Western Animation / The New Adventures of Superman

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The New Adventures of Superman was a series of six-minute animated Superman adventures produced by Filmation between 1966 and 1970. The 68 segments appeared as part of three different programs during that time.

The first TV series produced by Filmation Associates, The New Adventures of Superman was extremely popular in its Saturday morning time slot and, despite having obviously been developed for young children, employed the services of several DC comic book writers including George Kashdan. Many of the character designs (later based upon the artwork of Superman artist Curt Swan in the show's third season) stayed true to their comic book counterparts; iconic shirt-rip shots and related transformations from Clark Kent into Superman were incorporated into almost every episode, and such lines as "Up, up, and away!" and "This is a job for Superman!" were also borrowed from comics and the original Superman radio show. Due to a limited production budget, stock animation was often re-used for certain shots of Superman flying (or switching identities from Clark Kent into the Man of Steel), while character movement was often kept at a minimum.

Producer Lou Scheimer also recruited Bud Collyer and Joan Alexander, veterans from the Superman radio show and the Superman Theatrical Cartoons, for the voices of Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane respectively. Jackson Beck, who had been the narrator and the voice of Perry White on the radio show, reprised those same roles for the cartoon version, while Jack Grimes, who had played Jimmy Olsen in its later years, took that part here as well. For this series, Collyer returned to the same vocal technique he'd perfected on the radio show to play the Man of Steel. While in the identity of Clark Kent, Collyer would keep his voice lighter while projecting a sense of weakness. But when the mild-mannered reporter would change into his true identity of Superman, Collyer's voice would deepen dramatically into a heroic baritone. Alexander departed after the first season and was replaced by Julie Bennett in later seasons.

Not directly related to the live action television series Lois & Clark, billed as The New Adventures of Superman outside the USA.


The New Adventures of Superman contains examples of:

