The Superman animated cartoons listed above, commonly known as the "Fleischer Superman cartoons" are part of a series of seventeen (17) animated Technicolor short films, released by Paramount Pictures between 1941 and 1943. They are based upon the comic book character Superman and are seen as some of the finest animated cartoons produced during The Golden Age of American animation (1930s-40s).
"NEW MUSIC" SOUNDTRACKS
These 8 animated films feature new music composed and recorded by John Pritchard with keyboardist Adam Holzman adding inventive tracks to 5 of the films. Each soundtrack has been selected to provide an alternative cinematic experience and avoid rehashing the characteristic adventure theme music of the original cartoons. The new soundtracks provide minimal dialogue and musical motifs to advance the storyline. Instead the music aims to provide more presence to the engaging film noir style of the Fleischer Brothers' imagination and celebrate the sheer visual beauty of their unique work. These are some of the greatest animated films ever made. While the Superman cartoons were originally made for Saturday matinees during World War II, they can be appreciated today as high forms of art, like any Picasso or Van Gogh.
THE ORIGINAL SUPERMAN SERIES BY THE FLEISCHER BROTHERS ON DVD
Catch the original animated adventures on DVD with the complete 1941-1943 Paramount Superman cartoon classics! Legendary animation innovators Max & Dave Fleischer were the first to bring Superman to theater screens, only four years after the comic book hero's debut. Capturing the comic book spirit better than any live action film with the stunning early art-deco look of the original Superman/Action Comics era and a film noir feel, these stylish adventures proved so powerful that they influenced every Superman production afterward. Now restored to their best possible quality, these 17 animation masterpieces are presented in superbly clear quality! FEATURING: Superman (Pilot), Mechanical Monsters, Billion Dollar Limited, The Arctic Giant, The Bulleteers, The Magnetic Telescope, Electric Earthquake, Volcano, Terror on the Midway, Japoteurs, Showdown, Eleventh Hour, Destruction Inc., Mummy Strikes, Jungle Drums, The Underground World, & Secret Agent.
The original 1942 soundtrack was composed by Sammy Timberg and can be heard at the bottom of this page via YouTube.com.
Billion Dollar Limited
January 9, 1942
Director: Dave Fleischer
Animation: Myron Waldman, Frank Endres
Story: Seymour Kneitel, Isidore Sparber
Musical Arrangement: Sammy Timberg
A billion dollars worth of gold is being shipped via train to the National Mint. Lois boards the train and says goodbye to Clark, as she is going to write a report on the event. An armoured car filled with masked men chases after the train. Two of the men board the train and wrestle the conductor and an armed guard. Lois hears gunshots and goes to the engine to investigate. She tries to stop the train but can not. At a station, a signalman waves a red lantern but the train speeds by. He uses Morse code to alert other stations that the train is running wild. The Daily Planet also receives this message and Clark decides to change into Superman. He reaches the train just as the criminals have diverted the tracks so it will collide with explosives. Superman uses his bare hands to move the tracks back onto the main course. The criminals then blow up a bridge as the train is crossing it, but Superman expertly guides it all back onto the track. Finally, the villains throw a bomb that destroys the engine and coal car, but not before Superman rescues Lois. The train begins rapidly rolling downhill, but Superman pulls it forward. The masked men use tear gas and gunfire on him, but he is undeterred and brings the train cars to their destination with the gold. Lois writes about the event for the paper.
The gold for the train is seen being loaded by two men, brick by brick. Even if there were more than two men, do you know how back breaking that labour would be, or how long it would take to move a billion dollars' worth? In the 1940's there was heavy machinery designed for this kind of work.
Another well dressed bad guy is the criminal putting on his mask in the car. Notice that he is wearing a bow tie that gets covered up by his mask. Also, all of these criminals have identical faces, right down to being unshaven. Perhaps this gang is made up of brothers?
Clark is nearly run over by the villains on the loading dock. Did he not find it suspicious that a car was speeding after the train in a place where cars are not allowed to drive?
What was the robbers' plan? If they hijacked the entire train as they initially attempted then they would not even be capable of controlling their destination, thus they would be captured somewhere along the line. If they derailed the train, as they try three times, then they would only be able to fill their car with gold and make off with that amount, leaving nearly the entire billion behind.
One has to love the bomb used to blow up the engine. It looks like a fat, silver toy rocket with a plunger on its end.
Lois's report says that Superman also captured the criminals, yet the cartoon does not show that. In fact, he leaves Lois with the dangerous men in the countryside, believing the delivery of the gold on time to be of the most importance.