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I'm Popeye the Sailor Man,
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man.
I'm strong to the finich
Cause I eats me spinach.
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man.

When I was still a kid, Popeye cartoons were a regular fixture on daytime broadcast television. But just like old movies, said Popeye cartoons disappeared from the airwaves, becoming more difficult to see in recent years. Fortunately for Popeye fans, the rights to release these classic cartoons on DVD have been secured by Warner, who put their best foot forward by polishing these animated jewels before issuing them on disc. Popeye the Sailor came into being in 1929 as a character in Thimble Theater comic strip created by E.C. Segar. In very short order, Popeye became the star of the strip and would soon move onto bigger and better things. Enter pioneering animators Dave and Max Fleischer, who brought Popeye to the silver screen for the first time in 1933. Showing up in a Betty Boop short, Popeye became an instant star on the screen in the same way he became an instant star in print. In fact, the Popeye cartoons were such successful enterprise, that they continued to be produced for more than decade after the ouster of the Fleischers from their studio.

POPEYE THE SAILOR: 1933-1938, VOLUME 1 ($65) brings together a collection of the first sixty animated short produced by the Fleischers. The sixty animated shorts are as follows: Popeye The Sailor , I Yam What I Yam , Blow Me Down! , I Eats My Spinach , Seasin’s Greetinks!, Wild Elephinks , Sock-A-Bye, Baby , Let’s You And Him Fight, The Man On The Flying Trapeze, Can You Take It , Shoein’ Hosses, Strong To The Finich, Shiver Me Timbers!, Axe Me Another, A Dream Walking , The Two-Alarm Fire, The Dance Contest, We Aim To Please, Beware Of Barnacle Bill , Be Kind To "Animals", Pleased To Meet Cha!, The "Hyp-Nut-Tist", Choose Yer "Weppins" , For Better Or Worser , Dizzy Divers, You Gotta Be A Football Hero , King Of The Mardi Gras , (The Voice Of Popeye)). , Adventures Of Popeye , The Spinach Overture , Vim, Vigor, And Vitaliky, A Clean Shaven Man , Brotherly Love, I-Ski Love-Ski You-Ski , Bridge Ahoy!, What – No Spinach?, I Wanna Be A Lifeguard, Let’s Get Movin’, Never Kick A Woman, Little Swee’Pea, Hold The Wire, The Spinach Roadster, Popeye The Sailor Meets Sinbad The Sailor , I’m In The Army Now, The Paneless Window Washer , Organ Grinder’s Swing, My Artistical Temperature, Hospitaliky, The Twister Pitcher, Morning, Noon, And Nightclub, Lost And Foundry , I Never Changes My Altitude, I Likes Babies And Infinks, The Football Toucher Downer, Protek The Weakerist , Popeye The Sailor Meets Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves , Fowl Play, Let’s Celebrake, Learn Polikeness, The House Builder-Upper and Big Chief Ugh-Amugh-Ugh.

Warner Home Video has done their usual first rate job with POPEYE THE SAILOR: 1933-1938, VOLUME 1. The sixty animated shorts have been transcribed in their proper 1.37:1 full screen aspect ratios and look better than I ever remember seeing them. Sharpness and detail are excellent for vintage 2D cell animation. Additionally, the black and white shorts are offered with first-rate levels of contrast and grayscale. As for the color two reelers, they are quite Technicolorful and very pleasing in appearance. The film elements have been cleaned up to remove the majority of the age related problems. However, some signs of age do remain, but considering the majority of the shorts are over seventy years of age, it is easy to overlook some of the scratches and blemishes still present. Film grain is noticeable to varying degrees, depending on the short in question, but it never becomes bothersome. Digital compression artifacts are generally well concealed.

As for the Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks, they have had the decades of wear and technological limitations scrubbed away during the mastering process, thus leaving the tracks without significant instances of background hiss or other audible anomalies. As expected, the fidelity of these soundtracks do have their limitations due to the era in which they were recorded. Dialogue is always easy to understand. No other language tracks are provided, but English subtitles are included.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as, a generous array of supplements, which pertain to individual cartoons, as well as those being relative to the Popeye cartoons, characters, origins, plus animation sources and inspirations. Fist of all , select animated shorts contain running Audio Commentaries. Next one will find the supplemental programs. I Yam What I Yam: The Story Of Popeye The Sailor Man is a forty-three minute documentary on our beloved spinach loving seafarer. Forging The Frame: The Roots Of Animation 1900-1920 is a fairly self-explanatory half hour on early animation. Other programs include the short Popeye Popumentaries, which are of varying length and feature titles such titles as: Mining The Strip: Elzie Segar And Thimble Theatre, Me Fickle Goyl, Olive Oyl: The World's Least Likely Sex Symbol, Wimpy The Moocher: Ode To The Burgermeister, Sailor's Hornpipes: The Voice Of Popeye, Blow Me Down! The Music Of Popeye, Popeye In Living Color: A Look At The Color Two-Reelers, Me Lil' Swee'pea: Whose Kid Is He Anyway? and Et Tu, Bluto? Cartoondom's Heaviest Heavy. Finally, Vintage Shorts from the silent era are also featured, including some of the early Fleischer Out Of The Inkwell cartoons.

Popeye was and is one of the great cartoon characters of all time. Warner’s DVD release offers fans high quality presentations and thoughtful supplements. POPEYE THE SAILOR: 1933-1938, VOLUME 1 comes very highly recommended.



Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938, Vol. 1



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2007 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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