Search Results for "superman"

How Superman Defeated the KKK (in Real Life): Hear the World-Changing 1946 Radio Drama

Ear­li­er this week, we fea­tured the 1950 Super­man poster that urged stu­dents to defend the Amer­i­can way and fight dis­crim­i­na­tion every­where. Today, we present anoth­er chap­ter from Super­man’s lit­tle-known his­to­ry as a Civ­il Rights defend­er.

The year is 1946. World War II has come to an end. And now mem­ber­ship in the Ku Klux Klan starts to rise again. Enter Stet­son Kennedy, a human rights activist, who man­ages to infil­trate the KKK and then finds out an inge­nious way to take them down. He con­tacts the pro­duc­ers of the pop­u­lar Adven­tures of Super­man radio show, and pitch­es them on a new sto­ry­line: Super­man meets and defeats the KKK. Need­ing a new ene­my to van­quish, the pro­duc­ers green­light the idea.

The 16-episode series, “The Clan of the Fiery Cross,” aired in June, 1946 and effec­tive­ly chipped away at the Klan’s mys­tique, grad­u­al­ly reveal­ing their secret code­words and rit­u­als. Lis­ten to the episodes above. And take heart in know­ing this: Accord­ing to Stephen J. Dub­n­er and Steven Levitt, the authors of Freako­nom­icsThe Clan of the Fiery Cross was “the great­est sin­gle con­trib­u­tor to the weak­en­ing of the Ku Klux Klan.” Mocked and triv­i­al­ized, the Klan’s num­bers went back on the decline.

For more infor­ma­tion on this chap­ter in super­hero his­to­ry, read the well-reviewed YA book, Super­man Ver­sus the Ku Klux Klan: The True Sto­ry of How the Icon­ic Super­hero Bat­tled the Men of Hate. Also find more infor­ma­tion on these episodes at the Super­man Home­page.

To hear more orig­i­nal Super­man radio shows, head over to

Note: there is a lit­tle bit of a con­tro­ver­sy about what exact role Stet­son Kennedy played in infil­trat­ing the Klan. You can read up on that here.

Thanks, Alis­sa, for call­ing this radio series to our atten­tion.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Orig­i­nal 1940s Super­man Car­toon: Watch 17 Clas­sic Episodes Free Online

1950 Super­man Poster Urged Kids to Defend All Amer­i­cans, Regard­less of Their Race, Reli­gion or Nation­al Ori­gin

Read Mar­tin Luther King and The Mont­gomery Sto­ry: The Influ­en­tial 1957 Civ­il Rights Com­ic Book


1950 Superman Poster Urged Kids to Defend All Americans, Regardless of Their Race, Religion or National Origin


It makes sense that Super­man would take a tol­er­ant view of immi­grants and oth­er minori­ties, giv­en that he him­self arrived on Earth as a refugee from the plan­et Kryp­ton.

The Man of Steel may strike you as an unlike­ly mouth­piece for pro­gres­sive ideals, but 1950 found him on a book cov­er, above, engaged in con­ver­sa­tion with a small crowd of most­ly white boys:

“…and remem­ber, boys and girls, your school – like our coun­try – is made up of Amer­i­cans of many dif­fer­ent races, reli­gions and nation­al ori­gins, so … If YOU hear any­body talk against a school­mate or any­one else because of his reli­gion, race or nation­al ori­gin – don’t wait: tell him THAT KIND OF TALK IS UN-AMERICAN. HELP KEEP YOUR SCHOOL ALL-AMERICAN!”

In oth­er words, cit­i­zens must steel them­selves to take action, because you can’t always count on a super­hero to show up and make things right.

The cheap paper jack­et, above, was dis­trib­uted to school chil­dren by the Insti­tute For Amer­i­can Democ­ra­cy, an off­shoot of the New York-based Anti-Defama­tion League.

(Per­haps Pres­i­dent Elect was too young to receive a copy. The back of the cov­er includes a grid for fill­ing in one’s class sched­ule and he was but four years old at the time.)

Super­man could not sur­vive Dooms­day, but the Anti-Defama­tion League, plan­et Krp­ty­on to the illus­tra­tion’s orig­i­nal dis­trib­uter, con­tin­ues to uphold the val­ues he pro­motes above.

