Popeye The Sailor: 1938-1940 – Volume Two + Popeye
and Friends - Volume One 1978 – 79 Hanna-Barbera Animated Series (Warner
Picture: B-/C Sound: C+ Extras:
B/D Shorts: B+
Before Warner Bros. could catch it for the 1938-40 set, two shorts on
DVD 1 have alternate opening credits over the original, but it turns out they
are not lost and replacement DVDs with the original opening credits are
available by calling the following phone number:
promise a self-addressed, stamped envelope and replacement in 8 – 10
weeks. Now, onto the review…
not know the Popeye animated cartoon series is the longest running in both
theatrical and television short subject history. Two hundred and thirty
four theatricals were produced from 1933 to 1957. Made for TV Popeye
shorts debuted in 1960, with a new batch for Saturday Mornings beginning in
1978. There are approximately five hundred Popeye cartoons which have
been produced for the small screen. Popeye is still the longest running
cartoon series in television syndication (beginning in September of
1956). It is surprising it took Popeye over twenty years to make it to
DVD when other cartoon characters preceded him. King Features Syndicate, who
owned the rights to the Popeye characters, would not cooperate with the various
copyright holders of the theatricals. Hence, a VHS release was never done aside
from thirty or so films which fell into public domain and a selection of the
TV-cartoons. The lukewarm reaction to King’s CGI Popeye special in 2004
probably led their executives to think, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”.
packaging has great artwork but is recycled material used on various Popeye
merchandise through out the years. Fresh artwork would be welcome on future
historical errors are heard on the commentary selections as many people chosen
to be included are not Popeye historians, rather “animation historians”,
“animators”, and “directors”. Despite having written five books on Popeye and a
number of articles, I have been left on the cutting room floor from this volume
and the previous one. Other people closely involved with the sailor, such
as the founders of The Official Popeye Fan Club and many of its long standing
members since 1989 are ignored.
on the liner notes, “Lanky goyl, Olive Oyl is here, dreaming of sailing
matrimonial seas with the old salt (and frenetically coping with Popeye’s
nephews, Pip-eye, Pup-eye, Poop-eye and Peep-eye).” “Wimmin is a Myskery”
(1940) is the cartoon these notes are referring to but the lads are Olive’s
children in this fantasy-cartoon. I was horrified to see the television
syndicated, “Popeye the Sailor” logo (from Associated Artists Productions)
inserted in two theatricals, “Customer’s Wanted” (1939) and “Hello, How Am I”
(1939). The production staff were instructed which original opening
sequences to be used but ignored the instructions.
Popumentary, “Men of Spinach and Steel” takes a lot of time pondering if
creators were influenced by Popeye. Below is a quote from the book, “Popeye: An Illustrated Cultural History”
(McFarland, 2004) which answers that question making this section pointless;
Siegel, one of Superman’s creators (along with Joe Shuster), readily admits
that the animated Popeye cartoons were a primary influence. He envisioned
similar fast-paced action turning on the hero’s superhuman strength, but played
straight instead of for laughs.”
Fleischer cartoons featured on his DVD reflect the flip/flop of personnel
changes with Bluto’s voice an extra feature on this topic would have been
Biography on the voices of Olive Oyl was a fine tribute to Mae Questel but
misinformation is given when it is said she did the voice of Popeye’s gal until
the 1980’s. This is a fact easily found
when looking up the voice credits for “The All New Popeye Hour”, “The Popeye
and Olive Comedy Show” and “Popeye and Son”. It was Marilyn Schreffer who
performed Olive’s voice in the Hanna-Barbera cartoons produced from 1978 to
1981 and 1987 to 1988.
last year’s set, scenes from the colorized Popeye cartoons (tinted in black and
white) were used in the documentary sections.
from the title mistakes, the cartoons look wonderful. It’s a delight to see the
original opening and closing to “Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp” (1939), the
third and final Popeye two-reeler from the Fleischer Studios. Classic
films on this volume include, “Goonland” (1938), “I Yam Love Sick” (1938) “The
Jeep” (1938) and “It’s the Natural Thing to do” (1939). Popeye’s tender side is
featured in such films as “My Pop, My Pop” (1940) featuring the sailor’s
Popeye Popumentary sections feature looks at Poopdeck Pappy and Eugene the Jeep
but fail to mention how frequently they appeared in the later TV-cartoons.
Additional extras include an excellent history on the Fleischer Studios, an
informative audio interview with Jack Mercer and William Costello, Popeye’s
original voice performing the sailor’s theme song.
the first set, I would like to hear from more individuals who are currently
involved with keeping Popeye alive in the United States. For the past two
decades, either being involved with the Official Popeye Fan Club or making sure
he remains visible on Boomerang (the all-cartoon channel), his exposure, for
the most part, is due to his legions of fans!
I Yam Love Sick
Plumbing is a “Pipe”
Bulldozing the Bull
Mutiny Ain’t Nice
A Date to Skate
Cops is Always Right
Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp
Leave Well Enough Alone
Ghosks is the Bunk
Hello, How Am I?
