I've tried to imagine what the Paramount/Famous Studios' "romance" cartoons would be like if they were made today. These stories are the results.
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Popeye and Olive Oyl were entering the government complex, passing through the main gate and under a sign that arched across them reading, "Welcome to NASA's George Kennedy Space Center (If We Can Lift Him Off The Ground, We Can Lift Anybody) And Cape Carnival."
"Oooo, Popeye," Olive enthused, "isn't it thrilling to be touring the very place where brave men risk their lives to face the unknown?"
"Shucks, Olive, me and Pappy does that every time we eats at Granny's. Arf! Arf! Arf!"
"Popeye!" Olive snorted, "don't you have one ounce of adventure in your entire body?"
Popeye blew a blast out of his pipe. "Adventure, schmenture! It's one of them things ya looks for all yer life but never finds it. I looked for it t'other day when I wuz duelin' The Count. Didn't find it. And I looked last week when I was retrieving Swee'Pea's toy submarine from the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Didn't finds it." Then he muttered under his breath, "Besides, bringing a swell dame like you to a military base full of mens will probilly be all the adventure I kin stands!"
And sure enough, across the base in a huge observatory, Professor O.G. Watasnozzle was sitting at the controls of a giant telescope programming instructions into it via computer. Handsome, but cocky, astronaut/test pilot, Jet Afterburner was standing next to him looking at the screen where what the telescope located would be projected.
The Professor said, "With this, my latest invention, Earth needn't worry about ever being hit by comets, meteorites, or even an alien space craft! I've programmed the telescope to focus in on any heavenly bodies that are in our cosmic vicinity. I'll just turn it on and..." He pushed a button. Suddenly, he bolted upright in his chair. "It's located one already! It says that there's a heavenly body...HERE? On this base!?!?!?!?"
The telescope was no longer pointing up at the sky, but rather straight at Olive Oyl. The end of it formed two lips and let out a long wolf whistle. The image of Ms. Oyl filled the viewing screen.
"WOW!!!" Jet exclaimed. "Your invention was right!" His heart entered a small space capsule, rocketed away from his body, and took up an orbit around Olive Oyl. Following his heart, Jet grabbed a jet pack that was lying nearby, strapped it on, took off through the opening of the observatory roof, and zoomed through the sky toward the comely lass.
Olive Oyl was dreamily hugging herself. "Oh, if only I could meet a real live astronaut, a man of vision, a man of destiny, a...Huh?" She saw something moving in the air. "Popeye, look up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane!"
Jet started to bring himself down beside Olive, adjusting the mini-rockets so that their powerful exhaust would hammer Popeye into the ground, and finally he landed right on top of the spot where the sailor had been.
"It's a super man!" Olive gushed.
Jet's heart went back into his chest - the heart and the man now acting as one. He ditched the jet pack, took Olive's hand in his and brought it to his lips.
"It's a wolf, ya means." Popeye has popped his head and torso up out of a mole hill a few yards away.
Jet laughed. "Son, you're packed in tighter than the astronauts who piloted the first space capsules."
"Then it's time I makes a mounting outta this mole hill." So saying, Popeye reached into his shirt and took out his spinach can. He popped the green stuff in his mouth, began chewing on it, and threw the now empty can away. Instantly, the ground began shaking. Kicking his legs while were still underground, Popeye was propelling himself higher and higher and dragging earth along with him. The mound grew taller the more Popeye kicked. Finally, when the mound of dirt was the size of a tobogganing hill, Popeye came flying out the top, like a cork released from a champagne bottle. He hurtled across the sky and landed hard in the officer's swimming pool. The water went everywhere! The pool was now bone dry, but the deck, and the picnic tables, and lawn chairs were all soaked.
"I guess that's what you'd call a splashdown! Or mebbee in this case, a splashup? Ak! Ak! Ak! Ak! Ahhh!" Popeye climbed out of the pool and looked around. "Yikes! This is a real officers' mess!" He muttered, "Luckily they ain't here now, or I'd end up in a mess!"
He started running back to find Olive and Jet, feeling the extra spinach boost leave as he did so.
He came upon Olive as she was watching some sort of machine spinning wildly around. Popeye squinted his good eye and could make out Jet strapped to a seat on the end of a metallic arm of the device.
Olive's eyeballs were going around and around inside her head as she gazed at the machine. "Oooh, Popeye," she gushed, "doesn't it make your head whirl to be with a real, live astronaut?"
"Er, Olive, I thinks the reasin you is feelin' lightheaded is..."
But Olive wasn't paying any attention. Her eyeballs had come to a stop and were now riveted on Jet who unstrapped himself and, despite what he had been through, confidently walked right over to her.
Olive's face lit up in admiration. "How can you stand after all that?"
"Yeah," Popeye piped in, "how can you stands yourself?"
Jet looked into Olive's eyes. "No matter what happens to me, I'll always find my way straight back to you, Beautiful."
Popeye muttered, "I gots to show Olive anybody can ride that merry-go-round before those two turns it into a marry-go-round." He spoke up, "Say, Olive, I can be an astronaut, too!" So saying, he marched over to the machine, plopped himself down on the seat, whipped the seatbelt around him, and snapped the buckle shut with authority. "Let 'er rip!" he called out to Jet.
Jet began turning a dial on the control box past increasing levels of dizziness: the conspiracy plot of X-Files; Pamela Anderson; the logic of trying to reason with terrorists; keeping straight all the incarnations of the Thimble Theater cast; Eleanor Clift. When that highest setting was reached, the machine was whirling around so quickly it was practically invisible to the naked eye, or to fully clothed eyes either, for that matter.
"Since your friend is going to be out of sight for awhile, how about letting me show you the other sights on this site?" Jet put his arm around Olive Oyl and gently steered her away from the machine and began to take her down a pathway.
"The thought of sighting the sights with you excites me," Olive cooed.
About ten minutes later, Prof. Wottasnozzle was walking past the machine. Suddenly he came to a halt.
"Somebody set the machine at too high a speed!" He leaped over to the control box. "And whoever it was turned the safety protocols off!" The prof cut the power and for another minute the machine kept rotating along a full velocity. Then it began slowing a little, and a little more, and then more still. Finally, after another five minutes it came to a halt.
Popeye's restraint popped open and the sailor stumbled off the seat and began dazedly walking around in circles. "Oooohh! I'd love to fall down on the ground, but I don't think I kin find it!"
Wottasnozzle was concerned. "Nobody has ever been spun at that speed for so long a time! I'm afraid that you're going to spend the rest of your life dizzy." He thought a moment. "But on the bright side, you can probably run for public office."
Popeye looked at Wottasnozzle - sort of. "If the five of ya would just holds still a minute, I'll cures meself." He grabbed his head with both of his hands (it took him ten tries, but he did it) and then began twisting it. As he did so, his neck began to stretch and to twist around itself, like a rubber band that's being wound. Popeye kept at it until his neck had too many "rings" to count. "Stands back!" Popeye warned. Then he let go of his head. Instantly, it began rotating in the opposite direction to the way the machine had gone. It sped faster and faster as the stored energy in the twisted up neck was released and the neck began to return to normal. Finally, Popeye's head came to a stop atop his regular sized neck. "There ya goes! For every acshun there's an equal and opposite reacshun. I'm as good as new!"
"Remarkable!" Wottasnozzle gasped.
"Now, excuse me. I gotta finds that guy that's been giving me the run around." Popeye strode off in search of Jet and Olive.
He had no idea where they had gone and was experiencing a sensation unfamiliar to him, the feeling that he wanted to give up, when, as he was passing a building that housed model planet exhibits, he heard Olive's voice, "Look! There's Venus!"
Inside the building, Jet was nuzzling her neck and playing with her hair. "You're Venus, Dollface!"
"And look over there! It's the rings of Saturn!"
"Speaking of rings, Olive, you'd look just great in a diamond one."
Popeye came running up to them. "Oh boy! Just look at all the detail in them models of the planiks! There's Jupidder and Bluto!"
Jet glared at him. "You mean Pluto."
"Arf! Arf! Arf! Ya can't fools me. Pluto is a cartoon dog."
The wheels turned inside Jet's brain. "How would you like to see the planets for real? After all, you passed the first test. You can become a real live astronaut."
"Well, it would take you quite a while to be just like me."
Olive looked them both over. "That's for sure," she said.
"So when does we start?" Popeye asked.
"Right now. Come with me and I'll take care of you." Jet turned to Olive. "Will you excuse us for a few moments, My Dear? I'll travel at Mack IV and get back to you as soon as I can."
"Sure." Olive pulled a make-up kit out of her purse. "I'll just freshen up." As the boys departed, she pulled out of her purse a perfume bottle labeled, "Sensor Overload" and squirted some on. Then she pulled out some eye shadow that read, "Phasers On Stun" and applied it. She reached into her bag again and brought out a couple of her alluring astronaut lipsticks. She rejected the one that had the label, "It's Red, Jim," and began putting on, "She's Wed, Jim."
Meanwhile, Jet was ushering Popeye aboard a huge rocketship.
"This is the first spacecraft capable of reaching another star. It's powered by some sort of Top Secret fuel that they say gives more energy than any other substance in the world, but even so, the brave man who undertakes this long trip will have to be placed in suspended animation. Most men back down when they hear that."
"Well, I ain't most men! Besides, how terrible can suspender animation be? I survived Limited Animation in them made-for-TV cartoons."
"That's the spirit!" Jet slapped him on the back and motioned toward a glass chamber. "Just step in there and you'll be all set."
Popeye entered confidently and pulled the door shut behind him. Instantly a strange gas began pouring out of nozzles in the chamber floor. "Say," Popeye said as his environment began fogging up, "ya didn't tell me there was going to . . . be . . . an . . . inflight . . . movie, . . .'Play . . . . . . Misty . . . . . . . . . . For . . . . . . . . . . . M . . . . . . . ' " He stopped talking - and moving. He stared unblinkingly straight ahead uncomprehending.
Jet laughed and turned to an onboard radio. "Jet Afterburner to Mission Control. Our volunteer is all ready. Begin the countdown at any time. Oh, and one more thing. Make sure there's absolutely no spinach in the food supplies he'll need when he gets to Alpha Centauri. It gives him hives. Over and out."
He flicked off the radio, raced out of the ship, and returned to Olive's side.
"I've got a special treat for you, Sweetie. They're about to launch a rocket. Want to watch?"
"Oooo, do I ever!" Olive wiggled in anticipation.
The two walked over to the launching pad.
