Sailor Man

Sailor Man, billed as a “darkly comic tribute to the exploits of a beloved spinach-eating seaman,” will premiere Aug. 9-22 as part of the New York International Fringe Festival.

The 45-minute production, at the Lafayette Street Theater at 45 Bleecker Street, “explores what happens when familiar scenarios from cartoons are divorced from their harmless context and performed naturalistically, by complex human beings.”

Created by Ryan Iverson and Scott Peterman, the show features the writers in the respective roles of Sailor Man and The Brute. Lauren Blumenfeld plays Olive.

The plot of Sailor Man, according to production notes:

“Two rivals – a pumped-up Navy man and a heavyset, bearded thug – repeatedly beat each other nearly to death over the affection of a fickle, skinny woman named Olive. However, when performed realistically, fists fly, blood flows, and this straightforward storyline transforms into a provocative look at how our society values violence. The end product is brutal and harsh, full of bottled-up anger and regret, and much closer in tone to Sam Shepard than the traditional Saturday morning fare.”

“In cartoons, when a man gets punched in the face, his neck transforms into a spring; in Sailor Man, his nose breaks and he coughs up blood and teeth and bile,” stated Iverson. “Our goal is to see how audiences react when we approach this subject matter from a dramatic angle and show them something that’s simultaneously real and ridiculous.”

For more information visit sailormanshow.com.

(Thanks, Tim Dunleavy)


  • Paul

    Harvey Kurtzman had this idea in 1954 in MAD #17, in a lampoon of the Geo. McManus strip “Bringing Up Father.”

  • Christopher Cook

    Well, it’s gotta be an improvement on Robert Altman’s 1980 Popeye movie.

  • http://www.zoomgroups.com/group/jivetoonzcomix cartoonjoe

    Hmmm…I konda thought that was rhe whole point of “Itchy and Scratchy” cartoons…

    Talk about being a day late and a dollar short;-)

  • http://smarterthantheaverage.tumblr.com/ Jonathan Sloman

    Hmm, looks uncomfortably similar to the Bringing Up Father parody in MAD #17: http://www.entrecomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/bbf.gif

    As I wrote on my blog, it seems to be the season for reusing ideas from early MAD comic books: http://smarterthantheaverage.tumblr.com/post/42498803/

  • Gordan

    “In cartoons, when a man gets punched in the face, his neck transforms into a spring; in Sailor Man, his nose breaks and he coughs up blood and teeth and bile,” stated Iverson.”

    Hope Mr. Iverson remembers that Popeye has no teeth to begin with…

    So, what’s their next project? I recommend SUPERMAN. Maybe Mr. Iverson is going to show us what really happens if people attempt to leap from a building? It would also be interesting to see what really happens when people are bitten by radioactive spiders….

    What the h*ll is the point of something like this ???

  • zavkram

    This looks great! Any chance of getting it as a bonus feature on an upcoming volume of “Popeye the Sailor”?

    (Just Kidding!)

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    This post reminds me of a very well done Child Abuse PSA I saw a while back. The whole spot has a cartoon character, but then switches to a live action kid for the last shot, which is a reveal. The intent of the piece is different, but gets at the same violent content in cartoons vs real life issue. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8V-zxWY3vsY

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    The creators seem to think it’s an original idea. It sounds interesting, despite having been done before. Somebody videotape the thing so I can download it. FOR FREE.

  • http://www.grotto11.com/blog Brian Tiemann

    I tend to think that when the Age of Irony forces us to run out of original ideas that aren’t parodies of properties that have existed for decades, AND when all the actual parody ideas have been used up, the only fertile ground left is for the people who want to suck any remaining fun out of life.

    I died a little when Beavis was forced to stop saying “fire”. But this project was born the same day.

  • PaulN

    Apparently, the creators are the last people on earth incapable of distinguishing between cartoons and reality.

  • Dock Miles

    Also worth mentioning (and a possible inspiration for “Itchy and Scratchy” as well) is Brian McConnachie and Warren Sattler’s “Kit ‘n’ Kaboodle in the 1973 National Lampoon. It was the first work I know to explicitly present all the gore and damage that would result from cartoon violence in the real world.

  • Charlie

    I want to see this so bad, too bad I live across the country from where its being shown.

  • J. J. Hunsecker

    Harvey Kurtzman had this idea in 1954 in MAD #17, in a lampoon of the Geo. McManus strip “Bringing Up Father.”

    Hmmm…I konda thought that was rhe whole point of “Itchy and Scratchy” cartoons…

    Good calls. In addition to those two examples, National Lampoon #39 had a parody of Tom & Jerry called Kit and Kaboodle, with realistic violence in place of the cartoon slapstick.

    It seems like this live action parody of Popeye is pointless. Do the creators of that short think audiences are so dumb they don’t understand that the violence in cartoons isn’t real, or at least realistic? I think people know the difference between fantasy cartoon exaggeration and real life.

  • tom

    Other people have done something similar years and years ago, invalidating any new artistic expression, didn’t you hear?

    I’m looking forward to seeing this myself. Looks interesting and it could be hilarious.

