Fleischer Superman on Blu Ray

I’m excited!

Some time ago, I preordered the new, remastered, Blu Ray edition of the Fleischer Studios Superman cartoons. This release has been getting mixed reviews. It seems that the remaster restored the original brilliant colors but did so at the expense of some film grain and detail.

But I don’t care!

I love these cartoons. The Fleischers did beautiful, innovative work in animation.

If you don’t know the story, in 1941 Paramount obtained the rights to produce Superman cartoons. They approached their animation partners, the Fleischer Studios, to make a series of color shorts. The Fleischers were busy with other products (and internal strife) and didn’t want to make it. But, they didn’t want to seem unwilling, either. So, they told Paramount they couldn’t possibly do it for less than $500,000 per episode. Paramount countered with $250,000. And for that kind of money, Fleischer couldn’t say no!

The cartoons feature the voices of Bud Collyer and Joan Alexander who also played Clark and Lois on the radio. This series gave Superman many of his familiar abilities including flight. The Fleischer animators thought that Superman jumping just looked goofy.

Anyway, I was notified that the package will arrive on Monday. And I am stoked!

To get ready for Superman’s arrival, I have been rewatching the Fleischer Studios Popeye cartoons from 1933-1940.

Who else has these on order? Who else loves the Fleischer Superman cartoons?


I watched a bunch of these back when they were on this service. It’s great! I had seen some a long time ago, so it was fun to revisit!


I like the old cartoonish art style in general. These were kind of cool to watch on here back in the day.

I’ll need to try and pick up a copy!


I have the blu-ray sitting on top of my little DVD rack.

Now, to find the time since Lady Beatnik wanted to watch with me and our schedules have been crazy this month.


The cartoons are all public domain. You can see them free on YouTube. But these Blu Ray discs are remastered and should look great.


The package arrived today. It was a day later than Amazon promised but I don’t mind. My postal carrier does not have to work on a federal holiday just because I ordered from a giant internet retailer.

First impressions: The disc comes in a standard blue plastic case. Nothing special there. A removable paper insert serves as a cover for the case. It features a handsome graphic of Fleischer’s Superman and Lois. Supe’s shirtfront symbol is a red S on a black diamond-shaped background surrounded by a yellow border.

The inside of the insert has a table of contents and another handsome picture of Superman.

The disc itself is red with the word “Superman” in a familiar font.

There are three special features on the disc, only one of which is new. They are titled Max Fleischer’s Superman: Speeding Toward Tomorrow (the new one), First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series, and The Man, The Myth, Superman. I have watched the first two. They share a brief history of Fleischer’s studio and the Superman cartoons. They talk up the quality of the art and animation. They talk about the influence these cartoons have had on later animation–especially their influence on Batman: The Animated Series. It’s nice to see familiar names like Paul Dini and Bruce Timm serve as commentators in these mini-documentaries.

The disc includes 17 cartoons. The first 9 were made by Fleischer Studios. The remaining 8 were produced under the “Famous Studios” name after Paramount took control of the company. The Fleischer brothers themselves were ousted but the artists, writers, etc. were retained.

I’m looking forward to watching these cartoons. I have seen most of them before but I love them and have great hope for the remastering. I’ll try to write something about each of the cartoons as I watch them. Follow along and feel free to add your comments. I would love to know what you think, too!


I love the Fleischer cartoons, and their Superman cartoons are among their very best. I think they capture Golden Age comic books perfectly.


Happy DCU Anniversary.


Happy Anniversary @mercurie80! :confetti_ball::cake::tada:




Thank you!

1 Like

Thank you!


Yes! The Fleischer Studios were animation pioneers and innovators! They gave us the rotoscope. Their early Out of the Inkwell cartoons where Koko the Clown interacts with the real-life Max Fleischer are still something to see. The Fleischers gave us Betty Boop and those early Popeye cartoons. The sense of weight and dimensionality that they depicted are still unequalled.

It appears that Anniversary congratulations are in order, mercurie80!

I have now watched the third of the 13 minute long special features on the DVD. The Man, The Myth, Superman draws parallels between Superman and ancient mythological characters such as Gilgamesh and Hercules. It’s okay but, if it were submitted to me as a class project, I would have to grade down straining to make a point and for confusing types of folk tale. Superman is more akin to a legend (like Paul Bunyan) than a myth.

Yes, I’m being pedantic. I know. It’s my job.


Yes! Fleischer Studios were true pioneers. They really do deserve to be as well known as Disney. They pioneered so much. I saw my first Fleischer cartoons as a kid and even then I realized they were something special

Thanks for the anniversary congratulations!

I haven’t watched The Man, The Myth, Superman yet, but I have to agree with you. Superman is more akin to legend than myth. He’s closer to Pecos Bill than Hercules.


I spend a lot of time teaching my students about the academic meaning of “myth.” A lot of them have trouble differentiating between the popular meaning of the word (a MyTH iS nOt TrUE) and the scholarly sense (myths may not be factual but they teach important truths).

So, maybe it’s a sore subject with me. :smile:


I haven’t watched every short yet, but of those I have seen so far, the HD transfers look beautiful and I don’t see anything to complain about.

I think it can go without saying that the HD remasters are the best these shorts have looked since their original prints were struck and initially exhibited in 1941 (and they may even look better than that).

Not on order, as I bought the digital package when it debuted in May.

Raises his right hand.

