Monday, August 16, 2021

Superman Vs Lynn, Massachusetts!!! - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Rhubarb"

During this week's episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM I played Richie's Renegades' song Don't Cry and, while there is little known about the band, we do know they come from Lynn, Massachusetts. Lynn has several sites to check out if you are ever in the area including: The Grand Army of the Republic Hall and Museum which has an overwhelming 1243 photographs of GAR members, as well as various Civil War artifacts, and also the Lynn Auditorium in which acts such as Peter, Paul, and Mary, Little Anthony & The Imperials, and Raphael have performed. 

K-Mart Parking lot scene from Joy (2015) and the location on Google Street View

Probably due to its proximity to Boston, Lynn has been used as a backdrop for a ton of films including: Joy (2015), Black Mass (2015), Surrogates (2009), and That's My Boy (2012). There's a classic look to the city which lends itself to period pieces while also having a contemporary Anytown, USA vibe.

Capitol Diner on Google Street View and a classy urination scene from That's My Boy (2012) 

Later on, during the show I waxed poetic about the 1940's Fleischer Superman cartoons and how Paramount provided the Fleischer's with an extremely large budget and ad campaign which was completely unheard of at the time. 

A great example of animators struggling to animate something unrealistic in a realistic setting

Fleischer's animators had struggled with animating realistic scenes in the past and Superman would prove exceptionally difficult due to the fact that they had to depict unrealistic scenes, such as robots capturing Lois Lane, in ways that looked natural. Despite these difficulties, the animators were able to create an animation which was so well received that it was nominated for an Academy Award in Best Short Subjects: Cartoons. 


There was a heavy reliance on rotoscoping throughout the series along with cinematic framing and composition which separated Superman from the Fleischer's other more traditional works. Due to their larger than average budget the team was able to plan out scenes more effectively and employ techniques such as airbrushing and double exposure which contributed to the series' unique look and feel. 


Although the series contributed to the downfall of Fleischer Studios it stands as a highlight of early animation's trajectory towards mainstream acceptance and success. Luckily the shorts are in the public domain so you can enjoy them freely without worrying about them being arbitrarily locked away in a hidden "vault" or subjected to bland recoloring. If you are interested in reading more about Fleischer Studios and their work on Superman, check out their chapter in Leonard Maltin's Of Mice and Magic, which features a ton of info on various animation studios from the silent era and beyond.

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