Popeye's pappy, age 99, wants to go out at night; Popeye wants him to sleep. Popeye tries leg irons, but Pappy manages to put them on Popeye and sneak out to a sleazy bar. Pappy dances with... See full summary »
This cartoon makes use of Fleischer's Tabletop process, which animates the cells vertically between set pieces, in this case a model of the city street, in order to create the feeling of depth. The whole effect is lost in the color version, as the backgrounds is a flat redraw. See more »
I've comes to take ya to the zoo to see the aminals.
I'm too busy, Popeye.
[Under his breath]
Oh, your loss.
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Like cartoon producer Max Fleischer's star character Popeye the Sailor, Swee'Pea first appeared in E.C. Segar's comic strip THIMBLE THEATRE. In the baby's animated debut, LITTLE SWEE'PEA, he is an effective foil for Popeye. Here, the sailor takes the baby to the zoo. However, Swee'pea escapes from his carriage and wanders along the cages of various large and dangerous animals. The bulk of the cartoon concerns Popeye's efforts to rescue Swee'pea from these beasts while trying to avoid being mauled himself.
As in most of the Max Fleischer Popeye cartoons I have seen, LITTLE SWEE'PEA has a lot of clever and enjoyable gags. One particularly inventive sequence has Popeye searching for Swee'pea in a hippo's cage only to find the baby right inside the hippo when the beast opens its mouth. One wonders why this particular zoo lacks any staff to prevent babies like Swee'pea from entering these cages. Then again, if anybody was around to stop Swee'pea we'd be denied the joy of seeing Popeye struggle with the animals, wouldn't we? For this cartoon, the Fleischer staff used live-action backgrounds. The results are impressive, creation a 3-D illusion. I've never seen the colorized version of LITTLE SWEE'PEA, nor do I desire to. From what I hear, the people who recolored this black-and-white cartoon obliterated these attractive backgrounds.
And there's always the joy of listening to Jack Mercer as Popeye. He provides an ideal voice characterization, a deep gravelly voice that nevertheless conveys a jovial warmth, revealing the sailor's golden heart beneath his rough exterior. One also gets to hear Mercer's muttered ad-libs, although in my opinion there aren't enough in this particular cartoon.
LITTLE SWEE'PEA, like most of the Max Fleischer Popeye cartoons I've seen, remains fresh and funny after over sixty years. Like all fine cartoons, this is essential family entertainment, testifying to the greatness of both the Max Fleischer studio and Jack Mercer.
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