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Popeye the Sailor (1949-1957 Famous Studios Era Cartoons)

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Popeye the Sailor (1949-1957 Famous Studios Era Cartoons)
Popeye1948.png
"I can't stands N'more" - Popeye
Distributed by: Famous Studios (1949-1956)
Paramount Cartoon Studios (1957)
Warner Bros. Pictures (currently)
Starring: Mae Questel
Jack Mercer
Jackson Beck
Episodes: 70 shorts


Popeye the Sailor is an animated series based on the comic strip with the same name. While the Fleischer Studios cartoons, as well as some of the early Famous Studios cartoons from the 1940s, were well-received by critics and animation fans alike, the same can’t be said about Famous Studios' later Popeye cartoons from 1949 to 1957, which received mixed reviews by critics and fans alike.

Shorts

1949

  • "Popeye's Premiere" (Kneitel/Tendlar; March 25; with Popeye and Olive Oyl; first cartoon on this era)
  • "Lumberjack and Jill" (Kneitel/Johnson; May 27; produced in Polacolor)
  • "Hot Air Aces" (Sparber/Eugster; June 24; final Popeye cartoon produced in Polacolor)
  • "A Balmy Swami" (Sparber/Johnson; July 22)
  • "Tar with a Star" (Tytla/Germanetti; August 12)
  • "Silly Hillbilly" (Sparber/Johnson; September 9)
  • "Barking Dogs Don't Fite" (Sparber/Johnson; October 28)
  • "The Fly's Last Flight" (Kneitel/Johnson; December 23; with Popeye)

1950

  • "How Green Is My Spinach" (Kneitel/Johnson; January 27)
  • "Gym Jam" (Sparber/Johnson; March 27)
  • "Beach Peach" (Kneitel/Johnson; May 12)
  • "Jitterbug Jive" (Tytla/Germanetti; June 23)
  • "Popeye Makes a Movie" (Kneitel/Johnson; August 11)
  • "Baby Wants Spinach" (Kneitel/Eugster; September 29)
  • "Quick on the Vigor" (Kneitel/Johnson; October 6)
  • "Riot in Rhythm" (Kneitel/Johnson; November 10)
  • "The Farmer and the Belle" (Kneitel/Johnson; December 1)

1951

  • "Vacation with Play" (Kneitel/Johnson; January 19)
  • "Thrill of Fair" (Kneitel/Johnson; April 20)
  • "Alpine for You" (Sparber/Muffatti; May 18)
  • "Double-Cross-Country Race" (Kneitel/Johnson; June 15)
  • "Pilgrim Popeye" (Sparber/Eugster; July 13)
  • "Let's Stalk Spinach" (Kneitel/Muffatti; October 19)
  • "Punch and Judo" (Sparber/Johnson; November 16)

1952

  • "Popeye's Pappy" (Sparber/Johnson; January 25)
  • "Lunch with a Punch" (Sparber/Eugster; March 14)
  • "Swimmer Take All" (Sparber/Johnson; May 16)
  • "Friend or Phony" (Sparber/Eugster; June 20)
  • "Tots of Fun" (Kneitel/Johnson/Endres; August 15)
  • "Popalong Popeye" (Kneitel/Johnson; August 29)
  • "Shuteye Popeye" (Sparber/Eugster; October 3)
  • "Big Bad Sindbad" (Kneitel/Johnson; December 12)

1953

  • "Ancient Fistory" (Kneitel/Eugster; January 30)
  • "Child Sockology" (Sparber/Johnson/Endres; March 27)
  • "Popeye's Mirthday" (Kneitel/Johnson/Endres; May 22)
  • "Toreadorable" (Kneitel/Johnson; June 12)
  • "Baby Wants a Battle" (Kneitel/Johnson; July 24)
  • "Firemen's Brawl" (Sparber/Johnson/Endres; August 21)
  • "Popeye, the Ace of Space" (Kneitel/Eugster/Germanetti/Pattengill; October 2; released as a 3D Stereotoon)
  • "Shaving Muggs" (Kneitel/Johnson; October 9)

1954

  • "Floor Flusher" (Sparber/Golden; January 1)
  • "Popeye's 20th Anniversary" (Sparber/Eugster; April 2)
  • "Taxi-Turvy" (Kneitel/Johnson; June 4)
  • "Bride and Gloom" (Sparber/Johnson; July 2)
  • "Greek Mirthology" (Kneitel/Golden; August 13)
  • "Fright to the Finish" (Kneitel/Eugster; August 27)
  • "Private Eye Popeye" (Kneitel/Johnson; November 12)
  • "Gopher Spinach" (Kneitel/Johnson; December 10)

