Saturday, May 24, 2014

"I Yam What I Yam" - Popeye the Sailor (1933)

This cartoon is in very good shape! If Seymour Kneitel and William Henning were still with us today they would be amazed. They worked under the direction of Dave Fleischer on this one for Paramount. It’s filled with all of the stuff you’d expect in a Popeye cartoon; sight gags abound; and Olive gets to cry for help as she beats the crap out of some Indians.

Wimpy is on board for this adventure, looking for a hamburger, and as usual, causing some problems for Popeye, who always seems to be looking out for him. There is no real plot to this cartoon other than Popeye and Olive Oyl, along with Wimpy, are both in a lifeboat rowing; that is Olive and Wimpy are rowing; Popeye is busy singing about himself.

If you are a fan of the theme song; which was composed by composed by Sammy Lerner in 1933; then the opening lyrics will be of interest to you. It is slightly different than the usual version. And when the credits stop rolling it’s Popeye who does some of the singing. I still haven’t figured out why they used Bluto’s voice for the opening; he’s not even in this cartoon! One of the best versions of the song was recorded by Hoagy Carmichael. For years I thought he wrote it. As a matter of fact I think I even credited him with writing it incorrectly in a post a couple of years ago! Sorry, Sammy!

Politically correct types are herewith forewarned. This cartoon may be offensive to you, as it invokes the stereotypical American Indian of the 1930’s. But then again, everybody in this cartoon is a caricature of something. For instance, Olive Oyl is the man hungry woman representative of the “weaker sex.” Keep that in mind when you watch her beat the carp out of those Indians while calling for help.

For one of the best histories on the Popeye cartoons; and the original comic strip from which they derived; go to Wikipedia at the following link;

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