A huge screen on the gantry was flashing computerized numbers synchronized
with a voice that was counting down on a PA system, "Fifteen . . .
. Fourteen . . . . Thirteen . . . . Twelve . . . .
"Ten!" Olive joined in.
"Nine!" Jet said as he reached in front of her and took her hands in his.
"Eight!" Olive announced as she turned to face him.
"Seven!" Jet locked his eyes on hers.
"Six! Olive stepped closer.
"Five!" Jet exclaimed as he dropped her hands and put one arm around her waist and another around her shoulder.
"Four!" Olive said breathlessly as he pulled her closer.
"Three!" Jet puckerd up.
"Two!" Olive responded in kind.
"One!" They closed their eyes.
"Ignition!" Jet's hand went in back of Olive's head.
"Liftoff!" Jet said as their lips and mouths came together. Suddenly they both felt waves of energy flow through their bodies and a powerful force squeezed them even closer together until they felt as though the very molecules of their bodies would be merged. Both experienced a sensation of heat and their hearts started beating rapidly. Their lips finally came apart and they found it hard to breathe, as though the air around them had suddenly thinned, and as though they'd be all right if they could just return in time to a few seconds ago when they were still kissing. But even catching their breaths, they felt that surge of adrenaline and an affirmation of life that meant that they had experienced a thrilling moment that they'd always remember.
"Wow! Wow, oh Wow! What happened?" Olive asked. "Were we standing too close to the rocket when it went off?"
But when they turned to the launchpad, the rocket was still there! They saw that the screen had been frozen at "Five" and they hadn't been aware of it. The voice on the system was saying, "Technical glitch has been fixed. Countdown is resuming."
"Huh? Then it wasn't the rocket. . . " Olive began in enraptured amazement.
". . . it was the kiss!" Jet finished happily and hungrily.
The two stood gazing into each other's eyes as the voice said, "Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Ignition, Liftoff!"
They didn't even look. They knew it would be anti-climatic. So, they didn't see the rocket bearing Popeye shoot up through the heavens and leave Earth quickly behind. Because of the powerful fuel, in a flash it was past the moon and headed toward Mars.
Back on earth, Jet said softly to Olive, "And now, My Beautiful One, how about accompanying me to the base planetarium? I've got a private program that the two of us can enjoy alone."
"Mmm, lead me absolutely anywhere, Mr. Navigator."
And so it was that Jet and Olive were getting closer and closer together while poor Popeye was traveling farther and farther away.
As the two entered the planetarium (and as Popeye swooshed past Uranus), Jet paused in the control room and slipped a disc labeled, "Resistance Is Futile," into the automated system. The he joined Olive under the main dome and escorted her to a plush loveseat in the center of the circular room. As they sat, Jet's arm went around Olive. The lights dimmed and the seat reclined back, back, back. The show began.
Hauntingly sad, heartbreaking music began to play as millions of stars appeared on the dome and began swirling around. The narrator intoned, "The universe is an infinitely large, infinitely cold, infinitely lonely place and we are so very small."
Olive shivered and buried herself in Jet's chest.
The music took on a hopeful tone. "We long to make contact with someone like us, someone we can communicate with, someone with whom we can explore the great mysteries of life."
Now Olive sighed contentedly.
The narrator continued, "And so signals are constantly being sent out in hope of one day receiving a response back that will mean the end of our quest, " while Jet softly played with Olive's hair and blew in her ear.
"When that day comes, nothing will ever be the same. We'll never be alone again!" Now the song, "I'm In The Mood For Love," wafted its way through the room. "It will be as though the heavens themselves are celebrating!" Beautiful comets and nova explosions filled the screen.
Jet and Olive were kissing again and the stars they saw now had nothing to do with what was being shown overhead.
Out in space, Popeye's rocket was passing a floating sign that said, "Now Leaving The Solar System. No Restroom Facilities For Billions And Billions And Billions Of Miles." Inside the rocket, Popeye's pipe began twitching ever so slightly in his mouth. Then he blinked. He wiggled his pinky. A shudder went through his body and he began to stretch, moving freely.
"Ak! Ak! Ak! Ak! Ak! Me vitaliky was too much for suspender animation. It's like the doc sez whenever I goes in for my check-up, 'Popeye, you're a myskery to modern science!' Comes to think of it, some people also say that as they is lookin' me over for the first time. Oh well..." He stepped out of the chamber and began strolling over to the view port while singing, "Oh, my body it won't slow down, even when that gas comes 'round. I'm Popeye the sailor..." He stopped and his jaw dropped as he gazed out into space. "Toto, I don't thinks we're in Kansas anymore. 'Course I never been to Kansas. Maybe it looks like this." But then he spied a floating billboard with a picture of a UFO alien on it. It said, "Vote for Gray #3,257,231. He feels your pain (thanks to Group Mind). Remember to go to the polls on Antares IV."
"Yeow! I is deep-sixed in deep space! How does I stop this runaway rocket? Hey, there's a radio! Maybe I can contact Earth, or at least not miss Dr. Laura." Popeye walked over and turned it on.
Suddenly, back on Earth, Popeye's voice came over all the speaker systems on the base, including the one in the planetarium.
"Popeye calling Earth! Popeye calling Earth! Warning! Warning! Danger! Danger! I'm lost in space!"
Olive broke away from Jet and sat up. "It's Popeye!"
"He sounds like he's in trouble! We've got to do something!"
"We will. We'll put him on our Christmas card list." Jet grabbed her shoulders. "Come on back, Babe, and keep the kisses coming."
Olive jumped up off the loveseat and out of his grasp. "What kind of hero are you? If you were in trouble, Popeye would help you. That's the way he is."
"Okay, Okay. Let's get to Mission Control and see what's up."
Meanwhile in space, Popeye was desperately rummaging through the rations. "Spinach, Spinach! What I needs is Spinach!" But Jet had seen to it that there wasn't any.
On Earth, Jet was pointing to an open hatch that had a huge, thick, vault-like door. "Mission Control is right in there." Olive hurried past him and entered the room. Jet was on her heels and as soon as they were through the hatch the door clanked shut behind them and it sounded like about twenty different locks definitively snapped into place.
Olive looked around. They were in some sort of living quarters. "Hey, what is this place? It's not Mission Control!"
"How right you are, Gorgeous! It's an isolation chamber designed to test how groups will function alone in space. And it's got time locks. Which means that for the next three months it's just going to be you and me and Love makes three!" He advanced on her, holding out his arms.
"Now you keep those hands to yourself, you overzealous explorer! You're not taking me where no Olive has gone before!" She ducked underneath his outstretched limbs, scooted past him and made for the door. "I'm getting out of here!" She began banging on the door.
"Knock yourself out, Doll. I'll wait until you stop for my next kiss. After all, we've got plenty of time."
"I'll never stop, you phony baloney hero, you wolf in Airforce Officer's clothing!"
In space, a light bulb suddenly appeared over Popeye's head, "That usually means I gots an idea. I wonders what it is. Oh, yeah! This ship runs on the most powerful fuel known to man. It's gotta be..." He ripped a fuel conduit off the wall and out poured a green substance. "It is! It's spinach!" Placing his mouth under the open pipe, he filled up, chewed, and swallowed. His theme music played in the background. He began to take a deep breath swelling his head and his chest to enormous proportions. Popeye, holding the air in, turned the bowl of his pipe until it pointed away from him. He then exhaled with tremendous force. A mighty stream of fire came out of the pipe and propelled Popeye up, up, up. He smashed out of the rocket and into space. But which way was home?
Then, very faintly, he heard Olive's voice, "HELP! HELP!" He took off in the direction of the sound.
(NOTE TO THE READER: Yes, I know sound doesn't travel in space, but do YOU want to be the one to tell Popeye that?)
Back on earth, Jet had made himself some microwave popcorn and was sitting on the couch munching it while enjoying Olive's vain attempts to escape.
"I keep telling you," he laughed, "there's not a force on earth that can open that door for three months."
SCRUNCH -- WHAM!!! The door was ripped off its hinges.
"Then luckily for her, I'm from outer space," Popeye declared. "Now I'll save the tax payers some money by launchin' ya into orbit without a space ship." He hurried over to Jet and delivered an uppercut that sent the cad through the roof, literally. Jet soared through the atmosphere and finally collided head first with a Fox TV satellite that was circling the globe. Millions of people who were tuning into "Cops" heard the theme song, "Bad boys, bad boys, what ya gonna do," but were treated to the view of a dazed Jet's face.
Back in the isolation chamber, Olive Oyl was hugging Popye. "My Hero!" Then she coyly said, "Say, Popeye, I know of a planetarium nearby which has a great show. Care to accompany me?"
"Sure, Olive, I love to look at stars. Maybe we'll see Ernest Borgnine!"
Winking at you, The Reader, Olive led Popeye away.
Olive Oyl paused outside two closed double doors as she and Popeye toured Universe All Studios. A large poster of a handsome man in a tux preparing a fancy meal hung on the wall and proclaimed that inside was "The Home Of Bluteau, The European Chef! Check your local listings, if you can decipher them, for station and time!"
"Oh, Popeye!" Olive was excited, "Just think! Inside that studio is where my favorite television program is taped!"
"Ya likes shows where guys spill food on their monkey suits?"
"No, silly! It's such a romantic program! The whole idea of somebody spending so much time, money, and care in order to have a pleasurable experience just does something to me inside."
"Not me! I likes me food quick - spinach right from the can. No muss, no fuss..."
"And no romance," Olive said quietly with disappointment in her voice. She stared at the poster and let out a deep, longing sigh.
Inside the studio, Bluteau (A.K.A. Bluto in his native Brooklyn - the closest he had actually ever been to The Continent was watching "Red Dwarf" and "Robot Wars" on PBS) was rehearsing for the next day's taping.
He was saying, "And now we shall use ze brussel sprouts, lima beans, and asparagus to make..." He glanced up and saw Olive on the security monitor. "....CHEESECAKE!!!" He coughed, "Er, I mean, um, when one iz preparing Japanese Puffer Fish, one must take out ze poison carefully and throw it all in ze garbage, wrapped in..." He locked his gaze on the security monitor, "...ze most beautiful thing I've evair seen!" Bluteau shook his head, threw down his utensils, dropped his accent and said, "Aw, the heck with this! I've got to meet that girl!" He rushed toward the doors.
Outside, in the hallway, Popeye was trying to drag Olive away from the poster.
"C'mon, Olive, let's goes to the Peninsulas Of Adventure section. I hear they gots a raft ride that's all wet and a show with a singin' sailor that I gots to see."
