Popeye the Sailor: 1941–1943, Volume 3
Popeye the Sailor: 1941–1943, Volume 3 is the third of a series of DVD sets released by Warner Home Video collecting, in chronological order, the theatrical Popeye cartoons originally distributed by Paramount Pictures. This two-disc DVD set was released on November 4, 2008.
The collection includes 32 black-and-white cartoons, and covers the transition in production from Fleischer Studios to Famous Studios; with 18 of the entries produced by Fleischer and the remaining 14 by Famous. All shorts produced from 1941 to 1943 are included, save for the first two Technicolor Popeye shorts — Her Honor the Mare and The Marry-Go-Round — produced at the end of 1943.
Because some of the wartime cartoons contain material which may be considered politically incorrect today, each disc includes a title card disclaimer which summarizes that the cartoons depict ethnic and racist stereotypes that may be offensive to modern audiences. This disclaimer is similar to the one in the Volume One collection.
The Popeye cartoons included in this collection were produced during a transitional period at the Fleischer (later Famous) studio. In 1938, Fleischer Studios relocated from New York City to Miami in order to produce its first feature film, Gulliver's Travels (1939). While Gulliver's Travels and the continued stream of Popeye shorts were successful, the high overhead, larger number of employees, and increased debt to distributor Paramount Pictures brought upon by production of Gulliver required the Fleischers to begin production on several new projects. These included a second feature, the unsuccessful Mr. Bug Goes to Town (1941), and several new series of short cartoons, including the unsuccessful Gabby, Stone Age, and Animated Antics series and the popular Superman cartoons.
The Popeye cartoons changed in tandem with the Fleischer studio. During this time, the Popeye cartoons had changed. The familiar "ship-door" opening title card design which had been used since its inception in 1933 was retired following 1941's Child Psykolojiky. Subsequent Fleischer Popeye cartoons featured a closeup of Popeye's pipe in the opening credits, which zoomed out to reveal a full headshot of the character. When sold to television in 1956, syndicator Associated Artists Productions (a.a.p.) was required to remove all references to Paramount; therefore, on television, the 1941-1942 Popeye cartoons' title cards were altered, with a generic title design introducing the short (and covering the initial "Paramount presents" title card) and giving way to the pullback from the close-up of the pipe to the Popeye headshot.
With the US preparing for possible entry into World War II by mid-1941, the Fleischer staff had Popeye enlist in the US Navy. Both Popeye and Bluto were redesigned with white US Navy uniform, a look the character retained into the 1960s. Military themes and storylines dominated the entries for the remainder of the early 1940s, with caricatured versions of Adolf Hitler, Emperor Hirohito, and various Japanese military men and spies as regular villains from 1942 to 1944.
In May 1941, Paramount Pictures assumed full ownership of Fleischer Studios, making its sibling owners Max and Dave Fleischer employees of Paramount. The Fleischer brothers' personal and professional relationship had deteriorated by the end of 1941, and Paramount forced the Fleischers to resign by the end of that year. The studio continued as "Fleischer Studios" until the formal end of the corporation's contract with Paramount in May 1942. The final Fleischer Popeye cartoon was Baby Wants a Bottleship (1942).
The studio was renamed Famous Studios in 1942 with several longtime Fleischer employees in charge, including Sam Buchwald as producer, and Seymour Kneitel and Isadore Sparber as directors. The first Famous Studios Popeye cartoon was the war-themed You're a Sap, Mr. Jap (1942). This cartoon and the following Popeye entry, Alona on the Sarong Seas, retained the title design from the late-period Fleischer cartoons, but omit Max Fleischer's name and do not yet mention the Famous Studios name.
