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Fleischer Studios, later called Famous Studios after being acquired by Paramount, produced seventeen Superman cartoons and were shown to audiences between 1941 and 1943. For those not acquainted with the history of entertainment, it was typical for movie theatres to show at least one short cartoon before the feature film, which has since been replaced with straight advertising. This was the original venue for the Superman cartoons, though they have appeared on television since then.
Superman's original medium was, of course, comic books, and his second venue was a radio program that began in 1940. Superman's first moving picture appearance, animated or live action, was in this series of cartoons. Their importance in making Superman publicly renown can not be understated. With only the comic books Superman would have been popular with children in America, but the radio and cartoon serials made the character so well known that he was soon recognized by all of North America, and then the entire world. Thanks in part to these cartoons his fame would snowball to create his lasting success and international stardom.
The cartoons are available today on VHS and DVD. The following text is what Bosko Video, a company specializing in the release of classic cartoons, has to say of the collection from its DVD release of the serials:
The character "Superman" was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. He first appeared in the 1938 June issue of "Action Comics," and was an immediate success with the public. Paramount Studios obtained permission to make a series of cartoons based on the comic strip. They contracted with Max and Dave Fleischer to produce them as the Fleischers were making the other cartoons Paramount distributed. The pilot cost $50,000. This is three times what "Popeye" cartoons of that time cost. Subsequent cartoons in the series had a budget of $30,000. Cost for all 17 of the "Superman" cartoons was $530,000. The familiar phrases, "Look, up in the sky!" and, "Faster than a speeding bullet," were created by the Fleischer Studio for these cartoons. These cartoons had the luxury of using pencil tests, and a special effects department that had been created for "Gulliver's Travels." The elaborate shading on the characters, the expert cutting of the action scenes, and the stylized designs of the backgrounds makes this one of the most elaborate and sophisticated fantasy cartoon series ever produced by any studio. They remain a landmark in animation history, and a legacy for generations. This series was transferred from original 35mm prints and negatives. Never before have prints of this quality been available from ANY source, including laser disk. We hope that you enjoy adding them to your collection.
Nowhere in the credits (within the cartoons) are the voice actors listed, but they were likely never upset over that fact, especially Bud Collyer.
Bud Collyer had been the voice for Superman and Clark Kent on the radio program since its beginning, and he actually insisted on not being credited there, feeling that he would not be able to get any other roles. Not only was Collyer's concern very real, he correctly realized that any and every Superman actor would be typecast, something that has since been a component of the fabled "Superman Actors' Curse." Fans have loved Collyer's work for the way he was able to make Clark have a slightly higher pitch than his own voice, while his Superman possessed a deep, rich sound. Typically, the voice of Clark switches mid-sentence to Superman when he speaks, "This looks like a job for Superman!" Collyer would voice Superman for years on the radio series and return to the character for television cartoons, voicing him for the last time in the late 1960's. Starting in the 1940's, a mandate was passed from the comic book publisher stating that every attempt was to be made to create a faćade that Superman was a real person. This ensured that Collyer would not be credited anytime in the foreseeable future. This mandate would continue for years and cause actor George Reeves much strife when he made public appearances as the man of steel, because he was never permitted to tell children that he was merely an actor playing Superman, and not Superman himself. Bud Collyer, however, relished his anonymity, which was easy to maintain since he only provided the voice of Superman.
The Superman radio program had run through two women who voiced Lois Lane already when Joan Alexander took the role. In fact she lost it after three months, and it was Bud Collyer who insisted that she be allowed to win it back by blind audition, which she did. Alexander was recruited along with Collyer from the radio program to voice her character for the cartoons. She succeeded her previous voice actors in being the longest running voice for Lois, continuing in the radio program and brought back with Collyer for future Saturday morning cartoons starring Superman. Though Lois has few lines in the cartoons, Alexander takes those sparse quips to make the character truly sound like a smart and witty female reporter.
Jackson Beck was the only recurring voice actor not brought over from the radio program. Instead, he started out working with Superman in the cartoons before crossing over to the radio adventures. Beck used his grand, booming voice to its full extent when providing the introductions as the narrator, not unlike Collyer's own method and tone when speaking as Superman. Most listeners require a trained ear and instantaneous comparisons to be able to tell that the narrator's terrific voice comes from the same man providing for the Daily Planet's editor Perry White, who, though solid and clear, is probably unmemorable to most listeners and is just an extra character, albeit a recurring one. That was probably the intention of Beck and the studio. In 1942 Beck was taken on at the radio program as a recurring character, and in 1943 a new narrator was required there, to which he was well acquainted with doing. Also of note, Jackson Beck served for a time as the vice president of the American Federation of Television and Radio Actors. Like Collyer and Alexander, Beck was invited to reprise his character's role for television cartoons until the late 1960's.