"Oh... okay, Popeye," Olive argued reluctantly, "After all, I'll never get to meet Bluteau anyway."
The doors burst open, slamming Popeye flat as a pancake against the wall behind one of them.
Bluteau took Olive Oyl's hand, kissed it, and said, "Nevair say 'nevair,' ma cherie!"
"It's you! It's you! I... I... I don't believe it!"
"And I can't believe my good fortune in meeting you. Would you care to see my studio?"
In response, Olive let Bluteau take her arm and the two of them walked through the doorway. The double doors closed behind them. Popeye peeled himself off the wall. But he was still two dimensional!
"Blow me down! Or maybe blow me up again! I needs to gets me dough to rise!" He pulled a little bit of flat spinach out of the flat can in his shirt, threw it into his mouth and swallowed it. Instantly, he "popped" back to normal. "There! Now that's the yeast of my problems. Arf! Arf! Arf!"
Popeye started to go through the doors, but suddenly noticed the red spinning light on above them. He stopped in his tracks. Words began to form on the small screen below it - "Do not enter..."
"Yeah, I knows! 'Filming in progress.'"
But instead the message completed itself, "...playboy at work!"
"Oh, my garsh! Olive Oyl!" Popeye ignored the light and barged in.
Bluteau was standing in back of Olive with his hand on hers as he was helping her stir a mixture in a bowl.
"That's ze way," he murmured softly in her ear. "Stirring things up iz one of my favorite things to do."
Olive gave him a flirty giggle. "And you're doing it so well, believe me."
Popeye came up to them and extended his hand. They stepped slightly apart.
"Popeye's the name, Mr. Bluteau. So you is the main gob in this here galley?"
"I am a chef, sir," Bluteau sniffed.
"Ain't that what I said?"
Olive broke in. "Popeye, he's teaching me to cook."
Popeye muttered, "Yeah, literally!" Then he spoke up. "How about giving me some lessons, too?"
"All right. Go down in to ze wine cellair and get me a bottle of sherry." Bluteau indicated an elevator.
"Sure thing! Everybody needs a little whine with their dinner, particularly Swee'Pea when I tries to makes him eat beets." Popeye scrambled into the lift and hit the button. The doors closed and the elevator descended.
Bluteau watched until the indicator light told him Popeye had arrived at the basement level. Then, he opened the fuse box next to the shaft and cut all the power to the elevator. "Now to get back to heating The Dish up!"
Racing back to Olive, he once again positioned himself in back of her, and placing his arms on top of hers, directed their hands into a large bowl of dough. They began kneading it together. "Touch makes ze experience more pleasurable, Gorgeous," Bluteau said as he nuzzled the nape of her neck.
"Mmmm... you're making me want to stick with you, in more ways than one." Olive held up one of her hands which was attached to one of Bluteau's by a glob of batter. They laughed, looked into one another's eyes, and puckered up for a kiss.
"I gots that Rotgut you uses for cookin', Bluteau." Popeye was coming toward them waving the bottle of sherry.
"What?!? How did you get back up here?" Bluteau demanded.
"I rode the dumb waiter." Popeye pointed to Oscar who was leaving through the double doors muttering, "Duh, how can I give anybody the Blue Plate Special when all of our dishes are white?"
"So, what's next, Bluteau?" Popeye asked cheerfully.
"I need a can of mushrooms from ze storage room. Take one from ze very bottom of ze stack. It will be the freshest."
Popeye ran into the store room and seconds later, just as Bluteau had counted on, Bluteau and Olive heard and felt a huge, room-shaking CRASH!! Bluteau looked into the storage area. Cans of all kinds of food were scattered on top of each other all over the place.
From the middle of the mess, Popeye poked his head up. "Er, sorry, Bluteau, but I had an avalanche, or in this case, an ava-lunch."
"My supply system ruined!"
"Don'ts worry. I'll gets everything in ship shape for ya again." Popeye began to work. Bluteau led Olive Oyl away from the store room.
"It will take your friend hours, maybe even days, to straighten things up. While we're waiting, Beautiful, why not have a date? Say, a candlelight supper of foods from around ze globe just for you in my penthouse apartment on top of zis building?"
"Me? On a date with Bluteau? I accept, Kind Sir, only I don't have anything formal to wear."
"What you have on now iz feast enough for my eyes, but, if you wish, you can go check out the wardrobe department."
"I'll be right back." Olive walked out. Bluteau watched her go, rubbing his hands together in anticipation, then gave himself a big hug. But, suddenly, his reverie was cut short.
"I'm all done, Bluteau! What's the next ingreedyink?"
"That's impossible!" Bluteau raced over to the room.
"I didn't know how ya wanted things organized, so's I dids it likes I do at home. I separated everything into 'Food I Likes' and 'Food I Doesn't'." Sure enough, there was a small pile of spinach cans next to a monstrous mound of everything else.
Meanwhile, Olive had found the wardrobe department, but no dress she really liked. Then she spotted one on display in a case on the wall. The words in front of it read, "In Case You Need To Start A Fire, Break Glass." She picked up the small red hammer hanging next to it and did so. Olive pulled out the slinky, black, off-the-shoulders number. "This will do nicely," she said to herself.
Back in the studio, Bluteau had had enough. "Leave my kitchen at once!" he ordered Popeye.
"Your kitchen? Say, it just occurs to me, I ain't ever seen you cook nothing. I'll bet you're a big phony! If you're such a hotshot chef, make me a pie!"
"Okay." Bluteau picked up an unopened 100 pound bag of flour and, using his super strength, raised it above his head and then sent it crashing down with all his might on top of Popeye, smashing and scrunching The Sailorman into a flat, round shape on the floor. Bluteau flipped Popeye up with a spatula and into a pie plate. "I made you a pie. In fact, now you're a Pop Pie!" Then he kicked the spinach can that been squeezed out of Popeye's shirt during the scrunching process over to the far side of the studio! He shoved Pop Pie into a large oven and turned the temperature dial past the settings "500 degrees... 750 degrees..." all the way to "Hydrogen Bomb." He kept Pop Pie in for a few minutes, then took the plate out and placed it in the freezer. He adjusted the temperature downward, "Ice Cream... Frozen Vegetables... Pauly Shore's Career... Artic Circle... Absolute Zero." Inside the freezer a solid block of ice formed around Pop Pie.
By now, Olive had returned. "I'm ready for our date, Bluteau. Is everything all set here?" As she walked in her outfit past cooking thermometers, their bulbs popped.
"Indeed," Bluteau realized, "I was just finishing up a bit of business here in order to ensure that we'll have absolutely no interruptions tonight." He turned from the freezer and saw Olive Oyl. He instantly morphed into a wolf and gave a long howl. "Owwwooo!"
Olive seemed confused and a little suspicious. "What are you doing?"
He morphed back and got into character again. "Er... that's Greek for 'Any Gentleman would be pleased to dine with such an enchanting creature as yourself!'"
"Oh, it's okay then." Olive relaxed and happily took Bluteau's hand and they walked into the elevator together. Bluteau pushed the button, which was shaped like a heart, for his penthouse. It began pulsating as they ascended. In fact, the floor indicators on the LCD inside the elevator weren't numbers at all, but a sequence of hearts that got progressively larger. Each appeared in turn and began beating louder and faster than the one before it, as the elevator passed the floor it represented. Finally, the indicator for the penthouse came up and thumped more wildly than all the others. It grew and grew and grew in size, until it seemed as if it might burst, then the elevator doors opened.
Bluteau escorted Olive into the lavish, spacious penthouse and over to a banqueting table that was laid out with a sumptuous feast. The lights had been dimmed and Bluteau lit several candles positioned around the table. Soft music was playing in the background.
"Oooo, everything is absolutely scrumptious!" Olive was looking over the food.
"It certainly is." Bluteau was looking over Olive. "And the main course will be magnifique with a little sauce." So saying, he reached out and grasped a ladle, dipping it into a gravy boat filled with sauce. Bluteau then brought the ladle over to Olive Oyl and dribbled some sauce on her shoulder. Before she could react, he opened his mouth, placed it on her shoulder, and sucked, kissed, and licked the sauce up.
Olive felt goose bumps running up and down her body. She was enjoying it, but warning bells suddenly went off inside her.
"I think maybe we shouldn't try to rush through the meal or we both might end up with indigestion," she dropped the gentle hint. "We need some time to make small talk. Get to know one another. Enjoy each other's company. Feel comfortable and like everything is really going down okay and sitting well for both of us."
Bluteau only laughed, "Ha! Ha! Ha!" He plunged his fingers into a bowl of whipped cream, withdrew them, and smeared the sweet, white stuff across Olive's lips with one swipe of his hand. He grabbed the stunned girl and pulled her close, giving her a big kiss. As their lips broke apart, his tongue darted out and licked off the remaining cream.
This time, Olive was not amused. "Now, look here, you! When you said you wanted to have me for supper, I didn't know you meant you wanted to HAVE ME for supper!"
"And why not, Babe," Bluteau had suddenly dropped the accent and the act. "You're the most delicious thing in the room." He reached out for her again, but Olive whirled around and began running for the elevator.
Bluteau calmly pulled an incredibly long piece of spaghetti from a plate on the table, made a lariat out of it, tossed it, and lassoed Olive around her waist. He yanked on his end of the "rope" and Olive yo-yoed back to him, getting all wound up in the spaghetti in the process. When the helpless lass reached Bluteau, he kissed her again. Then she began running away a second time, spinning around and unwinding as she went.
"Help, Popeye! This guy's trying to butter me up! Popeye, he plays with his food! Help, Popeye! I'm really into his supper!" Olive screamed.
But down in the studio there was no response. The frozen Pop Pie couldn't even hear Olive Oyl, much less do anything to aid her!
Back up in the penthouse, Bluteau had placed his end of the spaghetti in his mouth and was sucking/chewing it, drawing more and more of it in each second. Olive was being dragged toward him across the carpet! When she was almost to him, her struggling finally succeeded in breaking the strand that held her fast. The plucky miss jumped onto the table and ran through the dishes, grabbing a corkscrew as she passed. Olive plunged it into the cork wedged in the top of a bottle of champagne which was chilling in a bucket of ice. She then balanced herself , placing her right little toe on top of the cork. She pulled at the corkscrew, the cork came out with a violent POP, and it propelled Olive Oyl through the air and across the room.
"To the elevator and beyond!" Olive let out a cheer as she went sailing along. "I'm going to make it out!"
"Shorten that to 'I'm going to make out!'" Bluteau shouted with anticipation as he picked up a sofa with his massive strength and hurled it over in front of the elevator doors, effectively blocking Olive's flight path.
