Pastor Steve's Popeye Page

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Every great hero needs great challenges and super heroes need super villains.  In the Famous Studios' Bluto  (and the other characters that shared his essence), Popeye met his ultimate match in more ways than one.


 Strong To The Finish

 With Half His Brain

Everyone Should Have A Hobby

 A Hunk Of Villain

 The Score



Page last updated 10-11-2008. 
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Strong To The Finish


In most cartoons, Bluto was shown to be Popeye's equal in the super strength department, which is dangerous enough in itself, but, in some films, he was actually stronger than our hero.  Consider:

- Popeye's blows have absolutely no effect on Bluto and Pierre in How Green Is My Spinach and Popeye And The Pirates respectively.  The Sailorman's attempts at fighting... 

 ...only injure himself, as his enemies are invulnerable.

- Popeye loses a duel for Olive's hand to "The International" in Parlez-Vous Woo.   Not only is he outfought, but when he tries to press his sword against "The International's" blade, his is split in two.

- In Beach Peach, the cannons on the lifeguard's chest come to life and blast...

  ...Popeye across the beach while the song "Rule Britannia" plays on the soundtrack. Then when Popeye attempts to catch a medicine ball hurled with all the lifeguard's strength, our hero ends up in a pile of refuse.

- Lunch With A Punch establishes that Popeye is totally helpless against Bluto without his spinach.  And in Friend Or Phony, Popeye is put out of commission fairly easily by the bed-wielding Bluto.

- Even after Popeye eats his spinach, Mr. Crusoe belts him away over the falls in a fair fight during The Island Fling. In Tops In The Big Top, Abusement Park, and The Fistic Mystic, Bluto briefly puts up a fight against a spinach-powered Popeye.

- Popeye holds his own with Hercules in the appropriately titled Popeye Meets Hercules until Herc hurtles him, attached to a javelin, to the moon.  Popeye obviously isn't as strong as Hercules is, or he could have done "a Thor" with the javelin or a rock (i.e. throwing an object with all one's strength and hitching a ride on it) in order to return to earth.

- Popeye needs the seal's help to overcome Pierre in Snow Place Like Home.  Trading blows just wasn't doing it.

- In Rodeo Romeo, Popeye needs spinach to do the kinds of stunts Badlands Bluto can do without it.  Likewise in Popalong Popeye.

- Popeye is no match without his spinach for Bluto's supernatural powers in The Fistic Mystic and A Balmy Swami.

- The Pre-Hysterical Man has little trouble dealing with Popeye in his cave, even scrunching the sailor into some sort of tiny, crumpled mass and stuffing him into the spinach can, throwing it to a hungry dinosaur.

- Sheriff Popeye's attempts to forcibly arrest the outlaw Bluto in Tar With A Star are completely ineffectual.

- Popeye and Bluto trade furious blows atop a mountain in Alpine For You.  While they are able to carve out Mount Rushmore using their fists, they each aren't able to overcome the other.  But then Bluto gets a super-powered punch in when a laughing Popeye's guard is down and sends the sailor flying through the air to land miles away.


With Half His Brain Tied Behind His Back

Bluto can often outsmart Popeye as well.  Here are some examples:

- Bluto plays on Popeye's sympathetic nature and gets him to throw away his spinach in Friend Or Phony.

- Popeye can't recognize a disguised Bluto in Gym Jam (he's dressed as a woman!), She-Sick Sailors, Parlez-Vous Woo, Mister And Mistletoe. (In this last one, Popeye is led to believe that Santa Claus was real!!)

- In several cartoons the villain plays trick after trick on Popeye and still our hero keeps falling for them, or fails to catch on.  See The Royal Four Flusher, Nearly Weds, Out To Punch, Symphony In Spinach, Cookin' With Gags, Snow Place Like Home.

- During Beaus Will Be Beaus, Popeye knows he's being repeatedly tricked, but is seemingly powerless to do anything about it until he eats his spinach.  Instead, he keeps letting himself look bad in Olive Oyl's eyes.

- Popeye is fooled by the cannibal chief (Pop-Pie A La Mode) and the Indian chief (Wigwam Whoopee) into believing he's taking part in welcoming ceremonies, when actually he's being roasted alive!


