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Fleischer Superman Cartoons

SUPERMAN cartoons produced by Paramount Pictures and Fleischer Studios, and Famous Studios (last eight cartoons).
17 cartoons originally released in movie theaters from 1941-1943.

The first cartoon cost $50,000 while the remaining were budgeted at $30,000 each.

Producers: Max Fleischer, Dave Fleischer
Directors: Dave Fleisher, I. Sparber, Dan Gordon, Seymour. Kneitel
Character Design: Joe Shuster
Music Arrangement: Sammy Timberg

"This amazing stranger from the planet Krypton - the Man of Steel, Superman! Possessing remarkable physical strength, Superman fights a neverending battle for Truth and Justice, disguised as a mild-mannered newspaper reporter, Clark Kent."

CAST

Superman/Clark Kent: Clayton 'Bud' Collyer
Lois Lane: Joan Alexander
Perry White: Jackson Beck

Fleischer Superman Cartoons

CARTOONS

  • Superman (also referred to as The Mad Scientist)
    September 26, 1941 [10:22 (time)]
    Clark and Lois' editor shows them a letter from a mad scientist threatening to use an electrothanasia ray on the city at midnight. Lois insists on handling the story herself, and flies off in a plane. At his hideout, the scientist's assistant (a bird) spots Lois approaching. When introducing herself as a reporter, Lois is abducted. The scientist demonstrates his ray by destroying the city's tower bridge. When hearing of this destruction Clark Kent changes to Superman in a stock room at the Daily Planet. Superman manages to prevent the ray from destroying a building and starts punching the rays back to their source. The scientist tries stopping Superman by increasing the power but Superman keeps punching and eventually the ray device overloads and explodes. Superman rescues Lois and the scientist ends up in jail. The story is Lois' scoop.

    Read our review of this episode in the "Fleischer Superman Cartoon Reviews".

  • The Mechanical Monsters
    November 28, 1941 [10:14]
    The city's National Bank is robbed by a terrifying flying mechanical robot! The robot flies back to it's inventor and empties the cash from itself. The Daily Planet reports the robbery, and that $50 million worth of jewels will be at the House of Jewels. At the jewelery exhibit Clark finds Lois. A mechanical monster appears and starts taking jewels after the police fail to stop it. While Clark phones in the story, Lois hides in the robot. When he finds Lois and the robot gone, Clark changes to Superman and follows the flying robot. Using his X-ray vision Superman sees Lois in the robot and tries getting her but the robot flips, throwing Superman into power lines, when the inventor spots interference. As Superman recovers, Lois is captured by the inventor in his hideout, and tortured in an underground cavern below. Superman arrives and destroys the mechanical monsters despite their flaming attack, and rescues Lois at the last moment from death. Lois get's another scoop.

    Read our review of this episode in the "Fleischer Superman Cartoon Reviews".

  • Billion Dollar Limited
    January 9, 1942 [8:35]
    The Daily Planet announces a billion dollars in gold is being shipped by train. Clark sees Lois off and leave on the train. Meanwhile, a carload of masked gangsters follows the train in a car. The gangsters separate a train car with guards, and overpower other guards. Discovering what's happening Lois tries to stop the train and finding a gun fires at the gangster's pursuing car. At the Daily Planet, Clark seeing a ticker tape saying the train is going wild changes to Superman. Superman pulls the train tracks aside to stop the train colliding with a train car carrying explosives, saves the falling train after the gangsters blow up a bridge, and pulls the train uphill despite tear gas and gun attacks by the gangsters. After getting the train to the government mint, Superman captures the gangsters providing another scoop for Lois.

  • The Arctic Giant
    February 27, 1942 [8:35]
    Archeologists find a Tyranosaurus trapped in ice in Siberia and transport the ice block to the city where it's displayed at the Museum of Natural Science. Lois is assigned the story of checking the ice's condition. When an accident causes the ice to melt, the monster comes to life! Lois phones the city desk the story, while the police unsuccessfully fire on the monster. Escaping the museum, the creature leaves a trail of destruction through the city. Seeing a ticker tape of the story at the Daily Planet, Clark Kent changes to Superman and flies to the museum. He finds Lois under the rubble, then pursues the monster. Superman plugs up a damaged dam and holds up a bridge destroyed by the monster. Then he trips the monster, and after saving Lois and her camera from nearly being eaten, stops the monster.

