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The New Adventures of Superman was a series of six-minute animated Superman adventures produced by Filmation between 1966 and 1970. The 68 segments appeared as part of three different programs during that time.
The first TV series produced by Filmation Associates, The New Adventures of Superman was extremely popular in its Saturday morning time slot and, despite having obviously been developed for young children, employed the services of several DC comic book writers including George Kashdan. Many of the character designs (later based upon the artwork of Superman artist Curt Swan in the show's third season) stayed true to their comic book counterparts; iconic shirt-rip shots and related transformations from Clark Kent into Superman were incorporated into almost every episode, and such lines as "Up, up, and away!" and "This is a job for Superman!" were also borrowed from comics and the original Superman radio show. Due to a limited production budget, stock animation was often re-used for certain shots of Superman flying (or switching identities from Clark Kent into the Man of Steel), while character movement was often kept at a minimum.
Producer Lou Scheimer also recruited Bud Collyer and Joan Alexander, veterans from the Superman radio show and, at least in Collyer's case, the Max Fleischer Superman cartoons, for the voices of Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane respectively. Jackson Beck, who had been the narrator and the voice of Perry White on the radio show, reprised those same roles for the cartoon version, while Jack Grimes, who had played Jimmy Olsen in its later years, took that part here as well. For this series, Collyer returned to the same vocal technique he'd perfected on the radio show to play the Man of Steel. While in the identity of Clark Kent, Collyer would keep his voice lighter while projecting a sense of weakness. But when the mild-mannered reporter would change into his true identity of Superman, Collyer's voice would deepen dramatically into a heroic baritone. Alexander departed after the first season and was replaced by Julie Bennett in later seasons.
The New Adventures of Superman contains examples of:
- Artistic License Astronomy: "Rain of Iron". A Villain bounces iron balls off an asteroid and back to specific targets on Earth.
- Artistic License Physics: Several examples.
- Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever: Titano in "The Chimp Who Made It Big".
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: The title creatures in "Prehistoric Pterodactyls" and Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane in "The Robot of Riga".
- Bound and Gagged: Lois Lane twice, Jimmy Olsen once.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Clark Kent winked at the audience at the end of every episode.
- Came From the Sky: The title creature in "The Iron Eater".
- Captain Obvious: The narrator, who will solemnly intone that Superman is punching the monster as the screen shows Superman punching the monster. No one can do anything without the narrator informing you that they are doing it while you are watching them do it.
- Clothes Make the Maniac: In "The Wisp Of Wickedness", a possessed hat causes anyone who dons it to commit evil acts.
- Conveniently Close Planet: In "Rain of Iron" an asteroid is close enough to Earth for a villain to bounce iron balls off of it and stands still in space instead of orbiting around the Sun.
- Enemy Mine: "Luminians on the Loose". Superman and Lex Luthor team up to stop the title creatures.
- Energy Absorption: "The Pernicious Parasite" provides a classic example of Phlebotinum Overload: Superman deals with the Parasite by letting him absorb his nigh-infinite powers until he simply explodes, fatally. Deliberately arranging for an enemy's death was seriously Out of Character for the Man of Steel.
- Energy Being: In "The Wisp Of Wickedness", a demon becomes a small ball of energy due to a lab accident.
- Engineered Public Confession: "The Prankster". Superman tricks the title character into a Caught on Tape confession.
- Evil Sorcerer: Warlock
- Frickin' Laser Beams: "Luthor's Lethal Laser" and "Luminians on the Loose".
- Harmless Freezing: Two pterodactyls in "Prehistoric Pterodactyls".
- The Hat Makes the Man: See Clothes Make the Maniac above.
- Heel Face Mole: Lex Luthor in "Can a Luthor Change His Spots?"
- Hypno Trinket: See Clothes Make the Maniac above.
- Just Between You and Me: "The Saboteurs". The Villain tells Lois Lane and Clark Kent his plan after he captures them.
- Meaningful Name. In "The Team of Terror" the villainess is named Satana.
- Murderous Mannequin: "The Mysterious Mr. Mist". A disembodied spirit possesses a mannequin and tries to drag Lois Lane back to his kingdom Beneath the Earth.
- Not My Driver: Lex Luthor does it to Jimmy Olsen in "Luthor Strikes Again".
- Officer O'Hara: One appears in the episode "The Cage of Glass".
- Opening Narration
- People Zoo: In "The Robot of Riga" the Rigans kidnap Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane to put them in one.
- Phlebotinum Overload: Superman deals with the Parasite by letting him absorb his nigh-infinite powers until he simply explodes, fatally.
- Put Their Heads Together: Superman uses this on thugs in "The Deadly Super-Doll" and "The Deadly Icebergs".
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: In the episodes "The Team of Terror" and "The Japanese Sandman".
- Reverse Polarity: Reversing the polarity of an electric charge transfers the powers of the episode's villain (and some other guy) back to Superman... after they got them from him through an electric shock.
- Sdrawkcab Name: Lex Luthor in "Luthor Strikes Again".
- Shark Pool: Lex Luthor one as a Death Trap in "Luthor's Loco Looking Glass".
- Shrink Ray: Brainiac uses one in multiple episodes, and his master Dr. Hekla does so in one episode.
- Somewhere a Palaeontologist Is Crying: The title creatures in "Prehistoric Pterodactyls". Where to begin...
- Stock Phrases
- Time Bomb: Lex Luthor uses one in "APE Strikes Again".
- Voodoo Doll: The Sorcerer uses one on Superman in "The Deadly Super-Doll".