Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Greatly-appreciated homage in IDW's Popeye #6!

When I was a child in the `80's, the first VHS tape that my family ever owned was one of those low-budget, EP mode-using, approximately 30-minutes-in-length hodgepodge of (bad prints of) vintage animated shorts that had fallen into the public domain, released by small VHS entrepreneurs and sold in department stores. Specifically, it was a Popeye-exclusive tape, consisting of the two classic color Fleischer featurettes (17 minutes each), "Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor" and "Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves". Within the next year or two, I watched both countless. But in the two-plus decades since, whenever I revisit them, I appreciate them all the more. The animation is fluid (the Fleischer-invented technique of rotoscoping was surely used at times), the comic sensibilities and timing are delightful, and the three-dimensional miniature model sets used for select scenes are ingenuous. (I believe that the cels were shot between two upright glass panes placed at the appropriate point upon these sets, or something like that.)

Here's Popeye and the Forty Thieves' leader, "Abu Hassan" ("played" by Bluto), in a standoff:

(Note: This is not one of the scenes using the miniature sets.)

I was delighted to find that IDW's Popeye #6, released last week (and which, like every issue thus far, comes highly recommended by this blog), pays visual tribute to "Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves"! (But I won't spoil it, in a specific way!)

If you're at all a Popeye fan, buy this thing (and any other IDW's Popeye and Popeye Classics that you can!)

-- Ryan

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, those tapes were everywhere in the 80s and early 90s. They have creeped up again in the form of DVDs offering things like "Hoppity Hooper" and "Clutch Cargo". Then there were the "Kids Classics" series, which was offering Hanna Barbera cartoons, episodes of shows that didn't appear in reruns often, or the 80s TV movies, like "Yogi's Great Escape". Trouble is, they were all offered in EP mode and looked terrible!
    I still have a tape of "Kids Cartoons" because it has "Porky Pig's Feat" - still one of THE funniest WB cartoons ever. Porky and Daffy are trapped in a hotel because Daffy gambled away the money to pay the bill. Eventutally, they call Bugs Bunny for advice and learn that he's locked up in the hotel too!