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 While the Superman cartoons were originally made for Saturday matinees during World War II, they can be appreciated today as high forms of art, like any Picasso or Van Gogh.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.
May 15, 1942
Director: Dave Fleischer
Animation: Steve Muffati, Arnold Gillespie
Story: Seymore Kneitel, Isidore Sparber
Musical Arrangement: Sammy Timberg
A Native American comes to the Daily Planet office and tells Perry, Lois and Clark that Manhattan rightfully belongs to his people. He insists that their paper write about this and order residents (presumably all non-Aboriginal residents) to vacate it. The three find the order to leave preposterous. The man threatens them that modern science will make them change their minds, then leaves. Lois follows the man to the docks where she steals away in the back of his motor boat. They arrive at a secret location, and the man spots her in the back. Without coercing or forcing her, he invites her into an elevator to witness something amazing. The elevator takes them to an underwater base, and there he traps her in a special chair to ensure that she will not interfere. He activates a machine that controls several cords with tuning forks on their ends planted in the ground. When charges reach the tuning forks, explosions and earthquakes result. After chaos erupts in the city Clark changes into Superman. Leaping into the sky, he notices that unnatural explosions are coming from the waterfront. He dives into the water and begins pulling out and dismantling the cords and tuning forks. The sabotage causes the machinery outside and inside the base to rupture, resulting in a hole. Water quickly gushes into the base and the scientist escapes to the surface in the elevator. Superman also goes to the surface and is ready to apprehend the man when the scientist tells him that someone is still in the base. Superman dives back into the water while the man sends a bomb down the elevator shaft. Superman rescues Lois and they escape before the bomb goes off. As the scientist makes his getaway in his motorboat, it is suddenly lifted out of the water by Superman, still holding onto Lois. Lois, as usual, writes about the event for the Daily Planet.
Many people cite this cartoon as a racially motivated derogatory depiction of Aboriginals. People who claim that this cartoon is racially motivated have likely either never seen it or else are very zealous. True, the Native man is the villain of the cartoon, but he is not an Aboriginal stereotype and no racial assertions are made by the other characters. In fact, being a highly knowledgeable Native scientist makes this character go against stereotypes of the day.
This cartoon is said several times to take place in Manhattan, New York City. The Daily Planet is also affected by the earthquakes, so the building is clearly in Manhattan, not Metropolis (though for some reason there are no landmark Manhattan structures in this cartoon). During their first years of existence the Superman stories took place in various cities, most of them real life places, before the fictional Metropolis became the fixed city. What is interesting is that in 'The Bulleteers' there is a passing mention that Metropolis is, in fact, the city.
Like the scientists before him, this one wears a white lab shirt. To be unique and complete his ensemble, he has rubber gloves and goggles.