Coming Up Shorts! With… Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 3

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):

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Popeye Meets Hercules (1948) (Length: 7 minutes)
    • In ancient Greece, Popeye takes on Hercules in the first Olympics.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Robin Hood-Winked (1948) (Length: 7 minutes, 12 seconds)
    • Popeye is Robin Hood and must rescue Olive from the tax collector, Bluto.
  9. Symphony In Spinach (1948) (Length: 6 minutes, 29 seconds)
    • Popeye and Bluto compete for a spot in Olive’s band.
  10. Popeye’s Premiere (1949) (Length: 10 minutes, 47 seconds)
    • Popeye and Olive are at the premiere of his short “Popeye in Aladdin’s Lamp.”
  11. Lumberjack And Jill (1949) (Length: 6 minutes, 30 seconds)
    • Lumberjacks Popeye and Bluto fight over the new camp cook, Olive.
  12. Hot Air Aces (1949) (Length: 6 minutes, 35 seconds)
    • Popeye and Bluto compete in an airplane race around the world.
  13. A Balmy Swami (1949) (Length: 6 minutes, 49 seconds)
    • Popeye has to deal with magician Bluto when he hypnotizes Olive.
  14. Tar With A Star (1949) (Length: 6 minutes, 46 seconds)
    • Popeye becomes sheriff of a western town, until Wild Bill Bluto shows up.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Murder, He Says (1945)

Next up, we have the classic 1945 Fred MacMurray comedy Murder, He Says.

Coming Up Shorts! with… Barking Dogs Don’t Fite (1949)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 3 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, 12 seconds)

Popeye is stuck walking Olive’s new French poodle when they encounter Bluto and his big bulldog. Yep, it’s still Popeye vs Bluto, but this time, they’re going to the dogs! At least this time, it gives us something different, focusing in on the fight between the dogs a little more than Popeye vs. Bluto. While I’ve definitely seen similar gags done elsewhere, I can’t deny this one was still fun just the same!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Pollster Pete Marshall (Fred MacMurray) has come to town, looking for his colleague Hector P. Smedley. Hector had last been seen heading towards the home of the Fleagle family, so that’s where Pete goes. He soon finds that to be a mistake, when he meets the rough Mamie Fleagle Smithers Johnson (Marjorie Main), her twins sons Mert and Bert Fleagle (both played by Peter Whitney), her daughter Elany Fleagle (Jean Heather) and her current husband Mr. Johnson (Porter Hall). Pete realizes they killed Hector and are considering doing the same to him, but they decide to keep him alive. Their relative, Bonnie Fleagle, had committed robbery with her father and the money had been hidden before he died and she was sent to prison. Only Grandma Fleagle (Mabel Paige) truly knows where it is, but since she doesn’t trust the rest of the family (and for good reason, since they’ve been poisoning her), they all want Pete to pose as Bonnie’s boyfriend to get the information from Grandma Fleagle. She figures out he isn’t Bonnie’s boyfriend, but figures she should tell him anyways, giving him a sampler with some musical notes on it before passing away. He tries to tell the other Fleagles about the sampler, but they don’t believe him, since the lyrics are just nonsense words that Elany keeps singing. Then Bonnie Fleagle shows up, and starts working Pete over. However, when the two are alone, Pete finds out she is not Bonnie, but Claire Matthews (Helen Walker), whose father had been working at the bank when the robbery happened and was accused of being part of it. Claire hoped to find the money and clear him. Pete isn’t thrilled, but he decides to stay. Of course, the trouble is trying to figure out where the money is hidden, all the while avoiding the attempts by the other Fleagles to find out or kill them, which becomes harder when the real Bonnie Fleagle (Barbara Pepper) arrives.

The movie had been filmed as far back as the spring of 1944, but was held back due to the war and was released in 1945. Paramount had a big backlog of movies, mainly because they were trying to get a lot more war-related movies out faster, hoping to keep them from being dated with the war’s end. Murder, He Says took place in a mountain community, and some of the cast made use of recordings of native Arkansas speakers to help with their accents. Reviewers of the time had mixed opinions on this movie, but over time it has grown to be considered one of the better comedies of the era.

This is one of those movies that, prior to my recent viewing, I didn’t immediately recognize, but upon watching, I found it very familiar (although when or how I might have seen it before, I couldn’t tell you). What I do know is that I did enjoy this movie very much. The cast just works so perfectly here. Marjorie Main as the leader of the opposing Fleagles is just hilarious, equally at home using a bullwhip as a shotgun. You know you can’t trust her, no matter what bull she might be peddling to Fred MacMurray’s Pete. And speaking of Fred MacMurray, he does pretty well here too! While I’ve read that the movie was originally planned as another vehicle for Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard, I can’t deny that everybody cast in this movie does pretty well (and I can’t help but chuckle at the movie’s reference to one of the Bob Hope/Paulette Goddard films). Many funny moments here, including the twins, both played so wonderfully by Peter Whitney, especially with MacMurray constantly getting them mixed up, or trying to get away from them by pretending to see the “ghost” of his colleague Smedley! I could easily list off a whole lot more, but some things are best left to be seen in a very fun movie! I definitely recommend this one any time of the year, but it certainly should work pretty good around Halloween!