  • The Bulleteers
    March 27, 1942 [8:02]
    A flying "bullet car" suddenly appears at night and explosively destroys the city's police headquarters. The bulleteer criminals announce more attacks, but the mayor chooses to defy them and has the treasury protected. Seeing in the Daily Planet that the mayor will defy them, the criminals leave their hideout and using their bullet car destroy the city's power plant at night. As the city loses power Lois leaves the Daily Planet building, jumps in a car and drives off without Clark. Clark changes to Superman and saves the treasury building from an attack by the bulleteers, then Lois after her car is buried in rubble caused by the bulleteers attack on the city. Superman climbs onto the bullet car, but is thrown and buried by rubble as the bulleteers again attack the treasury. Lois follows and hides in the bullet car while the treasury is being robbed. Superman revives and flies after the escaping car. He pulls the car's roof off and rescues Lois, before letting the flying car crash and be destroyed.

  • The Magnetic Telescope
    April 24, 1942 [7:38]
    A professor in an observatory is testing his magnetic telescope. It magnetically pulls in a meteor that crashes in the city's harbor. The mayor orders the professor to stop, but the professor refuses. The professor plans to use the magnetic telescope to pull in a comet to study then repel it back. When the police fail to capture him, they sabotage the telescope's dynamos, while the professor is pulling in the comet. Without the dynamo power the telescope loses control of the comet which begins showering the observatory with firery fragments! Lois has been covering the story and phones in the story. At the Daily Planet Clark learns of the story and gets a taxi for the observatory. Fragments are now hitting the city, and after one nearly hits the taxi, Clark changes to Superman in the taxi and flies off and finds Lois. Then he flies up to stop the comet but is stunned. As fragments continue to pummel the city, Superman tries again and fails. After reviving he repairs the dynamo's power cable and has Lois use the magnetic telescope to repel the comet at the last moment. With disaster averted, Lois unexpectedly finds Clark at the observatory.

    Fleischer Superman

  • Electric Earthquake
    May 15, 1942 [8:42]
    Below the city's harbor a cable is seen to be attached. The cable is connected to an underwater laboratory. At the Daily Planet the laboratory's inventor tells the staff that Manhattan must be returned (to his people) but is dismissed as a crank. Lois follows him in his boat to his laboratory, and is discovered and held captive. The inventor turns on the electric power and activates a viewing periscope. Then he uses the electricity in his underwater cables to cause an earthquake under the city! The electric earthquake damages a bridge, streets, and the Daily Planet building. Clark changes to Superman and flies off. He finds the cables underwater and snaps them. Then he begins unplugging them from the laboratory. This causes an explosive overload that begins flooding the laboratory. While Superman goes to rescue Lois, the inventor sends a timed explosive down towards them. But Superman is able to rescue Lois and then captures the terrorist as he tries to escape in a speedboat. Another newspaper scoop for Lois.

  • Volcano
    July 10, 1942 [7:56]
    300 years after previously erupting cataclysmically, on an island scientists from the Bureau of Meteorology are studying Mt. Monokoa's alarming new tremors. Back in the city, Lois and Clark are assigned the story and provided press passes and steamship tickets. At the island, Clark finds his pass missing since Lois has hidden it. While she takes a cable car to the crater's top, Clark tries to get a new pass in the island's city. At the summit, a scientist tells Lois they'll use a blast and hope to deflect a lava flow. The volcano begins erupting and a cable car cannot get to the top to rescue Lois. Falling rocks cause damage and break the blast wire. In the city below, Clark changes to Superman and is stunned when he deflects a huge flaming boulder. Lois climbs along the cable to its car, where a revived Superman saves her, and then the cable car. He leaves Lois safely at the harbor and then repairs the blast wire. The blast works and saves the city. Later in the steamship back home, while Lois types her story, Clark finds his missing pass in her purse.

  • Terror on the Midway
    August 28, 1942 [8:03]
    Clark drops off Lois at night at a circus for her assignment. Lois goes into the big top for the show with her camera. Meanwhile, a small monkey accidentally releashes a Gigantic Ape from its cage. When the ape enters the tent, the people begin to panic. The ape throws aside handlers and breaks free from the remaining restraining ropes. Then it begins attacking people, a wagon, and panics elephants. At the Daily Planet building, Clark gets a ride and arrives at the circus with the police. He begins searching for Lois but changes to Superman as more animals are being freed by the chaos. Superman wrestles a black panther and a lion, then hears Lois scream. He goes to her and wrestles the ape. A fire begins and starts burning the pole Lois is on. Superman throws the ape into a net and catches Lois as the pole begins to fall. At the Daily Planet Clark takes Lois' picture while she types her story.

