Superman : Archival Animation

Ft. Lauderale: With the release of the new Brian Singer, Brandon Routh, Kevin Spacey, Superman Returns movie just around the corner there’s been a revival of interest in all things Superman.

Harrison Klein met Dr. Jay Morton (Paramount’s original Superman screen and animation writer recently deceased) in 2002 when he was 91 and Klein was a play producer in Miami. At dinner Morton told Klein his story that started back when he was a starving scruffy teen sleeping in Central Park as a homeless boy during the depression.

As the night went on Morton told of how he got started as the vintage action- movie’s superhero writer in the 30’s. After two years of homelessness and begging for food to survive on the mean streets of Manhattan he one day barged into a McGraw Hill, New York publishing office and challenged a senior editor there to give him two secluded hours alone in an office and he would come up, off the cuff, with a brand new compelling story totally finished and readily marketable.

It worked. Morton got a job and then worked just long enough to earn enough money to fly to California and join Paramount Pictures. Paramount assigned Morton a bold new mission – take a three day airplane ride to Miami’s (Fleischer Studios). On the trip, via short hops and over-night hotel stays, Morton read huge stacks of old Superman comics and wrote the first animation movie short ever.

Morton went on to build a stellar career and become the lead animation, film and TV series Superman writer for more than 40 years. He was the one responsible for the classic tag phrase, “Look up in the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Superman!” Plus every other major tag line associated to the timeless Superhero for over 50 years. Morton wrote all the movie series theater animations, films and TV episodes up to and through the George Reeves era.

Dr. Jay Morton passed away in 2003 at the age of 92, but before he died, he made a copy of one of the first film reels containing several of the original classic era’s 10-15 cent (now collectible) animations that had not been seen publicly for over 50 years and gave it to Klein.
“I recently put several of these magnificent episodes into DVD format and have made them available to the public once more,” says Klein. Dr. Morton told Klein. “They are particularly appropriate now because they capture the living spirit of my words, ‘Fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way!’ which is especially needed around the world now.” Dr. Morton then proudly and smilingly added, “Superman is even more American than McDonald’s or Apple Pie.”

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