The Arctic Giant
Superman Theatrical Cartoons - February 27, 1942
Arctic explorers find a gigantic, wholly intact dinosaur trapped in the ice – go figure – and bring it back to Metropolis to be displayed in a specially refrigerated museum. The monster is, of course, still alive, and when an accident causes the turbines powering the refrigeration to shut down, the titanic beast rampages across the city.
The Arctic Giant predates the grandpappies of the giant monster movie craze – the Harryhausen masterpiece The Beast From 50,000 Fathoms and the genre-defining Godzilla – by more than a solid decade, but would look pretty familiar to monster-movie aficionados of the 1950s. The monster’s tail smashes the corners of buildings, he wrecks an elevated train, wades towards a dam overlooking a vulnerable village below, and so on. Obviously inspired in some part by King Kong, which had debuted a decade earlier, the Fleischer’s Arctic Giant was nonetheless setting the stage for legions of giant monsters yet to come.
The Arctic Giant also marks the debut of Jackson Beck in the role originated and usually performed by Julian Noa, Perry White, while Noa retains the role of narrator. Later, Beck – best known probably as the voice of Bluto in the Fleischer Popeye cartoons, and also the narrator of the radio serial – would go on to voice Perry White in the later Filmation series of Superman cartoons.