"Oooff!" Olive landed on the couch. She saw Bluteau running toward her. "Talk about out of the frying pan into the fire!" Olive waited and timed her leap off the couch just right so that she ducked under Bluteau's outstretched arms as he lunged at her. She ran back toward the table. But, unfortunately, she was looking over her shoulder at Bluteau and wasn't watching where she was going. She tripped over an ottoman and plunged head long into a gigantic cake that had been placed on a cart near the table for dessert.
Bluteau immediately grabbed two forks and began voraciously wolfing down the cake. From deep inside of it, Olive's muffled cry could be heard, "Help, Popeye! He's rapidly working his way to the special filling in the center! Oh, Popeye, where are you?"
But where Pop Pie was, he was in no condition to help.
However, over in the Peninsulas Of Adventure section of the park, something strange was happening. The teenager who wore a sailor's costume that looked familiar was going on a break. He pulled off his mask and started to put some money in a vending machine.
"Hey, do you hear that?" He asked a buddy standing nearby.
"Sounds like someone's calling for help!"
"I don't hear anything."
Suddenly the teen, acting like a man possessed, plopped the mask back down over his head. "Course not, cuz you is you and I yam what I yam!"
"Huh? Why are you talking like that? You're off duty!"
"I gots no time to chats with ya now, on account of me Sweetie's in trouble." He raced away through the park yelling, "I'm comin', Olive!"
The teen was drawn, as if by a magnet, to the studio. He burst through the double doors and began frantically racing around it, looking for Olive Oyl. He tripped over the freezer's cord, unplugging it from the wall. As he fell, he knocked into the side of the freezer, tipping it over. Its doors opened and its defrosting contents slid across the floor.
Suddenly, a pipe slowly raised from Pop Pie's plate. A sucking noise could be heard and the spinach from the discarded can was vacuumed into it. Popeye's theme song was heard and our hero sprang up out of the plate, restored to normal.
"Thanks a bunch, Young Fella," he said to the teen.
"What... What happened? What came over me?"
"It's the uniform that does it, Matey. Wear it proudly! Now, if you'll excuse me, I gots a damsule in distress to save and a goose to cook!"
Popeye took a deep breath, turned his pipe upside-down and blew a powerful column of flame out of it, which lifted him off his feet and up the elevator shaft like a rocket.
In the penthouse, Bluteau had succeeded in uncovering Olive Oyl. "And now, Tidbit," he said as he puckered up, "you're all mine!"
"And you're excused from the table!" Popeye snarled as he flew into Bluteau, giving him an uppercut. The villain fell into a bowl of boiled spuds. "That's where a masher like you belongs - in the potatoes!" Popeye declared.
Bluteau picked himself up and snatched a long, sharp knife off of the turkey platter. He hurled it with all his might at Popeye!
Popeye just sniffed, "Who does ya thinks ya are now - George Washingting Carver? Well, nuts to you!" He caught the knife by its hilt, flicked his wrist, and sent the blade spinning back through the air like a buzz saw. It made short work of the turkey, cutting the roast bird into perfect slices. "Hmmpht! I wonders why Poopdeck Pappy thinks that's so hard to do every Thanksgivin'!"
Bluteau advanced on Popeye, bellowing in rage.
Popeye said grimly, "I was gonner be mercy full to ya and just gives ya a Medium punishmint, but now I sees ya gots to be Well Done!" He and Bluteau began throwing punches at each other.
"Atta boy, Popeye!" Olive cheered, "Spice things up! Pepper him with blows! Tenderize him good, good, good!"
Popeye wound up his arm for his Twisker Sock. "Here, chew on this!" He connected and Bluteau flew through the air, crashing unconscious into the television screen of his entertainment system.
"They is right when they says there's nuthin' good on Tee Vee. That show is canceled due to low ratinks, not ta mention low morals." Popeye then turned to Olive and, affecting an accent said, "Ah, now, my dears, how would thou likes to dine weeth me?"
"I'd be delighted!"
"Only let's go to Rough-House's diner. Ze simple fare, she iz often ze best I think."
"That's for sure," Olive sighed happily as she hugged her simple man.
"Oh, Popeye," Olive said excitedly, "today we start our new jobs at Macro Tech." The two were walking through the hallway on the top floor of a modern skyscraper office building.
"Yeah, Olive! This definitely does compute. Ak! Ak! Ak! Ah!" Popeye laughed.
"Just think! I'm going to be the private secretary to Bluto Van Megabyte, the world's richest man and one of the most handsome, eligible bachelors in America," Olive sighed. "But he's so busy, he probably won't even pay much attention to me."
However, as Olive walked past the water cooler, it came to life, gave her a wolf whistle, and the water inside it came to a boil. As she went under smoke detectors and sprinkler systems, they went off. She sashayed past a copier and it began putting out page after page with the words, "I love you," on them.
Olive and Popeye went through the huge, magnificently paneled, oak doors that led into Bluto's office.
Popeye began to introduce himself, "Popeye..."
Olive cut in, curtsying, "And Miss Olive Oyl at your service."
Bluto looked up from his terminal with a bored expression on his face. But when he saw Olive, his eyes popped out and his jaw dropped open. An x-ray of Bluto's heart at that moment would reveal a computer screen appearing inside it that read, "On line - And How!!!"
"Very pleased to meet you, Beautiful," he said.
"Thanks, boss!" Popeye piped up. "I does try to takes care of meself. Glad it shows!"
Olive looked around the office and gasped in delighted amazement. It was the size of a small palace with plush carpet, a swimming pool, a sauna, a huge entertainment center, a gymnasium, and more. "Your office is dreamy, but where's mine?"
"You'll share all this with me," Bluto replied with a wave of his hand. "Anything that's mine is yours."
"How utterly, utterly!"
Popeye butted in, "How about my office, Bluto?"
"Down the corridor, take the elevator to the last sub-basement, walk the hallway til you're in the next zip code. Then turn right."
When Popeye got there, he found a minuscule cubicle that he couldn't even fit entirely into. "This must be what they mean by RAM space." He lowered his head and charged the outer wall of the basement, butting it a hard one. It instantly moved back three feet. The Sailorman did it again and again until he had ample room. He dusted off his hat. "Luckily my cap is hard wear. Arf! Arf! Arf!"
Suddenly, Popeye heard cheers from around the basement as techies found that they could move around, and even out of, their cubicles.
"There are other people down here!"
"I can walk! I can walk!"
"Free at last! Free at last!"
Popeye was puzzled, "Gee, I thought guys like you wanted to be glued to your computer screens."
"No," one techie replied, "it's just that we couldn't move our heads!"
Meanwhile, Bluto and Olive were sitting side-by-side on a couch. Bluto was saying to Olive, "I need you to take a personal letter."
She prepared to take dictation.
"Dear Miss Oyl," he put his arm around her, "since I met you this morning I've become a believer in love at first sight."
"Oh, Mr. Van Megabyte, you're making my shorthand tremble," Olive giggled coyly.
"Call me, Bluto." He went to kiss her.
Popeye burst through the doors. "Found me office. Now what's me first assignment?"
Bluto got up and quickly tossed 40 thick manuals off a shelf onto Popeye. "See if you can get our newest system to boot up. The info you'll need is probably in there somewhere." Bluto laughed to himself.
Popeye's voice tried to make itself heard from beneath the pile, "That'll takes a long time."
"Fifteen months if you work non-stop day and night with absolutely no breaks or interruptions. So get on it, Lad. I know I can count on you."
Somehow Popeye managed to lug the manuals back to his cubicle. As he sat there scratching his head, surrounded by open books, and sweating bullets, he said, "I can't makes heads nor tails out of this stuff. Forget the manuals. I uses me fists." He bopped the computer and it instantly turned on. "Sometimes the old-fashioned ways are the best!"
Up in Bluto's office, Olive was trying to plug the cable for a new attachment into the back of the boss' massive terminal. She got all tangled up in the existing cables until she could hardly move.
"Help! This hook-up's got me hung up!" she cried.
"Don't worry, my dear. I'm right here and I'd never let any harm come to you." Bluto stepped toward her magnanimously.
Popeye hurried onto the scene. "I'll saves ya, Olive! As a sailor, I loined ta say, 'Nuts,' to knots!" He grabbed a cable and gave it a powerful yank. Olive spun around at superspeed like a top, yanking connections out of ports right and left. Finally, the wind from the Olive-tornado shoved them back into their proper places, but this time all the cables were neatly organized. Olive herself finally came to rest in a large plush chair.
"Oh, Popeye," she gushed, "you sure know how to turn a girl's head - not to mention the rest of her!"
Bluto rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Hmmm...I've got to delete this hacker if I'm ever going to get a monopoly on Olive's heart." He turned to Popeye and Olive, raising his voice. "Good job, lad! I think you're up to handling one of the company's greatest challenges." He began whipping CDs at Popeye. "Debug these important programs. Nobody else has been able to."
Incredibly, Popeye was catching each CD and stacking it on top of the previous one. He ended up carrying a huge, teetering tower that reached to the ceiling. He stumbled and shuffled his way out of Bluto's office trying to keep his burden balanced as he headed for his cubicle.
"Wa...Wa...Whoa! I ain't goner makes it. These programs might crash! I better debug 'em right here." Popeye began puffing and puffing on his pipe until a cloud of dense smoke arising from it enveloped the tower. Instantly, thousands of tiny coughs could be heard. Then minuscule, robotic-looking insects began pouring out of the CDs, gasping for air as they headed for the elevator.
Popeye chuckled. "Let that be a lesson to yuz on the dangers of second-hand smoke in the workplace."
It was now time for lunch and Bluto was escorting Olive to his sumptuous, private dining room. There on a candle-lit table was food that Olive instantly recognized as, "My favorite food!" She sniffed the air, following the trail of a scent until her face was firmly planted on Bluto's cheek. "You're wearing my favorite cologne!" From overhead speakers, soft, romantic music started playing. "That's Winston Sharples! My favorite composer! How did you know?"
"My marketing department knows everything about everybody. I wanted this moment to be absolutely perfect."
"It is! It is! It is!" Olive squealed with glee.
The two sat down to eat, gazing dreamily into each other's eyes, when, suddenly...
"Oh, boy, lunch!" Popeye was back.
Bluto muttered to himself, "One more nanosecond and she would have been mine." He cleared his throat and said politely to Popeye, "Very sorry, My Boy, but this dining room is for executives only. Don't worry, though, I'll fix you a doggie bag to go." So saying, he began to fill a plate.
