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Popeye the Sailor (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Popeye the Sailor with Betty Boop
Popeyepilot TC.png
Directed byDave Fleischer
Produced byMax Fleischer
StarringBilly Costello
William Pennell
Bonnie Poe
Mae Questel
Music bySammy Timberg
Sammy Lerner
Animation bySeymour Kneitel
Don Figlozzi
Roland Crandall
William Henning
Color processBlack and white
Color (1985 redrawn color version)[1]
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
July 14, 1933
Running time
CountryUnited States

Popeye the Sailor (originally titled as Popeye the Sailor with Betty Boop) is a 1933 animated short produced by Fleischer Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures. While billed as a Betty Boop cartoon, it was produced as a vehicle for Popeye in his debut animated appearance.[2]


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 Billy Costello) sings about his amazing prowess in his signature song "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man".[3]

On land with his nemesis Bluto (voiced by William Pennell), the two sailors vie for the affections of Olive Oyl (voiced by Bonnie Poe). Popeye takes Olive Oyl to a carnival and pays the peacock 10¢ and Bluto blows off all of the peacock's feathers. They play two games, the high striker and African dodger, with Popeye "winning" both times and then they watch Betty Boop doing the hula. Popeye jumps up on stage, wraps the bearded lady's beard around his waist for a grass skirt, and dances with Betty, mimicking her movements. He is then bit by a snake, but then tranquilizes it with his pipe.

Bluto then 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, where a train is approaching. Popeye fights Bluto, but initially loses, but then eats spinach and then punches Bluto, causing him to get trapped in a nailed coffin. He then punches the approaching engine and its baggage car and coaches in the "face", and wrecks the whole train in a crushing halt and sparing Olive's life, because of the can of spinach he ate.

Betty Boop and Popeye the Sailor performing a hula dance
Betty Boop and Popeye the Sailor performing a hula dance

Production notes

  • 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 Mae Questel (as the voice of Betty Boop). It was also heard in the science-fiction film Alien Resurrection (1997) when it is whistled by Dom Vriess. "Barnacle Bill" is used as the recurring theme for Bluto.
  • The animation sequence with Popeye singing was reused in Let's Sing with Popeye.
  • The locomotive featured is a 2-4-2 (American type steam locomotive). These types of steam trains with their wheel arrangement were used most common on U.S. railroads from the 1830s through 1928.
  • It is the only Popeye the Sailor with Betty Boop short in a Betty Boop cartoon in the Paramount Pictures series, and the only Boop cartoon not currently owned by Melange Pictures/ViacomCBS as it is part of the Popeye animated catalog owned by Turner/Warner Bros.
  • Popeye was one of several newspaper cartoons that the Fleischers animated (the others included Otto Soglow's The Little King and Carl Thomas Anderson's Henry).[4] 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.


  1. ^ "Popeye the Sailor (1933, Colorized)". DailyMotion: Pac-man-boy-97. 13 July 2017.
  2. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons (2nd ed.). Checkmark Books. p. 54. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  3. ^ "Popeye Lyrics". Toon Tracker. Archived from the original on August 7, 2003.
  4. ^ Markstein, Donald D. "Popeye the Sailor". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved October 23, 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 July 2021, at 23:09
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