Jonathan Green­blatt, the ADL’s CEO issued a post-Elec­tion state­ment that reads in part:

Already there have been trou­bling signs of a spike in hate crimes in the days after the elec­tion. As we look ahead, ADL will be vig­i­lant against extrem­ism and relent­less­ly hold the new admin­is­tra­tion account­able. You can expect ADL to be unwa­ver­ing in its com­mit­ment to fight­ing anti-Semi­tism, racism and big­otry.  We will mon­i­tor devel­op­ments and speak out.

And wher­ev­er and when­ev­er Jews, minor­i­ty groups, immi­grants, and oth­ers are mar­gin­al­ized or our civ­il lib­er­ties are threat­ened, ADL vig­or­ous­ly will defend those rights … We will not shrink from the fight ahead regard­less of where it takes us.

In addi­tion to main­tain­ing a data­base of hate sym­bols and a form where cit­i­zens can report Anti-Semit­ic, racist, or big­ot­ed encoun­ters, the ADL has a robust list of edu­ca­tion­al resources for par­ents, teach­ers and youth.

Mean­while, a full col­or ver­sion of the 66-year-old illus­tra­tion has been mak­ing the rounds on social media. Let us con­sid­er it a place­hold­er. Even­tu­al­ly some­one will sure­ly take it back to the draw­ing board to add more girls, chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties, and chil­dren of col­or.


Relat­ed Con­tent:

High School Teacher & Holo­caust Expert Sus­pend­ed for Draw­ing Par­al­lels Between Trump & Hitler’s Rhetoric

Read Mar­tin Luther King and The Mont­gomery Sto­ry: The Influ­en­tial 1957 Civ­il Rights Com­ic Book

Bat­man Stars in an Unusu­al Car­toon Adap­ta­tion of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Pun­ish­ment

Dr. Seuss Draws Anti-Japan­ese Car­toons Dur­ing WWII, Then Atones with Hor­ton Hears a Who!

The Orig­i­nal 1940s Super­man Car­toon: Watch 17 Clas­sic Episodes Free Online

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Her play Zam­boni Godot is open­ing in New York City in March 2017. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.


Nietzsche’s Concept of Superman Explained with Monty Python-Style Animation

Friedrich Niet­zsche first intro­duced the con­cept of the Über­men­sch — often trans­lat­ed in Eng­lish as “The Super­man” — in his influ­en­tial philo­soph­i­cal work, Thus Spake Zarathus­tra (1883), writ­ing:

I TEACH YOU THE SUPERMAN. Man is some­thing that is to be sur­passed. What have ye done to sur­pass man?

All beings hith­er­to have cre­at­ed some­thing beyond them­selves: and ye want to be the ebb of that great tide, and would rather go back to the beast than sur­pass man?…

Lo, I teach you the Super­man!

The Super­man is the mean­ing of the earth. Let your will say: The Super­man SHALL BE the mean­ing of the earth!

I con­jure you, my brethren, REMAIN TRUE TO THE EARTH, and believe not those who speak unto you of super­earth­ly hopes! Poi­son­ers are they, whether they know it or not.

Despis­ers of life are they, decay­ing ones and poi­soned ones them­selves, of whom the earth is weary: so away with them!

Once blas­phe­my against God was the great­est blas­phe­my; but God died, and there­with also those blas­phe­mers. To blas­pheme the earth is now the dread­fulest sin, and to rate the heart of the unknow­able high­er than the mean­ing of the earth!

As Eva Cybul­s­ka observes in an arti­cle on Phi­los­o­phy Now, Niet­zsche nev­er quite spelled out what he meant by Übermensch/The Super­man, leav­ing it to lat­er inter­preters to fill in the blanks. She notes: “RJ Holling­dale (in Niet­zsche) saw in Über­men­sch a man who had organ­ised the chaos with­in; [Wal­ter] Kauf­mann (Niet­zsche) a sym­bol of a man that cre­at­ed his own val­ues, and Carl Jung (Zarathustra’s Sem­i­nars) a new ‘God’. For Hei­deg­ger it rep­re­sent­ed human­i­ty that sur­passed itself, whilst for the Nazis it became an emblem of the mas­ter race.”

