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Nov 052014

There have been many versions of Popeye over the years, but Popeye and Son (1987-1988) takes the franchise to a new generation. Popeye had married his long-time girlfriend Olive Oyl and they had a son, Popeye Junior.

Junior’s favorite pastimes are surfing and hanging out with his best friends Woody, Polly, and Deedee, but when there’s danger, Junior can gain super strength from eating spinach just like his father, matching muscles and all.

No matter how many times Junior eats spinach, he never grew to like it, but he always does when it’s important. It’s most exciting when Junior rescues Deedee from peril, even though there’s no mention of whether or not Deedee is his girlfriend.

Bluto is married to a woman that’s only mentioned as Mrs. Bluto and they have a son, Tank. Like their fathers Tank and Junior are enemies, but it’s not because of a love triangle. Tank is just a school bully, usually accompanied by his friends Puggy and Rad. However, Bluto isn’t as mean as he used to be compared to Tank, but do you think he’ll ever change?

Wimpy returns in this series as well and he runs a hamburger joint that Junior and his friends go to all the time. Wimpy also has a nephew, Francis, who helps him run the place. Francis is Junior’s friend, but hardly ever gets involved in the adventures the other kids have.

This was a good series with the adventure and excitement you would expect from a Popeye cartoon. One thing I don’t understand though. If Popeye raised Sweet Pea, why isn’t he on this show as Junior’s brother all grown up? Not to mention that Popeye’s nephews aren’t featured either. That’s certainly a huge plot hole if I ever saw one.

May 162012

One of the later additions to The All-New Popeye Hour was Private Olive Oyl (1981-1982). This series went in a completely different direction from the other Popeye adventures. Olive and Alice the Goon join the army at Fort Dragg under commanding officer Sargeant Bertha Blast.

From what I can tell, the army was doing Olive some good. She’s not as panicky as she usually is on the various Popeye adventures, but isn’t very bright though. As for Alice, you have to be careful what you say around her. She takes everything literally and doesn’t know her own strength, especially when stomping Sargeant Blast into her hat. One thing I don’t understand is why only Olive can understand what Alice says.

Sargeant Blast is hilarious when Olive and Alice drive her crazy. When she gets angry, Sargeant Blast can literally shout up a storm. Whatever the mission, Sargeant Blast will look for any excuse to be rid of Olive and Alice, but in the end the two privates always unknowingly manage to succeed and please Colonel Grumm.

It wasn’t until fairly recently when I discovered that the voice of Sargeant Blast was Jo Anne Worley, who is also well known for her various characters on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In.

Here’s another interesting fact. According to Wikipedia, Private Olive Oyl was inspired from the movie Private Benjamin. It makes sense because let’s face it. Olive is no G.I. Jane.

This cartoon is definitely a hilarious classic, even if it doesn’t have the same level of action as Popeye. Although it would have been nice if Popeye or Bluto had made any guest appearances.

Jan 282012

Classic cartoons from the old days always had memorable theme songs, some of which could be found on soundtrack albums if there were any. In the mid 90s, there was a very rare mixture on an album called Saturday Morning Cartoons’ Greatest Hits, which features the different theme songs in a more extended and updated manner and performed by “modern” bands and artists.

Some of those classic songs include the themes from Scooby-Doo Where Are You, Josie and the Pussycats, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, PopeyeHong Kong Phooey, and Spiderman (60s version). A different artist or band like Matthew Sweet, Liz Phair, The Ramones, The Butthole Surfers, Juliana Hatfield, and others perform them.

Not all of the tracks are theme songs though. There are also songs from different shows that were hits back in the day like Sugar Sugar from The Archie Show, Epp Opp Ork Ah-Ah from The Jetsons, Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy from Ren and Stimpy, and Open Up Your Heart and Let the Sunshine in from The Flintstones. All of which were only featured once in certain episodes. Does anyone still remember any of these songs?

There are even theme songs from shows I had never even heard of before like The Bugaloos, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, Groovie Ghoulies, Gigantor, and H.R. Pufnstuf. Luckily, the inside cover has information on each show, which made them more familiar to me and made me curious to see what these shows are like, if I can find them either on DVD, Netflix, or the Boomerang Channel.

Along with the info, there’s also a bit of commentary from the bands and artists about their take on these songs as well as their favorite cartoons growing up. It must be a real pleasure to participate in an album like this.

In addition to the album, there was also a straight-to-video feature about Saturday Morning Cartoons Greatest Hits. On a beautiful sunny day, Drew Barrymore and her friends have fun watching music videos from all of the different songs and provide their own cute and funny commentary. (It doesn’t include the theme from Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids for some reason.)

To add to the fun, the group also gets a package that contains things like breakfast cereal, candy necklaces, and silly string in spray cans. That’s just the kind of stuff that represents innocent times. You won’t find a special like this on MTV and I have no doubt that only hardcore Drew Barrymore fans would remember it.