- Carnival strongman Bluto tricks Popeye into locking himself in a safe in Quick On The Vigor.


To make matters even worse for Popeye, Bluto (or another guy) can easily fool Olive Oyl, too.  This is not good since she's the one he's trying to seduce and win.  See "Why Olive Oyl Was Attracted To Other Guys" .

Bluto proves that he is much more than just a physical threat to Popeye, but is a schemer and plotter.  He (or those who are like him):

- Frames Popeye in Tops In The Big Top (as an alcoholic!), Symphony In Spinach, We're On Our Way To Rio, All's Fair At The Fair, Alpine For You, Lunch With A Bunch, Beaus Will Be Beaus, Fright To The Finish, Cookin' With Gags, Nearly Weds, Assault And Flattery, The Crystal Brawl, and Lumberjack And Jill.

- Makes it look as if Popeye endangered Olive Oyl... 

...and sets himself up to save her and be her hero in Beach Peach.


- Drugs Popeye's food and drink, including spinach! 

See Robin Hood-Winked, Rodeo Romeo, Toreadorable, Greek Mirthology.



- Separates Popeye from his spinach (The Royal Four-Flusher, Cookin' With Gags, Lunch With A Punch, How Green Is My Spinach - in this one Bluto destroys the world's spinach crop!). 

There are other films... 

 ...where Bluto accidentally (or fortuitously for him, I guess) separates Popeye from the spinach, but I picked the films where he does it on purpose.


- Cheats when competing against, and even when cooperating with, Popeye in Seein' Red, White, And Blue, Too Weak To Work, Pitchin' Woo At The Zoo, She-Sick Sailors, Ancient Fistory, House Tricks, Service With A Guile, Peep In The Deep, Wotta Knight, Quick On The Vigor, Farmer And The Belle, 

 ...Vacation With Play, Double-Cross Country Race, Hot Air Aces, Swimmer Take All, Punch And Judo, A Job For A Gob, Popeye For President, and Out To Punch.  And I didn't even include all the films where Bluto sucker-punches Popeye or sabotages something Popeye's doing!!!



A Hunk Of Villain


Not only did the Famous Studios' re-vamp Olive Oyl's looks, they did the same for Bluto as well.  He gradually went from being a flabby foe who succeeded, it was presumed, mostly because he had so much weight to throw around, to a muscular menace who looked like a professional body-builder.  In the majority of cartoons from about mid-1944 on, Bluto (or another of Popeye's rivals) had a much better physique than did The Sailorman.


Also, Bluto (or the other guy) often had a handsome face, too.  While Bluto had the edge over Popeye when it came to looks in most toons, I've listed some films where it seemed to me that Bluto (or another guy) really was, as Olive gushed, "A handsome monstrosity!"



-Tall, dark, handsome, and mysterious describes Pierre the shopkeeper in Snow Place Like Home and the sheik in A Wolf In Sheik's Clothing.  Unfortunately, Popeye can be described as short, funny-looking, and goofy!


- Bluto should ditch the beard.  Without it, he looks just like Rock Hudson (only with a better build!!!) in Shaving Mugs


And with only a mustache, the well-groomed, tuxedoed Bluto in Parlez-Vous Woo is a real lady-killer.


He's not bad as a clean-shaven hepcat in Jitterbug Jive, either.


- When disguised as Santa Claus in Mister And Mistletoe

...Bluto is very good-looking.  This Santa obviously spends all year working out in order to carry the sacks of toys on Christmas Eve.


- One of the first times Bluto showed off his new build was when he switched to the acrobat's costume to be Olive's partner in Tops In The Big Top.


- The lifeguard in Beach Peach is a blonde "Bay Watch" fantasy figure.


- Bluto is in a suit in Symphony In Spinach while, for some reason, Popeye is stuck wearing the traditional sailor's outfit.


I'll stop there.  These aren't as much fun to write and think about as the Beautiful Olive Moments.   Hmmm...wonder why?


"Everyone Should Have A Hobby.  Mine Is Making Love."

