I was recently wondering about the origin of Superman finding a phone booth to change in. I found one source on the origin and it was surprising.
Why was I wondering about this in the first place? It’s because I was thinking about the John Williams soundtrack from the 1978 movie. I recalled the scene where Clark Kent stops and glances at the little hood-like phone booth and keeps going, looking for a place to change. I wondered where the changing in a phone booth meme came from since I didn’t recall Superman ever actually changing in a phone booth in any of the comics or TV shows, etc.
A quick search online pulled up some interesting history including a post by Steve Younis on supermanhoempage.com called ‘Superman and the Phone Booth.”
In the Golden Age of comic books Clark Kent didn’t use a phone booth to change into Superman. Actually right throughout every era of Superman comics the phone booth change has rarely been seen.
The first time Superman changes is (spoiler):
The answer lies way back in 1941.
To my knowledge, Clark Kent first changed to Superman inside a phone booth in “The Mechanical Monsters”, the second of 17 Superman cartoons produced by Fleischer Studios for Paramount Pictures. It was released to cinemas on November 28 in 1941.
I was pretty much unaware of the Fleischer Studios Superman animations. They’re very well done and influenced some of the more recent TV animations in style.
I recommend finding “The Mechanical Monsters” on Youtube and watching it.