You can now add to the list of inter­pre­ta­tions anoth­er by Alain de Bot­ton’s School of Life. In a new­ly-released ani­mat­ed video, de Bot­ton treats The Super­man as the incar­na­tion of human per­fec­tion. Embody­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics pos­sessed by Goethe, Mon­taigne, Voltaire and Napoleon (peo­ple who came clos­est to achiev­ing per­fec­tion in Niet­zsche’s mind), the Übermenschen/Supermen will live by their own val­ues (Pagan in nature); delight in their supe­ri­or­i­ty and take pity on the weak; per­haps hurt peo­ple in the name of achiev­ing great things; accept that suf­fer­ing can be a nec­es­sary evil; use cul­ture to raise the men­tal­i­ty of the soci­ety around them; and beyond.

Whether you see The Super­man dif­fer­ent­ly is anoth­er ques­tion. You can down­load Thus Spake Zarathus­tra from our Dig­i­tal Niet­zsche col­lec­tion and come up with your own take.

And, tan­gen­tial­ly, you can watch The Orig­i­nal 1940s Super­man Car­toon Free Online.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Down­load 100 Free Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es and Start Liv­ing the Exam­ined Life

Free Online Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es

135 Free Phi­los­o­phy eBooks

The Dig­i­tal Niet­zsche: Down­load Nietzsche’s Major Works as Free eBooks

Hear Clas­si­cal Music Com­posed by Friedrich Niet­zsche: 43 Orig­i­nal Tracks

How Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. Used Hegel, Kant & Niet­zsche to Over­turn Seg­re­ga­tion in Amer­i­ca


The 1982 DC Comics Style Guide Is Online: A Blueprint for Superman, Batman & Your Other Favorite Superheroes

DC Style Guide 1

Even if you don’t like com­ic books, think of names like Super­man, Bat­man, and Won­der Woman, and you get a very clear men­tal pic­ture indeed. Clas­sic super­heroes live, breathe, bat­tle supervil­lians, and even die and return to life across decades upon decades of sto­ry­lines (and often more than one at once), but we all know them because, just like the most endur­ing cor­po­rate logos, they also stand as sur­pass­ing­ly effec­tive works of com­mer­cial art. But giv­en that count­less dif­fer­ent artists in var­i­ous media have had to ren­der these super­heroes over those decades, how have their images remained so utter­ly con­sis­tent?

DC Style Guide 2

That owes to doc­u­ments such as the 1982 DC Comics Style Guide, scanned and recent­ly post­ed to a Face­book group for fans of com­ic-book artist José Luis Gar­cía-López. Hav­ing spent most of his career with DC Comics, care­tak­er of Super­man, Bat­man, Won­der Woman, and many oth­er well-known and much-licensed heroes and vil­lains besides, Gar­cía-López sure­ly knows in his very bones the sort of details of cos­tume, physique, pos­ture, and bear­ing these style guides exist to con­vey.

DC Style Guide 3

Being 33 years old, this par­tic­u­lar style guide does­n’t per­fect­ly reflect the way all of DC’s super­heroes look today, what with the aes­thet­ic changes made to keep them hip year on year. But you’ll notice that, while fash­ions tend to have their way with the more minor char­ac­ters (long­time DC fans espe­cial­ly lament the head­band and big hair this style guide inflict­ed upon Super­girl), the major ones still look, on the whole, pret­ty much the same. Sure, Super­man has the strength and the flight, Bat­man has the wealth and the vast armory of high-tech crime-fight­ing tools, and Won­der Woman can do pret­ty much any­thing, but all those abil­i­ties pale in com­par­i­son to the sheer pow­er of their design. You can flip through the rest of the Style Guide here.

dc style guide 5


(via Metafil­ter)

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Down­load Over 22,000 Gold­en & Sil­ver Age Com­ic Books from the Com­ic Book PlusArchive

Down­load 15,000+ Free Gold­en Age Comics from the Dig­i­tal Com­ic Muse­um

Kapow! Stan Lee Is Co-Teach­ing a Free Com­ic Book MOOC, and You Can Enroll for Free

Bat­man & Oth­er Super Friends Sit for 17th Cen­tu­ry Flem­ish Style Por­traits

Col­in Mar­shall writes on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.