There are, of course, other characters who speak in the cartoons. Most, if not all, additional male voices were provided by Collyer and Beck. Besides Lois there were only three other female characters ever heard - the woman's voice calling out, "It's a bird," Jane Hogan in 'The Mummy Strikes,' and the title character in the final cartoon 'Secret Agent,' who seems to have usurped Lois's regular position as strong willed woman and damsel in distress. It is likely that Alexander voiced all of these.
"Up in the sky, look! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!"
The voices are provided by each member of the cast. The more familiar, "Look, up in the sky!" was used later on the radio program.
Here are the original credits for the first Superman cartoon as they appeared in theatres. A space represents a change in shots.
By Arrangement with
comic strip created by
Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster
Dave Fleischer directed the first nine cartoons, all of which were produced before the studio was bought by Paramount and turned into Famous Studios. In the four earliest of these, his name is displayed alone on the final panel. There, a small, ringed planet can be seen underneath his name. In fact, the symbol looks exactly like the structure atop the Daily Planet building! Why this addition is present remains unknown. From the fifth cartoon on the director's name appears on the animators' and writers' shot in the credits, permitting no room for the symbol.
Not mentioned in these credits is scriptwriter and artist Jay Morton, who created the famous Superman introductions, descriptions, and taglines for these cartoons. It was he who wrote the, "It's a bird! It's a plane!..." line, as well as the following:
"Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!"
"Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to soar higher than any plane!"
"Faster than a streak of lightening! More powerful than the pounding surf! Mightier than a roaring hurricane!"
The numbers represent which episodes each quote appears in. As you might expect of the visual/audio medium, each sentence is represented with the object being described. The 'speeding bullet' sentence uses the same sky background as the one Superman zooms across. Indeed, there is no picture of a gun, and the small object hurtling in this instance is similarly coloured to those Superman flying shots, so the audience must decide for themselves whether the object being seen is actually a bullet or Superman speeding faster than one.
Some people say that the radio series is where Superman's famous phrases come from, but this is not the case, though it is understandable why there is confusion. Even in the comic books Superman was given various descriptions and exclamations of being "faster than X," or "greater than Y." The radio series took the concept of those descriptions and incorporated them into the narrator's introductions. Some of the descriptions come extremely close to being the same as the now famous lines, such as, "Faster than an airplane, more powerful than a locomotive, impervious to bullets." Jay Morton likely read the comic taglines and listened to the radio introductions as a basis for his own lines. It just happens that his phrases became the most popular, and were then adopted by the radio program and eventually by the comics as well.
The following is what the narrator tells us of Superman's origin, spoken only in the first cartoon:
"In the endless reaches of the universe there once existed a planet known as Krypton, a planet that burned like a green star in the distant heavens. There, civilization was far advanced and it brought forth a race of supermen, whose mental and physical powers were developed to the absolute peak of human perfection. But, there came a day when giant quakes threatened to destroy Krypton forever. One of the planet's leading scientists, sensing the approach of doom, placed his infant son in a small rocket ship and sent it hurtling in the direction of the Earth just as Krypton exploded! The rocket ship sped through star studded space, landing safely on Earth with its precious burden, Krypton's sole survivor. A passing motorist found the uninjured child and took it to an orphanage. As the years went by and the child grew to maturity he found himself possessed of amazing physical powers."
Kneitel and Sparber (writers of the first cartoon) might have written this back-story, but it seems more likely that Morton wrote it, as it is technically part of the introduction and seems to possess his personal flare.
Notice that there is no reference to the Kent family. In the original comics' back-story, the Kents discovered the baby Superman and did give him to an orphanage, only to return and then adopt him. The cartoon back-story would have viewers assume that Superman was raised in the orphanage. This change is probably due to time constraint more than anything else, and since the Kents would never appear it did not matter whether they existed or not.