1955

  • "Cookin' with Gags" (Sparber/Johnson; January 14)
  • "Nurse to Meet Ya" (Sparber/Eugster; February 11)
  • "Penny Antics" (Kneitel/Johnson/Endres; March 11)
  • "Beaus Will Be Beaus" (Sparber/Johnson; May 20)
  • "Gift of Gag" (Kneitel/Johnson/Endres; May 27)
  • "Car-azy Drivers" (Kneitel/Johnson; July 22)
  • "Mister and Mistletoe" (Sparber/Eugster; September 30)
  • "Cops Is Tops" (Kneitel/Johnson/Endres; November 4)
  • "A Job for a Gob" (Kneitel/Eugster; December 9)

1956

  • "Hill-billing and Cooing" (Kneitel/Johnson; January 13)
  • "Popeye for President" (Kneitel/Johnson/Endres; March 30)
  • "Out to Punch" (Kneitel/Johnson; June 8)
  • "Assault and Flattery" (Sparber/Eugster; July 6)
  • "Insect to Injury" (Tendlar/Reden; August 10)
  • "Parlez Vous Woo" (Sparber/Eugster; October 12)
  • "I Don't Scare" (Sparber/Johnson/Endres; November 16)
  • "A Haul in One" (Sparber/Eugster; December 14)

1957

  • "Nearlyweds" (Kneitel/Johnson/Endres; February 8; last Popeye cartoon to bear the Famous Studios name in the credits)
  • "The Crystal Brawl" (Kneitel/Eugster; April 5; clip show short)
  • "Patriotic Popeye" (Sparber/Johnson/Endres; May 10; final appearances of Popeye's nephews in the Golden Age of Animation)
  • "Spree Lunch" (Kneitel/Johnson/Endres; June 21; final appearances of Bluto and Wimpy in the Golden Age of Animation)
  • "Spooky Swabs" (Sparber/Johnson/Endres; August 9; with Popeye and Olive Oyl)

Bad Qualities

  1. It lacks the charm and creativity of the Fleischer Studios era and the earlier Famous Studios era.
  2. There are fewer action sequences than in the previous eras.
  3. Some of the cartoons during this era don't stay that true to the source material. For the most part, these cartoons abandoned almost all traces of the Thimble Theatre comic strips and focused largely on plots involving Popeye, Olive, Bluto in a love triangle-like setup, without any other characters appearing and with very few shorts deviating from that setup, which involved Olive falling for Bluto and Popeye beating him after eating spinach in an often-repeated formula.
  4. During this era, the writing of most of these cartoons become more formulaic by having the standard Popeye formula (see BQ #3) being overused more often in its plots than ever before, making many of these cartoons very predictable.
  5. Some of the characters have gotten heavily flanderized during this era:
    • Popeye has gone from a tough protagonist who always saves Olive from Bluto and other antagonists into a huge butt monkey who constantly gets abused by everyone around him, with spinach (despite being his signature food, but still) being his only answer to solve all of his life problems, especially in "How Green Is My Spinach", which presented Popeye as being weak and helpless without spinach and portrayed other vegetables as ineffective. But he still remained likable and sympathetic most of the time.
    • Olive has gone from a fickle, yet kindhearted girlfriend of Popeye into an idiotic, hypocritical and angry jerk who abuses Popeye and quickly dumps him at the drop of a hat over petty or questionable reasons more often. This flanderization also goes beyond this era itself, as Olive's portrayal as an idiotic, hypocritical and angry jerk who abuses Popeye and quickly dumps him at the drop of a hat over petty or questionable reasons more often from this era is also carried over to King Features Syndicate's Popeye the Sailor reboot series from the 1960s, though it has somewhat toned down beginning with Hanna-Barbera's The All New Popeye Hour.
    • Bluto has gone from being Popeye's arch enemy who wants to have Olive for himself into a much bigger pervert as well as a sadistic brute who has a much bigger hatred for Popeye than before, with several shorts having his behavior borderline lustful, abusive and even murderous.
    • Pipeye, Peepeye, Poopeye and Pupeye (Popeye's nephews) have become even more obnoxious and unlikable than they already were, especially in "Bride and Gloom" (even if it was just a dream).
    • Poopdeck Pappy (Popeye's father) has a far bigger hatred towards his own son Popeye in "Popeye's Pappy", having tries to kill Popeye numerous times, unlike what he does in the comics or the Fleischer Studios cartoons.
  6. The animation took a hit in quality from 1955-1957, due to budget cuts.
  7. Some of the cartoons during this era are also clip show shorts such as "Popeye's Premiere", "Popeye Makes a Movie", "Friend or Phony", "Big Bad Sindbad", "Popeye's 20th Anniversary", "Penny Antics", "Assault and Flattery", and "The Crystal Brawl".
    • Some of the cartoons also reuse footage from Fleischer Studios' earlier cartoons and have the voice actors redub over the footage of those cartoons. "Popeye's Premiere" reuses footage from "Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp", "Popeye Makes a Movie" reuses footage from "Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves" and "Big Bad Sindbad" reuses footage from "Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor", all of the two-reeler cartoons.
  8. A majority of the cartoons in this era are color remakes of far better and funnier earlier cartoons.
    • "The Fly's Last Flight" is a color remake of "Flies Ain't Human".
    • "Popeye's Pappy" is a color remake of "Goonland".
    • "Baby Wants Spinach" is a color remake of "With Little Swee'Pea".
    • "Riot in Rhythm" is a color remake of "Me Musical Nephews".
    • "Penny Antics" is a color remake of "Customers Wanted".
    • "Floor Flusher" is a color remake of "Plumbing Is a 'Pipe'".
  9. This era celebrates Popeye's anniversary way too late with "Popeye's 20th Anniversary", which was released in 1954 rather than 1953 when Popeye was adapted into animation in 1933, hence making the title incredibly misleading.
    • Also, if they're going to celebrate Popeye's anniversary in 1954, they should've called it "Popeye's 25th Anniversary" since Popeye was created in 1929.
  10. While the voice acting can be good at times, it can get on your nerves once in a while, such as Olive's voice and Popeye's nephews' voices.
  11. Very slow pacing and timing for the cartoons.
  12. Some of the jokes aren't that funny, exceptions aside.
  13. These cartoons overall marked the downfall of the Popeye the Sailor animated franchise, as subsequent reboots/revivals of the Popeye the Sailor cartoons made for television (e.g. Popeye and Son (1987), Popeye's Island Adventures (2018), and to some extent, even The All New Popeye Hour (1978)) often turn out to be much worse than these cartoons due to numerous reasons, with the only decent reboot/revival is Popeye the Sailor (1960s series by King Features Syndicate) even though it still pales in comparison to the Fleischer Studios era and the earlier Famous Studios era for a number of reasons.
    • Overall, these cartoons, along with Herman and Katnip, were one of the many factors that caused the decline of Famous Studios in the 1950s.

