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Popeye and Friends

popeyefriends1.jpgFor Popeye completists only: To be released the same day (June 17th) as Popeye The Sailor Vol. 2, 1938-1940, Warner Home Video will be appealing to kids and families with a special one-disc release containing eight color episodes from the 1978 CBS Saturday morning series, The All-New Popeye Hour. The eight cartoons include: Abject Flying Object, Ship Ahoy, I Wouldn’t Take That Mare to The Fair on a Dare, Popeye Goes Sightseeing, Chips Off The Old Ice Block, Popeye The Plumber, Swee-Pea Plagues
A Parade
and Polly Wants Some Spinach.

  • If these are the ones I remember, they’re light years better than the King Features Popeyes. I think there was sort of a Fleischer feel to them in the design of the characters.

  • Kevin W. Martinez (Leviathna)

    Strange that there are none of the 60’s KFS made-for-tv shorts here. I’m guessing THOSE will be on Vol 2.

  • Joseph Nebus

    A bunch of the King Features Syndicate Popeyes were released a couple of years ago, though. Those are actually kind of bracing, at least when they convey the sense that “we have absolutely no idea where this is going, but we don’t have time to make the story make sense”. Plus they brought back Eugene the Jeep and the Goons, and introduced the Sea Hag to animation. Some of them are rather appealing, too, such as the Big Cheese on the Moon cartoon, or the Beatnik short.

    The All-New Popeye Hour — and I’ve seen episodes relatively recently, as the Popeye’s Fried Chicken shop in Singapore’s Changi Airport is always showing them — is, obviously, not in the league of the Fleischer or the 40s Paramount shorts, but it certainly had its heart in the right place and was amusing enough. Doesn’t compare to the 30s or 40s, but it’s probably better than the 50s Paramount shorts. Plus, there’s public service announcements featuring Popeye and his Nephews!

    (As it happens last night I ran across a 1979 Dr Pepper commercial in which Popeye puts in an appearance: he blows a Dr Pepper logo out of his pipe and it turns into a soda can!)

  • WHAT—no Dinky Dog cartoons?

    I remember these being pretty bad though it was nice to hear the great Jack Mercer (sadly for the last time). Anyone know why Hanna-Barbera didn’t use Mae Questel & Jackson Beck? I’m guessing Jack’s salary blew their budget.

  • Rastus

    The great Jack Mercer had to audition to get the part of Popeye for H-B, a role he’d been doing since the 1930’s for Fleischer and Paramount. Probably the fault of CBS, and with that kind of management in charge, is it any wonder they didn’t use Mae Questel and Jackson Beck?

  • Joe Queen

    “Larry Levine says: WHAT—no Dinky Dog cartoons?”

    Just a head’s up … Amazon.ca (the Canadian side) has the Dinky Dog Series by itself. It’s region 1, so it will play on US machines.

    I’m glad they are releasing some of these episode. Rhino released some of the 80’s Popeye episode in ’99. My heart will always go out to the Fleischer ones, though.

  • These suck. Popeye never gets to hit anyone because it was made in that touchy-feely era where child psychologists were dictating content. I hated these as a kid. I can’t believe anyone has wistful recollections of these abortions. It’s obvious that Warners is hoping that people shopping for the Paramount version will accidentally pick up this set instead.

  • fishmorg

    That’s right, John Sanford… even in the stiff, el cheapo KFS TV catoons, Popeye was allowed to beat up the baddies!

  • John, saying they suck is being way too kind!

    These are truly dreadful cartoons, only surpassed in awfulness by “Popeye & Son”.

  • Some Guy

    What, you don’t like Popeye and Son?

    I hope this includes the anti-smoking PSAs Popeye sold out to.

  • Mat

    I remember these Popeye cartoons. They were really horrible and really made me want to smash the TV when I was a kid.

  • Just a word in defense of a few of the 1960’s KFS Popeye’s made by Paramount. Some of them tried to squash down original Segar continuities for TV (Myskery Melody and Me Quest For Poopdeck Pappy), though a lot was hacked out to fit the five minute format. Popeye gets off some woderfully wheezy puns like when he asks the little cheese soldier’s name in “Hits And Missiles”. The soldier says his name is Krans to which Popeye replies “Take me to your leader, Krans”. Or this one when Brutus, with the Sea Hag’s help, is transformed into a hunk. Brutus goes under the alias “Don Juan” and Popeye comes back with “When you’ve Don Juan, you’ve done ’em all”. Hmm. Well, they gave me a chuckle.

  • They are badddddd…to say the least….but the 60s one make THEM look like “Bambi!”

