Popeye the Sailor (TV Series 1960–1962) Poster


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Popeye Comes To Television
Michael Daly21 July 2003
After some 24 years in theatrical shorts, the longest tenure of any running cartoon character to that time, Popeye was curiously stricken from Paramount Pictures' cartoon cast. However, King Features, owner of the character, revived the spinach-eating sailor man and friends for a series of televisions shorts, totaling some 220 cartoons farmed out to Paramount Pictures, Larry Harmon/UPA, Jack Kinney Studios, William Snyder & Gene Deitch, and Total Television.

These television cartoons "updated" Popeye's world by mixing 1960-topical suburban settings with use of characters, such as the Sea Hag and King Blozo, who came from the original E.C. Segar comics but were never used in Popeye's theatrical shorts; also brought in for several shorts were the Goons, hulking mute characters first seen in the 1930s, and Eugene The Jeep, another revival from the 1930s comic strip. Character designs were also changed to reflect the "back to the future" quality of the shorts, particularly in the design of Olive Oyl, while some new characters were introduced, notably Olive's troublesome niece Diesel Oyl, a female counterpart to Popeye's four nephews (curiously not revived from the 1940s-50s cartoons).

The different studios used made for an uneven quality to the cartoons. Some of the best animation came from the Snyder-Deitch shorts, especially those which utilized Britain's famous Halas & Batchelor animation studios, while the best character gags often came from the Harmon/UPA shorts, which sometimes used background music first used for Mr. Magoo cartoons.

Paramount and Kinney released the highest number of cartoons, and the differences in style and intangibles were striking. The Kinney cartoons strove to be funny, and often were, but suffered from inconsistent character designs (Ken Hultgren was the animator most frequently used and his character designs were periodically the sloppiest of the series) as well as some of the weakest soundtracks of the series, re-using the sound FX library used for "Rocky & Bullwinkle."

The Paramount shorts, meanwhile, had by far the best production values of all, in character designs, backgrounds, sound FX, and in the use of Winston Sharples' background scores; some of the animation was also quite good, even in the budget-crunched era of that time.

Given the enormity of quantity and the differing studios involved, the quality of stories tended to differ, but overall the scripts were engaging and sometimes genuinely brilliant, such as the Paramount short "It Only Hurts When They Laughs," a hilarious takeoff on Popeye and Brutus' long-running feud over Olive. The Paramount shorts tended to be the most melodramatic of the show and worked very well as such; particularly effective here was the Paramount short's treatment of Olive, who is by no means the damsel-in-distress so often portrayed in the past. Here Olive gets substantialy to flex her own muscle, such as in "A Poil For Olive Oyl," when she spots the Sea Hag sending swordfish in pursuit of Popeye at the ocean floor and downs a can of spinach for the strength to finish off Haggie. Popeye for his part had shown a mild chauvinism in 1940s and '50s cartoons (such as the hilarious 1956 short "Car-razy Drivers") but here recognizes his love's own strength and actually encourages it, in "Hamburgers A-weigh" when, after using spinach to acquire Superman-esquire power (a favorite cliché of the Popeye series from the late 1930s onward), feeds a large swig to Olive to give her the same power, so she can fight off the Sea Hag - Popeye being too much of the gentleman to strike a woman, even if it is the Sea Hag.

The 1960s shorts build on the strengths of the 1940s and '50s shorts and remain engaging cartoons in the long-running series.
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Enjoyed the new Popeyes? Yes and no
petersgrgm9 June 2006
I do remember well the original Popeye series of between 230 and 240 cartoons, produced between 1933 and 1957 by Paramount Pictures, later Famous Studios, with permission of Elzie Segar and King Features Syndicate. In 1957, a few months before the last of the series was made, the Popeyes came to television, syndicated by Associated Artists Productions. Then in 1960, I began to see the brand-new Popeye cartoon series. Though I had seen the oldies for three years, I had not tired of them, and had mixed feelings about the new ones. I do not remember MANY of them, but a few stuck. "It Only Hurts When They Laughs" was amusing. Two others I still recall. One was Popeye's Pizza Palace, with Popeye as pizza chef, Wimpy mooching hamburger pizzas, and Brutus (main nemesis instead of Bluto) demanding a tamale pizza. Popeye declared that they do not make tamale pizzas; is there such a pizza in real life? The other one that I still recall was Popeye's Junior Headache, in which he baby sat the bratty Diesel Oyl while Aunt Olive was having her hair done at the beauty parlor. Popeye was reluctant to baby sit Diesel Oyl (daughter of Olive's brother Castor Oyl?) as he was fatigued from lack of sleep, but still took the job. Popeye first tried telling Diesel a story about a witch; she interrupted "Which witch?" Popeye retorted "How does I know which witch?" and pleaded to be allowed to sleep and dream up an ending, but Diesel insisted that he play horse (for which he lacked energy). All in all, it was amusing.