75 Years of Superman in 2 Minutes

As we told you this sum­mer, Super­man is cel­e­brat­ing his 75th Anniver­sary this year. And to help com­mem­o­rate this mile­stone, “Man of Steel direc­tor Zack Sny­der teamed up with artist and ani­ma­tor extra­or­di­naire Bruce Timm to cre­ate a two-minute short that traces the Man of Steel’s his­to­ry from Superman’s debut on the cov­er of 1938’s Action Comics #1 all the way to Hen­ry Cav­ill in Man of Steel.” After you watch the video, you’ll want to head over to DC Comics, where they’ve cre­at­ed a long list of anno­ta­tions that explain the some­times sub­tle ref­er­ences in the short. You’ll also want to revis­it our post where we fea­tured Super­man (or The Mad Sci­en­tist), the 1941 film that marked Super­man’s first appear­ance on the big screen. Plus you can lis­ten to the Adven­tures of Super­man radio dra­ma that aired between 1938 and 1951. Enjoy the trib­ute.

via Metafil­ter

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Cel­e­brate Superman’s 75th Anniver­sary by Enjoy­ing the Orig­i­nal Super­man Car­toon and Radio Show

The Mechan­i­cal Mon­sters: Sem­i­nal Super­man Ani­mat­ed Film from 1941 (by Maria Popo­va)

A Look Inside Mel Blanc’s Throat as He Per­forms the Voic­es of Bugs Bun­ny and Oth­er Car­toon Leg­ends


The Original 1940s Superman Cartoon: Watch 17 Classic Episodes Free Online

On the eve of yet anoth­er Super­man movie reboot—coming tomor­row with all the usu­al sum­mer hit fan­fare and noise—take a moment before gorg­ing your­self on pop­corn and extrav­a­gant CGI spec­ta­cles to reflect on the character’s endur­ing­ly sim­ple ori­gins. After all, this month marks the 75th anniver­sary of this most icon­ic of Amer­i­can super­heroes, who first appeared in the June 1938 Action Comics #1. The brain­child of Cleve­land high school stu­dents Jer­ry Siegel and Joe Shus­ter (so mem­o­rably fic­tion­al­ized in Michael Chabon’s The Amaz­ing Adven­tures of Kava­lier & Clay), Super­man is what Neil Gaiman calls an arche­typ­al “pri­mal thing,” a char­ac­ter who can be rein­vent­ed every decade while still remain­ing unmis­tak­ably him­self.

Wit­ness, for exam­ple, the first appear­ance of Super­man on the big screen in the 1941 Fleis­ch­er car­toon (top), Super­man (or The Mad Sci­en­tist)—the first in a series of sev­en­teen shorts. On the heels of the first non-print adap­ta­tion of the char­ac­ter—the Adven­tures of Super­man radio dra­ma (lis­ten below)—the car­toon series shows us the orig­i­nal Siegel and Shus­ter hero, a rough-and-tum­ble space alien raised in an orphan­age, not by the kind­ly Kents in rur­al Amer­i­ca.

You’ll notice how­ev­er, that Superman’s resume—more pow­er­ful than a loco­mo­tive, able to leap tall build­ings… etc.—hasn’t changed a bit. But some of the character’s attrib­ut­es and ori­gins were con­sid­er­ably soft­ened after DC Comics edi­tor Whit­ney Ellsworth insti­tut­ed a code of super­hero ethics (many years before the Comics Code Author­i­ty stepped in to cen­sor the whole indus­try).

