In just about every anime ever, I’ve seen this whole good-guy shoots laser beam bad- guy shoots laser beam at the same time and they collide. They stay evenly matched and then BOOOOOOM! What show/movie was the first one to incorporate this?
Edit: TVTropes considers DBZ the origin.
In fact, DBZ worshipped the beam struggle. Every episode was either a beam struggle or a setup for a beam struggle. The show basically consisted of constipated radioactive boys measuring their beam lengths against a variety of aliens.
It was in comic books a long time before it was in cartoons. Consider Justice Leaguie of America #13 from 1962, "The Riddle of the Robot Justice League. You can see right on the cover where Green Lantern is squi8aring off against his robot opponent, and their beams meet squarely between them:
The scenes are inside the comic, too. I don’t know if this is the first example (ray guns have been zapping people in comics since the 1930s. There’s one Superman story from the 1940s that shows a comic stripo-within-the0-story where two opponents fire ray guns at each other simultaneously, but you don’t get the “beam collision” in that case). , but you got a lot of examples with Green Lantern and opponents firing beams at each other in the 60s. Probably Adam Strange, too.
By the way, it’s not the same thing, but in the very first Superman cartoon from circa 1940 (untitled, but often called “The Mad Scientist”), Superman squares off against the “electrothanasia ray”, and fights it by punching it, and gets tumbled in return. (Talk about Laser Light Pressure!). The first case I’m asware of of someone “fighting” against a beam
I vaguely remember a really old sci-fi movie where there’s a beam battle, except it’s with electricity or glowy energy or something.
And this Popeye entry from 1960: