the adult collector and is not suitable for children."
I'm still psyched
about Warner Brothers releasing Max Fleischer's original
Superman cartoons in one beautifully remastered set. For
years, when new acquaintances wanted to give me a cool but
cheap Christmas gift, they would pick up one of the public
domain copies available from $1 to $5 on VHS or DVD at TargWalBuy.
Sure, the thought
really counted, but aside from having about four different
compilations of the cartoons, they were scratchy, faded
and often with those annoying jumps that come from having
lost the original elements.
dim their power, though. Fleischer and for a time his brother
Dave made history with these shorts. A few years before
Kirk Alyn put on the tights - and still had to be animated
when he used his powers - the Fleischers made movie audiences
believe a man could fly. At least, in eight minute increments.
A few years
ago, Warner put the kibosh on their flagship character flying
around in the public domain by digitally remastering the
shorts. Initially spread out over the DVDs for either the
Superman Collection Collector's set or the "Christopher
Reeve Collection" they released in Christmas 2007, they
were welcome extras, but still, collectors needed them all
in one place.
Here it is.
As beautiful as before, with documentaries putting everything
in historical perspective. But I have a bone to pick with
that warning I put up top. I won't argue that not all
of the shorts are suitable for children. Because many were
filmed during World War II, some feature racial stereotypes
that may cause you to shake your head. No way should you
show your child "Japoteurs" or "Jungle Drums," though both
have been available on those cute public domain cheapies
with no outcry.
of the cartoons work incredibly well for kids, even today.
Fast-paced, full of energy, and simple in plotting but not
simplistic, this is the Superman you want your kids to root
for. The initial episode, titled "Superman," stands out
as great for kids, along with "Terror on the Midway" (Superman
takes on rogue circus animals) and "The Mummy Strikes" (come
ON! Supes versus a Mummy!).
Each one gives
you everything you need to know about Superman and his world.
Voice artist Bud Collyer became so iconic in the role, he
played it in radio and cartoons up until his death in 1969.
Listen to him change from Clark Kent to Superman, and you'll
know what a debt later actors like Christopher Reeve, Gerard
Christopher and Tim Daly owed to Collyer's work.
So give it a
once over for yourself before showing it to kids, but share
the magic of this stuff. It's not just historic - it's alive.