Fans might be inclined to believe that the comment that Krypton, "burned like a green star," is an allusion to Superman's weakness, kryptonite. This could very well be the case, or it could be taken that Krypton had much plant life. Superman historians will point out that kryptonite did not appear in a Superman story until a June 1943 production of the radio program, two years after this first cartoon. Yet it seems that as early as 1939-1940 Jerry Siegel had envisioned an element called "K-metal" that would render Superman powerless. So, it is quite possible that Krypton's green colour in this cartoon is a reference to the as-yet unused kryptonite. After all, the planet is seen radiating a mysterious green light, probably not a good sign for any planet.
This is the phrase spoken after the back-story is completed. The image on screen shows Superman with his hands at his waist and his cape flapping in the wind. At the mention of Clark Kent, Superman morphs into his secret identity.
"The infant of Krypton is now the man of steel, Superman! To best be in a position to use his amazing powers in a never ending battle for truth and justice, Superman has assumed the disguise of Clark Kent, mild mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper."
In subsequent cartoons, all of which did not contain the back-story, this same shot comes right after the "Faster than! More powerful than!" lines. Here is the description for the second cartoon, 'The Mechanical Monsters.'
"This amazing stranger from the planet Krypton, the man of steel, Superman! Empowered with X-ray vision, possessing remarkable physical strength, Superman fights a never ending battle for truth and justice, disguised as a mild mannered newspaper reporter, Clark Kent."
This cartoon happens to be the only episode where Superman employs his X-ray vision power, so in the remaining fifteen cartoons that same introduction is used but "Empowered with X-ray vision," is omitted.
September 26, 1941
Director: Dave Fleischer
Animation: Steve Muffati, Frank Endres
Story: Seymour Kneitel, I. Sparber
Musical Arrangement: Sammy Timberg
A mad scientist sends a letter to the Daily Planet threatening to use a destructive ray on the city at midnight. Lois already has a lead on the story, and knows that he is operating high atop a mountain. She pilots an airplane to get the scoop on the story, but is captured by the villain. The scientist uses his ray to destroy a bridge, and a newsflash describing the incident is listened to by the Daily Planet staff. Clark goes to a stockroom to change into Superman and leaps out a window, but as he is flying to the source of the ray it hits the Daily Planet building, causing it to fall over. Superman corrects the building and then takes on the beam itself, punching away the energy. The scientist turns his machine to full power, but that only thwarts Superman for a while before he reaches the source and twists the pistol of the machine, causing an overload. Superman rescues Lois and the scientist from the building as the weapon explodes. Superman tosses the villain in jail and Lois writes up the story for the Daily Planet.
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.
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.
In Siberia, scientists discover a giant dinosaur frozen in ice. They bring it America and display it in a museum, still encased in ice. The Daily Planet's editor receives a call from a professor saying that the monster might still be alive. At the museum Lois is getting a tour of the refrigeration unit when a can of oil falls into a generator, causing serious malfunctions. Workers race to get the system working again while the ice thaws and the dinosaur awakens. It breaks free of the ice and destroys the building, trapping Lois inside. The Daily Planet receives word of the event, and Clark changes into Superman. He frees Lois of the rubble, then uses a boulder to fix a dam that the creature broke. The dinosaur lumbers through a river and breaks through a bridge, which Superman supports and ties up with thick metal cords. Lois enters a sporting arena and reaches an upper level to take photographs of the beast. Superman hurls a metal cord from the bridge at the dinosaur, tying it up. It is close enough to Lois that it catches her in its mouth, but Superman pries its jaws open and rescues her. Superman subdues the creature and Lois writes about the adventure, saying that the dinosaur will be on display.
Police headquarters are destroyed by the Bulleteers - three men who pilot a high tech bullet car/plane. The next day, from high atop a mountain outside the city, the Bulleteers announce that if they do not receive all the funds from the city treasury they will continue to destroy power plants, firehouses, and municipal buildings. Lois interviews the mayor who says that the city will not give in to any threats. Meanwhile, the buildings said to be targeted are barricaded and sentries are posted. The Bulleteers read in the Daily Planet that their demands shall not be met so they go out in their rocket and destroy a power plant, causing a blackout in the city. Lois, who was working late, drives off to investigate while leaving Clark behind. Clark changes into Superman and hits the rocket vehicle before it can punch through the treasury, but the ricochet causes it to fly wildly and breaks apart a building, sending heavy debris onto Lois's car. Superman saves her, and is then buried himself when the vehicle succeeds in toppling the exterior of the treasury. The Bulleteers park it and get out to loot. During this time Lois sneaks into the rocket vehicle and tries to sabotage the controls. The Bulleteers return and take to the sky, kidnapping Lois. Superman frees himself and goes after them, dismantling the vehicle. Superman saves the occupants as it crashes to Earth. Lois, once again, writes about the event for the Daily Planet.
An observatory is seen sporting a giant magnet. The magnet activates and pulls a meteor close to Earth as city residents watch including Lois, Clark, and Perry. The fiery meteor falls from the sky, rolls along a street and splashes into the harbour. Later, the scientist responsible says he is aware that the mayor has instructed him to stop his experiments, yet he tells a squad of policemen and Lois on assignment that he will continue his research. He intends to use his magnet again to attract a meteor to within a mile of the Earth for examination, then send it back into space once his work is completed. The police rush at the astronomer, but he pulls a lever which activates a wall, locking the men out. The scientist turns on his machine, bringing the comet to Earth, but the police stop the generator and break electric cords in the power room, not realizing that now the comet will strike the Earth for certain. The comet hits another heavenly body which breaks apart, sending dozens of meteors crashing into the observatory. The scientist and the police officers escape, but Lois stays behind to telephone the Daily Planet. After overhearing the phone call Clark catches a taxi to the observatory. On the way there a large meteor nearly crushes the car. Clark changes into Superman and soars to the observatory. He lifts some debris that has Lois pinned, then attacks the giant comet but is unable to stop it. Superman uses a rope and his super strength to wind up the dynamo to create electricity, then tries to reattach the broken power cords. They will not reach so he grabs each end and uses his own body as a conductor. With the power back on, Lois activates the magnet and sets it to repulse the comet, which flies back into the sky. In a darkened room in the observatory Lois rushes to a figure who she thinks is Superman and plants a kiss. It turns out to be Clark, who switches on the lights and is much amused.
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.
Tremors are being felt on a populated island on which rests the volcano Mount Monokoa. Clark and Lois are sent to report from the island. Once there, Clark is not permitted to enter a restricted area because he lost his press pass. Clark goes to the police station and waits for the chief to return while Lois is told by an expert that the plan is to blast the rim of the crater facing away from the city on the island so when there is an eruption the lava will flow harmlessly into the sea. The eruptions begin before the explosives team is fully prepared, and falling boulders break a cord so they are unable to set off the dynamite. Clark hears the eruptions and changes into Superman, then stops a giant boulder from striking the city. He then gets Lois to safety and joins the broken cords, setting off the explosives. The lava starts flowing down the other side of the volcano. Later, Lois is writing about the event on her typewriter and Clark finds his missing press pass sticking out of her purse.
Clark and Lois are outside a circus tent as Lois laments having to cover such a boring event. When the show is about to begin she heads inside and he heads to the Daily Planet. At the circus, a monkey accidentally opens a cage containing a dangerous, giant gorilla. Workers try to catch the beast, but it is stronger than their combined strength. The circus tent is nearly evacuated when the gorilla starts lumbering after a small girl. Lois gets the girl to safety, but now the beast is following her. Meanwhile, upon reaching the Daily Planet building Clark hears several sirens. He catches a taxi and tells the driver to see what the commotion is. Upon reaching the circus, Clark discovers that frightened elephants have broken several cages, allowing lions and panthers escape. Clark changes into Superman and begins rounding up the ferocious animals and subduing the elephants. The gorilla has cornered Lois on a high wire platform, and Superman leaps high to save her. Superman and the gorilla fall and hit electrical equipment, resulting in a fire. Superman tosses the gorilla into the high wire safety net, finally stopping the animal. Superman rescues Lois from the fire and later, as always, Lois writes about the event.
America has built the world's largest bombing plane. Japanese agents stow away on the aircraft while it is being loaded. Later, members of the press are allowed to have a look around. Lois hides herself in a locker in order to have a firsthand account of what the plane's historic maiden flight is like. The plane takes off and the Japanese agents tie up the crew and take control. Lois exits the locker, sees what is happening, and radios the ground for help. The air force is about to send up fighter planes but the Japanese men drop a bomb on the runway, preventing them from lifting off. Clark changes into Superman, soars into the sky and enters the plane. He then rescues Lois from being let out through the bomb chute. After defeating two of the agents he is about to enter the cockpit when the last Japanese man smashes the controls, sending the plane hurtling toward the city below. Superman returns to the ground with Lois, then masterfully lowers the plane onto a city street. Later, Clark and Lois ride together on a carnival ride that resembles a small airplane.
