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The Popeye Show

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The Popeye Show
is a Cartoon Network TV show that premiered on November 11, 2001. Each episode would include three unedited Popeye theatrical shorts from Fleischer Studios and/or Famous Studios. The show was narrated by Bill Murray (not to be confused with the film actor), who would tell the audience facts about the history of the cartoons as filler material between each short. Animation historian Jerry Beck served as a consultant and Barry Mills served as writer and producer. A total of 45 episodes were produced, consisting of 135 shorts.

Significance

Prior to the premiere of The Popeye Show, most television airings of theatrical Popeye cartoons bore the logos of Associated Artists Productions, the company that bought the films from Paramount Pictures for television distribution. This is due to the shorts having been sold in the 1950s, when most film studios did not want to be associated with television. As a result, a. a. p. was required to replace the original Paramount logos with their own. For The Popeye Show, efforts were made to present these films as close to their original theatrical form as possible: some of the cartoons shown were copies that actually had their original Paramount titles intact, while others needed to have their original titles simulated through the process of digital video editing.

The show focused mostly on the Fleischer Popeye shorts and early Famous shorts that were originally filmed in black-and-white. For all episodes, the first two shorts were from this era. Sometimes the third would be a color cartoon from Famous Studios, but on many occasions an episode would entirely be made of black-and-white ones. While selecting the color entries that would air, the only ones that were initially chosen were those that existed in the Turner vaults with their original titles.

In season one, a copy of Popeye, The Ace of Space (1953) with its original titles was shown for the first time on TV. This particular cartoon was originally shown in 3D and had a unique opening sequence.[1]It also had a unique ending sequence that was not shown on syndication prints because it involved the Paramount logo being formed from the smoke of Popeye's pipe. The black and white short The Hungry Goat (1943) was kept from being shown in earlier seasons because it required extra attention to recreate the ending as close to original as possible. The original ending involved Popeye's nemesis in the short, a goat, laughing at Popeye while watching the end of the very cartoon they were in, and, like Ace of Space, involved the Paramount logo.

1945's Tops in the Big Top, which did not open with the standard Popeye theme music but the rendition of a circus theme, had its original soundtrack restored for the program. Similarly, a version of W'ere On Our Way to Rio (1944) was prepared with the opening soundtrack restored, but the show was cancelled before it could be shown.

Controversy

Two episodes from Season 1 were initially skipped, and did not make their TV debut until reruns. The reason was because the two contained cartoons that the executives at Cartoon Network would not pass for unedited airings. Episode 10 was originally supposed to have Popeye the Sailor, a Betty Boop cartoon in which Popeye makes his theatrical debut. This particular cartoon had a scene at the carnival where Popeye plays a ball-toss game where the target is an African American stereotype. Episode 11 had the short Happy Birthdaze, in which Popeye appears to shoot his Navy buddy Shorty in an ending that is usually cut from TV broadcasts. When Episode 10 finally aired, I Eats My Spinach replaced Popeye the Sailor, while Episode 11 aired with no changes made and Happy Birthdaze was shown uncut.

A later episode featured an unedited version of the World War II-themed Spinach Fer Britain (1943), a cartoon in which Popeye battles Nazis. This particular cartoon is otherwise rarely shown.

Episodes

Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4

Gallery

References

  1. http://www.cartoonresearch.com/paramount.html#ACE

External links

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