I absolutely love the Fleischer Superman shorts and have been a fan since I watched them on VHS when I was a little kid. I’ve owned them on VHS, DVD, third-party Blu-ray (an absolutely terrible release from a workout video company of all places), Blu-ray (The Superman Motion Picture Anthology box set, where they were the 2006 SD transfers on Blu-ray discs and not in HD in any way) and now own them on digital HD.

Fleischer Superman in HD was always seen as a “It’d be great to have one day, but will it ever happen?” dream in home video enthusiast circles, so the fact that we now have them in HD and that they look glorious is indeed a dream come true.

SN: Of the shorts I’ve watched so far, I was very impressed with The Bulleteers. It was a stunning remaster from start to finish.

Between the 4K editions of the Reeve sequels and the HD remasters of the Fleischer Superman shorts, 2023 has been a very good year for DC-minded home video geeks.


I don’t recall when I first saw these cartoons. It was probably on a black and white TV in my childhood.

I can only imagine what it would have been like to be a 10 year old in 1941. Your mom gave you 15 cents and sent you off to the movies on a Saturday morning. With an A and B feature, a newsreel, a short subject or two, and a couple of cartoons, you would be there all day.

You probably knew the Superman cartoon was coming. There had been a trailer for it, after all. There might even have been a poster or lobby card to advertise it. You knew Superman from the comics, the newspaper strips, and the radio program. And suddenly, there he was, bigger than life in dazzling technicolor on the silver screen.

It couldn’t get much better.

  1. The Mad Scientist

First, this cartoon looks gorgeous, pristine. As far as I can tell, the remastering is flawless.The color is vibrant. It is a delight for the eyes.

The story is light on plot. We are introduced briefly to the destruction of Krypton. Superman’s extraordinary powers (speed, strength, leaping!) owe, not to the yellow sun, but to the Kryptonians’ evolutionary advancement. Once on earth, Krypton’s last son is not found by the Kents but given, first, to an orphanage and later adopted. As an adult, Clark works for the Daily Planet which keeps him informed of looming threats.

The villain of this story, a generic, nameless mad scientist threatens to destroy Metropolis with his electrothanasia ray.

Lois, whose character will be redesigned, goes to investigate. This is a hallmark of the series. Lois is courageous, intrepid, and will do anything to get a story. She is also, apparently, an accomplished aviator. It is her natural boldness that lands her in trouble again and again requiring Superman to rescue her.

This cartoon uses dialogue sparingly. The visuals carry the day: low angles, dutch angles, overhead shots, dramatic lighting, art deco sets, and the colors, the beautiful colors.

The Fleischers loved to animate machinery. The Mad Scientist’s ray machine sparks and arcs and bubbles delightfully.

Their previous output had always been comical and I don’t think they quite trusted themselves to tell a serious story yet. The Mad Scientist has a comical bird for a companion. Such silliness will soon be dropped from the series.

Sammy Timberg’s score is magnificent. The Superman theme equals John Williams’s 1978 Superman score. Bud Collyer’s reading of “This is a job…for Superman” is iconic.

In a nutshell, I love this cartoon. It’s a great start to a series that would get even better.

What do you think of The Mad Scientist?

  1. The Mechanical Monsters

The second cartoon in this series introduces us to another of Superman’s amazing abilities: X-ray vision. It’s mentioned in the opening sequence and put to good use in the story. Our hero still is not able to fly, however, and at one point falls into a mass of high tension electrical lines. Superman in 1941 was not quite so fully powered as he is today. Freeing himself from sparking lines takes some effort.

We also get a slightly redesigned Lois. She now has wider eyes and lighter hair. She is still a courageous reporter, though, willing to risk everything for a scoop. Once again, her bravery lands her in a spot of bother.

And once more we have a generic villain, a nameless genius inventor in a remote lair. Why he dresses in a tux is anyone’s guess. He may be an inventive whiz and a natty dresser, but this villain is clearly lacking in social awareness. At one juncture, he says to Lois, “So you won’t tell me (where the jewels are), eh? You’ll soon change your tune!” Lois, meanwhile, has been gagged and is unable to speak!

Motivated by greed, the inventor sends his giant, flying, flame-throwing robots out to steal fabulous riches. There are at least 27 of these mechanical monsters, each conveniently numbered. Their design is something to behold! The Fleschers loved to animate mechanical things and these robots are just gorgeous. There is a slight continuity problem involving Robot 13…or is it 5? One can only guess as to why the villain needed so many mechanical monsters. Maybe it was just to put a beat down on the Man of Steel.

Exactly how the inventor manufactured his giant robots goes unexplained. It must have involved huge vats of molten metal, however, as he has several in his lair. That lair is gorgeously rendered and the metal looks as if it could really burn you!

In spite of any small issues, this cartoon provides another 10 minutes of thrilling action and visual delight. Like the first cartoon, this one ends with Clark winking to the audience. He knows we know that he is Superman.

Have you seen it? Did you love it? Did you catch the continuity issue?

Edit to add: Oh, yeah. Clark changes his clothes in a phone booth. I remember phone booths. They weren’t terribly private. I think Supes’ powers must include the ability to frost glass.


If anyone doesn’t already own this then you are a horrible person. And were probably offended when Superman man-handled Hitler.


“The Mechanical Monsters” may be my favorite of the Fleischer Superman cartoons. It does have its problems, but it is non-stop action and Fleischer Studios was really good at animating machinery.