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Popeye The Sailor - Warner 'Retools' Popeye DVDs; Switches to 2-Disc Sets!

Announces 'Vol. 2' and is planning other Popeye DVDs, including '60s TV show releases

Posted by David Lambert
In the home video industry, there's just no doubt about it: plans change.

Late last October we exclusively reported on Warner's plan to put a second collection of Popeye cartoon shorts onto DVD this coming summer. Like the first release the previous summer, it was to be a 4-disc set that had approximately 60 cartoons on it, originally produced/released in the 1938-1943 timeframe. It would include shorts made after the 1942 "Famous" production switch (when the cartoons started being made by Paramount's Famous Studios, instead of the fan-preferred Fleischer Studios).

About a week after our first report, we updated you further, as our industry contacts gave us further information about the long-range Popeye plans, outlining more plans to finish up the entire classic original run of Popeye shorts by putting out Volumes 3 and 4, each shipping a year apart and including about 55 shorts each. That would have covered everything up until 1957, including the 6 "banned" Popeye cartoons (3 black-and-white ones from WWII era, racially stereotyping Japanese, and 3 color ones from the 50's that racially stereotyped Blacks). In a poll we conducted at, 100% of the responders said that they wanted to see these banned cartoons, and that Warner was doing the right thing (note that fewer than 1% of the responders thought that blatant smoking scenes might be a cause for censorship, though).

It sounded like fans were getting what they wanted...slowly, but surely and with careful thought and planning behind it. But today, everything has changed with Warner's announcement of Popeye the Sailor - Volume 2: 1938-1940, a 2-DVD set with only 31 cartoon shorts!

As soon as Warner's announcement came across, of course I went back to my original contact and inquired about the change. The response began with, "Sorry Dave, I meant to tell you that!" So apparently this was no last-minute switch; the plans had changed sometime between early November and mid-February. We apologize that we didn't have this info for you sooner.

What we're told is that Warner instructed the production team to "retool" the releases from 4-disc sets down to 2-disc sets. One of the primary reasons for this, it's speculated, is that the restoration of the earlier (Fleischer) cartoons took longer and more in-depth work than originally expected and planned for. So they are planning to release Popeye the Sailor - Volume 2: 1938-1940 on June 17th, with 30 black and white shorts - plus 1 short from 1939 shot in Technicolor - from Fleischer Studios on 2 DVDs, costing $34.98 SRP.

If it will help make up for this change, you'll be glad to know that our inside person tells us that Warner has secured the rights to the 1960s-era King Features TV Popeye Cartoons, and are hoping to release a 2-DVD package of those later this summer.

In the meantime, Warner hopes to at least finish off the black-and-white shorts in the original Popeye run, but plans for that depend on how the balance of the production goes, and other factors such as sales of this next set. If all goes well, we would hope to see Popeye the Sailor - Volume 3: 1941-1943 sometime between late-2008 and mid-2009. On the other hand, there is no guarantee at this time that they will manage to finish the entire run of Famous Studios-produced cartoons, all the way through to 1957 (as previously planned). And if that doesn't happen, then the six banned cartoons probably won't see the light of day as part of these collections.

We also know that at least one planned extra, Commentary by John Krickfalusi, will probably be scrapped. We don't know what the status is of any other planned extras, but here's an aspect worth noting: despite an online trailer for this package mentioning that extras would be included, it doesn't specify what they would be, and no bonus material was mentioned in Warner's announcement today. However, if information comes along in the future about extras for this release, we will certainly update you! For now, here's the list of included shorts, and the package art:
  • Disc 1:
    1. I Yam Love Sick (1938)
    2. Plumbing Is A "Pipe" (1938)
    3. The Jeep (1938)
    4. Bulldozing The Bull (1938)
    5. Mutiny Ain't Nice (1938)
    6. Goonland (1938)
    7. A Date To Skate (1938)
    8. Cops Is Always Right (1938)
    9. Customers Wanted (1939)
    10. Aladdin And His Wonderful Lamp (1939; 20 minute Technicolor short)
    11. Leave Well Enough Alone (1939)
    12. Wotta Nitemare (1939)
    13. Ghosks Is The Bunk (1939)
    14. Hello, How Am I? (1939)
    15. It's The Natural Thing To Do (1939)

  • Disc 2:
    1. Never Sock A Baby (1939)
    2. Shakespearian Spinach (1940)
    3. Females Is Fickle (1940)
    4. Stealin Aint Honest (1940)
    5. Me Feelins is Hurt (1940)
    6. Onion Pacific (1940)
    7. Wimmin Is A Myskery (1940)
    8. Nurse-Mates (1940)
    9. Fightin Pals (1940)
    10. Doing Impossikible Stunts (1940)
    11. Wimmin Hadn't Oughta Drive (1940)
    12. Puttin On The Act (1940)
    13. Popeye Meets William Tell (1940
    14. My Pop, My Pop (1940)
    15. With Poopdeck Pappy (1940)
    16. Popeye Presents Eugene, The Jeep (1940)
Popeye the Sailor - Volume 2: 1938-1940 box art

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