Series (17 Episodes available)
LOBSTER FILMS, FAMOUS STUDIOS, FLEISCHER STUDIOS
NON-THEATRICAL, TV, VOD, DVD, INTERNET
Launched in September 1941 with the release of the initial entry, Superman, the cartoons were produced by Max Fleischer. The first cartoon was received to critical acclaim and was nominated for an Academy Award.
The Superman shorts look like feature films, complete with tracking shots and a stunning variety of camera angles, each of which necessitates a new background. Artists duplicate real illumination, molding the characters with light and dark, and providing them with dramatic shadows. The films move at an accelerating pace, with cuts coming faster and faster toward the climaxes, propelled by Sammy Timberg's dynamic musical scores. Special effects involving fires, rays, and explosions set the screen ablaze.
The second cartoon, "The Mechanical Monsters", was released near the end of 1941. It features Superman battling an army of gigantic, flame-spewing, flying robots in a series of sensational scenes. Later special effects extravaganzas include "The Bulleteers", in which an airborn torpedo smashes through the skyscrapers of Metropolis, and "The Magnetic Telescope", in which an astronomer's harebrained invention sends an asteroid hurtling earthward. When not struggling with mad scientists, Superman takes on ferocious forces of nature like gorillas (in Terror on the Midway) or dinosaurs (The Arctic Giant).
In 1942 Paramount Studios acquired Fleischer Studios and gave it the new name of "Famous Studios." They produced the last 8 of the 17 shorts and continued the series until 1943.