"Gorsh, Boss, that's mighty kind of you," Popeye said.
"Oh, yes, Popeye," Olive enthused, "Bluto's real generous! Why, do you know that he's given me a raise every half hour? Not to mention a mink coat and a sportscar!"
Surreptitiously, Bluto took out a bottle marked, "Sleeping Pills: Distilled Essence Of Corporate Board Meeting," and began liberally sprinking the pills over the food. "There you are," he said, turning and presenting the plate to Popeye.
"Thanks, Pal! I'll take it down to my cuticle right away!" The Sailorman rushed out, licking his lips.
Bluto licked his, too. "Now to upgrade my love life!" But when he turned toward Olive, he found her on the other side of the room, sitting at a terminal with her computer glasses on. "Huh? You're back to work?"
"Well, of course. I have earn my raises, don't I?" Olive asked innocently.
Bluto zoomed over to her side and got down on his knees beside her chair.
"You earn your raises just by being here. Why, when you're in the room, I feel like a customer in an electronics store seeing our latest version of PORTALSTM going on sale."
"Oh, Bluto, you make my head swim. No, wait! It's probably because I'm looking at you with these glasses on." She took them off.
Bluto began kissing her hand.
"Ooohhh, Bluto, you're giving me a strange sensation. No, wait! That's probably just my carpel tunnel acting up again."
Bluto kissed his way up her arm.
"Bluto, Bluto, Bluto, you're sending shivers down my spine. No, wait! I probably just set the air-conditioner up to high trying to protect the computers." She glanced over at the thermostat. Bluto took her head in his hands and gently turned her toward him again.
"Ahh," he began, "your skin isn't microsoft, it's macrosoft. Your eyes are like two high resolution monitors displaying my favorite website. Your hair is soft as fiber optic strands transmitting a message to my heart. Being with you is like being on the net. Time vanishes."
"You sure know how to process your words," Olive gasped.
C'mon, Babe, it's obvious that you and I are totally compatible."
Olive giggled coyly. "I'm not sure how to reply to this message."
"Let's merge our files with a kiss!" Bluto puckered up. Olive responded in kind. They moved even closer. But just as their lips were barely starting to touch, Popeye popped up between them, forcing them apart.
"Funniest thing happened," he said. "Right after lunch, I was getting real sleepy, and I could of swored I wouldn't be no good to anybody for the rest of the day, so I stepped outside for a breath of fresh airs. The minute I lefts my place of work, I felt revitalicized. The guys in the cellar say it happens to them every afternoon at quitting time. Now, I'm rarin' to go!"
"You'll be going, all right!" Bluto couldn't hide his anger and frustration any longer. "You'll be going as email to Outer Mongolia!" So saying, he delivered an uppercut to Popeye which sent the sailor sailing across the room to crash, stunned, near another computer. Bluto rushed over to him and put one hand on his head, the other on Popeye's feet, and began to squeeze Popeye in and out like an accordian.
"First, your files need to be compressed," Bluto snarled. Then he began stuffing Popeye into an access port.
"Hey, you!" Olive shouted. "What are you doing to Popeye? He ain't formatted for that application! Stop it! You're violating protocol!"
But Popeye now was inside the computer. Bluto stabbed a button labeled "SEND" on the keyboard.
Instantly in Outer Mongolia, Popeye appeared inside a computer screen belonging to a user of attilthehunnet.net. Popeye could see an Outer Mongolian staring through the screen. Popeye began pounding on the inside of the glass. "Lets me out! Lets me out!"
The user was worried. "Oh, no!" It's a virus wrecking my hard drive! Never open strange email!" His finger jabbed the delete key. The screen went dark. Popeye was gone!
Meanwhile, in the office on the other side of the world, Bluto plopped himself down in an office chair that had no arms. He gave a mighty push off the floor with his legs and sent the chair, and him, rolling across the floor on its wheels to Olive Oyl. It thudded into Olive and she landed on Bluto.
"Now that you've been fully installed on my laps' top, howzabout that kiss, Gorgeous?" Bluto put his arms around her and began making kissing motions with his lips as he pulled her closer.
"Access denied, you low-down-downloader!" She shoved him in the chest and broke free.
Olive raced to the oak doors, but Bluto touched a button on a computer console and suddenly steel plates slammed down from the ceiling blocking them. A screen appeared on the plates with these words rolling across it, "Secure Document. Password Needed To Enter. Forgot Your Password? N'yah! N'yah! N'yah! N'yah! N'yah!"
Olive whirled around to face the approaching Bluto. "You let me outta this pentium penthouse, you, you, you, wolf in chic clothing!" She then ran over to Bluto's private elevator located on another wall. She punched the lobby button. A question flashed on an LCD above the buttons, "Are you sure you want to exit this program?"
Olive punched in, "Yes."
"Maybe you'd like more time to think?"
Olive hurriedly typed, "No."
"In order to exit this office, you'll need to punch the 'ENTER OFFICE' button and then look at the menu options."
By that time, Bluto was practically breathing down her neck. She took off at top speed across the office, with Bluto in hot pursuit.
Olive screamed, "Help, Popeye! Save me! I want this connection lost, and fast!"
Popeye came to, floating in limbo. Strange symbols drifted past him. "Cyberspace," he muttered, "some final frontier." Suddenly, Olive's pleas come to him from somewhere.
"Help, Popeye! He wants to make me more user-friendly! This wolf is trying to join my web-ring! Save me!!"
An arrow floated by. Popeye grabbed hold of it and propelled it and him by kicking his legs, over to a suspended spinach icon. He double-clicked on it. Suddenly, his theme song was playing and spinach rained from the sky. He opened his mouth and greedily took it in. Suddenly the word "UPGRADE" appeared across his biceps. Back in Outer Mongolia, in the real world, Popeye came bursting out of the computer. Using his pipe for jet propulsion, he shot into the sky.
At speeds approaching that of light, he streaked to the office. "Nothing beats Spinach for instantaneous data transfer," he thought. Popeye burst through the steel plates, transforming them into molten slag as he did so. He smashed into Bluto, sending the brute flying, head-first, into a computer monitor.
"You has performed an illegal operation," the Sailor pronounced. "This application will be terminated."
Popeye zipped to the keyboard and typed in "Destination: Voyager Space Probe." He whacked the SEND key. Bluto was sucked the rest of the way through the monitor and, in the blink of an eye, he was gone.
Olive came up to Popeye, threw her arms around him and gave him a big kiss.
"Ooooh, Popeye, you're the only help feature I'll ever need!"
Popeye began to sing:
"If your patience is short,
Popeye arrived at the movie studio gate early one morning. "Ah, another great day of making me pictures for me fans. Oh boy!" He was admitted inside.
Olive entered a few minutes later. "Another day of driving the males on the lot to distraction. I can hardly wait!"
Bluto came dragging in last. "Another frustrating day of working hard to get Olive, only to have the rug pulled out from under me at the last minute by that clown Popeye. I sure wish these cartoons could have a different ending." Suddenly a light bulb appeared over his head. "That gives me an idea!" Energized, he ran over to the guard house, picked up the phone, and dialed the head of the studio. "Hello, J. W.? Remember that huge debt you owe me for all those hamburger luncheons? Well, It's Tuesday! But, I'm willing to forget it for a favor. Listen..."
Shortly, as Popeye and Olive were about to enter the Wardrobe Department to get their costumes for the day, Bluto came running up. "Just a second. Gang. I've got some bad news and some very good news. The bad news, Popeye is that your Q-rating is dropping faster than Kevin Costner's after ‘Waterworld'".
"Whoa! Blow me down! This is terrible!" Popeye yelled.
"What about my Q-rating?" Olive asked demurely.
"Through the stratosphere, Gorgeous," Bluto leered.
Popeye was anxious. "So what's the good news?"
Bluto cleared his throat. "The studio is committed to you, Popeye. They feel that, given the right sorts of pictures, you can recapture all your past glory and be a big star again. They've hired a new man as writer/director/producer for your films, a man who's totally familiar with the franchise, a man who knows your gifts well - namely, me. And I promise you," he crossed his fingers behind his back, "that the name, Popeye The Sailor, will soon be on the lips of everyone in the world again."
"Garsh, Bluto, I don't know what to say! Thanks a million!!"
"Don't mention it, Pal. Now, let's put on the costumes I've chosen for our new cartoon."
They entered wardrobe. Minutes later, Olive and Bluto emerged. Olive was in an evening gown and Bluto in a tux. When Olive and Bluto saw each other, their eyeballs popped out of each of their heads, morphed into hearts, and then went back into their sockets, turning back to eyeballs again.
"Olive, you are a site for sore eyes," Bluto sighed.
"Oh, Bluto," Olive gushed, "you're quite an eyesore yourself!"
Suddenly they heard clanking, squeaking, and crashing sounds as Popeye, in an oversized, poorly constructed suit of armor came lumbering along as best he could, toward them.
"What's am I supposed to be, a furnace?" Popeye muttered.
"No," Bluto said, "you're Popeye The Power Knight. It's what the kids are into these days. Trust me."
"If you say so."
Bluto took Olive's arm. "Now come on. We're late for our call." The two of them headed off. Popeye hopped away in the opposite direction.
"I can't sees in this thing." As luck would have it, he bounced into the commissary, tripped over a chair, and rolled under a huge can-opener. It's magnet lifted him up and placed him under the blade. The machine spun the armor around, cutting a round hole in it. Popeye crawled out. "Now I know how me spinach feels! We're supposed to put the picture in the can, not the star!"
Meanwhile Bluto and Olive had made it to a set which was dressed to resemble a moonlit garden. There was a love seat in the center of the stage. Olive sat down on it and giggled softly, "I don't think you have to tell me what happens in this scene, Bluto."
"Me neither," Popeye came running up. "You tries to kiss her, but I pulls her away at the last moment."
Bluto cleared his throat. "Not exactly. Our focus groups have determined that people don't think you face enough real challenges in your pictures. There's no suspense. Everyone knows you're going to get the girl at the end. But, what if it seemed throughout that picture that I was really getting Olive to fall in love with me? Wouldn't the audience start to worry? Wouldn't their attention be captured?"
"I guess so."
"To that end, then..." Bluto sat next to Olive, took her in his arms, and planted a voracious kiss on her lips. The paint on the backdrops melted and boiled away. The red, revolving light which indicates shooting is in progress spun around so fast it exploded. Sky rockets came shooting out of Bluto and Olive's heads and exploded above them. The fire alarm went off. The air conditioning unit came to life, sweating and gasping. It hung up a sign saying, "I quit," and went running out of the studio rasping, "Water! Water!"
