Watch the Original Superman Cartoon, from 1941

Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 27 2012 12:24 PM

Watch the Original Superman Cartoon

superman1941
A still from Superman, the 1941 cartoon by Fleischer Studios

YouTube

In 1941, just a few years after Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel sold the rights to Superman to Detective Comics, Inc., for $130, Paramount Pictures bought the film rights to the superhero. Paramount then asked Fleischer Studios to produce a cartoon series, and provided them with an unusually large budget to do so. The result, according to one survey of distinguished animators, was the 33rd greatest cartoon of all-time. The first, 10-minute Superman cartoon was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short. (It lost to Disney's Lend a Paw, starring Pluto.)

Last week, Warner Brothers, which now owns the rights to the Man of Steel—and which won a major court battle in October about those rights—put the cartoon up on YouTube, newly restored, together with eight other installments in the series (there were 16 altogether). You can watch the influential and visually stunning cartoon below. Enjoy.

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David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog. Follow him on Twitter.