Popeye the Sailor (1933 cartoon)

Infobox Hollywood cartoon
cartoon_name = Popeye the Sailor
series = Betty Boop/Popeye the Sailor

caption =Betty and Popeye doing the hula
director = Dave Fleischer
story_artist =
animator = Roland Crandall
Seymour Kneitel
voice_actor = William "Billy" Costello (uncredited
William Pennell (uncredited)
Bonnie Poe (uncredited)
Mae Questel (uncredited)
musician = Sammy Timberg
producer = Max Fleischer (producer)
Adolph Zukor (executive producer)
distributor = Paramount Pictures
release_date = July 14, 1933
color_process = Black-and-white
runtime = 7 mins
movie_language = English
followed_by = "I Yam What I Yam"
imdb_id = 0024461

"Popeye the Sailor" is a 1933 Fleischer Studios animated short, directed by Dave Fleischer. While billed as a Betty Boop cartoon, it actually starred Popeye the Sailor in his first animated appearance.


The cartoon begins with stock film footage of newspapers rolling off a printing press. The front page of one of the newspapers appears, with a headline declaring that Popeye has become a movie star. The camera zooms in on the illustration of Popeye, which then comes to life, as Popeye (voiced by William "Billy" Costello) sings about his amazing prowess in his signature song "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man." [http://www.toontracker.com/lyrics/popeye%20lyrics.htm.]

On land with his nemesis Bluto (voiced by William Pennell), the two sailors vie for the affections of Olive Oyl (voiced by Bonnie Poe). They take the object of their desire to a carnival, where they watch Betty Boop (voiced by Mae Questel, who would soon take over the Olive Oyl voice) perform a hula dance. Betty is topless, her modesty protected only by a lei. Popeye jumps up on stage, wraps himself in a long fake beard that he pulls from the "bearded lady's" face, and performs the hula alongside Betty, watching her moves and imitating them.Bluto abducts Miss Oyl and ties her to a railroad track, using the track itself as "ropes". Popeye defeats his enemy, and rescues Olive, punching the approaching steam locomotive in the "face" and bringing it to a crushing halt, thanks to his ever-reliable can of spinach.

Notes and comments

This short also introduces the song "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man", written by Sammy Lerner, loosely based on the first two lines of the "Pirate King" song in Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta, "The Pirates of Penzance". It would eventually become Popeye's theme song, with a portion of its instrumental appearing over the opening credits. For this cartoon, and at least one following it, the opening credits theme was an extended instrumental of "The Sailor's Hornpipe" (of which only the first bar was used in the later cartoons) followed by a vocal variation on "Strike Up the Band (Here Comes a Sailor)" substituting the words "for Popeye the Sailor" in the latter phrase. The song was sung twice in the opening credits of this cartoon, first by a deep-voiced singer who sounds like the Bluto voice, and then by the voice of Betty Boop.

The animation sequence with Popeye singing was reused in "Let's Sing with Popeye".

While Seymour Kneitel is credited as animator, nearly all the work was done by Roland "Doc" Crandall, with some minor assistance from Shamus Culhane. [ [http://www.awn.com/mag/issue2.4/awm2.4pages/2.4langerpopeye.html Popeye From Strip To Screen ] ]

Popeye was one of several newspaper cartoons that the Fleischers animated (the others included Otto Soglow's "The Little King" and Carl Thomas Anderson's "Henry"). [ [http://www.toonopedia.com/popeye.htm Popeye The Sailor - Don Markstein's Toonopedia ] ] In order to increase the chance of Popeye's success, the short was billed as a Betty Boop cartoon, though she is only featured briefly. The short has also been released as "Betty Boop Meets Popeye the Sailor."

The cartoon is included in the DVD collection, "", released by Warner Home Video in 2007. Unlike other Betty Boop cartoons, this was not sold to U.M.&M. T.V. Corp. due to Popeye's appearance. It, like the other Popeye cartoons, was sold to Associated Artists Productions (a.a.p.), whose holdings are now owned by Time Warner.


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