  • James

    Yeah, Some Guy….”I uses me pipe as a musical instrumink!” Next thing you know, they’ll make Popeye like something more than spinach…oh yeah, the Quaker Oats commercial did that. Oh those wacky ’70s and ’80s.

    When the TVShowsOnDVD report said “family friendly” and then I saw the cover, I knew they’d use the H-B show before it was reported by Jerry. And I agree about the infuriating “no hitting” rule, but that was the ’70s for you…see also: the Superfriends. And worse, the Filmation Batman cartoon at the time. Believe me that makes SF look like JLUnlimited.

    As for the KFS shorts…I know most Popeye purists frown at them. But I can’t do it, despite how corny and badly animated they were. Cause they were the Popeyes I grew up watching in reruns in the ’80s on WNEW-TV, Channel 5. Actually, since all 5 was showing then were the KFS’s (along with select Famous shorts, mostly AAP’ed films though some of them kept the Paramount open and close), that was the Popeye I knew before even the Fleischers! So I guess I will always have a soft spot for them, in spite of myself.

  • I did not get to watch The All New Popeye Hour in my area (New Orleans) during its first season, for WWL-TV Channel 4, New Orleans’ CBS afilliate, rejected the network feed in favour of playing its own local Popeye And Pals, which, coincidentally, was scheduled @ the same time as The All New Popeye Hour (9:00 AM Central).

    The next year, WWL-TV blacked out The All New Popeye Hour again, thus prompting me to watch it on former independent station WGNO-TV 26, which was generous enough to carry the CBS feed of the show that season (once I found out about it!). And you know, I kinda dug it! WWL-TV finally accepted the network feed when the whow became The Popeye And Olive Comedy Show.

    I bought one of the Rhino Video VHS releases of the 1970s Hanna-Barbera Popeye ‘toons. I thought they’d include the original main title opening to The All New Popeye Hour…but then the tape included Hanna-Barbera Popeye ‘toons from other seasons, too.

  • Believe it or not, Dave Tendlar did the stock animation for Popeye’s spinach-fueled transformation in those 70s H-B POPEYE cartoons. Also, Toby Bluth designed and painted the key pseudo-Fleisher backgrounds for the series.

    But what was REALLY noteworthy about those shows were the health-and-safety tags. I was working in layout at the studio and did one that featured Popeye showing his nephews the proper way to brush their teeth — except that Popeye HAS no teeth — apparently, they’ve all been punched out. So, for that segment, we had to make a new model of Popeye WITH teeth! Even wilder, there was a rather lovable middle-aged designer/developement artist working on the show who was animation’s equivalent of Hunter S. Thompson as far as intake of substances went (he was always high on something/anything but had a personal code of responsiblity in that he refused to drive) who was given the assignment of designing a character called “Mr. Unh-Unh” or “Mr. No-No” or something like that for the ALL-NEW POPEYE HOUR’s PSAs. The character was supposed to represent every bad habit depictable (who knows if he was a porn addict, too) as a negative example to Popeye’s nephews. So our booze/pot/mushroom/etc.-addled designer came up with a funny-animal wolf wearing a purple pimp suit — complete with a purple hat with a long feather sticking out of its hat band — and the network went with it! What’s even funnier, that wolf somehow looked like the guy who designed it!

    Boy, I’d buy this DVD just for another look at Mr. Unh-Unh!

    As for POPEYE AND SON, I’m embarrassed to admit I wrote a few episodes for the show. My original scripts tried to ignore some of the worst aspects of the show and put some genuinely Fleisher-esque moments into the show — for example, since BS&P was only looking for “imitatable violence”, I came up with a sequence wherein Popeye and used car dealer Bluto got into a fight bashing each other with cars rather than fists — but every one of my scripts came back from the network with the line “GOES TOO FAR” scrawled across the cover sheet! No surprise, the results — revised by others writers — never resembled the “real” POPEYE in the slightest.

  • James

    BTW…between this and the first evidence of Scrappy-Doo’s existence seen on DVD (I think…I am referring of course to the Scooby/Richie Rich Show), can it be Jump the Shark Month at WHV?

  • I’m still trying to understand why H-B made Wimpy sound like W.C. Fields.

  • Rico S. Mann

    I have a worst movies ever made collection and it sounds like this disc will go great in that collection. I have several of the public domain popeye and im lookin to buy the warner. This site rocks.