This album is unique with its modern twist on old favorites. Once I do find any of the old shows, after listening to this CD, I now observe the theme songs to see how they are different in comparison.

Dec 092011

Popeye the sailor has been a highly popular icon for years. His most recent feature was the CGI animated TV special Popeye’s Voyage – The Quest for Pappy. The story is basically a common one in this franchise. Popeye and gang sail out to sea to rescue Pappy, who is lost in parts unknown.


It’s Christmas time in Sweet Haven and Popeye has a nightmare about Pappy in danger and tells Olive that he has to go out to sea to find him. Olive is against it at first, but then decides to go with Popeye even though she doesn’t like sea travel.

Normally Bluto is Popeye’s nemesis, but in this adventure he’s an ally. Of course, there’s still a clash of egos between them since Popeye is the Captain and Bluto is the First Mate.

While packing the provisions, the scent of Olive’s pre-prepared feast lures Wimpy onboard. However, no one knows that he has stowed away. Luckily, Wimpy stays out of danger below deck while trying to get to the food that’s all locked up.

They all head out to Shipwreck Rock in the Sea of Mystery, which is the Sea Hag’s realm. The Sea Hag was a well-known character in the Popeye franchise back in the 60s, but hasn’t been featured in a long time. Now she’s back with an edge as the main villainess.

The Sea Hag tries to capture Popeye with all sorts of perils, but Popeye gets the ship past them with ease. Even in the form of a beautiful siren, the Sea Hag can’t stop him. Popeye didn’t even need his spinach to do all that.

That soon changes when the Sea Hag targets Olive by putting her in a trance. Now Olive loves Bluto over Popeye. Of course, Bluto doesn’t mind at all. Popeye starts to break down as he feels rejected, but Sweet Pea helps him back from the brink of despair. Can you believe that Sweet Pea has been an infant longer than Maggie Simpson has?

Popeye and the gang make it to Shipwreck Rock and find Pappy. Unfortunately, Pappy isn’t glad to see them. Now Popeye is more heartbroken than ever and easy prey to the Sea Hag. As it turns out, Pappy was only trying to protect Popeye from the Sea Hag.

It’s too late now. The Sea Hag has Popeye in a trance and the others try to save him. Luckily, Popeye does come out of the trance, but is it enough to stop the Sea Hag and her swarm of sharks?

I enjoyed this CGI animated feature. Even though it was a musical, the songs weren’t as catchy as the ones on the live action Popeye movie from 1980.

Nov 162011

In this live action musical adventure, Robin Williams stars as the strong heroic sailor Popeye. Popeye arrives in the harbor town of Sweet Haven in search of his father Poopdeck Pappy.

Popeye finds a room for rent and meets Olive Oyl (Shelley Duvall) who isn’t all that friendly at first, but after they find an abandoned baby and take a liking to him, Olive warms up to Popeye. Popeye decides to name the baby Sweet Pea, but Olive doesn’t approve. “What do you want me to call him?” Popeye asks, “Baby Oyl?”

Bluto (Paul L. Smith) is a loud grumbling muscleman. Everyone fears him when he’s angry. I admit, Bluto is one tough brute. It’s hard to believe that Olive is engaged to him.

Wimpy (Paul Dooley) is well known for his appetite for hamburgers. “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” The diner takes no chances by having a sign that reads, “Absolutely no credit. Especially you, Wimpy.”

Much of the physical comedy is so animated, it’s incredible. I never saw anything like it. I can still remember when Bluto punches Popeye out, which causes him to do back flips down the hill.

Soon Popeye and Olive learn that Sweet Pea is psychic. That’s why Wimpy brings him to the horse races. But trouble starts to occur when Bluto kidnaps Sweet Pea to help him find a lost treasure at Scab Island.

Meanwhile, Popeye finds Poopdeck Pappy (Ray Walston), but here’s an unusual revelation. Popeye hates spinach and Pappy hates him for it. That’s never been an issue before on any of the cartoons. I guess Popeye even had to develop a taste for spinach just as anyone else would.

Popeye, Pappy, and their friends soon go after Bluto out at sea. Now the real adventure begins. Bluto finds the treasure, but wakes up an angry octopus. Olive is also trapped in a ventilation tube from the ship. It gets real exciting when Popeye and Bluto sword fight, but Popeye is losing the battle. When it seems like all is lost, Popeye comes through by gaining his taste for spinach while swallowing his pride. (Pun intended.) Thanks to Bluto shoving it down his throat. Yecch!

This was a real classic movie based on the cartoons. There’s even a memorable catchphrase by Olive’s father (MacIntyre Dixon). “You owe me an apology.” It starts out funny, but gets a little annoying after awhile.