Pastor Steve's Popeye Page

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The KFS Cartoons

 

The animated cartoons that King Features Syndicate commissioned from several studios in the early '60s, unlike the Famous Studios' films, were aimed primarily at children, done on very limited budgets, and marketed as a direct-to-TV product.  But that doesn't mean that the best of them are lacking in some charm and entertainment value.  The worst of them, however, are among the most putrid cartoons ever made! 

Here are my opinions/synopses of the KFS toons I've seen recently.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Page last updated 10-13-2008. 
See What's New for details.


 

 
 
 
 

Good TV - The Best KFS Cartoons

Watchable TV - Honorable Mention KFS Cartoons

Poor Reception - The Worst KFS Cartoons

Program Fodder - The Rest Of The KFS Cartoons

The KFS Olive Oyl

The KFS Brutus


 
  
 

Good TV -
The Best KFS Cartoons

 

Egypt Us

Very clever cartoon as Popeye battles to save Olive Oyl from an Egyptian cult that talks in hieroglyphics and tries to keep Wimpy from eating all the picnic lunch at the same time.  There's a great line when Popeye incredulously asks if the cult is going to sacrifice its queen and the spokesman replies, "Doesn't everybody?"  The ending with Wimpy is a classic and Popeye starting out for the beach and ending up in the desert reminds me of all the wrong turns Bugs Bunny made that led to adventure.

Barbecue For Two

The pilot film for the KFS cartoons uses comic strip/Fleischeresque character designs which were never seen again in this series.  Brutus goes unnamed in this cartoon, so obviously the copyright question hadn't been fully dealt with yet when it was made.  (See my FAQ page.)  The plot: Popeye's friends and enemy neighbor try to join Popeye's private picnic with Olive Oyl.  Wimpy and Swee'Pea want hamburgers and the neighbor wants Olive, of course.  To be fair to the neighbor, though, I need to point out that Popeye actually starts the feud in this cartoon by stealing the flowers from his garden!  Jackson Beck sings a neat rock-n-roll parody that stayed with me all these years, "Don't Drop No Mustard On My Clean White Shirt, Baby!"

Kiddie Capers

Notable because Sea Hag helps Brutus and, thanks to her youth potion, Brutus becomes young, fit, handsome, and clean-shaven (except for a mustache), hearkening back to Famous Studios' attractive rivals for Olive's hand.  He also uses a fake I.D., a foreign accent, and a sophisticated manner, much as Bluto did in Parlez Vous Woo.  Only here he's "Don Juan," instead of "The International." The cartoon gains point for using a plot device that fits Segar's original portrayals of the characters - Popeye is older than Olive Oyl.  There's also a cute ending with Popeye and Olive as toddlers.

Popeye's Double Trouble

Sea Hag transforms herself into a duplicate of Olive Oyl in order to steal a magic coin from Popeye during a dance contest.  Olive saves the day by eating the spinach, though.  The cartoon makes you feel for poor, abused and confused Popeye.  There's good animation and I always enjoy it when the Sea Hag's buzzard has something to do.

Butler Up

Another film reminiscent of the Famous Studios' years (after all, some of the same creators made it) has Olive getting all dolled up, not for Popeye, but for Brutus, who it turns out was her college boyfriend!  She gets Popeye to pose as her butler so she can impress Brutus (!) and The Sailorman spends the cartoon trying to keep the two exes from bringing back old times.  It's not as romantic as a Famous Studios treatment of this same subject would have been, though, because Brutus keeps alternating between being a charmer and a loud-mouthed bore.  I've remembered the scene with the Popeye "football" for decades.

Coffee House

A radical character redesign has beatnik Olive Oyl and beatnik Brutus going out on a date to the title establishment and Popeye trying to horn in, (Er, when Brutus tries to cut in on Popeye and Olive in other cartoons, isn't he the villain?  Why isn't Popeye the villain here, then?)  Popeye is hopelessly square until he eats Cultured Spinach and then he's cool, man, cool!  One might think this cartoon would be dated, but it's pretty clever, both spoofing and respecting the Beat Culture.

Rags To Riches To Rags

A "character study" (of sorts) of Wimpy taken straight from Segar's Sunday strips.  Popeye is a prize fighter again, too.

Sea No Evil

Surreal character designs in a film that has Brutus repeatedly attempting to swindle Popeye by stealing his boat equipment and selling it back to him.  The climax is fast-moving and exciting, and the character designs are unusual, to say the least!  The animation is limited, but that doesn't diminish the entertainment value.