"Just think," Popeye said appreciatively, "Bluto's doing it all for me. What a buddy!!" But then something occurred to him. He looked around in confusion and then went over to the couple.
"Excuse me," he said.
SMACK!!!! They broke apart, glaring at him.
"Popeye!" Olive scolded, "You're interrupting a crucial scene!"
"But I just noticed that there doesn't seem to be any film crew around."
Bluto thought fast. "Er...uh...we're using the latest technology on this picture. Nothing but the best for you! Everything is automated and the cameras are all hidden so as to not distract us from giving our best performances. Now stop worrying. Leave all the details up to us little people. Act like the superstar you are and relax off-stage until it's time for your scene."
"Wow, thanks, Bluto," Popeye hurried off. "How can I ever repay him?"
Bluto turned back to Olive and the two began smooching again.
An hour passed. They were still kissing.
"Boy," Popeye was impressed, "Bluto sure is a hard worker. I'm glad he's on my team!"
Another hour passed. Still kissing.
Popeye was playing solitaire. "Oh well," he chuckled, "waiting around is always the hardest part of making movies." Another hour passed. Still kissing. Popeye was asleep, covered in cobwebs.
Another hour. They finally stopped to catch their breaths. "I think we're going to need a retake, or twenty!" Bluto solemnly announced.
Popeye came running over. "But I've been waiting all day."
Bluto nodded. "Quite right, Old Chum. I'll get you started on your scene and then return to Olive."
"You boys go ahead. I'll just be here getting ready, so Bluto will be able to find his motivation again." Olive reached into her purse and pulled out a perfume bottle labeled, "Mountie - You'll Always Get Your Man", a tube of lipstick marked, "Love Potion #9", and eyeliner that read, "Mankiller".
Bluto led Popeye to an outdoor location shot. "This is the scene where you're put into the final trap just as I'm about to make Olive mine forever," he explained.
Popeye chimed in eagerly, "And I escapes using me pipe and me spinach!!"
Bluto sighed and shook his head. "That's the problem. The audience is tired of the pipe and spinach. They've seen it a million times. They want you to escape some other way. So, I know this will be hard for you - we're all making sacrifices for this picture and you saw how much I suffered today - but ditch your pipe and your spinach."
"Remember The Entertainer's Code, Popeye: Give the audience what they want."
Popeye stood at attention and put his hands over his heart. "The Entertainer's Code!! I'll do it for me fans!!" He saluted Bluto, then yanked the pipe from his mouth, plucked the spinach can from beneath his shirt, and hurled them up in the air, outside of the studio walls, and into a trash can on the other side of the street!
Bluto slapped him on the back. "I'm proud of you. Now onto the trap."
"What is it?"
"Well, remember how I said that the audience wants genuine suspense? They want to feel as though this time it's curtains for you. They want to see you placed in an inescapable death trap. They want to believe there's absolutely no chance of you saving yourself, much less Olive. They want to be on the edge of their seats with anxiety."
"One time I was on the edge of me seat in a theater. Turns out I drank too much soda pop. How does we give that effect to the audience without causin' a traffic jam at the rest rooms?"
"Glad you asked! First, I bind you in a straight-jacket." In a flash, he had one wrapped and tied around Popeye. "Next I lock you up in heavy chains and padlocks." He did so and then picked Popeye up. "Then I throw you into an empty, thick-walled, strong safe." He did, slammed the door shut, and furiously twirled the tumblers until they were hopelessly scrambled. "Then I pick up the safe with a crane." Bluto maneuvered the safe until it was above a pit. "Then I drop you into a fifty-foot deep hole." He released the safe and it fell into the abyss, making the ground shake when it hit bottom. "And finally, I fill the hole with incredibly quick-drying cement, guaranteed to last 100 years!" He pulled the lever on the cement truck and tons of it rained down on top of the safe. Instantly it was dry.
Down inside the safe, Popeye said, "Gee, this is great, Bluto! But..er..uh..you forgots to tell me how I do get out. Bluto, are you there? Oh, well, he's a busy man. He'll probably be back in a little while. I hopes so, because I'm dying to see what happens next."
Topside, Bluto rubbed his hands together in anticipation. "Now to finally go do the ultimate love scene with Olive Oyl." At the speed of light, he raced to her side.
"Where's Popeye?" she asked.
"I'm afraid that he just wasn't skilled enough as an actor to make the necessary changes the studio wanted. Take it from me, Babe, in the scene he and I just worked on, he was literally hopeless. So, the studio passed on the option to renew his contract. However, Dollface, the studio wants you and me to keep making pictures together. They think we have the chemistry to be the greatest screen lovers of all."
"Really?" Olive looked at him with stars for her eyes.
"Absolutely. And to that end, come on over with me to this replica of the set of the deck of the Titanic."
Back in the safe, Popeye was mumbling, "The things I do for me art. I wonder if Tom Cruise ever had a day like this? And besides, I just now remembers that The Entertainer's Code is really, ‘When you're losing your audience, show your navel'. That and ‘Makes sure your residuals are clearly spelled out!'"
On the sound stage, Bluto was explaining, "Here on the set of the most romantic movie ever, we'll pledge our undying love and commitment to each other."
"But where's the script?"
"I don't think we need one, do you?"
Olive was flustered, "But I'm not an ab libber, or land lubber, or heavy tipper, or whatever the heck it's called. See? I need a writer! Popeye's the only one who comes up with all those mutterings that ain't in the script! Maybe we should get him back."
Bluto took her into his arms and gazed longingly into her eyes. "Luscious, I can guarantee you that Popeye will never work his way out of...er, I mean, will never work in this town again. After all these years we're totally, completely, and utterly all alone."
Suddenly an angry chorus of voices yelled, "Oh, yeah?"
Bluto and Olive looked up to see that they were surrounded by an army of men in three-piece suits, carrying briefcases and waving papers.
"Oh no!!" Bluto said. "Corporate lawyers!!"
They were all talking at once. "Did you obtain permission to use the Titanic?" "Where are the new contracts you want drawn up for you and Olive? You can't work on a picture without them first being signed" "I don't think the studio's accident policy covers what you did to Popeye. He could sue!!"
Another enraged group was approaching. Popeye was with them.
Bluto moaned, "The union!!"
"Yeah," Popeye chuckled, "and they dug me out. Seems the day is supposed to end at 6:00 on the dot. The studio has no right to keep me on, or under, its premises one minute after that. By the way, they want to know if you arranged to compensate all the camera men you fired. And they say your S.A.G. card has expired. You forgot to pay your dues."
"Aaaarrrrggggghhhhh!!!!" Bluto screamed and went running for the hills, the mob chasing him.
"Lawyers and a good union! Two things that are mightier than spinach," Popeye said.
Olive Oyl snorted in disgust as she tried the locked doors of the TOYZ 4U store. "Oh, we got here too late! And all because you wouldn't hurry when you were getting ready!"
"That's your imagination, Olive," Popeye was standing next to her. "I'm always as anxious to goes shoppin' as any man is."
"I know, Popeye," Olive said sardonically, "that's the whole problem."
"Well, I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam!"
"All I know is that I 'yam' upset and that's all that I 'yam,' because now I won't have a birthday present for Cousin Swee'Pea at his party tomorrow." The rows of lights in the store were going out one by one. "I don't have a clue what to get him." Olive pressed her face against the window, trying to peer within.
At the same time, inside the store, Manager Bluto was almost finished closing up. He glanced at the front of the store. Underneath a sign taped to the inside of the window that said, "Doll sale," he saw, framed in the light from a street lamp, Olive's face.
"YEOW!" His jaw dropped open and his tongue hung out.
He heard Olive's muffled voice saying, "I've just got to get some ideas."
"Believe me, Babe," he murmered, "I've got enough ideas for the both of us!"
Suddenly Olive's face looked startled and vanished from the window. Bluto squinted and could see that Popeye had grabbed her arm and was trying to lead her away. "We'll have to comes back tomorrow before the party to gets Swee'Pea's presinks," the Sailor was saying.
Bluto heard a muffled sigh from Olive. "I suppose you're right. I just really wanted more time to shop and think."
Popeye chuckled, "Can wimmen do both those at the same time?"
Olive bopped him. "Very funny, Popeye - NOT!!"
Outside the store, the two were almost to Popeye's car when, suddenly, all the lights in the store blazed on!
"Huh?" Olive blinked. "that normally only happens if I kiss a guy who's standing next to a wall socket. I wonder what's up?"
As if in answer to her question, the doors to the store flung open and a red carpet unfurled itself, stopping at their feet.
"Look, Popeye! It wants us to go in!" Olive stepped on the carpet. Immediately, it quickly receded, acting as a moving walkway, transporting her into the store in the blink of an eye.
Popeye was left standing alone in the parking lot. "Ah, somebody's toyin' around with that Crayola carpet," he muttered. "I better find the carpet bagger what's bagged Olive.
Inside the store, Bluto was bowing in front of Olive. "At your service, Miss. Anything I can do for you, just ask."
"I need to find a present for my cousin Swee'Pea. He's a toddler."
"How about a date, Beautiful?"
"Well, I suppose he could eat it, but it wouldn't really have any play value."
"No, no, I mean, after we find the perfect gift for the little guy, why we don't we celebrate with dinner and dancing?"
Popeye abruptly appeared on the scene, coming between them. "Well, okay, but only if I gets to lead. Arf! Arf! Arf!"
Bluto glared at him. But Olive suddenly found her attention elsewhere.
"Eeeny Babies!" She shrieked with delight and pointed to a display of tiny bean bag animals. A sign in front of the display read:
Olive was looking at an Eeeny Baby hamster. "It's the cutest thing I ever saw! I can't wait to take it home!"
"You took the words right out of my mouth!" Bluto, though, was looking at Olive.
"I'll get it for you, Olive." Popeye grabbed the stuffed animal by its head and pulled. RIIIIPPPP!!
"Popeye," Olive was in shock, "You've killed it!"
"But, but, but, it wasn't real, Olive!"
"Not real!?!?!?! Oh, I can't stand to hear any more! I'm going to faint!"
But Bluto put his arm around her waist. "Lean on me, Olive, and I'll lead you away from this brute and the scene of his horrible crime!" They went down one of the aisles.
"Must be a gal thing," Popeye mumbled. He held up the headless toy. "They're makin' me feel as guilty as if I were Marie Annette, that Mouseketeer that became the queen of France."
