Popeye and Friends: The Ultimate Collection [DVD]

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Popeye and Bluto are rival penny-arcade owners who knock themselves (and each other) out trying to attract patrons. Alas, their only customer for the evening is that champion moocher Wimpy, who borrows several pennies (which he will gladly repay Tuesday) pennies so he can enjoy the attractions in the boys' manually operated flip-picture machines. Not surprisingly, these mini-movies consist of excerpts from previous "Popeye the Sailor" cartoons, in this case "Let's Get Movin'" and "The Twisker Pitcher". This entertaining "cheater" was remade in 1954 asPenny Antics. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Jack Frost
Base Brawl
Cookin' With Gags
Popeye, Olive and Bluto go on a picnic, with Bluto taking full advantage of the fact that this is April Fool's Day. Playing several rather sadistic practical jokes on Popeye, Bluto manages to get away with it by shouting "April Fool." Olive chides Popeye for not having a sense of humor, but when she is the victim of one of Bluto's gags she isn't exactly laughing--and worst of all, she blames Popeye for the prank. Unable to rely on his can of spinach (Bluto has even managed to sabotage that!), Popeye gets his revenge on Bluto in a unique and hilarious fashion. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

More Pep
Popeye For President
It's a Presidential election year, and the leading candidates are Popeye, representing the Spinach Party, and Bluto, heading the Blutocratic Party. When the result of the election comes in (apparently the same day the two candidates start campaigning!), it turns out to be a tie. The deciding vote belongs to "farmerette" Olive Oyl, the only resident of Green County. Popeye and Bluto both hightail it to Olive's farm, hoping to win her support by helping with the chores. Eventually, however, the usual slapstick nonsense prevails, and the outcome of the election is determined by a little spinach power. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Betty Boop's Ker-Choo
Bimbo and Koko are among the contestants in a big auto race, where all the funny animals in Fleischer-land are in attendance (the "humanized" cars await in stalls like horses, and the judge's panel consists of three elderly blind men). The favorite in the race is Betty Boop, but she's late again, and her Yiddish-accented car has no idea where she is. When Betty finally shows up, she explains in song that her tardiness is due to a "cold in my 'doze'". Once the race begins, it's a real thriller-spiller, with even the spectators getting into the act--and catching Betty's cold in the process ("Ah, ah, CHOO!)" ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Bold King Cole
Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves
The second two-reeler Popeye cartoon finds the spinach-promoting sailor as a member of the Coast Guard near an unspecified Arabian country. Having heard about the evil Abu Hassanand his forty thieves, Popeye sets off with Olive Oyl and Wimpy to bring them to justice. Unfortunately, they end up wandering in the desert, stricken by thirst and heat, and encountering several mirages and passing by dozens of skeletons before making their way to an actual town. Once there, Popeye and Olive seat themselves at an open air restaurant (while Wimpy goes for a more direct approach to his hunger). After ordering and being served the special of the day (bacon and eggs), they are all set to dig in when Hassan and his cutthroats appear, taking everything in sight. The frightened restauranteur reclaims the meal he has just laid for Popeye and Olive before they can take a bite, and the thieves also make away with the hot dogs Wimpy has discovered. Popeye puts up a fight, but is temporarily defeated. Hassan takes Olive and Wimpy back to his cave, where the former becomes an overworked laundress and the latter is wrapped in chains and forced to watch Hussan eat a delectable lunch. Popeye follows the thieves but is captured and dangled above a man-eating fish in an underground lake. Taking advantage of the powers provided him by spinach, he defeats the fish and "licks the forty," proving once again that he is the mightiest sailor of them all. ~ Craig Butler, Rovi

Is My Palm Read
Assisted by Koko the Clown, "Professor" Bimbo has gone into the fortune-telling business. A very stylish Betty Boop shows up at Bimbo's doorstep in hopes of finding out what her future holds. After getting a good look at Betty's legs with the help of a clever lighting device, Bimbo peers into his crystal ball and reveals the "naked truth" of Betty's infant days. Then he forcees a violent storm at sea, which deposits Betty on a tropical island. After undressing for the occasion, Betty is harrassed by a gang of weird-looking ghosts, forcing Bimbo to give up fortune-telling to rescue our heroine. Musical selections include "Please" and "All By Myself in the Morning". ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Gopher Spinach
Popeye heads to his backyard garden to lovingly plant several rows of hi-bred spinach stalks (which he carries in a baby carriage). Alas, the stalks prove mighty tempting to a hungry gopher, who threatens to deplete Popeye's garden before the spinach even gets a chance to grow up. After a lengthy and painful chase, Popeye prepares to kill the gopher with a shotgun, but balks when he is impressed by the little fellow's courage. This act of kindness has its reward when Popeye finds himself menaced by a rampaging bull. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Ha! Ha! Ha!
Jerky Turkey
Felix the Cat and "The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg"
Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp
The third and last of the two-reeler Popeye cartoons, Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp starts out with a framing device. Olive Oyl is working at Surprise Pictures as a script girl, and she decides that remaking the story of Aladdin as a vehicle for her beloved Popeye would be a great idea. As she begins contemplating this scenario, we see Aladdin (Popeye), a poor boy who pines for the beautiful Princess (Olive, of course). A wicked Wazzir comes to Aladdin and tricks him into searching for a magical lamp that is deep inside a mysterious cave. The Wazzir intends to use the power of the lamp to get the Princess for himself, but he does not get that chance after Aladdin becomes trapped in the cave. Striking the lamp to light a match, Aladdin inadvertently summons a Genie who must do his bidding. With the Genie's help, Aladdin becomes a prince and woos the Princess, but the Wazzir becomes wise to the boy's true identity and plots his ruin. Fortunately, Aladdin uses the really magical power of spinach to ultimately defeat his enemy and live happily ever after with the Princess -- which is not the fate of Olive herself, who awakens from her reverie to find herself surrounded with scripts. ~ Craig Butler, Rovi

Be Human
Shuteye Popeye
It's late at night, and Popeye is snoring so loudly that the suction is pulling the drawers out of his bedroom bureau. This annoys a little mouse living in the wall of the house, who is unable to get any sleep. Unable to persuade Popeye to stop snoring, the mouse resorts to a variety of other "silencing" methods, such as flooding the entire house. Ultimately, spinach enters the scene--but this time it's mouse who eats the leafy green vegetable. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Private Eye Popeye
Decked out in full "Sherlock Holmes" regalia, Private Eye Popeye literally traces a mysterious phone call to the magnificent home of wealthy Olive Oyl. The lady of the house hires Popeye to guard her precious emerald (which turns the whole room green whenever its case is opened) with his life. Unfortunately, the emerald is almost immediately stolen by Olive's treacherous butler, who leads Popeye on a round-the-world chase. Though the butler has a head start, he is unable to shake the ubiquitous Popeye, who, evidently emulating Tex Avery's "Droopy", pops up in various guises wherever the villain goes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Neptune Nonsense
Bride and Gloom
In a blissful mist, Olive Oyl dreams about her upcoming marriage to Popeye the Sailor. She imagines giving birth to two pugnacious youngsters (apparently born with diapers already in place!), both of whom are dead ringers for their dear old dad. But the dream turns into a nightmare as the two mini-Popeyes lay waste to their parents' house, shooting dishes as they pop from the toaster, using piano wires for a bow and arrow, etc. When Olive tries to lay down the law, the kids mount an offensive against her. Needless to say, when Popeye arrives the next morning all dressed for the wedding, he's in for quite a surprise. Bride and Gloom is a remake of the 1940 "Popeye" cartoon Wimmin is a Myskery. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Betty Boop's Crazy Inventions
Assisted by ticket-taker Bimbo the Dog and product-demonstrator Koko the Clown, Betty Boop stages a "Big Invention Show." Highlights of the program include a pig-powerd pipe organ, a Rube Goldberg-style spot remover, a cigarette snuffer, a soup silencer, a sweet-corn regulator, and an egg-frying device, replete with optional hen and rooster. Betty herself demontrates a most unusual voice recorder with a performance of "Keep a Little Song Handy." The show's Number One attraction, a VERY powerful self-threading sewing machine, knits up the proceedings quite nicely. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor
The first Popeye cartoon produced in color, Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor was also the longest Fleischer production to date, and the first to be nominated for an Academy Award. In this colorful tale, Bluto plays the legendary Sindbad, introduced as the toughest and most remarkable sailor around. He lives on an island that floats on the back of a whale and that is populated by ferocious lions, deadly serpents, a two-headed giant, fiery dragons and an enormous bird, the Roc. Popeye, his pal Wimpy and the "irresistible damsel" Olive Oyl appear in the ocean near Sindbad's island. Stricken with desire for Olive, Sindbad sends the Roc to wreck Popeye's ship and to abduct the delectable damsel. Popeye, singlehandedly carrying Wimpy to safety, swims after the bird and his beloved. Once on the island, Popeye must battle with the various dangerous denizens before going one-to-one with Sindbad and proving -- with the help of a little spinach -- that no evil-doing sailor like Sindbad can get the better of him. ~ Craig Butler, Rovi

