You can now watch on YouTube some of the greatest super-hero cartoons ever produced — the 1940s era Max Fleisher Superman cartoons!
In 1941, just a few years after Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel sold the rights to Superman to Detective Comics, Inc., for $130, Paramount Pictures bought the film rights to the superhero. Paramount then asked Fleischer Studios to produce a cartoon series, and provided them with an unusually large budget to do so. The result, according to one survey of distinguished animators, was the 33rd greatest cartoon of all-time. The first, 10-minute Superman cartoon was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short. (It lost to Disney’s Lend a Paw, starring Pluto.)
I just watched the initial installment and it’s really great. The score is fabulous, and while the story is simple be today’s standards it’s still a lot of fun. Some of the elements of the mythos we take for granted today are missing (Superman was raised in an orphanage, not by the Kents) and some are different (Krypton was a planet that glowed like a star), but it’s still unmistakably Superman. And unmistakably fun. Enjoy!