Suddenly he realized that he had no idea which aisle Bluto and Olive Oyl were in. He picked one and entered it. He found himself surrounded by fashion dolls and all their outfits, play houses, and accessories.
"Yikes! I gots to get out of here fast! I can feel me manhood slipping away!"
He started running down the aisle and tripped over a play kitchen. The door to the fake oven opened and lots of plastic food spilled out over the floor. A little, rotund, wind-up man shuffled up to Popeye and said in a mechanical voice, "I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
"Gorsh!" Popeye exclaimed. "It happens even in here!"
Meanwhile, Bluto and Olive were seated at a table, playing cards.
"What did I tell you," Bluto was saying, "there's nothing like a little game to take your mind off of a trauma." He threw down a card. "And look," he gazed into her eyes, "you've captured my heart." He held her hand. "And I've got no tricks."
Olive gave him a flirty laugh.
Popeye came running up. "Swee'Pea can't play cards. He's too young. Besides, the last time we played poker, he took me for 50 bucks. How about them action figures over there instead?"
"Bah," Bluto said, "there's only one figure in their entire store that I'm interested in."
"Swee'Pea needs just one more a them Star Warts figures and he'll have the whole collection," Popeye was getting excited. "But I knows how these things work. The one you want is always hanging way at the back of the hooks." He furiously began pulling toys off the wall, flinging them aside. After a while, there was only one toy left hanging and it wasn't the right one. But then, inspiration struck! He took the figure and put it in the bowl of his pipe. He huffed and puffed and blew hard. Flames leapt up around the figure and it started to melt. Popeye reshaped it with his fingers. He took it out of the bowl and inspected it.
"There you are!" he said. "A pretty decent Lucas Skystalker, if I does say so meself!" However, he realized that Bluto and Olive had left.
They were in the aisle with the educational toys. Olive had pulled a box labelled "Fun With Counting" down and was looking at it.
Bluto seized the opportunity. "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."
Olive pulled down "Learn To Draw Pictures."
"If a picture paints a thousand words, then why can't I paint you?"
She picked up "How To Make Slime."
"Er...you're gonna have to give me a minute on that one, Beautiful,"
By that time, Popeye had arrived. "Swee'Pea don't want no edjamacation on his birthday! He wants somethin' exciting!"
Evil inspiration struck Bluto. "Well, how about video games then?" he asked cheerfully.
"That's the ticket!" Popeye agreed.
Bluto led them down another aisle to a Nintensony Player Station.
"Why don't you try out one of the most popular games for this new system, M'Lad?" Bluto asked. "You'll find the virtual reality to be like nothing you've ever seen before." He popped a cartridge of Personal Kombat IV into the machine and tossed the box over to Popeye.
"Jumps out and grabs you! Super intense!" Popeye read.
"I'll just get it ready for you," Bluto said, positioning himself in front of the screen so the sailor couldn't see what he was doing. He called up the start-up protocol, clicking on "Level Of Play". The options read:
Bluto, of course, chose the last one. He then went to "Duration Of Play":
Once again, Bluto picked the last option. Then he handed the controller to Popeye. "Here you go! Just press this button to start!"
Popeye did and immediately a huge, Samurai-like warrior jumped out of the screen and grabbed him. They grappled for a few furious seconds, but Popeye wound up face-down on the floor with the Samurai sitting on the sailor's back, facing the opposite direction, and pulling, twisting, and turning Popeye's legs into pretzel shapes. Popeye desperately tried every combination of buttons he could think of on his control pad, but it was to no avail.
Bluto took Olive's arm. "While your friend is enjoying himself, Gorgeous, howzabout I show you some low tech games that are just as much fun." He began leading her away. "For instance, there's one called Spin The Bottle that's one of my all-time favorites." They walked into Bluto's office together. He kicked the door shut behind them and it locked. A sign on it read "Do Not Disturb."
Once inside, Bluto and Olive sat down next to each other on the couch. Bluto produced an empty Coke bottle and laid it on the coffee table in front of them.
"How do you play?" Olive innocently asked.
"Well, I spin the bottle like so and when it stops, I give a big kiss to whoever is closest to where it's pointing. Why, how about that! It's you!!" So saying, he took her in his arms and gave her a long, lingering kiss.
When they broke apart, Olive purred, "Mmmmm, it's a great game all right, but how do you tell who wins?"
"Babe," he spun the bottle again and then framed her face with his hands, "I think I've already won." He kissed her again.
Olive was now a little uncomfortable. Not that she wasn't enjoying it, but she felt that perhaps things were moving along a little too quickly.
She tried to give Bluto a hint that a gentleman would pick up on. Big mistake! She said, "Couldn't we maybe play a game that wasn't so fast paced, but definitely save this one for some time down the road when we both feel up to it?"
"Uh...sure...sure," Bluto was thinking fast, "instead we'll play a game called Post Office."
Out in the store, Popeye was saying, "Umph! It's a good thing...Ow...I knows how...gak...much fun this game...cough...is supposed to be...ouch...otherwise this...ooph....extrascrewtiating pain would be...ummbb...gettin' to me!"
He heard the sound of a loud, healthy kiss and then Olive's voice saying, "But this game is just like the other one!"
Bluto's voice answered, "Can I help it that great minds think alike?"
Popeye heard more kissing sounds and saw dozens of little red hearts floating through the keyhole of the office door.
"Whoa!" he shouted. "Olive's recreating!" He whipped a can of spinach out from under his shirt, squeezed it, and propelled the contents into his mouth. Chewing and swallowing as his theme song played from somewhere, he untangled his legs, kicking the Samurai repeatedly in the face as he did so. Leaping to his feet, he dumped the Samurai off of him. Then he gave the video warrior a mighty sock that sent the Samurai back into the screen, where it instantly turned into a game of Pong.
Popeye ripped the office door off its hinges. Rushing over to Bluto, he lifted him up off the couch with one hand while saying, "Game Over, Buster," and punching him with his other fist. The cad flew through the air, back into the store, to crash land into shelves that had a sign, "Clearance! These duds must go!" above them. A box that had been on the shelf flew up in the air, split apart and came down again "swallowing" the unconscious brute. The label on the box read "Punching Bag."
Back in the office, Olive was saying, "Thanks, Popeye! That guy's high pressure sales tactics were wearing down my resistance! C'mon, take me home!"
"But we still ain't got Swee'Pea no presink."
"Don't worry about that, Popeye. Bluto gave me an idea." She picked up the bottle. "We'll give Swee'Pea a bottle rocket."
"Ya means one of them water pressure thingys?"
Olive smiled mysteriously. "You'll see."
The next day, at the party, Popeye, Olive, and Swee'Pea were at a picnic table in back of Olive's house.
"It's time for your present, Swee'Pea," Olive announced cheerfully. She placed the bottle on the table and gave it a spin. It pointed toward Popeye. Olive grabbed him and planted a big, juicy kiss on him!
"Wowee!" Popeye suddenly morphed into a sky rocket and flew into the air, leaving a sizzling trail behind him. Swee'Pea squealed with delight. Popeye exploded into dazzling patterns of many colors. Swee'Pea applauded. Popeye pulled himself back together and splashed down in Olive's pool. Steam rose off of him as he exited the water.
"Do 'gin! Do 'gin!" Swee'Pea pleaded.
Olive puckered up and Popeye moved toward her laughing. "I loves these games where everybody wins! Ak! Ak! Ak! Ak! Ak! Ah!
Olive Oyl was resolutely walking to a lecture at the auditorium with Popeye in tow - literally. She was dragging him along by the collar!
"Popeye," she asked plaintively, "don't you want to have your consciousness raised?"
"I just had it lowered last week," he muttered.
"But, Popeye, Professor Bluto N. Lightened is one of the most respected advocates for women's rights in the world. He's an author, a lobbyist, a political consultant, and an activist." She added breathlessly, "Not to mention that he's a real dreamboat!"
"Wimmin's rights are no more important than wimmin's lefts. The smart guy'll duck when either one gits thrown at him."
"Popeye, you're such a neanderthal!! Why do I even put up with you? You just don't get it!" She glared at him. "I'm warning you. Tonight's your last chance. You either develop some respect for women or it's goodbye!!!"
"I does respect wimmin," Popeye muttered. "Me own mother used to be one."
They entered the auditorium and took their seats. Backstage, a disgruntled Professor Bluto N. Lightened paced the floor complaining to himself. "I only got into dis racket so's I could pick up girls that looked like that Gloria Steinway chick, or whatever the heck her name is. But so far, everyone at these rallies looks like a mack truck."
He peeked out from behind the curtain at the audience. "Just as I thought," he snorted, "a typical crowd!"
But then, his gaze passed over Olive Oyl - and quickly returned to her when his brain registered what he'd seen! Bluto's features morphed into those of a wolf's and he let out a whistle, then a howl. "What a fantastically feminine feminist!!!" Then he quickly got himself under control and morphed back. Suddenly, he took on a more sophisticated demeanor. "Er...I mean...what an eager, impressionable young lady with unlimited potential who should be unhindered by her gender." He straightened himself up to his full impressive height. "Now to deliver the lecture of my life in order to win her heart...er, I mean, open up new vistas of opportunity for her."
And sure enough, Olive hung on his every word. She never took her eyes off him for a moment. Toward the end of the lecture, she hugged herself and gushed, "Oh, Popeye, isn't he wonderful? Don't you just feel yourself come alive as he shares his ideas? Don't you feel refreshed, renewed, and recommitted to the cause?"
She heard a loud snore from beside her. Sure enough, Popeye was dead asleep!
"Sleep all you want, you ignorant Boor! I'm through with you forever! Professor Bluto N. Lightened has shown me that I need more in my life than you. You're an anchor, holding me back. I've got to be free to grow!"
Popeye had seemingly already grown - roots, that is. He just snored on, as Bluto was making an announcement. "I'd love to stay and answer every question everyone has, but time doesn't permit it. So, in order to be fair to all, which of course is what I'm all about, I'll draw a seat number out of this bowl. The person in that seat can come backstage and ask me as many questions as she...er, I mean, she or he wants." He fixed his gaze squarely on Olive Oyl. Without looking at the bowl, he reached in and pulled out a slip of paper. He never even glanced at it. Instead, he said, "The winner is the person in seat number 17!"
"YEEEOOOWWW!!! It's me!! It's me!! It's me!!!" Olive leapt twenty-five feet straight up into the air and drifted back to earth like a leaf sighing, "It's my dream come true!"
The microsecond her feet hit the floor, she took off for the backstage area like a jet car. Her backwash folded up Popeye's seat, with him still inside it!
