Old Brew


Brew reader Tony Sykes in Sydney Australia spotted this down under:

I was somewhat shocked the other day when I saw a prime-time TV commercial broadcast on a major Australian network featuring our favorite spinach-munching sailorman Popeye, promoting a popular form of gambling, the Scratchies Instant Lottery (click on ticket at right for larger image). popeyelottery.jpgOnce such a fine ambassador for the healthy consumption of spinach to the kids of the world, poor old Popeye is now setting a fine example for the youth of today to squander hard-earned cash for the slim chance at striking it rich by gambling. That’s what I call making your cartoon franchise work for a living.Hats off to King Features Syndicate and Hearst Entertainment for paving the way. It could put a whole new spin on the Golden Age of animation. Gee, next we could have Daffy Duck Bucks, Bugs Bunny Money or, for the UK market, how about Huckleberry Hound Pounds. I personally can’t wait for the Itchy & Scratchy Scratchie!

The suits at King Features have no idea how powerful a character Popeye is. They think they do, but they don’t. If they did, they’d allow Warner Brothers to release their classic Fleischer cartoons on dvd. It’s like trying to market the likeness of John Wayne, but witholding all the classic John Wayne movies. We who understand must sit back and watch helplessly while King Features manages to destroy one of the great cartoon stars of all time.That said, I’m delighted to see Popeye marketed at all – on lottery tickets, Fried Chicken, maquettes or spinach – at least Stephen DeStefano’s artwork keeps the Fleischer spirit, and my hopes, alive.