Saturday, 15 June 2013

Saturday Morning Cartoons - Super Saturday!

I declare this a Super Saturday! So grab some super sugary cereal, pull up a laptop and let's get naked!

Sorry, Super Bear is a bad influence.

Anyway, as I was watching the very impersonal Man Of Steel yesterday, I started thinking about Superman, superstar of much better cartoons. Ever since he burst onto the scene in Max and Dave Fleischer's wonderful, colourful Superman series from the 1940's, he's pretty much been an animation constant over the years in various forms, from solo series, direct-to-DVD films and of course, far too many variations of Super Friends.


But enough about him. He gets enough attention. What about the other super men, women and beasts who have suited up in cape and occasional codpiece to fight for truth, justice and the disposable income of impressionable nerds everywhere? Well, today we acknowledge these unsung heroes. And I'm not talking about Superboy, Supergirl or any of the other officially super-sanctioned DC snobs. No, I'm talking about...


Chuck Jones directed this in 1943, as a jab to the Superman Fleischer cartoons of that same period. According to the commentary on Volume 3 of The Looney Tunes Collection DVD (done by Paul Dini, a driving force behind Superman: The Animated Series), the U.S. Marine Corps was so thrilled that Bugs Bunny became a marine in this cartoon, that they officially inducted him as a private! With dogtags and everything!


Never to be outshone by his counterpart, Daffy donned a big 'S' on his chest as well (which stood for something far less flattering) in this 1956 Robert McKimson cartoon.

He attempted to rebrand himself 40 years later in Chuck Jones' 'Superior Duck', but would once again be superseded by "the other guy".


Just as Bugs derived super-powers from a super carrot, Popeye gained powers after consuming spinach. So while every Popeye cartoon technically counts as worthy of this post, this one in particular is an actual parody of Paramount's Superman cartoons, produced by the same Superman studio (at the time), using some of the same Superman music cues. 


That was his original name. He starred as such in 7 cartoons between 1942-43.

Then in 1944, when Paul Terry (namesake for the Terrytoons brand) found out there was already a Super Mouse comic book featuring a different character of the same name, he dropped the 'Super' to make far better use of alliteration.  


The Pink Panther tried to be noble back in 1966, but just ended up harassing the elderly. But not for long.


Little Lulu of comic strip fame saved her father from the clutches of a burglar, a giant and pretentiousness in this short from 1947. 


Continuing our trend to provide strong female role models (and indirectly, a few Spanish lessons), Cow And Chicken asked 'Who Is Super Cow?' in this 1997 Season 1 episode.


It's a bird!

Sticking to a barnyard theme, this famous segment aired within episodes of 1967's George Of The Jungle. I may still put this theme song on my iPod this summer.


Flying under the radar like only the leader of the free world can, President James Norcross would become Super President when a phone call just wouldn't do. This short-lived series ran Saturday mornings between 1967-68, and is another blot on the esteemed career of Friz Freleng, who produced the series.


1989's Super Mario Bros Super Show combined two of my favourite things - rap music and Italian stereotypes, as delivered by wrestling legend Captain Lou Albano. Good thing they inserted that laugh track so you can tell where the jokes are!


I could've sworn I had better material for this blog. People are now leaving this page faster than a speeding bullet.

But just wait until that Justice League movie comes out, when we expand our scope to include famous super groups! Like this...

This will also be the unfortunate centrepiece of a March Madness post in early 2014. 

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