Anniversary Collector's Edition
Picture: B- Sound: B- Extras: D Animated shorts: B
Popeye. A marketing ploy to get children to eat their spinach?
Perhaps. Proof positive that gigantic forearms and a penchant for the corncob
pipe will land you your dream woman? Maybe, but that's a stretch.
One of the most recognized cartoon characters in history whose likeness appears
on pretty much anything you can conjure up? Definitely. Popeye was
the first cartoon character to be immortalized with a statue in his
honor. And thanks to Popeye, the U.S. spinach industry saw a boost in
sales when they increased by 33% in the 1930's. But who knows the real
reason why Popeye has maintained his popularity for so long.
Now, thanks to the good people at Koch Vision
Entertainment, die-hard fans can enjoy the many adventures of our favorite
sailor with their 75th Anniversary 3-Disc Collector's Edition
box set containing 85 full-color favorites from 1960 - 1961. That was King Feature’s entire TV output just
so they could make money on the character in TV syndication, as they were not
really making any more money on the older Paramount theatrical shorts.
The set comes in a 3-Disc Digi-Pack and contains a
collectable booklet inside. It contains a small history of Popeye, a
listing of all the episodes, and a small trivia game on the last page.
The discs themselves feature a "Play All" feature or you can
individually select the episodes. This
is a very nice package.
The set is presented in its original ratio of 1.33 to 1, which is fine
considering this is how they were originally shown. Unfortunately, Koch
didn't do much in touching up the image as several times white and black dots
pop-up on the image, as well as the sporadic appearance of dust.
Occasionally, a few scratches will be present as well. One of the nice
things, though, is that the colors are nice and solid showing very little to no
fade. Considering the age of the cartoons, that was a pleasant surprise
while viewing the set. The only other minor problem was the small amount
of interlacing errors that showed up from time to time, but thankfully, they
aren't too noticeable. The best thing is
that many of these shorts have impressive color reproduction, far exceeding
their TV appearance in the 1960s and 1970s.
The original materials have been kept in surprisingly good shape and
have survived better than many other animated shows.
The audio on the set is much better than anticipated. It is available in
only English, however, with no option to have closed captioning. And
considering the age of the material, there is nothing like DTS or Dolby Digital
5.1 or 6.1 Surround. What is available is Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, but
hey, at least it's digital. The audio levels remain balanced throughout
and there were no detectable audio scratches or white noises.
As for the extras?! Well, actually, you get zilch, which kind of sucks
considering there must be a wealth of material out there that focuses on the
history of Popeye. The only extra (if it can even be called an extra) is
a DVD-ROM link to Koch Vision Entertainment's website. You don't get any
bonus material for following the link. It simply takes you to the main
But the real reason anyone buys this set is simply for the cartoons
themselves! All your favorite supporting characters are there: Olive Oyl,
Bluto (or Brutus), Wimpy, Jeep, Sweet Pea, Sea Hag, and so forth. Anyone
who's a Popeye fan will want to own this set. And there's plenty of time
to watch them all. The 85 episodes clock in at around 8 hours of pure
joy, having been produced by five different animation houses. Here's
hoping another set is in the works.
In the meantime, be sure to check out the Warner Popeye
set, covering the Paramount years, including the only three full color (and
Technicolor at that) Popeye shorts (two in the first volume, the third in the
second volume) from Max & Dave Fleischer, and the Famous Studios series
that followed. Try these links for our previous
The Sailor 1933 - 1938 (Warner/Fleischer animated set)
Popeye The Sailor Man - 75th Anniversary Collector's
- Antonio Lopez