A man in a Superman costume is seen robbing stores. This person is of course not Superman, but a criminal who dresses as Superman and delivers his earnings to his boss. Several newspapers report on the Superman robberies, including the Daily Planet. Lois does not believe that Superman is the perpetrator. An office boy gives Lois and Clark two tickets to the opera, telling them that the editor wants them to cover it. At the opera Clark falls asleep. At the same opera the Superman criminal sneaks around stealing jewellery and such without people noticing it. One woman does realize and screams as the thief starts hustling away. Lois leaves her seat to investigate and runs into the perpetrator. They scuffle and she accidentally rips off his 'S' symbol. Not having seen the man's face in the light, Lois now believes Superman really is behind the robberies. She calls the police while Clark changes into Superman. On the roof, Superman faces the criminal who fires several shots from a gun at him. The criminal gets so afraid that he tries to get away and falls over the side of the building, but Superman catches him. Lois and the police see that there is a real and a phony Superman. Superman and the impostor go to see the crime boss. Once there the boss does not realize that Superman is the real deal, but after he knows he activates a trap door that drops Superman into a chasm. The two criminals push a desk over top the door and seal themselves inside a vault. Superman escapes the chasm and opens the vault, but the criminals are not there anymore after having used a torch to make a new exit. They are getting away in a car and nearly collide with a police car with Lois inside. Before the two cars can crash, Superman jumps in between them and apprehends the criminals for the police. Later, Clark is dozing off at the office when Lois returns, ready to type up her report on the event.
Lois and Clark have been interned at Yokohama, Japan. Every night at eleven Clark changes into Superman and removes the bars from his window, then goes out and sabotages various vessels, machines, bases etc. He then returns to where he is supposed to be a prisoner and replaces the bars. Lois wonders if it could be Superman who is behind the sabotage acts. After many nights and failed attempts at catching Superman, Japanese soldiers place up signs in English warning Superman that if he commits any more acts of sabotage then Lois will be executed. Superman, however, does not spot the signs and destroys a large ship. It is only afterwards that he notices one of the signs. As Lois is about to be killed by a firing squad, Superman appears and shields her from the bullets. He defends them both from the soldiers, then takes her away. Later, Lois is getting interviewed and photographed on a ship as she is returning home. She tells the reporters that Clark Kent is still in Yokohama, but Superman promised her that he would look after him. In Yokohama, when the clock strikes eleven explosions erupt. Superman is still sabotaging.
A security guard for a munitions plant is killed and his body is dumped into a swamp. A radio tells of the discovered body, and Lois decides to investigate by going undercover and getting a job at the plant. There, she overhears mentions of a suspicious sounding meeting. Lois listens in on a manager telling two workers that they did good work in disposing of the watchman. She also hears that dynamite charges are connected to a switch that will be thrown by the new night watchman. One of the men spots Lois and they chase her through the building. Lois is finally caught and placed inside a torpedo with dynamite. The new watchman sees what is going on and attempts to rescue Lois but is buried under scrap metal released from a heavy magnet. The torpedo is sent out to testing waters where onlookers believe that there are no explosives in it (not to mention no human). The torpedo is fired at an old barge, but Superman emerges from the scrap metal and takes the torpedo out of the water. He frees Lois, then goes after the men responsible. He decks them all and destroys watchman's switch, ensuring that the planted explosives can not go off. At the same time, one last man has taken a truck filled with TNT and driven it down a hill towards the plant, jumping out to save himself. Superman takes control of the vehicle and drives it off a cliff. Later, the criminals have been apprehended and Lois removes the watchman's hat and fake hair, revealing him as Clark Kent.
An ancient Egyptian specialist, Dr. Jordan, is found dead at a museum. His assistant, Jane Hogan, is found guilty of his murder. A colleague to them both, Dr. Wilson, calls Clark and tells him that he has important information on the matter. Clark tries to hide his scoop from Lois, but she realizes that the phone call was about something juicy so she follows him. At the museum Dr. Wilson relates the history of an embalmed king and his guards. The pharaoh was a young lad who died, and his giant warriors were so faithful to him that they drank poison so that they could protect him in death. Dr. Jordan had excavated these mummies and reconstructed their burial chamber in the museum. Studying ancient formulas, he created a serum he called the fluid of life. Dr. Jordan injected the guards with this fluid, but never reached any results. He also tried to open the outer casket of the pharaoh, which was booby trapped by poisoned needles. Clark opens the casket while anticipating the needle, causing light to emanate from a jewel on the pharaoh's sarcophagus. The light reaches the guards and animates them. One of them throws Clark into a casket, who breaks out as Superman. He rescues Lois and Dr. Wilson from being hurled into a raging fire by the guards and defeats them. Later, Clark for once writes about the story as Lois has been hurt and her arms are in bandages, looking very much like a mummy's wraps.