Insultin' The Sultan

A Sultan decides he wants Olive Oyl for his 75th wife, so he abducts her.  Fortunately, Popeye is in the desert, having joined the French Foreign Legion to forget Olive.  Coming to her rescue, he fights a Segarish wrestler (I loved the way he was drawn - just like in the classic comic strips!) and the Sultan's other men.  At cartoon's end, Popeye and Olive prove themselves all too human by returning to the bickering they had just sworn off.

Giddy Gold

Another cartoon that both scared and intrigued me as a kid.  Everything inside a Tunnel Of Love becomes real thanks to the Wiffle Bird's magic, and Popeye and Olive must face "Three Dangerous Dangers" in order to exit with gold and jewels.  There are two plot twists, including having Olive eat the spinach to save Popeye.  NOTE:  Segar created the Wiffle Hen, Bernice, for the Thimble Theater comic strip.  In fact, Popeye made his debut in a continuity featuring Bernice.  The KFS cartoons had a male Wiffle Bird who could talk and who had more magical powers than Bernice ever did.

Gem Jam

A cartoon that creeped me out when I was a kid.  Sea Hag tries to use Olive Oyl to steal a gem that carries with it a scary, living idol's curse.  At the end of the cartoon, the idol gets friendly and pulls a trick that gives Popeye and Olive a chance to get romantic, but in my young mind, that didn't make up for the lightning bolt hurling and earthquake trap earlier in the picture.

Voo Doo To You, Too

Another cartoon that scared me and grossed me out somewhat when I was young.  It really seems Popeye is done for when the Sea Hag uses Voo Doo on him.  Luckily, though, Eugene The Jeep is around and dolls can eat, and benefit from, spinach.

Motor Knocks

Popeye and Olive pull into Brutus' service station.  Brutus and Olive flirt up a storm.  Brutus' final dispatching of Popeye is something I've remembered from childhood, as well as Brutus driving off in the tow truck with Olive, and the unseen battle inside the covered bridge.

Me Quest For Poopdeck Pappy

A very Segarish script as Popeye meets his long lost father on a dangerous island and finds out that the old coot isn't exactly thrilled to see him.

Incident In Missile City

A Cold War era cartoon in which King Blozo needs Popeye and Olive to travel to a land of living missiles in order to save his country. The personification of the different missiles is pretty cool, and everyone becomes friends in the end.

Hits And Missiles

Popeye, Olive, and Wimpy go to the moon and meet the cheese people and their evil leader, The Big Cheese, who tortures his people by dipping them into hot mustard.  Lots of fun, as it is suspenseful for the young and amusing for adults.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Watchable TV - 
Honorable Mention KFS Cartoons

College Of Hard Knocks

The idea of coed Olive Oyl and her professor being enamored with each other carries the cartoon even though not much is done with it.  In fact, Prof. Brutus' ways to get rid of Popeye have more to do with grade school than college, which, of course, is the type of school the cartoon's target audience would be familiar with.

Medicine Man

It's kind of creepy to watch a doctor, albeit a quack, use his knowledge and substances, albeit cartoony stuff like sneezing powder, to incapacitate our hero in order to steal his girlfriend, but the cartoon holds my interest throughout.

Wimpy The Moocher

Though Wimpy's trick is an old one, it's neat to see Segar characters Rough House and Geezil in animated form.

My Fair Olive

A museum owner/guide falls for Olive and vice versa when she and Popeye tour his place.  But, in a display of fickleness worthy of any incarnation of Olive Oyl, she irrationally rejects him at the end of the cartoon, even though he has consistently out-classed Popeye and has won a joust for her hand.  When you watch the cartoon and Olive starts yelling for help, you'll wonder what's up with her.

Operation Ice-Tickle

Olive tells the boys that she will date the first one to bring her the North Pole.  Well, that's one way to decide things, I guess.  When I was young, I was really scared that Popeye was going to lose when he was frozen.  And the cartoon introduced me to Admiral Byrd.

Matinee Idol Popeye

Brutus is a movie director and Popeye and Olive are movie stars.  Guess which one of the two the director tries to dispose of through dangerous stunts and which one he wants to romance?  Popeye's stunts are cool, but having him singing a little ditty at the end of one of them seemed like pointless filler.

Mueleer's Mad Monster

A scientist's Frankenstein-like creation gets a charge out of Olive Oyl, but the feeling isn't mutual until Popeye reassembles him to resemble Elvis Presley.  In fact, in an odd ending, Popeye laughs while Olive is kissing and coming on to "Elvis", even helping them electrify each other.

Strange Things Are Happening

Popeye is having a weird day and his cast of characters are behaving oddly and he doesn't know why.  I wonder if kids today would understand the "This Is Your Life" reference?