You can learn even more about Superman’s ori­gins from his cre­ators them­selves, inter­viewed in the clip above for the 1981 BBC doc­u­men­tary Super­man: The Com­ic Strip Hero. Siegel reveals how the idea for Super­man came to him dur­ing one rest­less night in which he com­posed all of the basic script for the char­ac­ter, “an entire­ly new con­cept.” The very next day, Shus­ter sat down at his draw­ing board and Super­man’s look emerged ful­ly-formed. Both cre­ators and their heirs have won and lost high-pro­file law­suits over rights to their char­ac­ters. But legal wran­gling over com­pen­sa­tion aside, there’s no deny­ing that their mad eure­ka moment left an indeli­ble cul­tur­al lega­cy no updat­ed film, logo, or con­tro­ver­sy can dimin­ish.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Orig­i­nal Super­man Car­toon Series Now Online

The Mechan­i­cal Mon­sters: Sem­i­nal Super­man Ani­mat­ed Film from 1941

Free Gold­en Age Comics

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness


Nine Classic Superman Cartoons Restored and Now on YouTube

At the top of this post, you can watch 1941’s Super­man, a short nom­i­nat­ed for an Acad­e­my Award and (accord­ing to 1,000 ani­ma­tion pro­fes­sion­als) the 33rd great­est car­toon of all time. When you’ve done that, how about eight more of the Man of Steel’s most aes­thet­i­cal­ly dis­tinc­tive, pristine­ly restored ani­mat­ed adven­tures? Warn­er Broth­ers has just post­ed them, free for the watch­ing, to their YouTube chan­nel. They orig­i­nal­ly came out of Fleis­ch­er Stu­dios, which ani­ma­tion buffs will know meant a true mark of qual­i­ty back then. “Then,” in this case, means the ear­ly 1940s, and these Fleis­ch­er-pro­duced Super­man shorts brazen­ly bear the styl­is­tic mark of that era. But if their rich, clean-lined look burst­ing with Tech­ni­col­or strikes our eyes today as vin­tage, it also has a cer­tain retro time­less­ness — if that does­n’t sound like too much of a con­tra­dic­tion in terms. No won­der they call this the Gold­en Age of Ani­ma­tion.

Just below, you’ll find Fleis­cher’s sec­ond Super­man short, Mechan­i­cal Mon­sters, in which our hero bat­tles exact­ly those. After it came Bil­lion Dol­lar Lim­it­ed, The Arc­tic GiantThe Bul­leteers, The Mag­net­ic Tele­cope, Elec­tric Earth­quakeVol­cano, and Ter­ror On The Mid­way and more— all with­in a span of under two years.

After 1942, Para­mount hand­ed the Super­man con­tract to Famous Stu­dios, which rose out of Fleis­cher’s dis­so­lu­tion. Eight addi­tion­al shorts emerged, none now held in regard near­ly as high as any of the Fleis­ch­er pro­duc­tions.

Where Fleis­ch­er pos­sessed a sur­feit of imag­i­na­tion, Famous seemed to suf­fer a deficit. (Their Sec­ond World War-themed Super­man debut was titled Japo­teurs.) But those first eight have enjoyed a long lifes­pan, par­tic­u­lar­ly as high-pro­file influ­ences. The Super­man ani­mat­ed tele­vi­sion series of the 1990s owes them a debt, as does even that same decade’s Bat­man series. Fans of Japan­ese ani­ma­tion will rec­og­nize the lar­ce­nous robots of Mechan­i­cal Mon­sters in Hayao Miyaza­k­i’s series Lupin III and fea­ture Cas­tle in the Sky, and even the thor­ough­ly irrev­er­ent Fox car­toon The Tick paid them homage. So, Hol­ly­wood types strain­ing to dream up the next Super­man fran­chise reboot: spend time with these still-enter­tain­ing, still-impres­sive pieces of ani­ma­tion, Hol­ly­wood car­toons like noth­ing Hol­ly­wood has put out since.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

via Car­toon Brew

Relat­ed con­tent:

The Best Ani­mat­ed Films of All Time, Accord­ing to Ter­ry Gilliam

When Super Heroes Get Old and Retire to Mia­mi

Free Gold­en Age Comics

Free Vin­tage Car­toons: Bugs Bun­ny, Bet­ty Boop and More

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.


