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Fleischer Superman on DVD

Warner Bros. is finally releasing the classic Paramount Superman cartoons (1941-43) on a stand alone DVD set. These are the nine Max Fleischer sci-fi adventures and eight Famous Studios World War II flavored action epics as you’ve never seen them before. The two-disc collection will go on sale April 7th and will retail for $26.99 (and be available much cheaper on Amazon, at Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart).

Warner Bros. and DC Comics own the master negatives to these cartoons and the new restorations here are truly breathtaking. Warner Home Video previously released these only as bonus material on several Christopher Reeve Superman DVDs, but are releasing this special set due to popular demand. Throw away your Dollar Store dupes. This is the ultimate collection of these cartoons.

(Thanks Dave Lambert at

  • Austin “oppo” Papageorge

    I saw one of these cartoons on one of those “Animation Compilation” DVDS, so assume they are in the public domain.

    I’m guessing they’re putting some extra special goodies to entice buyers.

    Did they call you to do any commentaries, Jerry?

  • Keith Paynter

    Now, can we please have them at their proper durations? Not every cartoon had the back story introduction – the bonus versions on S1 and S2 frustrated me no end.

    Pretty please? Thanks!

  • Dave

    Are these from the same masters used in the laser disc release, or did they go back to the original negatives?

  • I collected almost all the episodes (I’m missing one) through public domain dollar DVDs. Finally, I can get rid of those lackluster copies.

    Can’t wait for this!

  • Jorge Garrido

    This is awesome! My PD DVD is of terrible quality! Finally, I can see a good copy of “Terror on The Midway.”

  • PCUnfunny

    This was definetly the best animated adaption of a comic books series ever. Bruce Timm’s first run of the Batman comic books is a very worthy secound.

  • I am really glad that these masterpieces are finally getting the attention they deserve. I first saw “Mechanical Monsters” as part of a film appreciation series put on by the University of Arizona when I was a kid, as series that included Chaplin, Keaton, Arbuckle and other classics. I was enraptured and have since kept the Fleischer Superman series as an exemplar of animated drama.
    I own all of these on DVD, a set released a few years ago. they are pretty clean but contain none of the extras that make a DVD set worth owning (in this case, the wrenching story of the failure of Fleischer and the subsequent rise of Famous in its place).
    The first six are amazing stories, and some of the best animation ever done. My favorite is the pre-godzilla (post King Kong) ice-age monster in New York, but they are all great. The famous ones look nice but the stories get increasingly lame.
    This stuff has been in the public domain for a while and it’s rare to find a 2.00 animation DVD that doesn’t have at least one Superman on it. I loo forward to seeing what this collection has to offer. The colors in the still above certainly beat anything I have seen yet.

  • Brian D. Scott

    Finally! One of the first DVDs I bought was an Image Superman collection that I still have 10 years later. It’ll be nice to have an “official” collection, and restored to boot!

  • Sounds good, Jerry, though I have the restored cartoons already with the Ultimate Superman Collection (with Superman I, II, III, IV and Returns). I assume more extras could be announced later before the DVD’s release, like commentaries and stuff like that.

    BTW, With restored “Popeye” and “Superman” out on DVD, could there be possibly restoration releases of “Betty Boop” or the Fleischer features “Gulliver” and “Mr. Bug”.

  • Kevin Martinez

    The remastered versions of the cartoons on the Ultimate Superman set are marred by anomalies of various kinds, ranging from mutilated soundtracks to footage being regurgitated where it wasn’t before. I’ll buy this set if those glitches are properly fixed.

    I like the cover art, and specifically the similarities between it and the Popeyes.

    But, really, this is cool of Warner Home Video. I hate to think that if Warner owned the rights to the Betty Boops, Little Lulus and Noveltoons today instead of Republic, we’d be seeing sets of those cartoons just like this.

  • Have they fixed the audio issues?

  • Pedro Nakama

    I bought 2 of these DVD’s about 3 years ago at the 99 cent store. The quality was great. And it had all of the WWII ones in there which they might leave out of this because today it isn’t politically correct. Or even worse they may have Whoppi Goldberg appear here to tell us it isn’t politically correct!

  • droosan

    .. no blu-ray ..? bummer.

  • Saturnome

    It could use a few bonus shorts. When I take a look at the first Popeye set I see the perfect cartoon short collection.

    Anyway. I waited for this to happen! I never bought the cheap DVDs, or even look at them.

    (any hopes for Betty Boop?)

  • Look up in the’s a’s a’s me leaping for joy!!!

  • That’s wonderful news! One thing I can’t stand about the dollar store copies are the annoying SFX mixed OVER the original soundtracks. They’re terribly out of place and shouldn’t even be there. So I’m assuming this proper release will have none of that?

  • Steve

    I take it these are the same restored versions that appeared in the big “Superman Ultimate Collector’s Set” a year or two ago?

  • Steve Siegert

    This is the exact reason why I have not purchased the Ultimate Collector’s Set. I had been hoping WB would eventually release this collection. Once the shorts had been put for on iTunes and for download, I knew a stand-alone DVD release was not far off.

