Fleischer & Famous Superman Cartoons
|Cartoon Network (Toonami)|
|Mar. 17, 1997 - Mar. 6, 1998|
|17 (List of Episodes)|
The Fleischer & Famous Superman Cartoons are a series of seventeen animated Technicolor short films released by Paramount Pictures and based upon the comic book character Superman. The pilot and first eight shorts were produced by Fleischer Studios from 1941 to 1942, while the final eight were produced by Famous Studios, a successor company to Fleischer Studios, from 1942 to 1943. Superman was the final animated series initiated under Fleischer Studios, before Famous Studios officially took over production in May 1942.
The first cartoon in the series, simply titled Superman, was released on September 26, 1941, and was nominated for the 1941 Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons. It lost to Lend a Paw, a Pluto cartoon from Walt Disney Productions and RKO Pictures.
The series originated the classic Superman opening line: "Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!". As well as the line: "Up in the sky, look! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!". The Fleischer cartoons were also responsible for Superman being able to fly. When they started work on the series, Superman could only leap from place to place (hence "Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound" in the opening). But they deemed it as "silly looking" after seeing it animated and decided with Detective Comics Inc.'s permission, to have him fly instead.
Although all entries are in the public domain, ancillary rights such as merchandising contract rights, as well as the original 35mm master elements, are owned today by Warner Bros. Animation.
The first nine cartoons had more of a science fiction aspect to them, as they involved the Man of Steel fighting robots, giant dinosaurs, meteors from outer space, and other perils. The later eight cartoons in the series dealt more with World War II propaganda stories, such as in Eleventh Hour, which finds Superman going to Japan to commit acts of sabotage in order to reduce the morale of the enemy; meanwhile, an angered Adolf Hitler had a cameo role at the end of Jungle Drums after Superman foiled another Nazi plot. Another major plot device from every cartoon in the series was Lois Lane getting into trouble and Superman saving her.
The Fleischer & Famous Superman Cartoons are a series of seventeen animated Technicolor short films released by Paramount Pictures and based upon the comic book character Superman. The pilot and first eight shorts were produced by Fleischer Studios from 1941 to 1942, while the final eight were produced by Famous Studios, a successor company to Fleischer Studios, from 1942 to 1943.
The Superman cartoons are widely available on VHS, DVD and online. The most recent DVD release came on April 7, 2009. A collection of all the cartoons was released by Warner Home Video as the first authorized collection from the original masters, titled Max Fleischer's Superman: 1941-1942 with a suggested price at $26.99; the set included one new special feature in the form of "The Man, The Myth, Superman" featurette, along with an old special feature seen in the Superman II 2006 DVD release entitled "First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series".