  • All Webbed Up: Jimmy Olsen gets wrapped up in a cocoon when he is kidnapped by the leader of the Insect Raiders in "The Insect Raiders".
  • Amusement Park of Doom: In "Luthor's Loco Looking Glass", Luthor sets up his base of operation in an abandoned amusement pier. For some reason, the Tunnel of Love has horror figures in it.
  • The Ark: In "Superman Meets Brainiac", Brainiac raids Earth to gather creatures to repopulate a planet devastated by atomic wars.
  • Artistic License – Astronomy: "Rain of Iron". A villain bounces iron balls off an asteroid and back to specific targets on Earth.
  • Artistic License – Biology: An Artistic License – Paleontology example - The title creatures in "Prehistoric Pterodactyls". Where to begin...
  • Artistic License – Physics: Several examples.
  • Aside Glance: Superman and Superboy turned and looked at the camera (usually winking as well) at the end of almost every episode.
  • Asteroids Monster: In "Lava Men", Superman discovers that punching the Lava Man causes it ti split into a bunch of blobs that grow into identical Lava Men.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Titano in "The Chimp Who Made It Big".
  • Attack the Mouth: In "The Robot of Riga", Superman flies into the mouth of the Humongous Mecha to sabotage it from the inside.
  • Baby Carriage: In "The Prankster", the Prankster shoves a baby carriage down a hill into a busy intersection as a practical joke.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: The title creatures in "Prehistoric Pterodactyls" and Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane in "The Robot of Riga".
  • Bee Afraid: In "War of the Bee Battalion", criminals force a scientist who has created a growth ray for honeybees to use the device to attack Metropolis
  • Beneath the Earth: In "The Neolithic Nightmare", Jimmy Olsen falls into an underground pocket populated by malevolent creatures, including dragons, rocs, and giant spiders.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: In "The Lethal Lightning Bug", the eponymous creature is a gigantic lightning bug created when lightning strike a swamp.
  • Big Dam Plot: In "The Tree Man of Arbora", the tree man destroys a dam in his insatiable thirst for water, forcing Superman to find a way of stopping the flood before it reaches the town below the dam.
  • Bound and Gagged: Lois Lane twice, Jimmy Olsen once.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Clark Kent winked at the audience at the end of every episode.
  • Bridal Carry: Superman lifts Lois and Jimmy under the knees and back when rescuing them.
  • Brown Note: In "The Toys of Doom", the Toyman uses a calliope that plays music capable of crumbling a skyscraper.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: In "The Wisp of Wickedness", the possessed hat causes a crane driver to attempt to drop a school bus into a metal crusher.
  • Came from the Sky: The title creature in "The Iron Eater".
  • Captain Obvious: The narrator, who will solemnly intone that Superman is punching the monster as the screen shows Superman punching the monster. No one can do anything without the narrator informing you that they are doing it while you are watching them do it.
  • Chained to a Railway: In "Luminians on the Loose", Luthor leaves Jimmy Olsen on the tracks where the express is scheduled to come shortly.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In "Can a Luthor Change His Spots?", Jimmy grimaces at the taste of the water in the water coolers that the supposedly reformed Luthor set up. Later, when Superman is looking for the rockets that Luthor set up to launch the Daily Planet building into space, he remembers what Jimmy said about the water tasting odd. Sure enough, that's where the rockets are.
  • Clothes Make the Maniac: In "The Wisp Of Wickedness", a possessed hat causes anyone who dons it to commit evil acts.
  • Convection Schmonvection: In "The Wisp of Wickedness", a man possessed by the wisp attempts to dump molten iron on Superman and two civilians. Superman protects the civilians by covering them with his cape so they are not splattered with the iron. However, the heat from the molten iron should have been enough to kill them.
  • Conveniently Close Planet: In "Rain of Iron" an asteroid is (a) close enough to Earth for a villain to bounce iron balls off of it and (b) stands still in space instead of orbiting around the Sun.
  • Conveyor Belt-O-Doom: In "The Mysterious Mr Mist", Mr Mist attempts to feed Perry White into a buzz saw on his farm.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Somebody was finally doing it in "Can a Luthor Change his Spots?". Too bad he didn't find it big enough for a real Heel–Face Turn.
  • Dug Too Deep: In "The Fire Phantom", a living flame from Earth's core makes its way to the surface through an old abandoned coal-mine near Metropolis and sets off a mammoth forest fire.
  • Eat the Bomb: In "The Atomic Superman", Superman tests a new explosive by swallowing it. It has the side-effect of causing him to breathe atomic fire.
  • Enemy Mine: "Luminians on the Loose". Superman and Lex Luthor team up to stop the title creatures.
  • Energy Absorption: "The Pernicious Parasite" provides a classic example of Phlebotinum Overload: Superman deals with the Parasite by letting him absorb his nigh-infinite powers until he simply explodes, fatally. Deliberately arranging for an enemy's death was seriously Out of Character for the Man of Steel.
  • Energy Being: In "The Wisp Of Wickedness", a demon becomes a small ball of energy due to a lab accident.
  • Engineered Public Confession: "The Prankster". Superman tricks the title character into a Caught on Tape confession.
  • Evil Knockoff: Toyman constructs an evil Superman robot to frame Superman in "The Two Faces of Superman".
  • Evil Sorcerer: Warlock is a male witch, who derives his black-magic power from a ruby on the end of his cane.
  • Falling Into Jail: In "Return of Warlock", Superman first makes Warlock think his car is about to crash into the wall of the penitentiary, before lifting the car over wall and dumping him out in the prison yard.