  • Japoteurs
    September 18, 1942 [9:05]
    The Daily Planet headline says the world's largest bomber is ready for a test flight. A Japanese figure burns a hole in the plane's newspaper photo. At a plant the plane is being readied. Clark and Lois get a tour of the plane, and then are asked to leave. When he's off the plane, Clark finds Lois is missing. She's stayed on the plane which now begins its' flight. In the air the bomber releashes several smaller planes. Also inside besides Lois, several japoteurs have hidden too. The agents overpower the crew and plan to pilot the bomber to Tokyo. Lois manages to radio a warning, but when other planes are readied to pursue, the agents bomb them. After observing this Clark changes to Superman, flies to the bomber and gets in. An agent threatens to release Lois from the bomb bay doors so Superman leaves then returns and catches her before the treacherous agent drops her. Superman breaks into the cockpit and finds the controls sabotaged. The bomber will crash on the city below! Superman takes Lois and leaves her on a street, then flies back and struggles to hold the diving plane back. He stops it at the last moment. Clark and Lois are seen sitting in a carnival ride's miniature plane.

  • Showdown
    October 16, 1942 [8:14]
    We see someone who apparently is Superman robbing a bank and jeweler. He takes them to his Boss's estate where the crook is revealed to be an impostor. The boss strikes him when spotting the crook hasn't turned over all the money. Newspaper headlines say the police are searching for Superman. At the Daily Planet, Lois can't believe that Superman is behind the thefts. Clark and Lois are assigned to cover that night's opera performance. At the opera, the impostor is stealing jewels from unaware patrons. Lois spots him and struggles with him, and after ripping off the chest emblem thinks it is Superman. Clark follows the crook to the building's roof and confronts him as Superman. The crook tries shooting at Superman, then falls off the roof in panic. Superman catches him and they fly off. At the boss' estate, the boss complains to the apparent crook. Then when he finds it is Superman, pulls a trapdoor. A desk is pushed over the trapdoor and Superman. Then the boss and crook flee through a window. Superman pushes from the trap, and is slowed finding the window electrified. The crooks have got their loot from a vault and are escaping in a car. Superman breaks through their locked door, and follows the car. He saves the speeding car from crashing into another car. At the end Lois finds Clark dozing at the Daily Planet office.

  • Eleventh Hour
    November 20, 1942 [7:58]
    In Yokahama, Japan at 11pm Superman sinks a ship in a shipyard. Lois wakes up at the resulting alarm and speaks with Clark who is near by changing from being Superman. The Japanese increase patrols and guards but the sabotage continues each night at 11pm. Superman pulls down into the sea another ship, destroys a bridge, an airfield, and streets. These acts cause more panic by the Japanese. One night Lois sees it is Superman doing the sabotage, then she is captured. The government posts a threat to execute Lois if Superman sabotages again. Superman sinks another ship that night, so a firing squad readies to kill Lois. Superman spots a posted flier with the warning, and at the last moment saves Lois and fights with the soldiers. Later on a ship home, Lois is surrounded by reporters. She says Clark Kent has stayed in Japan and will be protected by Superman. At 11pm, the sabotage continues.

  • Destruction, Inc.
    December 25, 1942 [8:32]
    In a marshflat near the city a arm is seen sinking into the water. The next day headlines say the watchman at the city's munition plant is missing. Lois tells Clark that sounds like a story. At the personnel office at the plant a new watchman is hired, then Lois applies for a job. On the assembly line Lois hears some workers been told to meet with their boss. The workers boss tells them of a plan to rig explosives that will be unknowingly triggered by the watchman later. Lois is spotted eavesdropping behind a window and is chased through the plant. After being surrounded on a girder she is captured. When the watchman arrives and spots suspicious activity the workers drop metal scrap onto him. The boss Jones has a telephone call about a torpedo test. The test torpedo is taken to the firing range and fired at a floating hulk. Meanwhile, the watchman escapes the scrap pile revealing himself to be Superman in disguise. Superman flies after the torpedo and just before it would hit the hulk flies off with it. He frees Lois who was bound within the torpedo. The crooks try throwing a switch to trigger the explosives that will blow up the plant, but Superman fights them. He also stops a runaway truck with explosives that a crook has rigged. At the end Lois shows the disguised watchman was really Clark Kent.