This movie is available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, touting a brand new 4K restoration. I’ll certainly say that this transfer looks fantastic! A very vivid picture, and it certainly brings out the “glow” of some characters throughout the movie! Only a few scratches here and there to keep it from being perfect, but I’d still say that it’s well worth it!

Film Length: 1 hour, 34 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Remember The Night (1940) – Fred MacMurray – The Caine Mutiny (1954)

Meet Me In St. Louis (1944) – Marjorie Main – The Harvey Girls (1946)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What's Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Holiday (1938)

Next up, we have the third Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant movie, that 1938 classic Holiday!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Popeye Meets Hercules (1948)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 3 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: 7 minutes)

In ancient Greece, Popeye takes on Hercules in the first Olympics. While it’s still typical Popeye vs. Bluto as they fight over Olive and try to one-up each other, this one was still fun. A lot of fun with then-modern gags being transported to ancient Greece. I can still see the formula getting tired, but I still enjoyed watching this one just the same!

And Now For The Main Feature…

After going on a holiday to Lake Placid, Johnny Case (Cary Grant) comes home engaged to Julia Seton (Doris Nolan). He is surprised to find out she is an heiress, the daughter of a rich banker. Her sister, Linda Seton (Katharine Hepburn) takes to him, and blesses the marriage, with her brother Ned Seton (Lew Ayres) being indifferent. However, her banker father Edward Seton (Henry Kolker) is wary, and looks into Johnny’s prospects. Linda wants to give them a small party to celebrate their engagement on New Year’s Eve, but Edward decides to give a big party for all his society friends. Linda opts not to come to the party, instead staying in the playroom. There, she entertains Nick (Edward Everett Horton) and Susan Potter (Jean Dixon), along with Johnny, who tells her of his dream to quit work and go on a holiday while he tries to figure life out and enjoy it before returning to work when his money runs out. When Edward and Julia come up, Johnny tells them his dream, except they are both disturbed by it, resulting in Johnny leaving. With Linda developing feelings for Johnny while still trying to support her sister, what will come of all this?

While this may have been the second time this story was filmed, it’s origins certainly go back a bit further. Nearly ten years earlier, during the Philip Barry play’s original run, Katharine Hepburn was the understudy for the role of Linda Seton. Only once did she get a chance to actually perform in place of actress Hope Williams, and Katharine’s performance was a disaster, as she mainly mimicked how Hope Williams had been performing it. Still Katharine used part of her lines when auditioning for what would be her first movie, A Bill Of Divorcement, with George Cukor directing. After that success, Katharine was under contract to RKO, but soon became labeled as box office poison. In 1938, Columbia Pictures planned a remake of Holiday, with George Cukor directing. They wanted Cary Grant to star, but the studio hoped to reteam him with Irene Dunne after the success of the previous year’s The Awful Truth. However, George Cukor wanted Katharine Hepburn. Still under contract to RKO, who had plans to star her in the B-movie Mother Carey’s Chickens, Katharine was able to buy her way out of her contract, and go to Columbia to do Holiday. The film didn’t end up being successful enough to remove the “box office poison” label, though, so she went back to the stage, where she would star, to great acclaim, in ANOTHER Philip Barry play, The Phildaelphia Story (and do the film version for MGM, reviving her career).

For me, this is a fun film, made very much so by its wonderful cast! Cary Grant just works so well as Johnny Case, especially throwing in his acrobatic abilities as a method for the character to put his troubles behind him. Katharine Hepburn is fun as the older sister Linda, who is trying to rebel against her father’s wishes while still caring for her siblings. Only problem with the two is that, once you see they are both in the movie, whether or not you’ve seen it before, you know they’re going to end up together (but I’m not complaining). And Edward Everett Horton is, well, Edward Everett Horton, which makes this movie worth it for him alone! A very fun film, and my second favorite of the four films that teamed up Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, only behind Bringing Up Baby (to be fair, I still haven’t seen all four, but I can’t imagine their first film together, Sylvia Scarlet, changing my mind)! Holiday is certainly one movie I would very much recommend!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Criterion Collection. The new restoration included on this release is fantastic! For the picture quality alone, this set is well worth it, and I can’t even begin to recommend it enough!

Film Length: 1 hour, 36 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

*ranked #9 in Top 10 Disc Releases Of 2020

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Bringing Up Baby (1938) – Katharine Hepburn – The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Bringing Up Baby (1938)Cary GrantOnly Angels Have Wings (1939)

College Swing (1938) – Edward Everett Horton – Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)