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Private Eye Popeye (1954)

Private Eye Popeye gets a call from Olive Oyl to guard a precious gem. But no sooner does he get the gem than the butler takes it (and Olive). The rest of the cartoon is spent chasing the ... See full summary »


Seymour Kneitel


Isadore Klein (story) (as I. Klein)




Uncredited cast:
Jackson Beck Jackson Beck ... Butler (voice) (uncredited)
Jack Mercer ... Popeye (voice) (uncredited)
Mae Questel ... Olive Oyl (voice) (uncredited)


Private Eye Popeye gets a call from Olive Oyl to guard a precious gem. But no sooner does he get the gem than the butler takes it (and Olive). The rest of the cartoon is spent chasing the crook to Paris, the Swiss Alps, and North Africa; Popeye always gets there first, but fails to make the arrest until he lucks into some spinach, of course. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

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Did You Know?


Popeye approaches the house. When he slides down the telephone pole, he is holding his magnifying glass. When he reaches the door, his magnifying glass is gone. See more »


Popeye: Just as I thought! It's the butler!
See more »


Featured in Ice Blues (2008) See more »

User Reviews

Popeye goes detective
4 February 2020 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Really like to love a good deal of Popeye cartoons and like the character of Popeye. When Bluto appears too their chemistry is really quite magic and utilised very well. Though there are too many instances of Olive Oyl being underused and underwritten. Will admit though to preferring the Popeye cartoons from the Fleischer era in the 30s, especially the 1935-1938 ones, the cartoons in my opinion are funnier and there is more originality and more risk taking in some of them.

'Private Eye Popeye' is a late Popeye cartoon and made in Famous Studios' (a late period for them) roughest and most variable period where budgets were much smaller in particularly the animation and deadlines and time constraints were shorter and tighter. All things considered, while there are infinitely better Popeye cartoons (especially during the Fleischer era) and there are signs of what made this period an inferior one for Famous Studios, 'Private Eye Popeye' is not a bad late Popeye cartoon at all and somewhere in the high middle as far as the late Famous Studios Popeye cartoons go and also as far as Famous Studios' overall late output goes.

It's interesting for not having Bluto, the Popeye series worked surprisingly well actually when he was absent and they went for a change of pace once in a while (do prefer it when he's there though because he is a strong character for Popeye to pit against). There is also a different dynamic to Popeye and Olive's chemistry, instead of being the lovers they typically are this is an example of them having not known each other better, that was interesting and it was done well.

There is nothing really hilarious in 'Private Eye Popeye', though the last portion of the cartoon is entertaining still, and there could have been more gags in general. Also more momentum, the first portion is on the slow side.

Most of the animation is good but there are moments of roughness and that the backgrounds aren't as detailed does show a comparitive lack of care in the visual quality now that the budget was lower.

What is fantastic about 'Private Eye Popeye' however is the music score, the best thing for me and that is the case for all of Famous Studios' latter years output in general. It's beautifully orchestrated, rhythmically it's full of energy and there is so much character and atmosphere, it's also brilliant at adding to the action and enhancing it. As said most of the animation is good enough, especially the colours which are very vibrant and mostly it's drawn with fluidity. The different locations that the crook is chased by Popeye to are fun to spot and not used cheaply.

Nothing may be hilarious here and there could have been more gags, but 'Private Eye Popeye' is still worth seeing for the final third which is wonderfully wild, quite suspenseful and it does make one wish that what came before was on the same level of fun. The story had an intriguing premise and the investigative aspect did intrigue. All three characters are on form, especially Popeye, and the voice acting is without complaint. Jack Mercer was the most prolific Popeye voice for a reason.

All in all, nice enough if not great. 7/10

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Release Date:

12 November 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kalle mestarietsiv√§ See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Famous Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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