The short films --
Superman was never better portrayed than by Dave and Max Fleischer’s animation studios in the early 1940’s. Many of their animators later went on to work for Walt Disney Studios, which surely accounted for Disney’s continued high quality.
Originally not wanting to do Superman in favor of sticking with their edgier Betty Boop and the early Popeye the Sailor, they decided to ask for an extremely high amount of money in hopes that the fee would discourage Paramount Pictures from perusing the project. It didn’t – much to their amazement – and so began the most expensive animated short film project to date.
The finished results were astounding! The colors; superb shading; art deco design; character and background detail still influences films today. The Fleischer’s Superman cartoons are among the best examples of hand drawn animation in history.
The music --
The quality of the animation required equal attention to the music. Sammy Timberg composed and arranged some 200+ cartoons in the early days. From the school of composition that included the likes of George Gershwin, Mr. Timberg was adept at both popular songwriting as well as full symphonic orchestrations. The detailed mood and character action cues were expertly woven into a score that had musical continuity suitable for concert performance. This type of animation scoring quickly became the standard for later classic animation that would include the Looney-Toon scores of Carl Stalling.
Performance LIVE with the films --- The VCS Radio Symphony November 5th at 7:00pm at the vacaville Performing Arts theater - Vacaville, Ca.