  • http://regninnib.googlepages.com/artbinninger%27sbonusfeatures Art Binninger

    So are the live actors REALLY going to have their noses broken, spit up blood and teeth and bile? If they’re going to make a statement about real versus cartoon violence then I hope they really get “real”.

  • Mike Fontanelli

    Yawn.

  • Dick Stone

    My feelings are that the viewers’ reactions will be hysterical laughter and maniacal tittering. I never laughed so hard as I did when I first saw Beavis slice his finger off on a table saw. The build up was incredible and the slow freak out afterward was perfect! I knew it was a friggin’ cartoon, that no one got hurt, that is precisely why it was ok to laugh at it. I wish ‘artists’ would stop thinking they were smarter then the rest of us. You are not as above the fray as you like to believe.

  • Mike Fontanelli

    Apparently, Dick Stone has some “issues” with artists.

    He completely missed the point of the articulate and perfectly reasonable reservations raised in this thread, and used the opportunity to air out the chip on his shoulder instead.

    I repeat: Yawn.

  • http://smarterthantheaverage.tumblr.com/ Jonathan Sloman

    It’s a concept older than Superman himself – according to the first issue of Comic Book Comics ( http://www.eviltwincomics.com/cbc.html ) Jerry Seigel had a similar idea with reagrd to the violence in Popeye cartoons, wondering what a man with super-strength would be like in a more realistic setting.

  • Jorge Garrido

    It sounds kind of…pretentious.

  • Kirk Craig

    Bakshi did it in “Fritz the Cat”, 36 years ago, in the sequence where the bartender turns violent with a broken beer bottle and moments later, with the onscreen death of the sympathetic Duke. Audiences were astonished how a crude cartoon swiftly made the leap to dramatic film. Those who condemn “Fritz” fail to grasp that it was, in many respects, groundbreaking. Is it surprising that these filmmakers doing a live action, realistic take on “Popeye” want respect for being original? No. Every generation seeks to remake the past in its own image.

  • Oinks

    Umm….Why make funny things angry and scary? Doesn’t anyone want to laugh anymore? Is laughter forbidden now? Why can’t they let cartoons be cartoons? Is it forbidden to make funny and happy things that poke fun of human nature?

    Sorry I’ve been hiding under a rock lately. So I’m clueless….

  • http://www.brooksillustration.com Micah Brooks

    Good to see Fidel Castro has a new job.
    The perfect part for him, I think.
    Bluto has always been a bit of a dictator.

  • J. J. Hunsecker

    I wonder why the filmmakers decided to use cartoons as their target? If they wanted to contrast unrealistic slapstick with realistically performed violence, they could’ve chosen any live action comedy short from the 30′s. They could parody the Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy. Imagine the amount of blood when that saw scrapes against Curly’s head, for example.

    Wouldn’t the results be the same, using the Three Stooges, once “divorced from their harmless context and performed naturalistically,” as with the Popeye example?

  • Gummo

    What a stupid, ugly, pointless idea.

    I suppose next they’re going to redo a Three Stooges short to “teach” us all what REALLY happens when you poke someone’s eyes out and run a large saw across their bare scalp?

    Or maybe they can show us a follow-up to Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown – Charlie in traction with a broken back, Charlie in rehab, painfully learning to walk again, Charlie becoming a crippled, bitter old man whose hatred of women leads him to unspeakable acts…..

    Ugh. At least some of us know the difference between fantasy and reality.

  • http://palais.wikidot.com Jordan S.

    “In cartoons, when a man gets punched in the face, his neck transforms into a spring; in Sailor Man, his nose breaks and he coughs up blood and teeth and bile.”
    I’m not one to critique something based on its press release rather than the artwork itself, but the latter of those is exactly what happens in Porco Rosso.

  • Russell H

    “I wonder why the filmmakers decided to use cartoons as their target? If they wanted to contrast unrealistic slapstick with realistically performed violence, they could’ve chosen any live action comedy short from the 30’s. They could parody the Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy. Imagine the amount of blood when that saw scrapes against Curly’s head, for example.

    Wouldn’t the results be the same, using the Three Stooges, once “divorced from their harmless context and performed naturalistically,” as with the Popeye example?”

    A few years ago one of the featured productions at the NY Fringe Festival was PUNCH! a staging of a 19th century Punch-and-Judy puppet-show scrip using actors, rather than puppets. If you’re familiar with “traditional” P&J shows, they involve “comic” wife-beating (Punch smacking Judy with slap-stick), child-abuse (throwing baby from window), Punch “killing” policemen, etc. The point was supposed to be to highlight how certain kinds of “comic violence” are acceptable with non-human surrogates (in this case, puppets) but when performed by “real” humans are not so amusing. I don’t recall the producers announcing some kind of moral point, but that they were just exploring the nature of comedy, and why and how we laugh at some things and not others.

  • poissonrouge

    FYI folks: its a theatre piece NOT a video and its horrifying and hilarious at the same time. Like: the fact that Olive Oyl doesnt really understand what popeye is saying most of the time, or that P & B really like beating each other up more than anything…and the magic restorative powers of spinach…

    Too bad y’all can’t see it, you may possibly enjoy it…