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 While the Superman cartoons were originally made for Saturday matinees during World War II, they can be appreciated today as high forms of art, like any Picasso or Van Gogh.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 Mechanical Monsters - 1941" 10:10 min. soundtrack by John Pritchard
The original 1941 soundtrack was composed by Sammy Timberg and can be heard at the bottom of this page via YouTube.com.
The Mechanical Monsters
November 28, 1941
Director: Dave Fleischer
Animation: Steve Muffati, George Germanetti
Story: Isidore Sparber, Seymour Kneitel
Musical Arrangement: Sammy Timberg
A bank is robbed by a giant flying robot, who takes the money to a secluded hideout containing many other robots and where a man operates a control panel. The Daily Planet reports that a jewel exhibit will be showing rare treasures to the public and that precautions have been taken to guard them against the, "mechanical monster." At the exhibit, Clark is inspecting the gems when Lois greets him. Suddenly, one of the robots breaks into the building and begins to steal the jewels. Lois gets inside the cavity of the machine where all the gems are being placed while Clark goes to a phone booth and calls the office. Upon exiting, Clark can not find Lois so he re-enters to change into Superman. Superman then chases the mechanical monster and uses his X-ray vision to spot Lois inside the machine. He wrestles with it in the sky, which causes him to plummet to the Earth and for it to lose the jewels, but luckily Lois hangs onto the robot. Superman crashes into power lines and requires time in freeing himself from them. Meanwhile, the robot reaches its master, who is enraged that the jewels have been lost. He ties up Lois and sets her on a platform that gets closer and closer to being submerged into a giant vat of smouldering metal. Superman untangles himself from the power lines and breaks into the lair. He defeats the numerous mechanical monsters, rescues Lois and captures the inventor. Lois writes up the story for the Daily Planet.
The robots in this cartoon are another example of ridiculous looking technology in the series. Most toy tin robots look like they would be able to walk better than if these machines existed in real life. Watch for when the robots open their backs and unload their contents because their metal sliding 'drawers' extend so far out that it is impossible for them to have fit inside the robots (watch the cartoon and you will understand). Also, why does the man require twenty-five giant robots if he sends them out to steal one at a time?
The villain in this cartoon has a pencil thin moustache and wears a dress suit with a bowtie. One has to wonder why he is dressed so smartly, especially since he lives by himself.
Watch the man operate the control panel for his robots. He is constantly adjusting a dial as if he is operating the machine, even when one of the robots is out on a mission (keep in mind he has no television screens to see his robots). What is he doing, especially considering he can not even see any of the robots while they are gone?
The police sure do spend a long time firing at the robot, yet all the bullets ricochet off of it. One would think that they would catch on. Note that the bullets always bounce at weird angles that defy physics, something that will be seen in future cartoons when Superman is being shot at.
This is the first cartoon where Clark uses a phone booth to change into Superman. This is actually believed to be the first instance in any story where he changes inside one. Irregardless, it was this particular cartoon that made "Superman changing in a phone booth" infamous.
This is the only episode where Superman's X-ray ability is used and mentioned in the introduction.
Notice that Superman is always seen rising and falling when in the sky as if he was leaping. He was originally designed to be able to jump high and far, but not fly. It was around this time that Superman was allowed to fly in all of his adventures, which he is definitely doing in the first cartoon. Still, to try and explain it as either jumping or flying, the cartoons generally show Superman moving in a rising and falling arc.
Lois refuses to tell the villain what happened to the jewels, then he threatens to kill her if she does not relent. Why would she remain silent, especially considering they simply scattered everywhere from the sky? Also, the villain later tries to get Lois to talk by lowering her into the vat of liquid metal, but he has also gagged her, preventing Lois from telling him anything. Not the brightest of masterminds.