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    You WIll Need To Reset Your Password!!!

    We just moved hosts on this system, and this has caused a few updates. One is the way we encode and store the encoded passwords.

    Your old passwords will NOT work. You will need to reset your password. This is normal. Just click on reset password from the log in screen. Should be smooth as silk to do...

    Sorry for the hassle.

    Dave Koch
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    Are You Just Hanging Out?

    Just lurking? Join the club, we'd love to have you in the Big Cartoon Forum! Sign up is easy- just enter your name and password.... or join using your Facebook account!

    Membership has it's privileges... you can post and get your questions answered directly. But you can also join our community, and help other people with their questions, You can add to the discussion. And it's free! So join today!

    Dave Koch
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    Other Side Of Maleficent

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    Renegades of Animation: Pat Sullivan

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Happy 50th Popeye the Sailor!

Discussion in 'The Animated Word' started by Dave Koch, Jan 24, 2014.

  1. Dave Koch

    Dave Koch Cartoon Admin

    Oct 27, 2013
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    Fifty years ago Popeye cartoons began production exclusively for television. This was the first animated series produced for the small screen which was a spin off from a successful theatrical property.

    The sailor began life in 1929 when he was introduced into the cast of E.C. Segar’s Thimble Theatre, a syndicated newspaper comic strip. Soon, Popeye took over the strip and his popularity skyrocketed. In 1933 he moved onto theater screens as the star of a series of theatrical cartoons produced by the Fleischer Studios. Famous Studios took over the spinach-eating sailor’s animation adventures in 1942. The theatrical Popeyes were extremely popular and profitable for Paramount Pictures. A total of 234 cartoons were produced and the series became the longest running theatrical cartoon series in motion picture history.


    Popeye springs into action in Gene Deitch's Sea No Evil​

    In September of 1956, Popeye’s theatrical series began to appear on television, syndicated nationally. The ratings went through the roof as hundreds of local TV stations aired the Fleischer/Famous Studios cartoons. Popeye was seen by a whole new generation of kids, becoming a national phenomenon.
    King Features Syndicate, which distributed the Popeye comic strip to newspapers around the world, did not make any money from the syndication of the Fleischer/Famous Popeye films. While the syndicate owned the Popeye characters, it owned no part of the theatrical library. King Features hired executive producer Al Brodax to get production started on a new series of color cartoons under their ownership.

    The Syndicate wanted over 200 new color cartoons to debut on television by October of 1960, but no single animation studio could handle this heavy work load. Brodax contracted five studios to produce the films. Unfortunately this caused the TV Popeyes to have no consistent look. The studios involved with the production of the cartoons were:
    Larry Harmon Productions, directed by Paul Fennell: These cartoons featured Popeye, Olive, and Brutus drawn in a very simplistic style. Plots concentrated mainly on this trio of characters and usually featured Brutus competing against Popeye for Olive’s attention. Harmon produced 18 Popeyes and is best known for his work on Bozo the Clown’s animated adventures. In fact, you could substitute Bozo for Popeye in several of these films. The cartoons using simplistic animation include Muskels Shmuskels, Hoppy Jalopy and Ski Jump Chump. Cartoons worth tuning in for are Dead-Eye Popeye, Ace of Space, Foola-Foola Bird and Crystal Ball Brawl.

    William Snyder/Gene Deitch: This studio alternated between well animated cartoons (Weight For Me, Disguise the Limit, Roger, Potent Lotion) to cartoons in which Swee’pea is seen with no arms (Hag Way Robbery). They are best remembered for their eerie hollow-sounding background music. Snyder/Deitch produced 28 Popeyes featuring cartoons animated very well by the respected team of Halas and Batchelor. These included Matinee Idol Popeye, Which is Witch and Model Muddle.

    Gerald Ray, scripts by Henry Lee: While the character designs looked ugly, the plots were filled with puns and each cartoon ended with a variation of Popeye’s theme song, “At home or vacation spinach is me salvation says Popeye the Sailor Man” (The Last Resort). Ray produced 10 Popeyes and several publicity photos feature his studio’s rendition of the characters. The studio is best known for producing the cartoons series featuring King Leonardo and Odie Colognie.

    Jack Kinney Studios: Kinney, best known for his work at Disney, filled his films with clever one-liners, fresh stories and visual puns. However many featured terrible animation making them difficult to watch. Popeye’s hat and pipe would vanish without motivation, Olive would grow an extra eye, stock footage from previous Kinney films would be utilized and characters would speak with other’s voices. The worst films came from director Hugh Fraser. These include Popeye and The Giant, Time Marches Backwards, Invisible Popeye, Mississippi Sissy and Popeye the Popular Mechanic. Kinney’s Skinned Divers, Private-Eye Popeye, Weather Watchers, Wimpy’s Lunch Wagon and The Square Egg feature excellent animation. The name of the animation director on Kinney’s Popeyes has a lot to do with each film’s quality. Kinney produced 101 Popeyes. The abundance of bad films from his studio has given this series its tarnished image.

    Paramount Cartoon Studios, directed by Popeye veteran, Seymour Kneitel. These are generally considered to be the best in the series. The animation was several notches above the standard TV product of the time. The scripts featured adventurous storylines over gags. Olive Oyl often ate spinach to battle Popeye’s enemy, The Sea Hag. The studio featured a few cartoons using stories from E.C. Segar’s Thimble Theatre strips. The cartoons benefited from the use of Winston Sharples’ familiar musical scores heard in the Famous Studios films. Highlights from this studio include Boardering on Trouble, County Fair, Myskery Melody, Hamburgers Aweigh, Autographically Yours and Popeye Thumb. Paramount Cartoon Studios produced 63 Popeyes.

    Fortunately, Jack Mercer (Popeye), Mae Questel (Olive Oyl) and Jackson Beck (Brutus) returned to reprise the voices they performed in the theatrical cartoons, providing much needed consistency.

    Characters from Segar’s strip populated these TV cartoons: Toar, The Sea Hag, Alice the Goon, The Whiffle Bird, King Blozo, Eugene the Jeep and Geezil. Brutus, originally known as Bluto in the Fleischer/Famous cartoons, was Popeye’s familiar nemesis. Bluto’s name was changed due to Paramount Pictures claiming ownership of his moniker. Paramount’s claim of ownership was incorrect but Al Brodax didn’t bother to challenge it, and simply renamed the character, Brutus.


    The Sea Hag commands her vulture from Paramount's Voo-Doo to You Too​

    Despite the quality of the 220 cartoons produced primarily in 1960 and 1961 they were a big financial success. Variety reported the series was sold to 125 television stations shortly after their initial release. The magazine also mentioned an overseas sale to Beirut, Lebanon. By the mid 1960’s King Features reported these TV Popeyes had grossed $6,000.000 in syndication. The syndicate’s success with Popeye led to the production of television cartoons featuring Beetle Bailey, Snuffy Smith, Krazy Kat and The Beatles.

    The TV Popeyes appeared on independent television stations well into the 1990’s and continue to air outside of the United States. Collections have been released on both video and DVD. While many of them may not be “strong to the finich” they enhanced Popeye’s popularity, which continues to this day.

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