  • Fatal Fireworks: In "Luthor's Fatal Fireworks", Lex Luthor captures Jimmy Olsen to lure Superman to the West Coast where he unleashes a bombardment of fireworks laced with kryptonite.
  • Fed to the Beast: In "The Mermen of Emor", the mermen attempt to do this to Jimmy Olsen and two other captured scuba divers as part of their annual games: first with lion sharks, and then a killer whale.
  • Floating in a Bubble: In "Brainiac's Bubbles", Superman and Lois Lois Lane find themselves trapped and floating inside, well, Brainiac's giant bubbles.
  • Flying Broomstick: The Warlock's sister has a flying broomstick. The Warlock steals it from her to embark on his scheme of revenge.
  • For the Evulz: In "The Wisp of Wickedness", the wisp is a ball of vapor consisting of pure concentrated evil. It possesses a hat and forces anyone who dons the hat to commit acts of pure evil, such as trying to run down children in a playground or dump a school bus into a smelter.
  • Fossil Revival: The Warlock uses magic to bring a dinosaur skeleton to life to attack Jimmy Olsen in "Return of Warlock".
  • Fountain of Youth: In "Merlin's Magical Marbles", Lex Luthor and his henchman use the aforementioned marbles to transform themselves into children to allow them to escape undetected from the scenes of their crimes.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: "Luthor's Lethal Laser" and "Luminians on the Loose".
  • Funny Terrain Cross Section: In one episode of The Sdventures of Superboy, Superboy travels underground and the audience sees dinosaur skeletons in cross section.
  • Giant Spider: Jimmy is menaced by an oversized spider in one episode.
  • Harmless Freezing: Two pterodactyls in "Prehistoric Pterodactyls".
  • The Hat Makes the Man: See Clothes Make the Maniac above.
  • I Have Your Wife: In "The Invisible Raiders", the Sorcerer and his men kidnap Jimmy to manipulate Superman.
  • Heel–Face Mole: Lex Luthor in "Can a Luthor Change His Spots?"
  • Hoist By His Own Petard: In "The Electro-Magnetic Monster", Superman uses the Deimosians' own electromagnetic device against their ship to defeat them.
  • Hypno Trinket: See Clothes Make the Maniac above.
  • An Ice Person: In "The Abominable Iceman", the eponymous beast uses his ice powers to freeze Hawaii, icluding freezing a volcano solid.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: In "The Return of Brainiac", Superman, Lois and Jimmy are shrunk down to insect size by Brainiac's shrink ray.
  • Inescapable Net: In "The Men from A.P.E.", Superman dumps the villains in the ocean and then scoops them up in a fishing net. Apparently, Lex Luthor has nothing on him capable of dealing with a net.
  • Jet Pack: In the Superboy episode "The Revolt of Robotville", the robots that capture Clark Kent and Lana Lang and later rob a steel foundry use jet packs to fly.
  • Just Between You and Me: "The Saboteurs". The villain tells Lois Lane and Clark Kent his plan after he captures them.
  • Killer Gorilla: "Ape Army of the Amazon". In South America, an exiled military officer named Colonel Vasta and a disgraced scientist named Dr. Rucas control apes, with the transmitter on Dr. Rucas's back, in a plot to rob an underground treasure.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: In "The Warlock's Revenge", the Warlock wants to borrow his sister's magical ruby to use its powers to exact revenge on Superman but she refuses because she's sure that the Warlock will fail again and Superman will destroy the ruby. The Warlock just takes the ruby by force and it leads to Superman eventually proving her right.
  • Latin Land: In "The Ape Army of the Amazon", the mayor of a Brazilian river village appears to be a Mexican peon.
  • Lava is Boiling Kool-Aid: In "The Atomic Superman", an alien on a fire planet falls into a river of lava. Although immune to heat, the alien has to be rescued by Superman as he is in danger of drowning.
  • Legion of Doom: A.P.E. (Allied Perpetrators of Evil); consisting of Lex Luthor, the Warlock, Toyman and the Prankster who united in an attempt to take down Superman.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: A giant lightning bug that can discharge lethal charges of electricity is created when lighting strikes a swamp in "The Lethal Lightning Bug".
  • Living Statue: The Warlock brings a Civil War statue to life to attack an armoured car in "The Wicked Warlock".
  • Lumber Mill Mayhem: In "The Mysterious Mr Mist", Mr Mist uses a Conveyor Belt-O-Doom to attempt to feed Perry White into a buzz saw on his farm.
  • Meaningful Name. In "The Team of Terror" the villainess is named Satana.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: In "Night of the Octopod", the inactive Octopod is shocked back to life by an electric eel. At the base of Niagara Falls.
  • Mummy: Superman battles the mummy of an evil ancient Egyptian sorcerer in "The Malevolent Mummy."
  • Murder by Remote Control Vehicle: In "The Deadly Dish", Luthor attempts to run Perry White over with a remote control steamroller. By implication, the pile driver and wrecking ball he uses to try and kill Jimmy and Lois must also be remote controlled.
  • Murderous Mannequin: "The Mysterious Mr. Mist". A disembodied spirit possesses a mannequin and tries to drag Lois Lane back to his kingdom Beneath the Earth.
  • Never Say "Die": Played Straight in several episodes, but averted in "The Invisible Raiders", the Sorcerer tells Superman not to trail them "or you will never see the boy [Jimmy] alive again."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In "Can a Luthor Change his Spots?", Jimmy Olsen was so sure the answer was "no" he followed Luthor until he arrived at a bank, where Luthor was using a device to easily open a vault door. Jumping to the conclusion Luthor was trying to rob the bank, Jimmy snatched the device, broke it and closed the door before Luthor had the chance to explain there were two people inside the vault and, unless the invention is fixed (or Superman returns from a far away rescue) on time, they'll suffocate to death.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: In "Luminians on the Loose", Luthor leaves Jimmy Olsen on the tracks where the express is scheduled to come shortly, a bomb under his shoulder (which will detonate if he takes the pressure off the button). His plan is that when Superman (of course) tries to rescue his young friend, the bomb will explode, destroying the bridge. Unfortunately, Superman's keen hearing picks up Luthor gloating about it, and he finds another option.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: In "The Imp-Practical Joker", Mister Mxyzptlk hides among statutes of gnomes on the roof of a carnival fun house.
