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Out to Punch

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Out to Punch is Popeye's 220th theatrical cartoon, released by Famous Studios on June 8, 1956. It is a semi-remake of the 1934 Fleischer cartoon Let's You and Him Fight and Famous' own Punch and Judo of 1951. It features Popeye as the protagonist, Olive Oyl as his trainer, Battlin' Bluto as the main antagonist, a referee, and a fight announcer.


This episode about a boxing championship fight opens with a scene of a speedbag being worked tightly. As the view pans outward we see an overconfident Bluto ensconced in a hammock, languidly hitting the bag with his foot. He chuckles, "When I get that runt in the ring tonight, I'll moider 'im!"  Next we see the exterior of the adjoining "Popeye's Training Camp". Inside, in contrast to Bluto's indolence, we witness Popeye skipping "rope" with an immense iron chain as Olive recites a jumprope ditty. Bluto skulks up to the window of Popeye's camp and mutters to himself, "I better check up on 'Livermuscles'...there's no sense in overtraining."  Witnessing Popeye's efforts, Bluto exclaims, "Wow!! I gotta slow that monster down, or he'll moider me!"

Olive instructs Popeye "Now, to punch the sandbag", and Bluto proceeds to make good on his scheme.  Unseen, he hurriedly empties the bag's content, replacing it with a conglomeration of heating radiators and other heavy metal objects. After a blow from Popeye's Twisker Punch, Bluto gets buried by the product of his own nefarious handiwork. Undaunted, Bluto attempts to pull Popeye's shoulder-developer with the help of a motorcycle; it, too, fails, and sends the big man hurtling into a well in a scene that was copied from Lunch with a Punch.

Olive announces, "Popeye, we'll wind up training with road work all the way to the fight arena." The invigorated sailor steps smartly behind Olive's automobile as heroic music plays while a frustrated Bluto vows, "I gotta slow him down!"  Hiding behind a rock, the big bruiser squirts a grease gun onto the roadway in Popeye's path. Popeye redoubles his efforts, but is unable to escape from Bluto's slippery trap until he is rescued by Olive. Seemingly learning from his mistake, Bluto next pours a bag of cement into a puddle as Popeye approaches. This does the trick, as Popeye is frozen in place and exclaims, "Oh my gorshk!!"

Popeye at last extricates himself, with a pair of heavy cement blocks now encumbering his feet.  He returns to his runner's stance, but the slowed-down heroic musical theme signals his difficulty. As Olive blithely arrives at the front of the arena, she turns around and is horrified to find her charge at the point of collapse from his ordeal. As Popeye lies face-down on the pavement, Bluto dashes by (after apparently having run the same distance) and calls out, "So long, stupid! Haw, haw, haw!"

Finally we see the boxing ring and hear the announcement for the "star attraction". Battlin' Bluto is introduced, with the crowd cheering as the big man does a self-congratulatory muscle pose. Next, we hear the introduction for "his worthy opponent, Popeye the Sailor". Olive hoists the out-of-it challenger over her head and deposits him inside the ring.  Popeye keels over in his chair, obviously in no shape to fight.

The heroic musical theme resumes and Bluto--now once again casually puffing on a cigar--steps to center ring and puts up his dukes with a look of absolute, arrogant confidence on his face.  Olive pushes Popeye up out of his chair and picks the corner of the canvas up so that gravity forces the sailor to slide over into Bluto's reach.  Bluto immediately goes to work, skillfully utilizing Popeye's head as an ersatz speedbag.  As if to illustrate the ease with which he controls his opponent, he nonchalantly removes the cigar from his lips with his right hand and flicks off the ash while continuing to batter Popeye uninterruptdely with his left.

With Popeye softened up by this barrage, Bluto nails him with a powerful right hook.  Popeye hits the ropes, and the force of the champion's blow is such that the challenger's body winds around several dozen times in the ring ropes.  As he begins to unwind, Bluto, right hand casually placed on his hip, extends his left fist and smashes Popeye's head as it spins by over and over again.  As Popeye slows to a stop, Bluto is waiting for him with another right hook.  Bluto's uppercut sends Popeye flying so high toward the arena ceiling that Olive is forced to use a pair of binoculars to make out his form.

Gravity again comes into play as the hapless challenger falls to Earth, his spreadeagle shape leaving its precise mark in the hole in the ring canvas.  The referee begins his count, and once again we see footage of Bluto's self-congratulatory muscle poses after his easy first-round victory as the crowd erupts. But suddenly the scene changes to beneath the ring, where the kayoed Popeye is lying motionless on the concrete floor.  Concealing a can of spinach in a water bucket, Olive picks up the beaten sailor by the scruff of the neck and pours the vegetable into his mouth. By the count of eight, Popeye is once again conscious, and by nine he has jumped back into the ring and is glaring at the man who appeared to have defeated him with such ease.

Bluto Beaten Man

An irate Bluto goes back to work viciously battering Popeye's head, but this time his blows have no effect.  Within seconds his boxing gloves are shredded from the impact, and Popeye is marching towards him with a look of vengeance on his face. Alarmed, Bluto rips a steel ringpost out of its mount, rears back, and slams it into Popeye's head with authority. It moulds to the exact shape of the challenger's head, but does not seem to affect him in the least. The empowered sailor is still gunning for the big man.

Now it is Popeye's turn to deliver a devastating knockout punch. Battlin' Bluto flies upwards, right through the roof of the arena, and out into space. He comes down through the glass skylight of the City Hospital, smashes through every floor of the multistory structure, and emerges from the front entry seconds later in a wheelchair, unconscious and heavily bandaged, with every bone in his once-enviable physique seemingly shattered.

Back in the ring, Popeye does a victory pose as the press cameras flash. His biceps morph into the words "THE END."

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