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Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, this amazing stranger from the Planet Krypton, the Man of Steel…

Today’s Link:



In conversation, a friend of mine once coined the term “fauxstalgia” – or when one feels nostalgic for something they weren’t technically alive for. For me, nothing inspires this feeling like Max Fleischer’s Superman cartoons of the 1940s.

These 17 monumental shorts featuring the daring (and sometimes war propaganda filled) exploits of Superman and Lois Lane, each beautifully crafted, were quite possibly as instrumental to the takeoff of the superhero phenomenon as Action Comics #1. From these, the standards for what a hero should be were set. These film reel cartoons also birthed a new respect for the field of animation, inspiring artists to this day from Bruce Timm (who based Batman: The Animated Series on these shorts) to master anime craftsman Hayao Miyazaki.

Not to mention how instrumental it was to the Superman mythos itself: the above monologue, the “It’s a bird, it’s a plane” exchange, “this looks like a job for Superman,” and “truth justice and the American Way” all find their births right here. Without these cartoons, we never would have seen George Reeves’ Adventures of Superman television show of the 1950s, never have been graced by Christopher Reeve’s redefining Superman of the 1970s- really, without this DC Comics loses its entire foothold in the film and television industry. At the end of the day, it all comes back to Superman.

And because these cartoon reels, originally shown in theaters in an era where the television set was not yet a household item, are all now in the public domain, freemoviesonline.com has each of them available for your enjoyment and edification. From The Mad Scientist to Secret Agent, you’ll be glued to your seat with childlike wonder. Even if you don’t happen to be a child of World War II.

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10 Comments Post New »

  1. Ian wrote on at August 9, 2010 10:59 pm:

    I had no idea these were so well crafted. It took a second for it to sink in that these are actually from the 40s.


  2. Gorblax wrote on at August 9, 2010 11:15 pm:

    Watch one of these, and then an episode of Batman: The Animated Series. Pay attention to the scenery. The influences are readily apparent.


    Ian replied on August 11th, 2010 at 9:36 pm:

    yeah, I can really see what you’re talking about. I think I saw an interview or special features where they talked about how Batman’s world is what it would be like if the world fairs just kept happening, and that style stayed and grew.


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  4. bob melvin wrote on at March 29, 2013 7:18 am:

    Love those old cartoons from the 40’s and 50’s.
    They sure don’t make them like they used to.


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