CIP School in the Phils.


on July 25, 2012




The cartoon begins with stock film footage of newspapers rolling off a printing press. The front page of one of the newspapers appears, with a headline declaring that Popeye has become a movie star. The camera zooms in on the illustration of Popeye, which then comes to life, as Popeye (voiced by William “Billy” Costello) sings about his amazing prowess in his signature song “I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.”[1]

On land with his nemesis Bluto (voiced by William Pennell), the two sailors vie for the affections of Olive Oyl (voiced by Bonnie Poe). They take the object of their desire to a carnival, where they watch Betty Boop (also voiced by Bonnie Poe) who is performing ahula dance. Betty is topless, her modesty protected only by a lei. Popeye jumps up on stage, wraps himself in a long fake beard that he pulls from the “bearded lady”‘s face, and joins in alongside Betty, watching her moves and imitating them.

Bluto abducts Olive Oyl and ties her to a railroad track, using the track itself as “ropes”, in order to cause a train wreck to kill Olive. Popeye defeats his enemy, and rescues Olive, punching the approaching steam locomotive in the “face”, wrecking it in a crushing halt and sparing Olive’s life, thanks to his ever-reliable can of spinach.

  • This short also introduces the song “I’m Popeye the Sailor Man”, written by Sammy Lerner, loosely based on the first two lines of the “Pirate King” song in Gilbert and Sullivan‘s operetta, The Pirates of Penzance. It would eventually become Popeye’s theme song, with a portion of its instrumental appearing over the opening credits. For this cartoon, and at least one following it, the opening credits theme was an extended instrumental of “The Sailor’s Hornpipe” (of which only the first bar was used in the later cartoons) followed by a vocal variation on “Strike Up the Band (Here Comes a Sailor)” substituting the words “for Popeye the Sailor” in the latter phrase. The song was sung twice in the opening credits of this cartoon, first by a deep-voiced singer who sounds like the Bluto voice, and then by the voice of Betty Boop.
  • Popeye was one of several newspaper cartoons that the Fleischers animated (the others included Otto Soglow‘s The Little Kingand Carl Thomas Anderson‘s Henry).[2] In order to increase the chance of Popeye’s success, the short was billed as a Betty Boop cartoon, though she is only featured briefly. The short has also been released as Betty Boop Meets Popeye the Sailor.
  • The cartoon is included in the DVD collection, Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938, Volume 1, released by Warner Home Video in 2007. Unlike other Betty Boop cartoons, this was not sold to U.M.&M. T.V. Corp. due to Popeye’s appearance. It, like the other Popeye cartoons, was sold to Associated Artists Productions (a.a.p.), whose holdings are now owned by Time Warner.
    • Some airings on Cartoon Network were edited to remove the scene where Popeye and Bluto play the ball-toss game at the carnival. The reason for the removal of this scene is because the target is an African-American stereotype. This scene also prevented this short from airing on The Popeye Show due to the fact that producer Barry Mills would only allow uncut cartoons to air on the show.
    • Boomerang airings have kept the ball-toss scene intact. However, the version Boomerang shows is the redrawn colorized version, and has the opening and closing credit sequences removed completely.



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