  • James

    SS! it is great to hear from you. Funny thing…it wasn’t till I saw the restored Fleischers on The Popeye Show (Cartoon Network) that I knew that Popeye was intended not to have teeth…probably due to miscolorized Fleischer shorts and the Famous and KFS shorts that DID have a betoothed Popeye. (In the Fleischers, watching them in B/W you can tell by the dark color that what was seen at times in Popeye’s mouth were apparently gums) Then again, Popeye has been known to miraculously regain his other eye in the later shorts.

    Wonder if he’s been eating pureed spinach all those years, then?

  • I think Popeye first switches his missing eye in “Aladdin & His Wonderful Lamp” when he’s romancing Olive at the end as the genie returns the castle. By the early B&W Famous cartoons he actually opens both peepers and when they switched to color poor Popeye was reduced to watered down model designs, lame formula scripts & Shorty!

  • The correct name of the wolf in “The All-New Popeye Hour” public service segments is Mr. No-No. Before Cartoon Network, this show and the Famous Studios cartoon shorts featured on WGN-TV’s “The Bozo Show” were the only Popeye series I had access to. I have great memories of watching and recording “The All-New Popeye Show” (as The Family Channel called it), even after learning about the differences between the theatrical cartoon shorts.

    I still enjoy this show for its interesting take on the Popeye characters (“Popeye’s Treasure Hunt”, “Private Olive Oil”, etc.), but I know that it doesn’t try to be like the Fleischer cartoon shorts when it comes to character interaction and animation. It’s similar to “The Price is Right” during Bob Barker’s last years as host. After many years running, favorite elements of the show were gone or not the same (announcers Rod Roddy and Johnny Olson and regular models Janice Pennington and Kathleen Bradley), but the star was always there. In the case of “The All-New Popeye Hour”, that was the main character and Jack Mercer.

  • fishmorg

    James: in Segar’s original strips, a nurse expressed suprise that Popeye had no teeth — but Popeye assured her that he could eat anything he wanted by gumming it something fierce, and then proceeded to finish off a steak dinner.

  • Gordan

    The Fleischers’ colour Popeyes show the ol’ salt with red gums and no teeth – true to the sailor’s original design. The reason why Popeye’s mouth looks the way it does is, in great part, due to the fact that Popeye has no teeth (if you’ve seen people with no teeth, you’ll know what I’m talking about).

    Ah,…how times have changed. I find it very ironic that, since then, the character of Popeye has been used to advertise everything including, believe it ot not, FLOSSING. At home, I have a sticker, which was sent to me by Fred Grandinetti (I think it is from the 80s), that shows Popeye smiling and flexing his arm muscles, which instead of a usual metaphor for strength (such as the Rock of Gibraltar, anchor, dynamite, etc.), have a dental floss product inscribed on them. Below Popeye, displayed are the words FLOSS IS BOSS. Hehehe…That’s like Wimpy advertising a healthy, trans fat-free diet. :)

    As for this Hanna-Barbera incarnation of Popeye. I really cannot see how some people can find these films better than the 1960s KFS shorts. The KFS Popeyes are better than the late Famous output at their best and disturbingly campy at their worst. Still, they were not contaminated by the bacteria of political correctness. Popeye could punch people. And, also, there were some nice throwbacks to Segar’s bizarre universe. What’s good about Hanna-Barbera Popeyes? The fact that the visual designs are third-rate imitations of the Fleischer era? These films stink of Saturday morning soul-less-ness. They might have had any other characters in lieu of Thimble Theatre characters and there would be no difference. Give me disturbing campiness before generic facelessness any time…

    Besides, why do people at WHV think that Fleischer Popeyes are not family friendly, anyway? I’ve seen kids watching Fleischer toons and they were immersed in them and ecstatic while watching these films. Two generations have grown up watching Fleischer Popeyes and there’s nothing wrong with these people. You don’t get more family friendly than Popeye’s “Just ’cause you’re taller, don’t hit someone smaller” philosophy in the Fleischers’ PROTECK THE WEAKERIST. Why introduce kids to the worst type of mediocrity when we have such artistic/entertainment gems in our cultural archives?

  • Arnaud

    Comment about the cover on Stephen DeStefano’s blog :


  • Fred Grandinetti

    I enjoy the H-B Popeye cartoons because their was an attempt to capture the feel of the Fleischer films. Jack Mercer also wrote many of the scripts. I know, I know Popeye couldn’t belt people
    but the stories made up for that. They’re certainly better than some of those ghastly animated Jack Kinney TV Popeyes from the 1960’s.

    The series was a huge hit for CBS but once in went into syndication, that should have been it for the animated sailor. “Popeye and Son”
    was a mistake unless it had been about Popeye and Swee’pea.