    I hope there are more extras than just the two featurettes. There should at least be a few commentaries for selected shorts. And, just like the Popeye DVDs, I am hoping for a “From the Vault” section with WB-owned shorts that spoof Superman, such as “Super-Rabbit”, “Stupor Duck”, “Snafuperman” and one of my favorites, Popeye in “She-Sick Sailors”.

    But, if no other extras get added on, I am still going to buy this set.

  • Duck Dodgers

    I remember there were errors when these were released on DVD as bonus on the live-action supermans dvds.
    Something like the intros detailing the legacy of Superman if I’m right.
    Anyone has more details and, Jerry, are you aware if these troubles were fixed?

  • Bill Cross

    “Snufuperman” would be a slam-dunk for this set.

    I echo the comment above: have they fixed the audio glitch on the first “Superman” (aka “The Mad Scientist”)? If not, then there is definitely a reason to hang to my dollar DVD – as the soundtrack there is unaltered and complete.

  • I found some of Paramount’s last-gasp Harveytoons online at Weak stories, excellent animation. Typical Fleischer/Famous/Paramount quandary!

  • David

    YES!! I had little hope that online poll from a few months back was going to lead to this!

    If the aforementioned issues from past releases are fixed, this one is a good as on my shelf! What great news to start off Christmas Eve with!

  • If the Fleischer’s “Superman” cartoons are to be released, could Betty Boop be far behind?

  • Ain’t It Cool reported from a Paul Dini interview that he would love to make an Indiana Jones TV series in the style of the Fleischer Superman cartoons.

  • robert barker

    These would have to be much, much better than what I already have from just a couple years ago on the new Superman 1 and 2 DVDs. Those had a few glitches, but are amazing for the most part. They would have to be offering something worthwhile, like extra cartoons, or meaningful commentary, like Ray Pointer, for me to plunk down the dough in this economy.

  • Flip the Human

    It’d be nice to see Supe’s x-ray vision introduction which is unique to the story of ‘Mechanical Monsters’. There was an audio break between the introduction and the body of the cartoon on ‘Magnetic Telescope’ and the extended opening (covering Krypton, the orphanage etc.) should only appear on the first cartoon. Otherwise these cartoons look absolutely amazing … Thank-You Warners!

    It’d be nice to see the Superman Trailer and the unedited interview with Myron Waldman as bonuses.

    Paul Dini hasn’t the slightest idea of what it would take to do something “in the style” of Fleischer’s Superman. I’m sure he believes “Batman” to have been successful in this regard but you would have to be blind not to notice the massive shift in quality between the two series which is made evident in the “First Flight” docu.

  • Brian O.

    The Christopher Reeve/Superman collection was on sale at Amazon two weeks ago for $14. All four films with commentaries plus all the Fleischer/Famous shorts.

  • One evening when I was at Myron Waldman’s house visiting, he asked me, “Do you want to see a half-assed Superman cartoon?” I said yes and he screened a 16 mm print of “The Japoteurs.” Myron had worked the series and it was clear he wasn’t happy with the quality of the stories. I think by the time that short was made, Myron was already in the army.

    He related to me just how much hard work the shorts were as the animators had to had extra drawings in order to give the characters weight in their movements.

    The first time I saw any significant number of the shorts was in the offices of DC comics in the late 1970s. They were kind enough to screen several of the company’s 16mm prints for me in a conference room. One of the company’s current artists – I have to check my notes just who – also watched the shorts with me.

    I was told the reason the shorts had fallen into the public domain was because of a clerical error committed by the person who was in charge of just such things – protecting copyrights.

    In any event, I’m thrilled to learn of this release. These are truly wonderful short films that deserve a legitimate platform.

  • Bob Porrazzo

    All I can say about the prospects of this DVD set, it sounds…well…SUPER!

    These are groundbreaking cartoons and gave the world their first actual look at Superman. These ‘toons came out a year after the radio program began.

    Wonder if they’ll include one of the later half-hour episodes of The Adventures of Superman radio program. After all Bud Collyer was the voice not only radio but in the cartoons of Superman.

    ICYW, the first episodes of Superman were 15-minutes like movie serials daily on The Mutual Network. At about 1948 or so, it went to a half hour format on a weekly basis, first on Mutual, then on ABC Radio. You can go to Radio Spirits to find out more info on the Superman radio program. And if you have Sirius Satellite Radio, Superman is on 7:30 AM and 7:30 PM EST on Radio Classics channel 118.

  • rab smith

    I have a dimestore DVD collection of the entire FLEISCHER/FAMOUS ‘SUPERMAN’ shorts [17 entries?] which is certainly watchable…

    ———-however, the quality of the isolated ‘SUPERMAN’ short [‘MECHANICAL MONSTERS, from memory; I find some of the titles similar-sounding] added as a bonus onto ‘POPEYE’ VOL.2 DVD set blew all other versions I have seen out of the water; and this ‘SUPERMAN’ collection will be an essential purchase I eagerly anticipate.

  • Duck Dodgers

    I hope they really used the original masters with the correct opening and closing. I’m not sure how many times the introduction about the origins of Superman was used in the cartoons.
    I’m not an expert about this shorts but I remember (I could be wrong you know) that later releases used the ending titles of “Superman” for all the subsequent releases or something like that.
    Hope Jerry will watch on this probable error.