Good Qualities

  1. Very impressive character designs.
  2. Despite being unlikable, Olive Oyl is still likable. During this era, she received a redesign where she became cuter, looked younger than she previously did, and even wore her cutesy 1950s-style tomboy-esque outfit. Speaking of which, she still gave the audience a good amount of laughs.
    • Popeye, most of the time, remained likable and sympathetic due to how he wasn't flanderized into a complete jerk unlike Bluto or Olive.
    • Wimpy isn't flanderized unlike the others.
  3. Some characters from the original Fleischer cartoons return during this era such as Pappy, Wimpy, and Swee' Pea.
  4. This era still has many good/decent shorts, such as:
    • "Popeye's Premiere" (which started this era on a high note)
    • "Barking Dogs Don't Fite"
    • "Beach Peach"
    • "Quick on the Vigor"
    • "Riot in Rhythm"
    • "The Farmer and the Belle"
    • "Vacation with Play"
    • "Thrill of Fair"
    • "Alpine for You"
    • "Double-Cross-Country Race"
    • "Pilgrim Popeye"
    • "Let's Stalk Spinach"
    • "Punch and Judo"
    • "Lunch with a Punch"
    • "Swimmer Take All"
    • "Friend or Phony" (despite being a clip show short)
    • "Tots of Fun"
    • "Popalong Popeye"
    • "Child Sockology"
    • "Toreadorable"
    • "Baby Wants a Battle"
    • "Popeye the Ace of Space" (the only Popeye cartoon produced in 3-D)
    • "Shaving Muggs"
    • "Floor Flusher"
    • "Taxi-Turvy"
    • "Fright to the Finish"
    • "Private Eye Popeye"
    • "Gopher Spinach"
    • "Cookin' with Gags"
    • "Hill-billing and Cooing"
    • "Insect to Injury"
    • "I Don't Scare"
    • "A Haul in One"
    • "Spree Lunch"
    • "Spooky Swabs" (which ended this era on a high note)
  5. The animation from 1949 to 1954 is still good.
  6. Decent voice acting and music. In fact, "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man" is still a very catchy theme song.
  7. Despite the drop in quality, "Popeye the Sailor" remained far superior to the rest of the theatrical animated output produced by Paramount/Famous Studios at the time.

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