Friends, as I have mentioned on previous Toon In articles over the years I have always been an admirer of the Fleischer Studios theatrical shorts – in particular the Popeye series as well as Superman. In fact if I could have access to a time machine I might be tempted to go back and attempt to convince Charles, Max, and Dave Fleischer to devote some time and resources to producing theatrical shorts starring Batman. Although I suppose we did get to see what a Fleischer Studio animated short for the Dark Knight would have looked like with Batman: Strange Days – which was released in 2014 as part of the 75th Anniversary of the character.
Terror on the Midway was the ninth and final theatrical animated short featuring the Man of Steel – although in total there were 17 produced. It seems that the Fleischer brothers had a falling out with each other at the end of 1941 – which resulted in Paramount Pictures purchasing the studio and renaming it Famous Studios. Under Famous Studios – not only would new Popeye shorts be made but Noveltoons would start to be manufactured featuring characters like Casper the Friendly Ghost, Herman and Katnip and also Baby Huey.
For Terror on the Midway which was originally released to theaters on August 30th of 1942 – the voice of both Clark Kent as well as Superman was provided by Bud Collyer. This was not the last time that he would voice the Last Son of Krypton – lending his voice once again to the character on television for 1967’s The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure, the Batman/Superman Hour the following year, as well as in The New Adventures of Superman which ran from ’66 until ’68. The part of Lois Lane was voiced by Joan Alexander who would join Collyer in The New Adventures of Superman. In fact keep your ears open during the animated short as you will hear Jack Mercer – none other than Popeye the Sailor voicing the sideshow barker.
The story for Terror on the Midway concerns Lois Lane and Clark Kent visiting the Midway while on assignment for the Daily Planet. The problems arise when a monkey is goofing around the cage of the enormous gorilla known as Gigantic – startled by a roar – the little monkey manages to accidentally free the much larger primate. As you can imagine the appearance of Gigantic within the circus tent where Lois is watching the show causes all sorts of pandemonium – especially when some of the circus animals are also set loose. Clark Kent arrives on the scene moments after the mayhem ensues but can even Superman restore order to the Midway?