I read, back in 1960, that this new Popeye cartoon package was result of dispute between King Features, that owned the rights, and Associated Artists, which syndicated the first Popeye series; as I recall, King Features was miffed at A.A.P. syndicating the series (to put in on television) which was not part of the original arrangement between Paramount and King Features. That was understandable as in the 1930's, when the first original Popeyes were produced, there were no televisions, not even Muntz TV's! This, together with King Features' wanting the limelight, led to this new made-for-TV cartoon package. Be that as it may, SOME of the new Popeyes were amusing, while others stank. It made watching the adventures of the spinach-eating seaman interesting, b
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m-ozfirat10 January 2014
I remember having as a child a video of this classic series that made me laugh. The animation is good as it is vibrantly comical based and colourful. The music and story lines are also good to the comical origins of the original Popeye comic strips and earlier cinematic debuts. The characters are lively and rich that are adaptable in any imaginative setting so no matter what the story line the basis is the rich juvenile humour and the characters. The story lines were also written well and imaginative making it a nice fit with the basis of the comics. The series was very enjoyable but sadly today nobody does good cartoons any more and cartoons such as Popeye the sailor will be artistic classics as the passion, skill and humours not found any more.
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Pretty good but not great
TheLittleSongbird19 December 2011
I do remember the numerous Popeye cartoons with such fondness. This series is pretty good, if not as brilliant or as funny. I will say the music is very good with a theme tune that is irresistible to sing, the voice work is outstanding from all and not only do we see the timeless original characters but also some new ones as well and they are just as likable.

On the other hand, the animation while not terrible does seem rushed and lacking in finesse in places. Also while some of the writing and sight gags are funny, some can be too predictable and not very well timed, and a lot of the story lines are very repetitive.

All in all, I like this series, but it isn't quite enough to make me forget the classic shorts. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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Eat Your Spinach!
Syl29 November 2009
Popeye, the Sailor Man, was one of the first cartoons that I remember watching in both black and white and color before I would go to school in the morning. I remember his love, Olive Oil, and the characters like the baby, the man who will you Tuesday for a Hamburger today, his rival for Olive Oyl's affections, and so on. Popeye always became strong once he ate his spinach and his muscles rippled in his shirt. He became a powerhouse and defended his honor and his girlfriend. Anyway, the silliness of Popeye was outweighed by his decency, his character, and the story lines. They would be repetitive but I don't think I ever stopped watching the show on purpose. But it was always a joy to wake up and watch Popeye before tackling kindergarten class where you needed the courage to get through the day.
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Not as Good as the Original Theatrical Cartoons
hfan7726 March 2009
In 1960, at the height of the original Popeye cartoons popularity in syndication, King Features Syndicate, who owned the rights to the character produced 220 additional cartoons for TV. Since the syndicate had no studio, they farmed out the animation to five studios, with almost half of the produced by Jack Kinney. Unfortunately, the shows suffered from inconsistency, repetitive plots, weak gags and hurried animation. On the bright side, the voicework of Jack Mercer, Mae Questel and Jackson Beck was outstanding and viewers got to see characters that never turned up in the original cartoons, including Alice the Goon, King Blozo, Eugene the Jeep and the Sea Hag.

One of the cartoons I remember was when Popeye was in a rocket for 60 days and he had a tape recorder where he can hear his friends. The best remembered line was when Brutus said "I'm keeping company with poor lonesome Olive HA HA HA HA HA!!" There was also the testimonial dinner episode which showed flashbacks from previous cartoons.

After watching a number of cartoons, you'll probably get tired of hearing Olive scream "Help! Popeye! Save me! That's all we can stands and we can't stands no more.
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Popeye an Original Sailor! Neat Fact!
ShelbyTMItchell25 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Remember trying to be like the Popeye character by eating spinach but threw up afterwords but that is another story.

But still the sailor originally in the "Thimble Theater" comics was a minor character until the nation really loved him as he became the star finally.

As he battled everyday villains, in particular Bluto/Brutus who was the rival for his love, Olive Oil.

Also he was like a dad to the toddler who spoke and was smarter than you thought, Sweet Pea.

Wished that kids in this generation would love stuff like Popeye. It did not take themselves seriously. With both wit and charm. Strong to the finish as Popeye ate his spinach to defeat the bad guys!
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Mithila Madawa22 January 2018
In to the power in tin. Popeye action, comedy early childhood cartoon. Very enjoyable cartoon.
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