Nazi soldiers in white costumes are pretending to be deities to a group of native Africans. Their base exists inside two giant hollow statues with heavy artillery. A plane containing a pilot and Lois is fired on by the Nazis, taking them down. At the crash site the dieing pilot gives Lois the coordinates of an American fleet on a piece of paper, and tells her to destroy the document. Before she can do so she is captured by the Africans, but still manages to hide it under a rock. Lois is interrogated and refuses to give any information. For this, the Nazis allow the natives to burn Lois alive on a pyre, with hopes that she will relent to save her life. The paper is found by one of the Africans, and the Nazis leave Lois to them and the fire. The Nazis radio a submarine fleet, giving the location of the American vessels. As Lois is beginning to succumb to the heat, Clark and his own pilot fly over, spotting the fire and the crashed plane. Clark parachutes onto a cliff overlooking the fire and changes into Superman. He rescues Lois and fights the Nazis on top of the statues, but a heavy door with a broken handle prevents him from entering the base. Lois disguises herself in the white costume of a fallen soldier and enters the base from ground level. She tries radioing American forces but one of the Nazis sees through her disguise. The Nazi tries to destroy the radio console but Superman enters just in time to stop him. Just as the German submarines are about to fire on the American ships, planes bomb the submarines, thus ending their threat. Adolf Hitler, alone, listens about the event on his radio.
The Daily Planet finances an expedition led by a man named Henderson to investigate caverns that were discovered by his father. Clark and Lois accompany him, and at the entrance to the caverns Lois and Henderson depart in a boat and will meet Clark inside later. While unloading the boat inside the caverns it drifts away, forcing Lois and Henderson to chase it. Later, Clark enters the caverns and can not find his companions. He goes on foot into a large, lit cavern, and finds that they have been taken hostage by half human, half bird people, and are about to be lowered into a molten substance that will turn them into statues. Clark changes into Superman, rescues them, and exits the bird people's domain. He throws a bomb at the cavern entrance, sealing it off and preventing them from getting out. Back at the Daily Planet, Perry White commends Lois on her story before burning it, saying that nobody would ever believe it.
Clark is at a drugstore when a car crashes through the window while chasing another vehicle. The occupants get out, steal another car, and continue their chase with guns blazing. Clark jumps onto the back of the car. Police in a squad car spot the chase and save the woman driver being chased while the villains, along with Clark, get away. It turns out that the villains are saboteurs, either directly working for or sympathizing with the Axis cause. The woman was a spy who now must get a list of their names and plans to Washington. A police escort takes her to the airport but is ambushed by the villains. The woman drives through the shoot-out onto a mechanical rotating bridge where two of the saboteurs have been waiting. They trap her on it by activating the bridge. An accident causes her to fall unconscious on the tracks where giant rollers move the bridge. Meanwhile, Clark has allowed himself to be captured and tied up by the saboteurs, and once the last of them leave he changes into Superman and traps several of them in an elevator. He soars to the bridge and saves the woman by pushing the mechanical bridge back, taking the rollers off the tracks. He personally flies her to Washington, then takes back to the sky while the American flag flaps proudly in the wind.
Superman/Clark Kent: Clayton 'Bud' Collyer
Lois Lane: Joan Alexander
Narrator & Daily Planet Editor (Perry White): Jackson Beck
I recommend to anyone who read this article to check out the Superman Homepage information on the Superman radio program, as a lot of its history connects to these cartoons. I also recommend looking up Fleischer Studios in a search engine to find out more about the company and people who created these serials. Most importantly of all, if you have not already seen these cartoons go in search of a copy of them.
Markstein, Don. 'Don Markstein's Toonopedia- Max Fleischer Studio.' - "http://www.toonopedia.com/fleischr.htm"
Rozakis, Bob. 'Kryptonite.' - "http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/bobro/105695684482145.htm. 2003".
Tollin, Anthony. 'Superman on Radio.' - "http://www.supermanhomepage.com/radio/radio.php?topic=r-radio".