Popeye The Sailor Man
Popeye RUbber Duck
Popeye made his film debut in
Popeye the Sailor, a 1933
Betty Boop cartoon (Betty only
makes a brief appearance, repeating her
hula dance from
Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle). It
was for this short that Sammy Lerner's famous "I'm Popeye the Sailor
Man" song was written.
I Yam What I Yam became the
first entry in the regular Popeye the Sailor series.
Sammy Lerner composed a
theme song, "I'm Popeye the Sailor
Man", for the first Popeye cartoon, which became forever
associated with the sailor. As one cartoon historian has observed,
the song itself was inspired by the first two lines of the "Pirate
King" song in
Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta,
The Pirates of Penzance: "For I
am a Pirate King! (Hoorah for the Pirate King!)" The tune behind
those two lines is identical to the "Popeye" song except for the
high note on the first "King".
Thanks to the film series, Popeye became even more
of a sensation than he had in comic strips. During the mid-1930s,
polls taken by theater owners proved Popeye more popular than
Mickey Mouse. In 1935, Paramount added to Popeye's popularity
by sponsoring the "Popeye Club" as part of their Saturday matinée
program. Popeye cartoons, including a sing-a-long special entitled
Let's Sing With Popeye, were a
regular part of the weekly meetings. For a 10 cent membership fee,
club members were given a Popeye
Kazoo, a membership card, the
chance to become elected as the Club's "Popeye" or "Olive Oyl" and
opportunities to win other valuable gifts.
The Popeye series, like other cartoons produced by
the Fleischers, was noted for its urban feel (the Fleischers
operated out of
New York City), its manageable
variations on a simple theme (Popeye loses Olive to bully Bluto and
must eat his spinach and defeat him), and the characters'
"under-the-breath" mutterings. The voices for Fleischer cartoons
produced during the early and mid-1930s were recorded after the
animation was completed. The actors, Mercer in particular, would
therefore improvise lines that were not on the storyboards or
prepared for the lip-sync. Even after the Fleischers began
pre-recording dialgoue for lip-sync in the late-1930s, Mercer and
the other voice actors would record ad-libbed lines while watching a
finished copy of the cartoon.
Not intended as a toy for ages 13 and under.