Popeye “Touch-A-Matic” phone commercial (1980)

I’m a sucker for ANY Popeye anything, especially if animated to Jack Mercer’s voice. Here’s one of his later TV spots, his voice so identified with the sailor, the character hardly appears (though its a clever way to save money for animation). Note the comic strip “Brutus” twisting Popeye into a knot at the end:


  • http://downindeep13.blogspot.com JerRocks2day

    Popeye should’ve called Collect; he’d save more money and get more spinach out of the deal. :P

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Yeah, I’m reminded of those “collect call” ads right about now!

  • http://aalong64.blogspot.com Aaron Long

    It’s amazing that he was able to do the voice so well all those years later. Normally you hear characters’ voices gradually soften as the actors grow older, like with Mel Blanc– Bugs, Daffy, Sam and all the others eventually started to sound more like his normal voice, but Jack Mercer could evidently still nail Popeye’s voice over 40 years after he started.

    • http://downindeep13.blogspot.com JerRocks2day

      Yeah. You can tell that he really kept the passion and energy that he’s done while voicing the character; though, I wish I knew how.

  • uncle wayne

    This is a great cmcl, thanx for the share.

    Am i the only one (from “our” sector) who cringes at the word “Brutus” (when referring to our Spinichk Friend!??)

    • James Cimarusti

      Brutisk meet me fisk! aug aug aug aug aug

  • uncle wayne

    And, you’re rite, (in this case) it IZ (pardon the word…) “Brutus!”

  • http://popyea.deviantart.com/ nick

    bluto would kick that guy’s ass!

  • Fleischer Fan

    I also cringe at “Brutus.” I also was confused as a kid when a character who looked exactly like Bluto would show up in the Popeye comic books as the Sea Hag’s “Sonny.”

    Great commercial, tho’. Thanks for sharing it!

  • cbat628

    Thanks for the commercial! I replayed the first couple of seconds just so I could hear Popeye/Jack Mercer say “pushk.”

  • http://pierreportfolio.blogspot.com/ Pierre

    I’m guessing that this commercial must have been timed to coincide with the Popeye movie with Robin Williams, which came out in 1980.

    A little research finds that the name Brutus appeared because the producers of the TV Popeye cartoons of the early 1960′s believed that Paramount owned the name “Bluto”, even though the name was actually copyrighted by King Features Syndicate.

    What always bothered me though is when Popeye appears in his traditional Segar and Fleischer sailor’s costume, but instead of his original cap, he’s wearing a white naval hat instead, as in this spot. This hat is obviously a hold-over from the Famous Studio designs of the 1940′s into the TV cartoon but I loved the original costume design!

    • Fred Grandinetti

      According to Bud Sagendorf, who handled the Popeye comic strip for years, King Features wanted the sailor’s hat used to have Popeye look like his TV-cartoon counterpart. In 1979, with the event of Popeye’s 50th anniversary, he was allowed to give him back the Captain’s hat.

  • Jon

    Both Brutus and Bluto appeared together in a Popeye Sunday comic strip within the past few months. Seems like Brutus referred to Bluto as his brother. The characters were drawn identically. I always liked Bluto from the animated cartoons better than Brutus in the comics. Bluto could be wickedly crafty. Brutus was simply an idiot with a glass jaw. All brawn and no brain.

  • AJ

    I like this advert, most adverts with popeye normally substitute their product for spinach.

  • Fred Grandinetti

    Fifty Years With Brutus! • Animated Viewsanimatedviews.com/2010/fifty-years-with-brutus/Cached
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    Oct 25, 2010 – Popeye’s number one fan, Fred Grandinetti, provides Animated Views with an exclusive look at the history of Popeye’s nemesis Brutus.

    This link talks about the history of the Brutus character though I am still learning more. Bluto appeared very often in the comic strip when it was written by Ralph Stein and illustrated by Bill Zaboly.
    He was written as a pirate and his facial design looked like his Famous Studios counterpart.