Destruction Inc. (1942) is the thirteenth of seventeen animated Technicolor short films based upon the DC Comics character of Superman. Produced by Famous Studios, the cartoon was originally released to theaters by Paramount Pictures on December 25, 1942.
One night in Metropolis, the elderly night watchman from the Metropolis Munitions Works is found dead in a swamp. When news of the incident reaches the city the next morning, Lois Lane and Clark Kent both decide to grab the story for themselves. Clark talks to Lois, not realizing she has gone and he is talking to a bus driver named Louis, who gets angry at what he thinks was a mistake about his name. As Lois goes undercover at the plant after meeting with the plant supervisor in the Personnel Building, she meets the new night guard, a kindly, white-haired, old man leaving the Personnel MGR. office.
Posing as a factory worker, Lois overhears the foreman telling two of the workers that Mr. Jones, one of the supervisors, wants them in his office upstairs at 12. During break time, the workers head up to Mr. Jones' office. Up in the office, Lois overhears Mr. Jones' plan to blow up the factory as the switch to the factory's night lights has been rigged to a case of dynamite. It is also revealed that the workers killed the night watchman to cover their tracks. Just then, Mr. Jones sees Lois outside the office window and opens the blinds, causing Lois to realize that she has been seen. Mr. Jones sends the workers to catch her. Lois manages to get away from the workers across a window ledge and beams, but is caught by the foreman. She is gagged and loaded inside a test torpedo with another case of dynamite. (As a company rule, test torpoedoes aren't loaded with explosives.) The night guard enters the room and rushes to help Lois after witnessing what's happening. However, the foreman stops the night guard by dropping several tons of scrap metal on him, seemingly killing him.
The torpedo is sent to the testing range and set to be fired at a dummy ship. Back inside the factory, the night guard is struggling to free himself from the rubble. As he soon as he finally free himself, the night guard is revealed to be Clark himself, having posed undercover as well to see what's going on. Having changed himself into Superman, Clark flies off to the test field.
As the test torpedo is fired, Superman rushes out to the testing range and saves Lois before the torpedo explodes. He frees Lois, who tells him that Mr. Jones is about to blow up the plant. Realizing that they've been discovered, Mr. Jones orders the foreman to throw the night guard's switch now. However, Superman stops the foreman and the workers from throwing it fully before beating them down. Just when Mr. Jones thinks his plans are ruined, he spots a truck loaded with dynamite. He steers the truck toward the factory in a collision course, then jumps out before impact. Lois warns Superman about the truck, and he sends it over a cliff, saving the factory.
The story ends with Mr. Jones, the foreman and the workers being arrested for their crimes, and Lois revealing that she knew Clark was the night guard all along. It may have been meant as a subtle irony that Lois was able to see through this disguise easily but could not figure out that Clark was Superman as well.
Voiceover, Dialog, Spoken Text, Script, or Lyrics
Up in the sky. Look, look!
It's a bird.
It's a plane.
Faster than a streak of lightning. More powerful than the pounding surf. Mightier than a roaring hurricane. This amazing stranger from the Planet Krypton, the Man of Steel - Superman! Possessing remarkable physical strength, Superman fights a never-ending battle for truth and justice disguised as a mild-mannered newspaper reporter, Clark Kent.
Flash! Following ... in a series of baffling crimes, the body of an elderly man has just been found in the marsh flats outside the city. He has been identified as the watchman at the Metropolis munitions plant.
Here's a story, or I'm no reporter.
He is believed to be a victim of an organized band of saboteurs. More news later.
Huh, sounds like there might be a story at the plant, Lois.
Lois, me name is Louis, not Lois. Gee wiz, everybody interpolates me name wrong. It's Louis. L.O.U.I.S. Lois, er, Louise, er, Lucy. Now I'm so mixed up I don't know who I am.
Okay, watchmen. Take your post at the main shop. Be on the alert.
Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. Oh, pardon me.
Report upstairs, 12 o'clock. Very important.
I wonder what the big shot wants.
That was a good job you did on the watchmen last night. Now, uh, how about that dynamite charge under the shops.
It's wired to the switch on the plant floor below. When the new watchman pulls that switch tonight, the whole place...
Get that girl.
Alright, me. Now load in the dynamite.
Hello, Jones. We're ready for the test. Send out the torpedo immediately.
Here comes the torpedo now. That old hulk out there is the target. Naturally for experimental purposes, there is no explosive in the torpedo. Okay, stand by. Ready, fire!
Miss Lane. Miss Lane, are you alright?
Superman, they're about to blow up the plant.
Buddy, throw that switch.
Superman! Superman, look out!
Well, Todd, Superman put an end to their little act, and this puts and end to your's, Clark Kent.
Paramount Presents Superman
A Famous Studios Production in Technicolor
Copyright MCMXLII by Paramount Pictures Inc All Rights Reserved
By arrangement with Action Comics and Superman Magazine
Comic strip created by Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster
Direction: I. Sparber
Animation: Dave Tendlar, Tom Moore
Storyu: Jay Morton
Musical Arrangement: Sammy Timberg
Approved Certificate No. 03362
Classified and Passed by The National Board of Review
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Metropolis Munitions Works
Torpedo Testing Range
Watchman's Station, Night Lights