    The Mummy Strikes

  • The Mummy Strikes
    February 19, 1943 [7:46]
    An archeologist, Dr. Jordan, is discovered dead in a reconstructed tomb by his assistant, Jane Hogan. Hogan is accused of poisoning Dr. Jordan and convicted of murder. At the Daily Planet, Clark gets a phone call from Dr. Wilson from the Egyptian Museum saying he's found evidence that could clear Hogan. Clark goes to meet Dr. Wilson, after telling Lois he has a doctor's appointment. Suspicious, Lois follows. Wilson tells Clark that the King's tomb was cursed, and of a legend that royal gods guard the dead boy-king. Wilson shows Clark the reconstructed tomb, while Lois secretly follows. Clark discovers the sarcophagus where Dr. Jordan was found has a trap that springs a poisoned needle - this is what killed Jordan. Wilson has told Clark that Jordan had recreated the Fluid of Life and had injected the guard's mummies before dying. Kent's triggering of the needle trap, causes that guard's mummy to revive. That mummy sends a signal light that revives another guard. Clark hears Lois scream. A guard throws Clark into a sarcophagus. Then a guard captures Lois and Wilson. Just as they are about to be thrown into a flaming pit, Superman breaks from the coffin and rescues them. Then he defeats the guards. At the Daily Planet Clark types in the story, finally scooping Lois, because her arms are still bandaged from burns.

  • Jungle Drums
    March 26, 1943 [8:00]
    A Nazi agent is disguised as a priest in a jungle shrine. In his base under the shrine with his staff, he hears a submarine commander awaits news of a convoy. Overhead a plane flies, and is shot down by huge hidden guns. On the crashed plane is Lois and a dying pilot. The pilot gives her papers about the convoy. Lois leaves and is soon captured, but has managed to hide the papers. Lois is tortured, but won't tell where the papers are. Elsewhere, Clark asks a pilot about Lois and is told her plane is expected to arrive at the convoy soon. Lois is threatened with death, then a native enters and shows he has found the papers. The sub commander is told where to attack the convoy, while Lois is readied for death in a native ceremony. Clark is in a plane flying overhead, and parachutes down when the pilot spots Lois' downed plane. Clark changes to Superman, and saves Lois from the natives dance of death. Fired on by the Nazi guns, Superman breaks their barrels, and fights the Germans. Lois disguises herself in a priest's robes and finds a radio in the underground base and tries to warn the convoy's base. Superman saves her from another Nazi attack. Bombers attack the German wolf pack just as it is going to attack the convoy. A radio announces the Axis sub fleet's destroyed as a dejected Hitler listens.

  • The Underground World
    June 18, 1943 [8:13]
    An explorer, Henderson, tells the Daily Planet editor and Clark and Lois about caverns his missing father explored. If the Daily Planet will finance an expedition, Henderson will give them an exclusive story. Henderson, Lois, and Clark prepare boats to raft into the Henderson Caverns. Clark will meet Lois and Henderson later using a separate boat. Lois and Henderson drift through several caverns then beach their boat. After getting out, their boat slips away and before they can catch it it collides with a cavern wall. Explosives in the boat blow up. Clark hears the explosion, and following in the other boat calls for Lois. Meanwhile, Lois and Henderson have been captured by humanoid bird people who live in a system of caverns opened by the explosion. Lois spots a statue that looks like Henderson's missing father. Clark approaches the opening to the new caverns, and soon sees the bird people are going to sacrifice Lois and Henderson in a burning pit. Clark changes to Superman and fights with flying bird people armed with spears. He defeats them, and at the last moment saves Lois and Henderson. Superman flies them out of the caverns then uses explosives to seal the bird peoples' caverns back up. Their editor burns their story saying noone would believe it.