It’s the Natural Thing to Do
the Inkwell: The Fleischer Story
the Jeep: A Breed of his Own
Pappy: The Nasty Old Man and the Sea
Mae Questel and the Voices of Olive Oyl
Never Sock A Baby
Females is Fickle
Stealin’ Ain’t Honest
Me Feelin’s is Hurt
Wimmin is a Myskery
Doing Impossikible Stunts
Wimmin Hadn’t Oughta Drive
Puttin on the Act
Popeye Meets William Tell
My Pop, My Pop
With Poopdeck Pappy
Popeye Presents Eugene the Jeep
Presents Popular Science (1938) - features the making of a Popeye cartoon.
(1941)-a Fleischer Studio’s “Superman” short.
Fleischer Art Gallery
is Fickle Pencil Test
Ain’t Honest-Storyboard Reel
Bonuses of I’m Popeye the Sailor Man vintage recording (by William Costello)
and Animator Michael Sporn interviewing the voice of Popeye, Jack Mercer
the later revivals of the character happened in the late 1970s from red hot Hanna-Barbera
and Popeye and Friends, Volume One
(with the voices of Jack Mercer, Marilyn Schreffler, Allan Melvin and Daws
Butler among others) is now also making its way to DVD at the same time as the
vintage set. Warner already had this
show in their archives through their Turner Entertainment acquisition, but had
to make special arrangements for the older shorts with King Features Syndicate.
Magoo, Tom & Jerry, Heckle & Jeckle and Mighty Mouse all have something
in common with Popeye other than being popular animated cartoon
characters. Each was revived in the late 1970’s, by the networks, for new
Saturday morning programs. Some lasted a
season or two but when Hanna-Barbera produced new Popeye cartoons for CBS’ “All New Popeye Hour” (1978-81) the
network produced a rating’s success.
these new films could no longer show Popeye punching Bluto, let alone anyone
else, they more than made up for this in humor. Both in character design
and scripts, Hanna- Barbera attempted to reflect the Popeye theatricals of the
Fleischer Studios. Whenever Popeye’s spinach would end up in the mouth of
another character was a nod to the Fleischer series.
Mercer, Popeye’s primary voice artist since 1935, returned to voice the sailor,
one of his nephews and Poopdeck Pappy. Mercer
also wrote several scripts for this series something he did for the previous
theatrical and TV Popeye cartoons. Marilyn
Schreffler was effective as Olive Oyl, who in these cartoons, reflected the
women’s movement. Jack Mercer wrote he had written the first women’s
liberation script for the “Popeye” series. In many a cartoon, Olive
showed she had a little more brain power than Popeye, though he had the brawn!
actor, Allan Melvin was a rough sounding Bluto and Daws Butler gave hamburger
eating Wimpy a W.C. Field’s voice.
interesting to note Popeye’s bearded foe was back to being called his original
moniker after being called ‘Brutus’ in the 1960’s TV-cartoons. However in
most merchandise during this period including the comic book and strips he was
still called Brutus. Another plus for
this series were the appearances of Eugene the Jeep, Swee’pea, Popeye’ nephews,
The Sea Hag and Goons!
The All New Popeye Hour was a rating’s hit for the
1978-79 and 1979-80 seasons. Becoming a half-hour, “The Popeye and Olive Comedy Show” aired on CBS from 1981 to 1983,
mixing new cartoons with reruns pulled from the hour format. King
Features Entertainment sold these cartoons into immediate syndication where they
played on The Family Channel for five consecutive years. The Hanna-Barbera
Popeye cartoons have seen previous releases on both VHS and DVD.
Home Video’s liner notes emphasize the cartoons on this first volume are for
the entire family. No doubt this is to distance them from the theatrical
Popeyes which feature racial overtones and produced with the adult audience in
mind. Popeye is billed as a “family man”. The artwork on the front
and back is impressive matching the look of the characters as they appeared in
the episodes. A longtime Popeye collector will tell you this is a rare
occurrence with products based on the animated Popeye since the late 1980’s.
there are Popeye purists who stay away from any animated version other than the
Fleischer films but these Hanna-Barbera cartoons had entertaining scripts, fine
animation and excellent character designs (though Popeye is wearing his
sailor’s hat rather than his captain’s hat from the Fleischer period). I would have liked to see extras including a
history of this series (historians are available, myself included) and the
effectively produced safety tips. A
better selection of cartoons featuring less of the Popeye saving Swee’pea from
peril plot would have offered more variety.
cartoons to choose from in this series, hopefully future volumes will offer
varied stories with more characters from the original “Popeye” comic strip.
It’s s a great way to introduce the family to Popeye.
Abject Flying Object
I Wouldn’t Take That Mare to the
Fair on a Dare
Popeye Goes Sightseeing
Chips Off the Old Ice Block
Popeye the Plumber
Swee’pea Plagues a Parade
Polly Wants Some Spinach
on Popeye, try our coverage on the first vintage shorts set Warner issued at
- Fred M. Grandinetti