Lunch with a Punch is Popeye's 186th theatrical short, produced by Famous Studios and released in 1952. It contains Popeye's account of his childhood together with Olive Oyl and Bluto; this contradicts the original comics, where the sailor met his darling-to-be during the journey to Dice Island, and would not meet the notorious 'Bluto the Terrible' until years later.
PlotBluto comes to Olive's house to ask for a date but is turned down as she is set to go on a picnic with Popeye and his nephews (only three of them this time). During the picnic, the kids reject their spinach, asking instead for junk food. With Bluto eavesdropping, their uncle tells them of his early school days: Olive and Bluto were his classmates, with the latter pulling pranks on him such as sending a small tortoise carrying a stick of dynamite towards the young Popeye's desk. In addition to the explosion, Popeye's ink falls on the teacher earning him detention. When he is finally let out, he catches up with little Olive and little Bluto playing on a swing, only for the latter to send the swing crashing to the smaller boy's face - yet Popeye swinging back results in Bluto's being sent flying.
Later, the treacherous tyke stuffs a frog into the ice cream cone Popeye was giving Olive, and when she is startled, young Bluto promptly produces another cone. However, the frog confesses the truth and Bluto himself receives an icy treatment from Olive. Furious, the young bully sends little Popeye flying to be knocked unconscious and spirits the girl away onboard his bicycle. As the young girl cries for help, the precocious boy remarks "I'm taking you home... whether you like it or not!". Meanwhile, the knocked-out little sailor has a vision of his time as a baby and of his mother. In the flasback-within-a-flashback, he is told to "eat your spinach and you'll be healthy and strong". Sure enough, Popeye had landed in a spinach basket and eats away to regain his wits and obtain increased strength. As Bluto is doing the dangerous 'no hands' stunt with Olive still aboard his bike, young Popeye catches up and throws him away with a single punch. This does not stop the part of the bicycle Olive is on, and she careens towards train tracks - with the train fast approaching. However, the tiny hero stops the huge vehicle with only a mighty punch that hits the train engine and sends it and its train cars falling apart and the day is saved.
Popeye finishes his tale and proceeds to serve his more receptive nephews their spinach portions. He is then snatched from behind by Bluto, who traps him in a tree stump and begins to punch away at his face. The children see that it is now time to gobble down the greens. With Olive cheering, they take on Bluto together then carry the tree trunk containing their beloved uncle to safety, to the latter's delight.
- Jack Mercer has a multitude of voice roles in this cartoon with Popeye, young Popeye, three of his nephews and his mother.
- Lunch with a Punch at the Internet Movie Database