealStories presents comic book writer STEVE NILES
Written by Scott Katz   
Tuesday, 08 February 2011 16:17

wulf_1_covera-resizeOn Monday, February 7, we spoke to acclaimed comic book writer, Steve Niles, who is known to fans as the preeminent writer of horror-oriented comics working today.  Niles' love of the horror genre began when he was young and was heavily influenced by the classic horror novel, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson.  This seminal 1954 novel popularized the zombie apocalypse genre of horror fiction. Niles was able to secure the rights from Matheson himself to adapt the story into comic book form, and it was published by Eclipse Comics in 1991.  Following this early career highlight, Niles came to greater fan attention with his cult classic series, 30 Days of Night and the Cal MacDonald / Criminal Macabre series of horror mysteries.

For his latest project, Niles goes in somewhat of a different direction as he spearheads the revival of the Bronze Age comics character, Wulf the Barbarian, which is being published by the revived Atlas Comics in partnership with comics company Ardden Entertainment.  In the new Wulf series, the titular character is a barbarian out of time – somehow having been transported from his own era into ours.

We spoke to Niles about his involvement with Wulf and Atlas and also got some details about his early career and what the latest scoop is on future projects from the 30 Days of Night and Cal MacDonald franchises in both print and film.  Niles also teases an upcoming Cal MacDonald / Goon crossover comic and weighs in on Goon creator Eric Powell's recent YouTube video imploring fans to seek out and support more diverse material in the comics market.

Wulf #1, written by Niles and illustrated by Nat Jones, arrives in comics stores in March, and to whet your appetitie, Atlas Comics has provided us with some sample art.  Click on each image to enlarge, and enjoy the interview, which can be played by clicking on the triangular "play" button in the widget just below.


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Click here to leave a comment about WULF or the Steve Niles interview!
US Townhall RealStories presents Dan Herman of HERMES PRESS
Written by Scott Katz   
Thursday, 04 November 2010 16:13

logoClick on the graphic below to listen to our interview with Dan Herman, Publisher at Hermes Press.  Hermes Press publishes a diverse line of books that celebrate the history of the comic book and newspaper comic strip.  Their hardcover collections of such classic comic strips as Buck Rogers and Lee Falk's The Phantom have won accolades for their superior reproduction values and archival quality format.  Hermes also publishes many of the classic television tie-ins from the Silver Age of comic books such as Land of the Giants, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Dark Shadows.


darkshadows_thumb buckrogerssundays

Upcoming projects from Hermes include Brenda Starr Reporter, Johnny Hazzard, and the Gold Key comic book adaptation of My Favorite Martian.

They also publish a wide range of art books that spotlight some of the most prolific and influential comics artists and books that focus on the history of the comics industry.  Be sure to head on over to www.hermespress.com because there is sure to be a great gift idea for anyone in your life that is interested in comic books or the classic adventure characters.

Click on the triangular "play" button to listen to the show, which was recorded on Thursday November 4, 2010.  Our apologies for some of the audio quality on our side of the conversation as it seems there was some weather interference on our line, but fortunately Mr. Herman's stories and anecdotes come through crystal clear, so this is definitely an interview not to be missed!


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cast of The Apprentice 10


Sherri Shepherd

Vanessa Minnillo

All My Children creator AGNES NIXON

Bronx Opera's BEN SPIERMAN

cast of Big Brother 12 BOBBY FLAY & STEVE ELLS of America's Next Great Restaurant Cast of the play Bridgeboy
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part 1: Guiding Light

part 2: Days of Our Lives

soapcentral.com founder DAN KROLL DAN PARENT of Archie Comics DAVID LYONS of The Cape DEBBIE GIBSON & TIFFANY Author DEDE EMERSON of A Different Kind of Streetwalker
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BOB DOWLING of the 3D Entertainment Summit Indie filmmaker ELIANA UJUETA of Beneath the Rock comic book artist JAMAL IGLE Genesis Repertory's JAY MICHAELS, MARY MiCARI, & actors Oscar-winning actor JEREMY IRONS

Animation historian JERRY BECK

1st interview

2nd interview

singer-songwriter JOSH GROBAN

web series producer KAI SOREMEKUN of Chick

1st interview

2nd interview

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Oscar-winning actress KATHY BATES of Harry's Law Television producer KENNETH JOHNSON of V, Bionic Woman, Incredible Hulk KYLE BORNHEIMER & HAYES MacARTHUR of Perfect Couples

Terrence Howard, René Balcer

Dick Wolf, Alfred Molina, Alana de la Garza

publisher DAN HERMAN of Hermes Press COUNTESS LuANN de LESSEPS of The Real Housewives of New York City author MAX ALLAN COLLINS of Road to Perdition WWE Champion Mike "The MIz" Mizanin
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JEFF HAYNE of Mill Creek Entertainment

1st interview

2nd interview

singer-actor NICK LACHEY supermodel NIKI TAYLOR talks The Celebrity Apprentice actor PAUL REISER of The Paul Reiser Show actor-producer RICKY GERVAIS of The Office actress-television host ROSIE O'DONNELL comic book writer STEVE NILES

Ian Anthony Dale, Nick Wauters

Jason Ritter, Sarah Roemer, Blair Underwood, Željko Ivanek

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THORE SCHÖLERMANN & JO WEIL of Verbotene Liebe Peabody & Emmy award winning journalist TOM BROKAW Emmy award winning actor TOM PELPHREY of Guiding Light actors from The Apothecary Theatre Company TORI SPELLING & DEAN McDERMOTT of sTORIbook Weddings





Reviews & Previews:

Summer 2011 Movie Preview

Fall 2010 Television season

Fra Diavolo

Die Drei Pintos

Romeo and Juliet in Brooklyn

MPI Home Video

Timless Media Group

Boris Karloff's Thriller

Hunter: The Complete Series

Polly and Her Pals

Icons: The DC Comics and Wildstorm Art of Jim Lee

Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman

Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern

Spider-Man musical delayed again


Dead Space: Aftermath






New York Comic Con

Apprentice 10 kickoff

Farewell to Guiding Light

Farewell to As the World Turns

The Broadway Directory


Award Show winners:

Academy Awards

Emmy Awards

Grammy Awards

Tony Awards

American Music Awards

Golden Globe Awards

Screen Actors Guild Awards

American Country Awards



Television blogs:

American Idol 10

American Idol 9

American Idol 8

Big Brother 12

Big Brother 11

ABC Cancels Both All My Children and One Life to Live

Guiding Light: A Look Back


Editorials & Issues:

Scam Alert: Have You Received This E-Mail Job Offer?

Meet the 112th Congress

Brooklyn politicians Kevin Peter Carroll vs. Ralph Perfetto

Before Rosa Parks There Was Lizzie Jennings

Understanding New York State Government

USTownhall RoundTable podcast: The Worlds of Entertainment and Current Events