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You're a Sap, Mr. Jap (1942)

Popeye takes on the Japanese Navy single-handedly.



(story) (as Jim Tyer), (story)




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Uncredited cast:
Jack Mercer ...
Popeye / Japanese Sailors (voice) (uncredited)


Popeye's sailing out in the Pacific, spoiling for a fight with the Japanese. He comes across what looks a Japanese fishing boat, but, just before Popeye lets loose with the old fists, the Japs offer him a peace treaty. Popeye's all for peace, but are the Japanese men of their word? Written by Jonathan D. H. Parshall <parshall@citcom.net>

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Release Date:

7 August 1942 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
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Did You Know?


This film was removed from circulation first by Paramount, and now by Time-Warner due to the negative (though historically important) portrayal of the Japanese. As with most of the wartime propaganda cartoons owned by Time-Warner (with the exception of Herr Meets Hare (1945), Russian Rhapsody (1944), Blitz Wolf (1942) and one or two others), this one is not likely to see a public airing anytime soon. See more »


Featured in Animation Lookback: Top 10 Controversial Cartoons (2015) See more »


You're a Sap, Mister Jap
Words and Music by James Cavanaugh, John Redmond and Nat Simon
Performed by Jack Mercer and chorus at the beginning
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User Reviews

Viewed with Historical Perspective, this type of Cartoon is among the Best and Highest of Wartime Platitudes; Expressed Editorially in a 7 Minute Funnybone Tickler!
6 December 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

THE FEELING of the need to have someone play the role of Arbiter of Public Taste and Political Correctness always manages to get under our skin. It does seem that these self-appointed, self-superior, pseudo-intellectual types do appear everywhere; be it in one's family, church or bowling league.

THESE are the guys who would have society completely disregard and ignore all that went before us; unless, of course, whatever 'it' is does not fly in the face of today's "acceptable" language, mores and general "standards" of "proper" behavior.

SO it is that these latter day, high tech book burners have targeted a great deal of what was Hollywood's greatest achievement; namely their participation in our own Allied Propaganda via their unselfishly crafted message and theme films.

COLDLY brutal in its generation, the Banned Code and List of Now Unacceptable extends into the Wartime Cartoons that don't meet with the new touchy, feely socially engineered 'official' attitudes; which these "Thought Police" have foisted down upon us.

WE were truly surprised to see that there seem to be volumes of such animated short subjects. The majority we are aware of are from Warner Brothers' LOONEY TUNES and MERRIE MELODIES; featuring Bugs, Daffy, Elmer & Porky, all in conflict with Hitler, Goerring, 'Il Duce', Tojo and the like. Surprisingly though, we found an ample supply of cartoons from MGM, Walt Disney, Lantz, Paramount-Famous Studios and the Brothers Fleischer.

YOU'RE A SAP MR. JAP (Famous Studios/Paramount Pictures, 1942) is a prime example of just what we're talking about.

BEING virtually indiscernible from the cartoons that were the output of the Studios of Max and Dave Fleischer before the 1941 business coup-de-tat that moved them out, bringing the new name of "Famous" Studios, YOU'RE A SAP MR. JAP bore none of the bland plot elements that would reduce the latter day Popeye Cartoons down to the level of the ultimate formula short movie.

WE all remember how we'd have Popeye and Olive Oyl together. Enter Bluto, usually the exponent of wolf whistle and an on acceptable on-screen version of a Male reaction to feminine pulchritude. Olive falls for Bluto's less than honorable attentions; until he gets a little too physical and invariably blurts out, "Hey Babe, how 'bout a kiss?" At this point we hear "Help! Help, Popeye and the diminutive sailor shows up to save the day; replete with the obligatory can of Spinach! DO we exaggerate, Schultz? ONCE again this JAP SAP cartoon is nothing like any of that. Oh sure, it follows the storyline of now having Popeye in the U.S. Navy. The Brothers Fleischer put the little guy in the service in 1941 to conform to the mood in the country and as an open gesture of support for the men now being conscripted in the first Peacetime Draft in United States History. Max and Dave even put Popeye in service aboard the mythical Battleship, the U.S.S. Pensyltucky.

OUR point is just this. YOU'RE A SAP MR. JAP and others like SPINACH FER Britain aren't cartoon vehicles for comic relief in the Theatre's program at all in the true sense. Rather they are a sort of grouping of Editorial Cartoons much like those from any "Great Metropolitan Newspaper". These animated shorts, much like those still one panel illustrations, have characters that are highly symbolic and representative of Nations, Ideas and Ideals, such as a just and lasting Peace. In most cases, the hero (Popeye, Bugs Bunny or whoever) is alone with the symbol of the Enemy. Both are highly exaggerated visual metaphors for abstract concept and thought; even if they are cloaked in humorous trappings for wider palatability.

OUR liberal stupidgencia (the antithesis of intelligencia) may not see themselves this way; but for this sort of behavior, they are no more than Neo Nazi Book burners.

PLEASE, allow the future generations to view and appreciate a view of past happenings that is both Historical and Humorous.


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