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Jay Morton, 92; Artist Coined Introduction to 'Superman'

September 19, 2003|Dennis McLellan | Times Staff Writer

Jay Morton, a onetime writer and artist for the Fleischer animation studios who coined the famous "faster than a speeding bullet" introduction for the animated "Superman" cartoons, has died. He was 92.

Morton, who lived in Boca Raton, Fla., died of a brain aneurysm Sept. 6 in a hospital in Charlotte, N.C.

The New York City-born Morton studied art at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn before going to work for the Fleischer studio in Miami in 1937. As an artist, he worked on Felix the Cat, Betty Boop, Popeye and other cartoon characters, said his son, Alex.

Morton also wrote about 25 of the early animated "Superman" cartoons, in which he initially described the comic book superhero as "faster than a streak of lightning, more powerful than the pounding surf, mightier than a roaring hurricane, this amazing stranger from the Planet Krypton, Superman."

But he soon reworked the introduction to the now-familiar: "Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound ... "

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday September 26, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 55 words Type of Material: Correction
Morton obituary -- The obituary of Jay Morton in the Sept. 19 California section stated that Morton, a former artist and writer for the Fleischer animation studios, wrote about 25 of the early animated "Superman" cartoons. In fact, 17 "Superman" cartoons were produced in the early 1940s, and Morton wrote or co-wrote six of them.

Morton left Fleischer in the early 1940s and launched the Home News, a newspaper in Hialeah and Miami Springs, and he later published several other newspapers and two trade papers, Florida Business Leader and Florida Grocer.

He served as a director on several bank boards and was a longtime member of Dade County's Planning Advisory Board.

He was also a sculptor. In 1997, his 8-foot bronze sculpture of Adm. Richard E. Byrd, the Antarctic explorer, was unveiled at the entrance to the courthouse in Winchester, Va., the town where Byrd was born.

In recent years, Morton and his wife, Dianne, developed two board games, "Winning on Wall Street" and "Fairway Frolic."

In addition to his wife and son, Morton is survived by three grandchildren.

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