Friday, September 28, 2018

THE POPEYE BLOGATHON: Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor (1936)

Steve at MovieMovieBlogBlog hosts Blow Me Down, a Fleischer Popeye Podcast and this Popeye Blogathon on September 28th to 30th.

Click HERE for fun!

Elzie Crisler Segar's rambunctious character Popeye was a natural to make the leap from the comic strip page to the animated screen. The Fleischer team did that very thing in 1933 with popular and successful Popeye shorts.

If you like one reel Popeye 'toons filmed in the inimitable Fleischer style in black and white (and who doesn't?) then you will love the epics. The studio gave us three two-reel Popeye films in glorious Technicolor. Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor was the first of these in 1936.

I don't believe epic was the word that came to mind upon my first childhood viewing of Popeye the Sailor Meet Sinbad the Sailor, as I probably didn't know the word, but the feeling I had watching it was definitely "epic".

"Who's the most remarkable extraordinary fellow?"
- Sindbad sings his own praises

"Popeye the sailor!"
- Popeye unintentionally ruins the punchline

"I scare all the creatures on land and on sea
But talk about women, they all fall for me."
- Sindbad even has a verse about the ladies

Sindbad doesn't like anyone able to boast about deeds that upstage his own. So the swaggering vocals of Popeye off Sindbad's island make the two sailors mortal enemies. Sindbad being a fellow who "takes his affections wherever they're found", is immediately enamoured of Olive Oyl.

The biggest buzzard in the world is dispatched to destroy the ship and "bring the woman" to Sindbad.

Despite the fact that Wimpy, the hamburger fiend, is barely a curiosity to the villain of this piece, he gives me some chuckles.

Popeye can read but we know nothing like this warning will keep him from rescuing the goilfriend. Along with vanquishing Sindbad, Popeye has to subdue Boola the two-headed giant, the biggest buzzard in the world, and various other creatures.

It takes a can of spinach and Olive Oyl's encouragement to use the twisker punch to bring down that nasty old Sindbad.

Could this scene be the inspiration for the challenge fight in the 2018 hit movie Black Panther?

What do you think?

The important thing to kids, old and young, is that, as gleefully anticipated, Popeye may take a beating that would do-in lesser, non-spinach eating sailor men, but in the end, he pummels that Sindbad but good!

"I'm one tough Gazookus
Which hates all Palookas
Which ain't on the up and square.
I biffs 'em and buffs 'em
And always out roughs 'em
But none of  'em gets nowhere."

Jack Mercer

Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor produced by Max Fleischer, directed by Dave Fleischer and Willard Bowsky. Jack Mercer as Popeye, Gus Wickie as Sindbad, Mae Questel as Olive Oyl and Lou Fleischer as Wimpy.

I'm Sindbad the Sailor written by Sammy Timberg with lyrics by Bob Rothberg. I'm Popeye the Sailor Man by Sammy Lerner.

See also, Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves from 1937 and Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp from 1939.

Of note:

Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor was nominated for an Oscar in 1937 in the category Best Short Subject, Cartoons. The two other nominees were from Hugh Harman and Rudolph Isling, The Old Mill Pond, and the winner from Disney, The Country Cousin.


  1. So... "Sindbad" is basically Bluto?

    1. Yep. Do one thing and do it well. Like Pete for Disney.

  2. Paddy Lee, I so very much enjoyed your wonderful tribute to the truly "Epic" POPEYE THE SAILOR MEETS SINBAD THE SAILOR. I have been a fan of Popeye for as long as I can remember and this Classic is my favorite. The Fleischer Bros. were genius animators. Their detailed art is magnificent in this movie. I know we say this many times, but it is worth saying again. They don't make them like this anymore.

    1. Indeed. Classics for a reason. It can be enjoyed by old timers and newbies alike. I'm glad you had fun and memories with this post.

  3. Thanks so much for contributing this to the blogathon! This is one of the Fleischers' finest cartoons, and you very much did it justice. I esp. like your comparison with Black Panther -- good call!

    1. Hooray! Thanks so much. I had a lot of fun working on this one. Gonna get a coffee and read the other entries. Thanks for hosting.

  4. I just might have to dig this one up its been a few years to many. Do you know if this has been restored? Your stills look so sharp but of course I remember the muddy print that was passed around tv station to tv station.

    1. I haven't read about any restoration, but the last couple of times I watched this (and the last time on YouTube) I was pleased with the quality of the print. The cartoon gods have been kind.

    2. All three of the POPEYE two--reelers were restored from the original elements 15 years ago, and are included on the POPEYE DVD set. I was fortunate to see a 35mm print of SINDAD at the Cinecon shortly after it was restored, and it was magnificent. I must say that the video transfers are over saturated in the color. The subtle hues of olive green and brown on Olive Oyl's blouse and skirt is one such example. Also the "red" on Popeye's collar is too magenta. But compared to what had been seen before from generations-removed 16mm prints, this is still great to see.

    3. That all sounds magnificent. I love shopping for treasures. Thanks.

    4. Awesome to hear Thanks for the info!

  5. Lou Fleischer is not the voice of Wimpy in SINDBAD. It was Jack Mercer. Why Mercer's Wimpy voice wasn't used again for ALI BABA is a "myskery." You will recognize this same voice was used in the TV cartoon

    1. Thank you. When I am in doubt I go the IMDb listing despite their many obvious lapses in accuracy.

  6. “Epic” definitely is the way to describe this. I absolutely love the animation quality of this cartoon, especially that giant buzzard. You did a great job reviewing this.

    1. You are very kind. Thanks for the compliment. It's funny, but when I watch this I'm a kid all over again.



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