Popeye: Greatest Tall Tales & Heroic Adventures (DVD)

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I'm in the Army Now
When Olive declares that she's just "crazy" about a man in uniform, Popeye and Bluto rush to the nearest Army recruiting center. This being several years before World War 2, the scowling recruting sergeant announces that he has room for only one new soldier. Dutifully, both Popeye and Bluto pull out their respective scrapbooks and show off their qualifications via "living snapshots" from their past movie appearances. "I'm in the Army Now" is the second of Popeye's "cheaters", utilizing stock footage from earlier cartoons as a cost-cutting strategy: in this case, we are treated to highlights from 1933's Blow Me Down, 1934's Shoein' Hosses, and two 1935 entries, Choose Yer 'Weppins' and King of the Mardi Gras. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

The Paneless Window Washer
One of the best of the "high and dizzy" Popeye cartoons, this one begins as professional window-washer Bluto creates some new business for himself by spraying mud on 20-story office building. But when Bluto offers to clean Olive Oyl's windows, she informs him that her boyfriend Popeye is already handling that job. The ensuing soap-and-water rivalry between Popeye and Bluto inevitably degenerates into violence--Bluto actually believes that he can win Olive over by choking her!--with Popeye ultimately emerging the victor thanks to his ever-present can of spinach. The brilliance of the height-and-perspective gags in "The Paneless Window Washer" is matched by the innovative "extreme" poses assumed by the main characters, and by the marvelous background art of Fleischer studios stalwart Anton Loeb. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

I Never Changes My Altitude
We're at the busy Hott-Air Airport, where Olive Oyl has closed down her lunch counter and deserted her sweetheart Popeye in favor of dashing aviator Bluto. Before long, however, Olive has become disillusioned by her arrogant new boyfriend, who callously tosses her from his plane. As Olive dangles precariously from a weathervane, Popeye takes to the air to settle accounts with Bluto--but it takes a spinach-fueled duck to help him finish the job. I Never Changes My Altitude was later excerpted in the 1940 "cheater" Doing Impossikible Stunts. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

A Date to Skate
Throwing caution to the winds, Popeye takes it upon himself to teach Olive Oyl how to roller-skate. Unfortunately, Olive proves to be a most inapt pupil, and before long she finds herself careening helplessly throughout the city, just barely missing the cars and pedestrians that whizz by her at every turn. Worst of all, it looks like Popeye won't be able to skate to her rescue--he's inadvertently left his spinach back at home. Chock full of brilliant "chase and perspective" gags, A Date to Skate is one of the last of the Fleischer "Popeye" cartoons produced in New York before the studio relocated to Miami. It also marks the final Fleischer appearance of Mae Questel as the voice of Olive Oyl. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

Me Feelins Is Hurt
Upon learning that his sweetheart Olive Oyl has left him for a cowboy, Popeye heads Way Out West in his "prairie schooner." Arriving at the Bar None Ranch, Popeye is determined to prove that he isn't a tenderfoot--or, as he puts it, "My feet ain't tender, I always walks this way". Ranch foreman Bluto is equally determined to get rid of the persistent sailor, and to that end he unleashes a fierce bucking bronco and a poisonous boa constrictor (apparently the only one of its kind on earth) to finish Popeye off. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

Me Musical Nephews
On furlough from WW2, Popeye hopes to get some rest and relaxation at home, but his four nephews insist upon keeping him awake with a musical concert. Finally managing to bundle his nephews off to bed, Popeye settles down for a good night's sleep. Meanwhile, the four bored nephews discover that various items in their bedroom can be converted into musical instruments--and the result is a loud, swinging midnight jam session, much to Uncle Popeye's dismay. This exquisitely timed and paced black-and-white "Popeye" cartoon was later remade in color, scene for scene, as Riot in Rhythm (1950). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

Big Bad Sinbad
Popeye escorts his three nephews to the Nautical Museum to advance their maritime education. When the boys come across a huge statue of Sindbad the Sailor (who looks a lot like Bluto), they take issue with a plaque that declares Sinbad the world's greatest sailor, an honor which they believe should be bestowed upon their Uncle Popeye. To bolster his nephew's faith in him, Popeye recalls the time that he went face-to-face, toe-to-toe with the fearsome Sindbad--whereupon this "cheater" segues into a lengthy except from the 1936 Max Fleischer "Technicolor Special", Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor, with a redubbed soundtrack. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

Assault and Flattery
In this cleverly assembled "cheater", Bluto sues Popeye for assault and battery. As burger-chomping Judge Wimpy listens sympathetically, a bandaged, wheelchair-bound Bluto insists that Popeye always beats him up for no good reason, citing as evidence excerpts from the earlier cartoons The Farmer and the Belle and How Green is My Spinach. But when it's Popeye's turn to testify, he turns the trial to his favor by entering as evidence a lengthy clip from 1949's The Balmy Swami. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

Patriotic Popeye
Popeye wants to celebrate the Fourth of July in a "safe and sane" manner, but his two nephews would rather set off their arsenal of very dangerous fireworks. Despite Popeye's efforts to keep the explosives out of reach, the boys manage to ignite the fuse of a huge skyrocket--and nearly get themselves blown to smithereens in the process. Winston Sharples' musical score for Patriotic Popeye later popped up in dozens of the made-for-TV "Popeye" cartoons of the early 1960s. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

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