The Super-
Duper Market

If you can get past the atrocious little ditty Popeye, Olive, and Wimpy sing near the beginning of the cartoon, the film is pretty entertaining as Brutus, the owner of a megastore, tries to get Wimpy and Popeye out of the way so he can, in his words, "wrap up some kisses in the candy department" with Olive Oyl.  There's a good recurring gag with an old man who can't find his way out of the store, and Wimpy's label is pretty funny.  The use of frozen spinach was clever, too.

The Mark Of Zero

Popeye tells a suspenseful story, from a child's point of view, to Deezil about the old-time hero, Zero.  This cartoon reminds me of how popular the character Zorro was when this cartoon was made.  In fact, in the earliest childhood fantasies I can remember, I alternated between being Popeye, Zorro, Superman, The Lone Rangers, or Roy Rogers.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Poor Reception -
The Worst KFS Cartoons

 

Popeye And The Phantom

Popeye versus some sort of poltergeist in an unfunny, uninteresting cartoon with animation so limited it's almost non-existent, and reused footage.

Popeye And The Magic Hat

A convoluted storyline which starts out with Olive and a stage magician falling for each other, but ends up a real mess.  The feats of magic aren't funny and drag on unpleasantly, seemingly forever.  The Jeep appears, but he's certainly out of character.  Hey, come to think of it, so is everyone else by the time the cartoon ends!  And this animation is practically D.O.A.  If you're in the mood to see Popeye fight a magician, watch the Famous Studios' films, The Fistic Mystic and A Balmy Swami instead.

Bird Watcher Popeye

Olive takes Popeye bird watching.  Yawn!  Then Brutus is inexplicably in a nest with vulture.  Huh?

Spinach Shortage

An unpleasant cartoon has Brutus as a tycoon who has bought up all the spinach.  Popeye acts like an addict here, breaking into the warehouse that houses the green vegetable.

Mirror Magic

Not much is done with the idea of Popeye being a "Snow White"-like person who is the strongest in the land and of Brutus being an evil king whose magic mirror informs him of that fact.  Most of the cartoon is just a typical test-of-strength brawl.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Program Fodder -
The Rest Of The KFS Cartoons

 

Irate Pirate

In Famous Studios' Popeye And The Pirates, our hero fought Captain Pierre and his entire crew.  But seeing as how this is limited TV animation, here there's only one pirate, Jolly Roger, who wants Olive Oyl.  It's okay, but nothing to write home about.

After The Ball Went Over

During a ping pong game, Popeye and Brutus play tricks on each other.  (The winner of the game, of course, will get to date Olive Oyl.)  This is sub-standard fare until the end of the cartoon when Popeye's scheme literally blows up in his face and he wishes the writers would put spinach back into the film!

Popeye The Lifeguard

Popeye continually dumps Olive for a beach full of bathing suited beauties, so Brutus offers to help her make Popeye jealous.  It's not as interesting as it sounds.  And Popeye only seems to pay attention to Olive when she's with another guy.

Hagway Robbery

The Sea Hag kidnaps Eugene The Jeep, so Popeye and company set off to rescue him, but really the little creature doesn't need any help.  Sea Hag tries to defeat Popeye by mixing up the labels on canned food and then by burning the spinach, but the fumes energize him.

Spoil Sport

Olive would rather ride in Brutus' new sports car than on Popeye's scooter until the daredevil's reckless ways endanger them.  Popeye shows he's a good guy by trying to save both Olive and Brutus.

Spinach Greetings

The Sea Hag and hero Vulture plan to ruin Christmas by capturing Santa Claus, but Popeye comes to the rescue.  This cartoon saddened me as a child.  How were the kids whose toys Sea Hag burned going to get any presents?

Weight For Me

A cartoon where everyone is out of character for the sake of the story and for the gags to work.  Olive Oyl, who in her Famous Studios' and KFS incarnations was, as one INTERNET writer put it, "a major guy magnet," and who, even in her comic strip appearances, could and did happily get new boyfriends just by walking down the street, here inexplicably turns to food to console herself when Popeye and Brutus are away for an extended period of time.  Upon their return, Popeye keeps bugging her to lose the extra pounds, while Brutus accepts her for who she is.  At the end of the cartoon, Olive is back to normal and Brutus decides to join her and Popeye in reducing.  They then all share a friendly laugh!

Hoppy Jalopy

Popeye and Brutus compete in an auto race.  To add to the "suspense," Olive is Brutus' captive.  For some reason, Popeye doesn't instantly recognize spinach, even when his mouth is full of it!  The limited animation doesn't even make it past the starting line.


 
 
 

 
 
 

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SOUL-TREKKING WITH PASTOR STEVE

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.

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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.