Beginning with A Hull of a Mess (1942), Popeye cartoons were introduced with a new opening title design featuring the Famous Studios name and an animated Popeye tooting his pipe through a porthole. As with the late-period Fleischer titles, these opening titles were also excised by a.a.p. to remove references to Paramount. The early Famous Popeyes retain much of the style of the late Fleischer shorts. One 1943 entry, Happy Birthdaze, introduces a new character named Shorty (voiced by Jack Mercer and later Arnold Stang) as both a friend and a foil for Popeye. Shorty would appear in three Popeye cartoons between 1943 and 1944 before being retired.
With the transition to Famous, Paramount downsized the staff, leaving only the key former Fleischer employees, and moved Famous back to New York City during the winter of 1943. In mid-1943, Famous dropped the expensive Superman cartoons and began producing all of their output, including the Popeye series, in Technicolor. The final black-and-white Popeye cartoon was Cartoons Ain't Human (1943).
All Fleischer produced cartoons were directed by Dave Fleischer. Famous Studios Popeye cartoons list specific director credits.
- Problem Pappy
- Quiet! Pleeze
- Olive's Sweepstake Ticket
- Flies Ain't Human
- Popeye Meets Rip Van Winkle
- Olive's Boithday Presink
- Child Psykolojiky (final cartoon with ship door titles)
- Pest Pilot
- I'll Never Crow Again
- The Mighty Navy
- Nix on Hypnotricks
- Kickin' the Conga 'Round
- Blunder Below
- Fleets of Stren'th
- Pip-eye, Pup-eye, Poop-eye and Peep-eye
- Olive Oyl and Water Don't Mix
- Directing the Sailor: The Art of Myron Waldman
- Popeye: The Mighty Ensign
- Pip-Eye, Pup-Eye, Poop-Eye an' Peep-Eye: Chips Off the Old Salt
From the Vault: Three Out of the Inkwell shorts:
- The Clown's Little Brother (1920)
- The Cartoon Factory (1924)
- Koko Needles the Boss (1927)
- Many Tanks
- Baby Wants a Bottleship (last Fleischer cartoon)
- You're a Sap, Mr. Jap (first Famous cartoon) (Dan Gordon)
- Alona on the Sarong Seas (Isadore Sparber)
- A Hull of a Mess (Sparber)
- Scrap the Japs (Seymour Kneitel)
- Me Musical Nephews (Kneitel)
- Spinach Fer Britain (Sparber)
- Seein' Red, White 'N' Blue (Gordon)
- Too Weak to Work (Sparber)
- A Jolly Good Furlough (Gordon)
- Ration fer the Duration (Kneitel)
- The Hungry Goat (Gordon)
- Happy Birthdaze (Gordon)
- Wood-Peckin' (Sparber)
- Cartoons Ain't Human (Kneitel)
- Forging the Frame: The Roots of Animation: 1921-1930
From the Vault: Western Electric short
- Finding His Voice (1929)
- Popeye the Sailor (Warner DVD series)
- Popeye the Sailor: 1933–1938, Volume 1
- Popeye the Sailor: 1938–1940, Volume 2
- Popeye the Sailor filmography (Fleischer Studios)
- Popeye the Sailor filmography (Famous Studios)
- Popeye DVD news: Details for Popeye the Sailor - Volume 3: 1941-1943 | TVShowsOnDVD.com
- Maltin, Leonard (1980, rev. 1987). Of Mice and Magic. New York: Plume. Pg. 116
- Barrier, Michael (1999). Hollywood Cartoons. New York: Oxford University Press. Pgs. 303-305. ISBN 0-19-516729-5.
- Beck, Jerry (2007-10-31). "PARAMOUNT / FAMOUS STUDIOS - ORIGINAL TITLES". CartoonResearch.com. Retrieved 2008-11-28.
- Grandinetti, Fred (2004). Popeye: An Illustrated Cultural History. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. Pgs. 47-51
- Beck, Jerry (2008-07-11). "A rare frame from Popeye Vol. 3". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- Maltin, Leonard (1980, rev. 1987). Of Mice and Magic. New York: Plume. Pg. 311