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Popeye The Sailor - Olive Oyl! Olive Oyl! Classic Popeye Fleischer 'Toons Are On DVD!

Originally In Theaters, The '56 Popeye Series First Aired These TV Staples

Posted by David Lambert
After Popeye the Sailor became the stand-out character in King Features' Thimble Theater comic strip, Max Fleischer brought the spinach-sucking seaman to "life" in his classic animated theatrical shorts, which first showed up in 1933 as part of a Betty Boop cartoon. That cartoon ("Betty Boop Meets Popeye the Sailor"), along with the Oscar-nominated Popeye The Sailor Meets Sindbad The Sailor, will be among 60 cartoons featured on Warner Home Video's July 31st release of Popeye the Sailor - Volume 1: 1933-1938.

Why would this 4-DVD set ($64.92 SRP) be of interest to TV-on-DVD fans? Well, as any old salt of the TV seas knows, these cartoons made up the keel of the ship that was the 1956 Popeye television series, and continued to air on TV as part of regularly scheduled (albeit syndicated) Popeye shows for decades to come. Just like Bugs Bunny and friends, Tom & Jerry, Droopy and even Woody Woodpecker, the long-running over-the-air programs had their roots in the characters' original theatrical shorts. It would be a crime to overlook this DVD release, therefore, although some TV purists might say we ought to do precisely that. Phooey to those guys; this is not just a bunch of film shorts, nor is it merely a TV show. It's both, and so the Fleischer Popeye DVD deserves space here. "I yam what I yam," as our hero would say!

Beside these 60 classic cartoons (550 minutes), you'll also get some amazing extras. Warner will be providing more than 5 hours of bonus material, including retrospectives such as "The Story of Popeye the Sailor Man" and "The History of the Fleischer Studios." There are also "behind-the-toons" featurettes, bonus shorts, and commentary tracks by animation historians and other experts. But these are just a bunch of tasty side dishes: the main entree consists of the uncut, unedited cartoons that are authorized and come from the original masters. In fact, expect Warner to include this notice on the set: "This Compilation is Intended for the Adult Collector and May Not Be Suitable for Children."

Promotions for this release will include cans of Popeye-brand Spinach (from Allen Canning Co.) which will talk and "call out" the DVD release, and will include a $5 mail-in rebate with the purchase of two cans. Here is the package art for what sounds like a must-have set. He certainly is "strong to the finish!"

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