Rival cabdrivers Popeye and Bluto carry on a lively "taxi war" in the middle of downtown, with Bluto playing unfair by literally stealing Popeye' customers. Finally, Popeye manages to persuade Olive Oyl to choose his cab over Bluto's, whereupon another battle royale ensues. Kidnapping Olive and snatching Popeye's ubiquitous spinach can ("You ain't eatin' no spinach in THIS picture!), Bluto drives directly into the path of a speeding train--and now the "fun" REALLY begins. This cartoon offers one of the earliest examples of Popeye's enthusiastic "scat" singing. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Tom Thumb
A Haul in One
In this remake of the 1936 "Popeye" cartoon Let's Get Movin', Popeye and Bluto are partners in a hauling business--and good pals to boot. But friendship flies out the window when our two heroes are hired to move Olive Oyl's furniture out of her apartment. What should be a simple job turns into a fierce competition, with Bluto using various and sundry chairs, lamps, couches and kitchenware to put Popeye out of the way. A grand piano in the principal prop in the closing gag of this cartoon, which boats some impressive "minimalist" background art. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Betty Boop with Henry The Funniest Living American
The elongated title of this "Betty Boop" cartoon refers to "Henry", the popular comic strip created by Carl Anderson. In the funny papers, Henry was a bald, mute, mouthless boy who engaged in a variety of pantomimed adventures. On the Big Screen, however, Henry has not only grown a mouth, but also a set of vocal chords. The plot gets under way when Henry wanders into Betty Boop's pet shop, hoping to purchase a cute little dog named Pudgy: alas, he doesn't have the necessary two dollars. Betty offers to give Henry the dog for free if the boy will take of her store while she goes out. "Take care" is right! Before long, the establishment is in a shambles, and all the valuable caged birds have escaped. The cartoon's featured song is, appropriately, "Everybody Oughtta Have a Pet". ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Little Swee'pea
This cartoon marks the screen debut of Popeye's "adoptid infink" Swee'Pea, whose actual parentage is of course neither explained nor dwelled upon. Suffice to say that when Popeye shows up to escort Olive Oyl on a trip to the zoo, she begs off, claiming to be too busy. However, Olive suggests that Popeye take Swee'pea to the zoo--with careful instructions not to frighten the little darling. As it turns out, Swee'pea is completely unfazed by his dangerously close encounters with an elephant, an alligator, a hippo and a rampaging leopard. . .while poor Popeye gets the worst of it, and then some. The Fleischer studios' trademarked "stereoscopic" process is given an excellent workout in this episode, with some truly eye-popping 3-D background designs. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Betty Boop's Rise to Fame
This clever "cheater" begins with a live-action sequence, in which animator Max Fleischer is being interviewed by a newspaper reporter (played by Max's brother--and this cartoon's director--Dave Fleischer). When asked how he makes all those "Betty Boop" cartoons, Max demonstrates by grabbing his pen and bringing Betty to live on his drawing board. Our heroine then regales the reporter with lengthy highlights from her previous cartoons (taking time out to change costumes in an inkwell). The rest of the cartoon features Betty's celebrity imitations from 1932's Stopping the Show, her sexy hula dance from 1932's Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle, and a lively duet with a rotoscoped Cab Calloway from Old Man of the Mountain (1933). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Insect to Injury
No sooner has he put the finishing touches on his new, self-constructed house than Popeye is invaded by a vast and terrifying army of termites. In typical cartoon fashion, the little pests eat everything made of wood in their path, and for a while it looks like they're unstoppable. Clearly, spinach is called for--and that's what Popeye uses to outwit the now-bloated termites with an even newer house that can't be eaten, no way, no how. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Out to Punch
Popeye and "Battling Bluto" prepare for their upcoming prizefight in their adjacent training camps. To gain unfair advatage, Bluto devises a variety of fiendishly clever methods to sabotage Popeye. By the time of the big fight, poor Popeye is worn to a frazzle, and it looks like Bluto is the sure winner--until the Sailor Man's trainer Olive Oyl brings out his "secret weapon" (just guess what it is!). In this cartoon, Popeye has but two or three lines of dialogue (all lifted from other cartoons), suggesting that voice artist Jack Mercer was unavailable. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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