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As of this writing, Popeye has just turned 76 years old, or at least has celebrated that number of years since he first appeared as (at first) just a minor character, bit player. Little did has creator know that the one-eyed sailor would take over the spotlight in such short order following his January 1929 debut.
The comic strip, THIMBLE THEATER by cartoonist Elzie C. Segar, dated back to 1919 and featured Olive Oyl and her brother Castor Oyl, as well as others such as Wimpy, Hamm Gravy, Rough House.
Within a few short years,this scene stealing Sailor Man, Popeye, emerged as the Star of the show. Soon, the daily strip was joined by a Sunday version in the Hearst Newspapers' Color Comics, PUCK,THE COMIC WEEKLY. This in turn led to master animators Max and Dave Fleisher negotiating the rights to produce Popeye cartoon shorts for release through Paramount Pictures Corporation.
Over the ensuing years, other animated series Paramount's Famous Studios as well as several made for T.V. products appeared. There was also a Popeye radio show and who could forget the 1980 POPEYE feature with Robin Williams. Changes were sure to show up in the story lines, such as Popeye's donning the uniform of the U.S.Navy for his service aboard the mythical Battleship,"the U.S.S.Pennsyltucky", during World War II.
The latter cartoons suffered from becoming extremely formula. It was always Popeye and Olive have some sort of spat, Bluto enters picture offering what is eventually too much attention,after the obligatory cries of "Help!Help!"from Miss Oyl, Popeye fights Bluto to save Olive by using his can of Spinach.
POPEYE's VOYAGE puts the venerable seaman back into really good light. Though it features modern computer processes, he hasn't looked better in years or rather decades. (The appearance of fullness and depth gives it a sort of 3 D look which is somewhat reminiscent of the Fleischer Brothers' Table Top Process. Let's hope that we'll see more of the old Thimble Theater gang from this production team.
UPDATE!!!UPDATE!!!UPDATE!!!..........Dateline Chicago, Illinois, June 11, 2011. Although the film is still listed as being just in Video (V), it was shown over the NBC TV Network(I believe).It was in the Year of Our Lord, 2004. Our whole family watched it while visiting Grammaw Jones (my Late Mother-in-Law, Clarice Jones) in Central City, Kentucky on THANKSGIVING Weekend, 2004.
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