Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.
Welcome back for another full post of Coming Up Shorts! Once again, I’m sticking with theatrical shorts featuring Popeye The Sailor, this time the shorts from 1948 and 1949 that have been released together on disc in Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 3.
Here’s a list and quick plot description for each of the cartoons included in this set (for my comments on the individual cartoons, click on the title to go to my previous reviews):
- Olive Oyl For President (1948) (Length: 6 minutes)
- Popeye dreams of what it would be like if Olive ran for U.S. President (and won).
- Wigwam Whoopee (1948) (Length: 7 minutes, 12 seconds)
- Following right behind the Mayflower, Popeye runs into Indian princess Olive, while dealing with an Indian chief who also has designs on her.
- Pre-Hysterical Man (1948) (Length: 6 minutes, 50 seconds)
- While in Yellowstone, Olive falls off a tall peak into a deep hole where a caveman and dinosaur reside, and Popeye has to save her.
- Popeye Meets Hercules (1948) (Length: 7 minutes)
- In ancient Greece, Popeye takes on Hercules in the first Olympics.
- A Wolf In Sheik’s Clothing (1948) (Length: 7 minutes, 46 seconds)
- While exploring the desert, Olive expresses a desire to kiss a sheik (and wouldn’t you know it, one just happens to be nearby and tries to take her away from Popeye).
- Spinach vs. Hamburgers (1948) (Length: 7 minutes, 57 seconds)
- Popeye tries to convince his four nephews of the merits of eating spinach instead of hamburgers.
- Snow Place Like Home (1948) (Length: 7 minutes, 14 seconds)
- Popeye and Olive are caught in a tornado that takes them WAY up north from Miami, where they run into the now lovestruck Pierre.
- Robin Hood-Winked (1948) (Length: 7 minutes, 12 seconds)
- Popeye is Robin Hood and must rescue Olive from the tax collector, Bluto.
- Symphony In Spinach (1948) (Length: 6 minutes, 29 seconds)
- Popeye and Bluto compete for a spot in Olive’s band.
- Popeye’s Premiere (1949) (Length: 10 minutes, 47 seconds)
- Popeye and Olive are at the premiere of his short “Popeye in Aladdin’s Lamp.”
- Lumberjack And Jill (1949) (Length: 6 minutes, 30 seconds)
- Lumberjacks Popeye and Bluto fight over the new camp cook, Olive.
- Hot Air Aces (1949) (Length: 6 minutes, 35 seconds)
- Popeye and Bluto compete in an airplane race around the world.
- A Balmy Swami (1949) (Length: 6 minutes, 49 seconds)
- Popeye has to deal with magician Bluto when he hypnotizes Olive.
- Tar With A Star (1949) (Length: 6 minutes, 46 seconds)
- Popeye becomes sheriff of a western town, until Wild Bill Bluto shows up.
- Silly Hillbilly (1949) (Length: 6 minutes, 25 seconds)
- Popeye brings his department store out to the hills, where he runs into hillbillies that included Olive and Bluto.
- Barking Dogs Don’t Fite (1949) (Length: 6 minutes, 12 seconds)
- Popeye is stuck walking Olive’s new French poodle when they encounter Bluto and his big bulldog.
- The Fly’s Last Flight (1949) (Length: 6 minutes, 41 seconds)
- A tired Popeye tries to take a nap, but finds it interrupted by many things, particularly a fly.
As I’ve said previously, I’m still no expert on theatrical shorts beyond what I can find on Wikipedia. This set continues the run of Famous Studios Popeye shorts, with varying results. The “Popeye Vs. Bluto” formula runs throughout most of these. That being said, there is at least some variety in this bunch beyond that. Obviously, we have the first cartoon in the set, Olive Oyl For President, which focuses more on Olive and what she would do if elected to the presidency. We also have The Fly’s Last Flight focusing on Popeye going up against a stubborn fly. Spinach Vs. Hamburgers and Popeye’s Premiere also go against the grain, except they are both clip shows, making use of footage from earlier (and mostly better) cartoons. Beyond those, the rest can and do focus on Popeye duking it out with Bluto.
I will readily admit that I continued to have fun with this set! Continuing the run of 1940s Popeye cartoons started with the Volume 1 and Volume 2 sets, these did manage to be fun! Sure, they have become rather formulaic by this point, and the gags might not be as good as earlier, but they’re still enough fun to watch! Obviously, I still continue to watch them slowly, one before each movie I watch, to keep them from getting too old too fast like they might be if I just binge-watched the set. And yes, a number of them definitely struggle with politically incorrect portrayals, with Wigwam Whoopee being one of the worst, as well as the clip from Pop-Pie A La Mode included as part of Spinach Vs. Hamburger, but, then again, we’re warned about that (in between my own disclaimer as well as the official one included in the disc’s startup). Warner Archive has continued their preservation project, making 4K scans of the original nitrate negatives as much as possible. These shorts continue to look great, far better than you would dream would be possible based on what has been seen in recent years! Obviously, one wishes that all the elements still existed to do right by A Wolf In Sheik’s Clothing, but they did well enough, and this set is definitely recommended for Popeye fans, especially if they want more from the series (either continuing on with shorts from the 1950s or going back and improving the shorts from the 1930s to be able to put them on Blu-ray)!
Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 3 is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection. The whole set has a runtime of two hours, one minute.