  • Secret Agent
    July 30, 1943 [7:39]
    Clark is using a phone near a Drug Store, and is told to cover a union meeting. He sees a chased car crash into the store, and its passenger take a new car. Clark jumps on the back of the pursuing car which begins shooting at the chased car. A police car joins the chase, and the chased car is stopped. The pursuers escape. A lady steps from the stopped car and says she must get to Police Headquarters. Clark has been captured and in the pursuers' hideout hears the woman must not be allowed by the agents to reach the airport. Meanwhile, she tells the police she is an undercover agent and has names of the German saboteurs who were chasing her. She gets a police escort to the airport. The police are ambushed, however, and the agent drives on alone. Spotted heading for the airport, the saboteurs sabotage a rotating bridge and her car crashes. While they fire on her the bridge is tearing power lines down that start a fire. In the hideout, told she is trapped the boss and assistants leave. Clark, left alone, changes to Superman and pulls up their elevator and traps them. Then, Superman flies off and stops the moving bridge. Superman saves the trapped agent when she is about to be crushed by the bridges' gears. He flies her to Washington. After seeing she is safe, Superman flies off and salutes the United States' flag.



Super Parodies

Goofy Groceries Goofy Groceries
First Aired: March 29, 1941
In 1941 Warner Bros. released a Merrie Melodies cartoon titled "Goofy Groceries" which featured what is possibly the first on-screen parody of Superman.

Watch the "Goofy Groceries" cartoon at YouTube.

Super Mouse Super Mouse
First Aired: October 16, 1942
From 1942-1943 seven "Super Mouse" cartoons were released by Terrytoons. "The Mouse of Tomorrow" (October 16, 1942), "Frankenstein's Cat" (November 27, 1942), "He Dood It Again" (February 5, 1943), "Pandora's Box" (June 11, 1943), "Super Mouse Rides Again" (August 6, 1943), "Down with Cats" (October 7, 1943) and "Lion and the Mouse" (November 12, 1943). Super Mouse later became known as Mighty Mouse.

You can watch all seven "Super Mouse" cartoons at the Big Cartoon DataBase (registration required).

Super Rabbit Super Rabbit
First Aired: April 3, 1943
In 1943 Warner Bros. released a Bugs Bunny cartoon "Super Rabbit" as a parody of the Fleischer series. Special carrots make Bugs into a superhero. The first villain he goes up against is Cottontail Smith who is a mad and evil Texas rabbit. Unfortunately, little by little, Bugs' powers start to wear off.

Watch the "Super Rabbit" cartoon at YouTube.

Popeye She-Sick Sailors
First Aired: December 8, 1944
In 1944 Paramount released a Popeye cartoon titled "She-Sick Sailors" in which Olive is more interested in her Superman comic book than in Popeye. Bluto overhears this and dresses as Superman.

Watch the "She-Sick Sailors" cartoon at YouTube.

A Hatful of Dreams A Hatful of Dreams
First Released: July 6, 1945
In 1945 Paramount released a Puppetoon titled "A Hatful of Dreams" by George Pal in which a young boy becomes Superman thanks to a magic hat.

Little Lulu Super Lulu
First Aired: November 21, 1947
In 1947 Paramount released a Little Lulu cartoon titled "Super Lulu" in which Lulu dreams of being a superhero, much to her father's anger.

Watch the "Super Lulu" cartoon at YouTube.

Stupor Duck Stupor Duck
First Aired: July 7, 1956
In 1956 Warner Bros. released another Superman parody, this time using Daffy Duck in the cartoon "Stupor Duck". In this parody of Superman, Daffy is "Cluck Trent," a mild-mannered reporter at a major metropolitan daily newspaper, Cluck takes a mild-mannered pill and hears something from the editor's office. The editor is watching a crime drama about Aardvark Ratnik, a fictional mad Russian villain who threatens to "blow up everything" in his hell-bent scheme for world domination. Believing that Aardvark is an actual villain who has announced his plans to the editor, Daffy becomes Stupor Duck, set to foil Aardvark Ratnik's schemes. He searches for the putative villain. One by one, he spots "examples" of Aardvark's supposed work: a skyscraper being razed to make way for a new city hall; a train wreck that's actually a stunt for a new Warner's movie; a sinking ship that turns out to be a submarine; and a nuclear missile that's actually a rocket headed for the moon (with Cluck/Daffy holding on for dear life).

Watch the "Stupor Duck" cartoon at YouTube.



Sources:
'Superman: Serial To Cereal' by Gary Grossman
'Max & Dave Fleischer's Superman' by Darrell McNeil and Michael Swanigan, Toon Magazine Vol. 1 No. 6
Golden Anniversary Edition (Vol 1,2), Superman Collection (Bosko Video) Vol 1 has the first eight cartoons. Vol 2 has the other nine cartoons. Both videotapes have a MGM 'Flip the Frog' trailer. 'Superman's Secret Cartoon History' by Cartoon Brew.