The Mechanical Monsters: Seminal Superman Animated Film from 1941

In 1941, direc­tor Dave Fleis­ch­er and Para­mount Pic­tures ani­ma­tors Steve Muf­fati and George Ger­manet­ti pro­duced Super­man: The Mechan­i­cal Mon­sters — a big-bud­get ani­mat­ed adap­ta­tion of the pop­u­lar Super­man comics of that peri­od, in which a mad sci­en­tist unleash­es robots to rob banks and loot muse­ums, and Super­man, nat­u­ral­ly, saves the day. It was one of sev­en­teen films that raised the bar for the­atri­cal shorts and are even con­sid­ered by some to have giv­en rise to the entire Ani­me genre.

More than a mere treat of vin­tage ani­ma­tion, the film cap­tures the era’s char­ac­ter­is­tic ambiva­lence in rec­on­cil­ing the need for progress with the fear of tech­nol­o­gy in a cul­ture on the brink of incred­i­ble tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tion. It was the dawn of the tech­no-para­noia that per­sist­ed through the 1970s, famous­ly cap­tured in the TV series Future Shock nar­rat­ed by Orson Welles, and even through today. Take for exam­ple books like Nicholas Car­r’s The Shal­lows and Sher­ry Turkle’s Alone Togeth­er: Why We Expect More from Tech­nol­o­gy and Less from Each Oth­er.

Super­man: The Mechan­i­cal Mon­sters is avail­able for down­load on The Inter­net Archive, and Toon­a­mi Dig­i­tal Arse­nal has the com­plete series of all sev­en­teen films. Find more vin­tage ani­ma­tion in Open Cul­ture’s col­lec­tion of Free Movies Online.

Maria Popo­va is the founder and edi­tor in chief of Brain Pick­ings, a curat­ed inven­to­ry of cross-dis­ci­pli­nary inter­est­ing­ness. She writes for Wired UK, The Atlantic and Desig­nOb­serv­er, and spends a great deal of time on Twit­ter.


Waiting for Superman (to Fix America’s Broken School System)

Davis Guggen­heim, the Acad­e­my Award-win­ning direc­tor of An Incon­ve­nient Truth, has issued a new clar­i­on call for our times: Wait­ing for Super­man, a new film that takes a hard look at Amer­i­ca’s fail­ing pub­lic edu­ca­tion sys­tem, the chil­dren it’s leav­ing behind, and the reform­ers try­ing to turn things around. Above, you can watch the offi­cial trail­er for the movie being released in select US the­aters. And, right now, if you pledge to pur­chase a tick­et, you can also direct a dona­tion to a class­room of your choice.

Some­where down the line (and ide­al­ly soon­er than lat­er), I hope that Guggen­heim and Para­mount Pic­tures will decide to make this film freely avail­able to the pub­lic. It always struck me that the film­mak­ers lim­it­ed the impact of An Incon­ve­nient Truth by keep­ing it behind a pay wall. Hope­ful­ly, this time, they will recoup their mon­ey and give the film the free­dom to spread an impor­tant mes­sage. There’s gen­er­al­ly not a moral imper­a­tive to make films free. But, in this case, it seems a lit­tle dif­fer­ent.

Note for edu­ca­tion blog­gers: The Huff­in­g­ton Post will be screen­ing the film nation­al­ly, and they invite you to attend. Get details here.


Free Online: The Original Superman Cartoon Series in Technicolor (1941–1943)

Ear­li­er this week, we flagged a dig­i­tal archive of com­ic books from the Gold­en Age. Now we stum­ble upon this nugget from the same era: A video archive that show­cas­es the com­plete Super­man ani­mat­ed car­toon series from the ear­ly 40’s, all in Tech­ni­col­or. Based on the orig­i­nal DC Comics char­ac­ter, these 17 episodes appeared on Amer­i­can movie screens (before the show­ing of fea­ture films) between 1941 and 1943. And they were tak­en seri­ous­ly as an art form. The first episode, com­mon­ly known as “The Mad Sci­en­tist” (watch above), was nom­i­nat­ed for an Oscar in 1942, and, in case you some­how missed it, it spells out the whole premise/backstory of the Super­man saga. These episodes – all now in the pub­lic domain – can be viewed on Youtube. Wikipedia pro­vides some oth­er options for watching/downloading these vin­tage bits of Amer­i­cana media.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!


Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.