Yesterday, Warner Bros. quietly post most of the Fleischer Superman cartoons to their You Tube channel. Normally this wouldn’t be big news because (a) the cartoons are in public domain, and (b) Warners released them on DVD years ago.
But since I’ll use any excuse to express my love for this series, here is an embed of the first cartoon (above), an Academy Award nominee of 1941 – and here are individual links to the rest of the films (below):
Warner Bros. owns the original negatives to these films and has restored them to brand new condition. It thrills me no end to be able to watch these version at will, anytime, online. The first nine are not only technically brilliant, but are some of the cleverest little sci-fi concepts ever visualized. A magnetic telescope? An electrical earthquake? Robot jewel thieves? The same kind of ingenuity behind the gags in the Koko the Clown films or Popeye cartoons is at work here.
When the Fleicher’s left the building in 1942, Paramount’s animators finished the contract with eight more films that shift the focus from imaginative science fiction to conflicts with our wartime enemies, ancient mummies and petty thugs (if you want to see those online, go here).
These are some of the best cartoon shorts ever made – and were not like any Hollywood cartoons before or since. If you’ve never seen them you owe it to yourself to check them out – and if you have, no further urging by me is necessary. Enjoy!
(Thanks, “Paramount Cartoons”)