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Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!*
This amazing stranger from the planet Krypton!
The man of steel! (gong ring) SUPERMAN!"From the studio that brought you such classics as Betty Boop and Popeye The Sailor, Fleischer Studios played a major role in cementing the Man of Steel as a pop culture icon by means of these lavishly animated, massive budget short subjects which served to bring Superman to the big screen, from The Golden Age of Animation. These cartoons were a big deal back in the '40s — the first short, "The Mad Scientist", nearly won the 1942 Academy Award (losing to a Disney Pluto short, "Lend A Paw") and has placed No. 33 on The 50 Greatest Cartoons list. These cartoons were among the first cartoons that were made for genuine action and drama, rather than crude comedy, which was part of what contributed to their success. Paramount in fact had such confidence in the shorts being a hit, they even had had trailers made for them — that's right, trailers for short cartoons. Try to wrap your head around that.The Fleischer Brothers, Max and Dave, had to make similar mental gymnastics themselves at the beginning when they were approached by Paramount to make this series. Already stretched from their ill-fated feature film projects and the terrible falling out between them, they were in no mood to take on this project, which presented considerable demands for a more realistic style. So, they tried to scare off the studio execs by saying they would need around $100,000 per short, an astronomical figure considering the typical Walt Disney Pictures short, the biggest averaged budgeted company in animation was around $25,000. To their shock, Paramount compromised at $50,000 per short and the Fleischers just could not turn down money like that, making the Superman cartoons the biggest budgeted (adjust for inflation) animation short series in Hollywood history. And boy, does it show in the art.On top of that, this was the series that turned Superman into a Flying Brick. To elaborate, the Fleischers intended to just have him jump like in the comics of the time, but they couldn't animate it without it looking stupid and awkward, so they just copped out and gave him flight.On a side note, only the first nine shorts were made by Fleischer Studios, with the other eight being handled by Famous Studios, their successor. Alas, the basic American economics of the Short Film format in the Golden Age of Hollywood, where such films earned a set fee for screenings regardless of audience interest, couldn't sustain the series and it ended as simply too expensive.On another note, in the late forties, Columbia Pictures made an unrelated live action series of Superman serials, which featured Supes turning into an animated version of himself whenever he flew, reportedly due to budget constraints.These cartoons were also a huge influence on the DC Animated Universe as a whole, as well as filmmakers like Hayao Miyazaki.To date, all 17 of the cartoons have fallen into the Public Domain and are all free to view on Youtube. For your convenience, links have been provided below in the filmography.
— The iconic opening of the shorts.
Fleischer/Famous Superman Filmography
Tropes Employed In This Series Include: