Coming Up Shorts! With… Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 1

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, although this time I’m swinging back around to the shorts from 1943 through 1945 that have been released together on disc in Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 1.

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):

  1. Her Honor, The Mare (1943) (Length: 7 minutes, 15 seconds)
    • Popeye’s nephews bring home a horse rejected by the glue factory, but he doesn’t want the horse in the house.
  2. The Marry-Go-Round (1943) (Length: 7 minutes, 52 seconds)
    • Popeye’s pal Shorty tries to help him propose to Olive.
  3. We’re On Our Way To Rio (1943) (Length: 7 minutes, 50 seconds)
    • Popeye and Bluto come to Rio, where they run into Olive Oyl as a nightclub singer.
  4. The Anvil Chorus Girl (1944) (Length: 7 minutes, 5 seconds)
    • Popeye and Bluto come across Olive, who is working as a blacksmith and try to help her out.
  5. Spinach-Packin’ Popeye (1944) (Length: 7 minutes, 6 seconds)
    • After giving blood, Popeye loses a fight to Bluto and tries to convince Olive not to reject him.
  6. Puppet Love (1944) (Length: 7 minutes, 32 seconds)
    • Bluto creates a life-size puppet that looks like Popeye, and uses it to make Popeye look bad with Olive.
  7. Pitchin’ Woo At The Zoo (1944) (Length: 6 minutes, 51 seconds)
    • Popeye and Olive are walking through the zoo, and zookeeper Bluto tries to impress Olive.
  8. Moving Aweigh (1944) (Length: 6 minutes, 22 seconds)
    • Popeye and his pal Shorty try to help Olive move.
  9. She-Sick Sailors (1944) (Length: 6 minutes, 37 seconds)
    • Bluto disguises himself as Superman to win Olive’s affections, but Popeye tries to prove he is still just as good.
  10. Pop-Pie A La Mode (1945) (Length: 6 minutes, 53 seconds)
    • After being shipwrecked, Popeye makes it to an island that, as he later discovers, is inhabited by cannibals.
  11. Tops In The Big Top (1945) (Length: 6 minutes, 26 seconds)
    • Circus ringmaster Bluto tries to sabotage star attraction Popeye to get the attentions of Popeye’s assistant Olive.
  12. Shape Ahoy (1945) (Length: 6 minutes, 51 seconds)
    • Popeye and Bluto have come to a deserted island to get away from the ladies, but when a shipwrecked Olive comes ashore, their friendship and ideals go out the window!
  13. For Better Or Nurse (1945) (Length: 7 minutes, 6 seconds)
    • Popeye and Bluto try to injure themselves to get into the hospital, where Olive works as a nurse.
  14. Mess Production (1945) (Length: 7 minutes, 7 seconds)
    • Factory workers Popeye and Bluto have to rescue Olive when she gets knocked for a loop by a swinging grappling hook.

In the early 1940s, the Fleischer Studios, who had been creating the Popeye cartoons, were taken over by Paramount. Having fired the Fleischer brothers, Paramount renamed the studio as Famous Studios. After producing about 14 black-and-white Popeye shorts at Famous Studios, they made the switch to Technicolor starting with the 1943 cartoon Her Honor, The Mare. During the 1943-1945 “seasons,” several other changes occurred. Jack Mercer, the voice of Popeye, left to serve in the war, resulting in Popeye being voiced by some others during that time (mostly Harry Welch, although Olive Oyl voice actress Mae Questel did the part once for the cartoon Shape Ahoy). Speaking of Olive Oyl, Margie Hines started out voicing her for one of the Technicolor shorts, but, with production of the shorts moving from Miami back to New York City, Mae Questel resumed her voice duties as Olive for the first time since 1938. Also, starting with The Anvil Chorus Girl, Jackson Beck would voice the character of Bluto, and would continue to do so until 1962.

Ok, so I’m doing things the roundabout way by commenting on the 1940s Volume 1 set after having already done so for both the second and third volumes, but I still enjoy these cartoons! A lot more of the cartoons from this set are familiar to me, as I have stronger memories of some of them from my childhood. As a whole, these shorts are definitely better than the later ones, with greater variety and more characters involved, such as Popeye’s buddy Shorty. The only less-than-stellar short in this set is Pop-Pie A La Mode, which is so blatantly racist in some of its portrayals that its not even funny (but at least you can skip past that one if you are so inclined). I will admit that a couple of the later ones in this set aren’t *quite* as fun, since Jack Mercer didn’t voice Popeye (and your level of enjoyment for that reason may vary), but I personally don’t think they’re too bad. These cartoons all had their original nitrate Technicolor negatives scanned in 4K, and the colors are just so fantastic and vivid here, just as they are in the later sets. Personally, I have no trouble whatsoever in recommending this set (especially if we still want more)!

Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 1 is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection. The whole set has a runtime of one hour, thirty-nine minutes.

An Old-Fashioned Christmas Movie On The Farm (2018) with… White Christmas (1954)

Well, it’s only a few more days until Christmas, so let’s get into the classic 1954 movie White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace, Danny Kaye as Phil Davis, Rosemary Clooney as Betty Haynes and Vera-Ellen as Judy Haynes.

Coming Up Shorts! with… Moving Aweigh(1944)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 1 from Warner Archive Collection)

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.

(Length: 6 minutes, 22 seconds)

Popeye and his pal Shorty try to help Olive move. This one gives us some variety, with the focus mainly on Popeye and Shorty (plus a cop that they quickly get on the bad side of). The gags are fun, especially the ways they try to load up the moving van. This one is a definite relief after going through the “Popeye Vs. Bluto” episodes, and that makes it fun to watch every now and then!

And Now For The Main Feature…

I think most may know the plot for this movie, but for the un-initiated, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis are a pair of Army buddies who go into show business together after the second World War.  Eventually, they become producers (mostly at Phil’s prodding, since he had saved Bob’s life during the war).  After receiving a letter from “a pal in the army,” they go to see his sisters’ act.  Bob shows interest in one of the sisters, Betty, and Phil notices, deciding to try to promote the romance.  They follow the sisters to their new job in Pine Tree, Vermont, where they are to work at an inn run by a former general that Bob and Phil served under during the war.  They decide to put on a show to help bring in business to the failing inn.

Of course, this is a well-known movie, so I’ll just get into why I like the movie.  I think everybody that knows me know I REALLY like the song “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing!”  I enjoy watching Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen dancing together, in what is, I think, the dance routine that is the most fun to watch in the movie!  Of course, as a dancer myself, it is always a fun reminder of just how much fun dancing has always been for me, and all the wonderful gals I have had a chance to dance with!

I know I have seen a number of people that consider this movie to be a remake of the 1942 classic Holiday Inn.  Personally, I don’t quite get it.  The main arguments seem to be because the set for the inn in White Christmas is similar to the one in Holiday Inn, and that White Christmas borrows at least two songs from Holiday Inn: “White Christmas” and “Abraham.”  I don’t really think either point qualifies this one as a remake, since similar sets have been known to be used before in different movies that weren’t remakes (and I’m not sure how many times the same set has ever actually been used in any remakes), and as to multiple songs being borrowed, that doesn’t really apply either, I think, as White Christmas also “borrows” at least “Blue Skies” and “White Christmas” from the movie Blue Skies (and it seems like I might have read somewhere that maybe “Mandy” was also used as background music in that movie as well), and that movie isn’t even remotely close.

Whether it is a remake or not, though, this is one of those movies that you can’t go wrong with!  I know it’s one of my favorite Christmas movies, and usually one of the last movies I enjoy watching right before Christmas day!  So, I would definitely recommend this one to anybody interested!  The movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Paramount Pictures.

And so, I want to wish you all a merry Christmas (and to those who don’t celebrate it, I wish you happy holidays), and I wish you peace on earth, and goodwill to ALL!

Film Length: 2 hours

My Rating: 10/10

*ranked #7 in Top 11 Movies Watched in 2018

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Road To Bali (1952)Bing CrosbyAnything Goes (1956)

Rosemary Clooney – Deep In My Heart (1954)

On The Town (1949) – Vera-Ellen

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