It was common practice back in the golden age to release publicity stills for every Hollywood feature, short and cartoon. Cartoon producers usually had a staffer gather several cels and backgrounds after filming, to create special setups for a publicity shoot (Martha Sigall did this at MGM in the late 1940s, early 50s). Warner Bros., of course, had several pieces of special publicity art created (with titles, done lobby card style) for each Looney Tune and Merrie Melodie.
Here’s a nice set of six stills (below) which were released for Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves. They were auctioned on ebay this weekend. I didn’t win them (they went for over $290.) so I thought I’d preserve them by posting them here. I have several like these from Sindbad but had not seen the Ali Baba set before. Click on each thumbnail image to see it full size.
In this day and age, when we can make frame grabs off a dvd at whim, these ancient still photos may no longer be needed… but they sure look great to me.