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Popeye Ali Baba stills


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.

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  • Gobo

    Since almost all of those promo images are random match-ups of cels and backgrounds, creating bizarro scenes that never occur in the actual cartoon, they’re way better than frame grabs — they’re insane! I love the second one in the batch, with four random cels (Popeye doing his ‘buy me for a nickel’ posing for Bluto, Wimpy doing his crazy walk away from the desert oasis, etc) thrown onto the cafe background.

  • Billy Batz

    Amazing art direction and sound design! John K. showed a cleaned up print of Sinbad at the Egyptian and it was the best!!!

  • Sighhhhhh, wish I owned ’em!

  • bord

    Those are spectacular! Thanks for sharing them.

  • The second thumbnail was published in Leonard Maltin’s old FILM FAN MONTHLY from 30 years ago. It bothers me a bit that the cels are not always matched up with the proper backgrounds, and the colors are not more accurate. Even with limited printing technology, a better representation could have been done. The colors on Wimpy and Olive are totally off. But for what they represent, they would be nice to have. But then we now have access to accurate frame grabs due to digital technology.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Something about mis-matched cel/background set-ups always seems a little funny to me since I expect to get that if or when I find a good cel on eBay to buy (obviously a laser copy of that background is usually common). Interesting to see how they did it for these lobby cards though I do wonder if it led to any confusion by those moviegoers who thought those scenes were exactly in the film. :-)

  • Asymetrical

    I am really impressed with the quality of the drawings too. Quite often you get a bad drawing in a cel setup due to using an in-between. these are really nicely drawn. I always loved Popeye’s sausage hands. And Olive? Olive is damn HOT!

  • doug holverson

    Are these CMYK prints that faded to something brownish or are they black and two spot colors trying to pretend they’re full CMYK?

  • Sir Rupp Of Figgs

    Dig those crazy one-legged thieves advancing on Popeye. I’ll have to watch that scene more closely tonight.

  • uncle wayne

    Whooooooa! (as would say our one-eyed friend!) As one who collects (internet) stills & cels….that is TRULY some treasure! Thank YOO!!