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.

TFTMM 2020 & WOIANRA 2019 on… The World Of Abbott And Costello (1965)

And to finish off today’s triple feature (not to mention, our run through of the Abbott and Costello filmography), we have the 1965 film The World Of Abbott And Costello.

Well, this one should be fairly quick and easy. The World Of Abbott And Costello is a compilation film, making use of clips from various movies that the comedy team of Abbott and Costello made for Universal Studios. Movies represented by film clips include The Wistful Widow Of Wagon Gap, In The Navy, Hit The Ice, Who Done It?, Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein, Mexican Hayride, Hold That Ghost, Abbott And Costello In The Foreign Legion, Little Giant, In Society, Ride ‘Em Cowboy, The Naughty Nineties, Buck Privates Come Home, Buck Privates, Abbott And Costello Meet The Keystone Kops, Lost In Alaska, Comin’ Round The Mountain, Abbott And Costello Go To Mars and Abbott And Costello Meet The Mummy. The film is narrated by comedian Jack E. Leonard.

Ok,now that we are past all that, I can tell you what I think of it. As a whole, this is a very weak film. By way of the narration, it “attempts” to tell the story of Abbott and Costello (although anybody expecting this to be a documentary is looking at the wrong film, as it doesn’t come anywhere near what I’ve heard). Outside of the opening and closing credits, the entirety of the film utilizes clips from their films. The problem with that is that they use clips from the lesser films along with their better stuff. When it actually uses footage of their comedy routines, it’s good and funny (but those moments are a little too few and far between). The narration by Jack E. Leonard isn’t that great either, as he throws in his own quips, almost all of which land with a thud. And sometimes his narration rather annoyingly covers some of the (far, far better) comedy routines, most noticeably during the “Who’s On First?” routine at the end of the movie. Personally, I think there are better ways to be introduced to the Abbott and Costello films (mostly by giving their earlier films a try), so I really wouldn’t recommend this movie at all.

This movie is available as part of the 28-film The Complete Abbott And Costello Universal Pictures Collection from Shout Factory.

Film Length: 1 hour, 15 minutes

My Rating: 3/10

Audience Rating:

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Abbott And Costello Meet The Mummy (1955)The Complete Abbott And Costello Universal Pictures Collection

Coming Up Shorts! with… Spinach-Packin’ Popeye (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.

Welcome to my new feature on various theatrical shorts! Sometimes my comments will be on shorts included as extras on a disc set I am reviewing, and other times, they will be completely unrelated to the movie being reviewed (and I will try to indicate which). Hope you enjoy!

(Length: 7 minutes, 6 seconds)

After giving blood, Popeye loses a fight to Bluto and tries to convince Olive not to reject him. A bit of a clip show, making use of some footage from “Popeye The Sailor Meets Sindbad The Sailor” and “Popeye The Sailor Meets Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves.” Obviously, the animation styles between the old and the new differ, but it still works quite well here. One of the better clip shows amongst the Popeye cartoons, and one I do enjoy seeing every now and then!

And stay tuned for more of Coming Up Shorts! featuring more of Popeye (and the eventual post on the entire 1940s Volume 1 set), along with other shorts!