Okay, so that quote is from Pepe Le Pew and not Bluto, but it certainly sums up the philosophy of Bluto and the other antagonists Popeye encounters.  They are often much more romantic than our hero.  Here are some examples:


1. In some cartoons, Popeye doesn't show the slightest romantic interest in Olive Oyl at all.  It's as though he's just her friend or her brother.  Meanwhile, the other guy is going crazy over her, knocking himself out to win her. 

See The Fistic Mystic, Vacation With Play, The Island Fling, Lumberjack And Jill, Snow Place Like Home, and Mister And Mistletoe.


2. Popeye occasionally comes across as a self-centered show-off, only into doing his own thing (and wanting others to endlessly praise him for it), and/or  wanting things his own way.  The other guy, by contrast, tries to enter Olive's world and interest her.  Consider Jitterbug Jive, Quick On The Vigor, Vacation With Play, and A Balmy Swami.


3. Olive is completely turned-on, putty in Bluto's hands, and totally compatible with him in Jitterbug Jive and Parlez-Vous Woo.  Until he eats his spinach, Popeye leaves her cold and can't relate to her at all.


4. Hercules gives her goose bumps by kissing her hand and arm, as does the sheik (Popeye Meets Hercules, A Wolf In Sheik's Clothing).



5. Count Marvo's kiss lifts Olive Oyl right off the ground in The Royal Four-Flusher


6. Bluto the fakir's kiss turns her into a pool of melted butter in The Fistic Mystic.


7. The Count invites her up to his penthouse and gives her a mink coat (The Royal Four-Flusher). 



9. Then he gets her alone in his bungalow (The Island Fling). 


8. Mr. Crusoe invites her to a private candlelight dinner and over to his sofa to "look at his etchings." 



10. Pierre the pirate captain showers her with jewels, literally (Popeye And The Pirates). 

11. The sheik carries Olive off across the burning sands (A Wolf In Sheik's Clothing). 

12. Bluto serenades her while boating (Vacation With Play, Lumberjack And Jill). 


13. Guys creatively use whatever is at hand to seduce her - bubblegum (Snow Place Like Home), musical instruments, (Symphony In Spinach)

14. ...athletic equipment, (Vacation With Play)


15. ...Christmas decorations, kitchen cabinets, etc. (Mister And Mistletoe, Lumberjack And Jill)



16. ...and sweep her off her feet dancing (Jitterbug Jive, Parlez-Vous Woo). 

Contrast all this with what Popeye mostly does when he's wooing before he's had any spinach - a few compliments, maybe a hug, flowers if she's lucky, and going on some trip or date where he either ignores her, annoys her, or treats her like he would a cousin or even a male friend.


The Score

The number of cartoons in which a guy initiates flirting with Olive or gets her in a romantic situation/mood: 56.

The number of cartoons in which Popeye initiates flirting with Olive or gets her in romantic situation/mood: 33.

Since I'm focusing on how much  more romantic the other guys are than Popeye, I'm discounting the times when Olive Oyl initiated the romance with Popeye (i.e. hugging and kissing him at the end of the cartoon because he saved her).  I discounted, too, the cartoons where, although Popeye and Olive were either traveling or on a date together, they could be seen only as buddies if one were so inclined.  Also, I know my definitions of flirting, etc.  may be a little different than yours, but I'll bet by any definition you use, the results will still be the same - the other guys woo Olive more than Popeye does in the Famous Studios' cartoons. 

So, it's painfully (for Popeye) obvious that Bluto and the villains like him in the cartoons were multi-faceted threats that could add an air of suspense to even the most outlandish toon plots and situations.







My home page with links to my Buffy, Popeye,  TV/Movies, Beliefs, and other pages.


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The Bluto Booster Page

All the aspects of Bluto I could think of are discussed on various Bluto pages.  Go here for a complete listing.

Oodles Of Olive Oyl

As the title says, lots about Olive Oyl.  You can choose from a number of titles to link to many other of my pages about this lovely  lady.


My Popeye Page.  Lots of links to my pages about the King Of Spinach.


This page was created using Corel Word Perfect Suite 8 and Netscape Navigator Composer. All characters and images are legal properties of their respective companies and are used here without permission for entertainment, review, and informational purposes only. All other material is copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 by Steve R. Bierly.