Popeye begins his movie career by singing his theme song, demonstrating his strength at a carnival, dancing the hula with Betty Boop, pummeling Bluto, eating his spinach and saving Olive Oyl from certain doom on the railroad tracks.
Popeye introduces himself to us (including a quick live-action shot of newspapers announcing that he's a movie star). The ship docks, and the sailors try to pick up Olive, but she only wants Popeye. They head for a carnival, but Bluto isn't giving up easily. The boys compete at the various games. Betty Boop does a hula dance, and Popeye joins her on stage. Meanwhile, Bluto runs off with Olive and ties her to the tracks. Popeye comes along and rescues her in the nick of time. Written by
Jon Reeves <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Olive Oyl and Wimpy are based on real people, too. Wimpy was based on Segar's former newspaper editor, Bill Schuschert, who was a great hamburger lover, and on an underhanded fight promoter whom Segar used to know. Olive Oyl was based on a schoolteacher named Dora Paskal, who was tall and wore high-bottom boots like Olive's and wore her hair in a bun just like Olive. She appeared in the strip long before Popeye did (her original beau was a cowboy named Ham Gravy), back when it was still called THIMBLE THEATER, long before Popeye came on the scene. See more »
Wow, it's interesting to see how different this first Popeye cartoon was from all the others we are used to seeing. Right off the in the introduction, other - not Popeye - is singing a "Strike Up the Band" song. Actually, we find out it's a "Betty Boop" as Betty joins in the singing, with a similar lyric about it "being a cinch that every inch he's a sailor."
Popeye came from the comic strips, so the first thing we see when the story begins in a newspaper headline reading, "Popeye A Movie Star," meaning the audience will now see him at the movie theater. (There was no television back then.)
Anyway, just watching the first few minutes of this cartoon produced a big smile on my face. It's tough to beat these clever, funny 1930s Popeye cartoons. The combination of sight gags and music - they loved music in cartoons and movies back in the '30s - is guaranteed to make you feel good after watching.
Popeye demonstrates his strength, dexterity and resourcefulness in his screen debut and it's quickly established Bluto is the enemy and wants Olive. That storyline went on for decades but was always fun to see as the sailor man bested the bearded bully time after time.
Betty only has a small number in here, so even if the cartoon is under name, it's really Popeye's. Betty does a quick Hawaiian dance which she did in several other cartoons before they made her put more clothes on by the end of 1934.
The only thing different was Bonnie Poe doing some voice work as Olive. Her voice was a lot lower than Mae Questel's who did Olive for most, if not all, of the other cartoons. Mae also did Betty Boop, and my guess is they didn't want the same voice for both characters in the same cartoon.
Also, Popeye's answer to everything was a punch, destroying whatever he hit....even a train! He's always ready to show his stuff, but a little more so than normal in this debut cartoon. This guy was punching everybody and everything, and so was Olive! In later cartoons, Popeye entertained us more with his clever remarks and reinventing of words. However, you can see from this early cartoon that it's no surprise this comic strip character made it big "in the movies."
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