  • Not My Driver: In "Luthor Strikes Again". After Jimmy Olsen gets into a cab, steel plates slide up covering the windows, trapping him inside. It turns out to be a trap set by Lex Luthor.
  • Officer O'Hara: One appears in the episode "The Cage of Glass".
  • Opening Narration
  • People Zoo: In "The Robot of Riga" the Rigans kidnap Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane to put them in one.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: In "The Pernicious Parasite" , Superman deals with the Parasite by letting him absorb his nigh-infinite powers until he simply explodes, fatally.
  • Properly Paranoid: In "Can a Luthor Change His Spots?", everyone else thinks the answer could be "yes." Jimmy Olsen thinks it's "no." He's right.
  • Put Their Heads Together: Superman uses this on thugs in "The Deadly Super-Doll" and "The Deadly Icebergs".
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: In the episodes "The Team of Terror" and "The Japanese Sandman". In "The Japanese Sandman", the titular monster (who commits evil acts in return for a black pearl) has red eyes.
  • Reverse Polarity: Reversing the polarity of an electric charge transfers the powers of the episode's villain (and some other guy) back to Superman... after they got them from him through an electric shock. Also an example of Now Do It Again Backwards.
  • Road Sign Reversal: In "The Prankster", Superman switches a pair of signs to cause the Prankster to drive his scooter into a river.
  • Rope Bridge: In "The Halyah of the Himalayas", Superman defeats the Halyah by luring it on to a rope bridge, then cutting the ropes to dump the monster into a deep chasm where he can cover it in snow and put it back to sleep.
  • Scary Scarecrows: A scarecrow is one of the forms inhabited by the eponymous villain in "The Mysterious Mr Mist".
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: Lex Luthor in "Luthor Strikes Again".
  • Security Cling: Lois Lane grabs onto Jimmy Olsen when Lex Luthor is aiming a laser at them.
  • Shark Pool: "Luthor's Loco Looking Glass". Lex Luthor puts Jimmy Olsen in a Death Trap involving a sliding floor over a pool of sharks.
  • Ship Tease: At the end of "The Robots of Riga", Clark asks Lois what she's doing that afternoon. She flirtily asks if he's asking her on a drive through the country.
  • Shock and Awe: The antagonists of "The Lethal Lightning Bug" and "Night of the Octopod" have the ability to discharge deadly bolts of lightning.
  • Shrink Ray: Brainiac uses one in multiple episodes, and his master Dr. Hekla does so in one episode.
  • Solar-Powered Magnifying Glass: In "Seeds of Disaster", Super uses the lens from an observatory telescope to focus the sun's rays to incinerate the alien seed pods.
  • South of the Border: Superman saves a very stereotypical Mexican village from the eponymous monsters in "Lava Men".
  • Stripping the Scarecrow: In "The Mysterious Mr. Mist" a mist-like being creates human bodies for itself by inhabiting clothing. One of the first sets of clothing it occupies comes from a scarecrow.
  • Stock Phrases
    • Follow That Car: In "Can a Luthor Change His Spots?", when Lex Luthor hops into a cab, Jimmy Olsen (who's following him) gets into another cab and tells the driver "Follow that cab!"
    • That's an Order!
  • Subverted Suspicion Aesop: "Can a Luthor Change His Spots?" No, no matter how convincing it looks.
  • Surprise Slide Staircase: In "The Warlock's Revenge", the Warlock magically transforms the stairs beneath Lois Lane's feet into a slide to dump her into a busy street.
  • Three Shorts: Two Superman cartoons bookend the middle feature, The Adventures Of Superboy. Bob Hastings (Commissioner Gordon on Batman: The Animated Series) voices young Clark Kent/Superboy.
  • Time Bomb: Lex Luthor uses one in "APE Strikes Again".
  • Trampled Underfoot: Superman is trodden on, and driven into the ground by, the eponymous phantom in "The Force Phantom".
  • Treants: In "The Tree Man of Arbora", a tree-like being brought to life near a meteor crater grows arms and legs and begins wandering about, consuming enormous quantities of water. It displayed enormous physical strength, easily ripping the hood off of a car to get at the water in its motor and breaking a dam apart with its bare fingers. It at one point disguises itself in a forest by standing still and becoming indistinguishable from normal trees, until a boy carving letters into its trunk angers it back into motion. At the end of the episode, Superman takes the creature to the planet of Abora, which is entirely populated by tree men.
  • Voodoo Doll: The Sorcerer uses one on Superman in "The Deadly Super-Doll".
  • The Walls Are Closing In: One of the death traps magically summoned by the Sorcerer in attempt to destroy Superman and Jimmy Olsen in "The Deadly Super-Doll".
  • Weapons That Suck: In "The Mysterious Mr Mist", Superman uses an ordinary vacuum cleaner to suck up Mr Mist. However, Mist manages to escape while Superman is busy rescuing Lois.
  • When Trees Attack: In "The Tree Man of Arbora", a tree being brought to life near a meteor crater consumes enormous quantities of water. It proves fairly aggressive, attacking people who anger it and Superman when he goes to investigate.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In "The Wisp of Wickedness", the first person possessed by the wisp attempts to drive his car through a playground, and the second attempts to drop a school bus into a furnace.

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