Backstage Bluto was saying, "I'm extremely pleased to meet you."
"OOOHHH, Professor, likewise I'm so sure!!" She gave him her best flirty giggle.
"And now for your first question."
"Do you have a steady girlfriend? Uh...er...I mean, what would be inappropriate behavior for a boss to exhibit toward his female employees in the work place?"
"Well, for starters, THIS!!!" He grabbed her, leaned her back in his arms and delivered a sizzling kiss.
Popeye woke up as he heard Olive's voice cooing, "No wonder you're such a famous teacher! You use such graphic illustrations! Hubba! Hubba! Hubba!"
"Oh, no! Olive's being liberated!" He yelled and then ran backstage.
Olive and Bluto were standing, holding hands, and gazing into each others' eyes. Popeye violently yanked Olive away from the Professor. "C'mon, Olive, I'm taking ya home and right away!"
"Pardon me, Barbarian," Bluto huffed, "but is that any way to treat an equal?"
"Besides, Popeye, you're interrupting my lesson!" Olive scolded.
Popeye muttered, "Yeah, I just bets this guy's got lots of stuff he wants to show ya." Then he spoke up. "Ya doesn't needs to listen to him, Olive. I knows all about wimmin's ribs..er, wimmin's lib."
Bluto and Olive laughed uproariously.
"Goes ahead and axes me anything."
"Okay," Bluto winked at Olive. "How about explaining to me the slogans on those placards over there?"
"Hmm, 'No Glass Ceiling!' " Popeye read. "This was written by someone what lives below an airline route." Bluto and Olive snickered. Popeye continued, "‘Support The ERA!' Hmm, before I places me bets on play-off games and the World Serious, I always checks the Earned Run Averages of the pitchers." He grabbed Olive's arm again. "There, ya sees? I kin teach ya! Come ons, we're leavin' now!" She balked.
Bluto stepped between them. "Doesn't a woman have the right to choose when and where she goes?" He put his hands behind his back. Unseen by Popeye, he worked at loosening a rope that kept a 500 pound curtain and rod suspended in the air above the stage.
"Who are you to treat her like a child? When the new age dawns, the curtain's going to come down hard on brutes like you!!" He let go of the rope and the curtain came smashing down on top of Popeye, sending it and him through the floor and down past several sub-level basements.
Bluto turned to Olive, "Ah, My Dear, ‘tis a pity they will want to lock the auditorium soon. I'd love to continue our conversation all night." He acted like an idea just came to him and brightened up, "Say, why not have a late dinner with me in my motel suite? That is unless you care that our society's double standards and antiquated conventions would hint that there was something improper going on if you returned with me. The world can't believe that a man and a woman could ever just enjoy each others' company. Do you have enough courage to buck society and follow your own convictions?"
"Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes!! I want to make a positive statement to our sick world and am willing to pay whatever the price. Let's go right now."
Bluto put his arm around her waist and as they walked out the stage door, he looked back over his shoulder, winked, and gave a "thumbs up" sign with his other hand.
Meanwhile, in a lower level, Popeye said, "I may not be from the dark ages, but I'm sure in a dark basement. I needs to shed the light of knowledge - Knowledge Brand Tobacco, that is - on the subject." He huffed and puffed until there was a steady glow from his pipe. He located a stairway and ascended.
When he got out to the parking lot, Bluto was putting Olive in a snazzy sports car. Popeye jumped between them and yelled, "Stop!!"
"You can't stop the engines of change!" Bluto growled. "Lead, follow, or get out of the way!" He back-handed Popeye, sending the sailor flying through the air and into a nearby newspaper vending machine.
Bluto turned triumphantly to Olive. "That guy and his views are strictly yesterday's news!"
"That's for sure," Olive nodded vigorously.
The two were soon seated on the sofa, alone in Bluto's suite. On the table in front of them was a bucket of ice, chilling a bottle of champagne.
"Baby,...er, I mean Bearer Of The Proud Name Of Woman, we're faced with another double standard dilemma," Bluto said solemnly. "If you were a man, I could share a drink with you and not have my motives questioned. As it is, some will say I'm only trying to get you drunk."
"Let the tongues wag!" Olive said bravely. "I'd be honored to have a drink with you. But just a teensy, tiny one. Too much champagne and I get all giddy and lose all my inhibitions."
"I quite understand and will respect your wishes. I'll just take the bottle out to the kitchenette and pour us some glasses."
Back inside the vending machine, Popeye was saying, "Fortunately, I keeps a lot of spare change on me for just such an emergency." He snaked his arm outside the machine and dropped some quarters into the slot. The door opened and Popeye crawled out. "No wonder I was cramped in there. I usually takes a size 8 in vending machines."
In the kitchenette, Bluto practically tore the refrigerator door right off its hinges. He began furiously taking out bottle after bottle after bottle of champagne and pouring them all into Olive's glass which, being a cartoon glass, held all their contents. He then straightened his tie and carried out the glasses on a tray.
Popeye was there! Bluto dropped the tray in shock. The champagne went all over the carpet. It's stiff fibers all suddenly went limp and keeled over. Some champagne fell into a vase of roses. The flowers immediately paired off and began kissing each other. Some fell on a set of salt and pepper shakers. They came to life and the pepper, with it's arms open, chased a giggling salt around the table. Some champagne splashed against a wall clock. It immediately began singing, "It's now or never."
Olive was arguing with Popeye, "But I still have so much to learn! Besides, I might be falling in love!" She added innocently, "And I think maybe he kind of likes me, too."
"The convention is over. It's time to goes home!"
"I'm not budging from this spot."
Popeye grabbed her arm. "And I says you are, ‘cuz you is my girl!!"
Bluto came up behind Popeye and grabbed him by the collar and the belt. He started carrying him to the door while saying, "Now you're treating her as though she was a possession or a slave. That's intolerable. You, Sir, are a male chauvinist pig and it's time I finally put you where you belong. FOREVER!!" So saying, he kicked Popeye in the seat of the pants.
The hapless sailor flew out the door, clear past the city limits, and landed in the soft, deep mud of a pig farm. He started to sink down into the mud, but valiantly pulled the spinach can from beneath his shirt. He squeezed it open and was just about to eat it, when suddenly, a large herd of enormous swine came stampeding over top of him on their way to the feeding trough. The spinach can flew up into the air and Popeye sunk deeper and deeper into the mud with every pig that trampled him. The spinach fell out of the can into the trough where it was instantly devoured by the ravenous pigs. Over where Popeye had been, nothing could be seen except mud.
Back in the motel room, Bluto sighed, "You know, dealing with throwbacks like him isn't the worst part of my job."
Olive took his hand and patted it. "Oh, you poor man! What is?"
"Dealing with all the governmental red tape. I brought some along in that chest over there. Would you like to see it?"
They walked over to the chest. Bluto popped it open and out sprang yards and yards of sticky, strong, red, ribbon-like material. Quick as a flash, Bluto grabbed an end and wound the tape around Olive!
"Wait! What are doing?" She shrieked. "I can't move!"
"Luscious, you're getting the tremendous privilege of learning the most important lesson of all," Bluto stretched out his neck toward her, "and that is, never trust a smooth talking male! " His lips stretched out toward her making kissing motions. "And now, how's about giving me pay equal with all my hard work tonight? Let's have a couple hundred more kisses!"
Backing away from him as best she could with limited mobility, Olive scolded, "You keep away from me you, you, you, you wolf in politically correct clothing!!! Help, Popeye! He's got my assets tied up in litigation! He's intent on amending my constitution! Oh, help! This libidinous libber is after me! Save me, Popeye!"
Unfortunately, since she couldn't see where she was going, Olive didn't realize she was heading back toward the couch!
Back at the pigpen, not a thing was stirring.
In the motel room, Olive bumped into the couch, lost her balance, and fell backward onto it. It's springs went down.
Bluto leapt like a panther toward the couch. Olive rolled out of the way. Bluto hit the couch hard. The springs sank down even further. Bluto groped for Olive Oyl. She spat out, "Hey, you! Didn't your mother ever tell you not to play on the couch?" Suddenly, the springs were sprung and sprang up again, propelling Bluto back across the room and Olive straight up into the air. Her back slammed into the ceiling and she hung, stuck there by the tape, suspended above the couch.
Bluto came strolling over confidently, rubbing his hands in anticipation. "In just a few minutes, Beautiful, that tape will let loose and you'll fall right into my waiting arms. But in the meantime, as we say at our rallies, ‘Why not now?'" He started using the couch as a trampoline in an attempt to bounce up and kiss her. And each bounce was taking him higher and higher and closer and closer.
Olive screamed, "Popeye, where are you? He's trying to awaken my sensibilities! He wants to actualize my potential! Help, Popeye!"
Still no response at the pigpen.
Bounce! Bounce! Bounce! Bluto had almost found the range. Just a few more seconds and his lips would be pressing against Olive's at the height of each rebound.
"Popeye!" He's trying to convince me to vote yes on his proposition!"
At the pigpen, Popeye's pipe suddenly stuck straight up out of the mud. It started acting like a periscope, looking around. It spotted spinach growing in the farmer's garden nearby. It sucked some in. The Popeye theme song played and Popeye exploded from the mud. He morphed into an American Eagle, with a giant copy of the Bill Of Rights in his talons. Spreading his wings, he took to the sky.
In the motel room, Bluto's bounce had taken his lips to within one millimeter of Olive's. He gleefully plunged back down to the couch and shot up again toward her again with a cry of victory, "And now, Gorgeous..."
Popeye came crashing through the wall. "You needs therapy!" he said and whacked Bluto with the Bill Of Rights. The professor smashed through the ceiling, hurled through the air, and landed in a hospital-like building with a sign out front that read, "The Bill Clinton Center For The Intern-Addicted. Dr. Hillary, Director". He fell right into a chair in a room with a door labeled, "Sensitivity Training" . Restraints whipped around him. A headpiece with electrodes attached lowered onto him. Pictures of beautiful women lined the walls. He started looking at them.
"Wow!" (ZZAAPP!!) "Ouch! What a doll!" (ZZAAPP!!) "Aarrgh!" He let out a wolf whistle. (ZZAAPP!!) "Yeeoowwch!"
Back at the hotel room, a freed Olive had her arms around Popeye and her cheek pressed against his. Popeye sang,
As Bluto approached Olive's house, he could hear two voices coming through an open window. "Nuts!" Bluto growled. "Popeye got to Olive Oyl before I did." He decided to eavesdrop. His face brightened as it soon became apparent that Popeye and Olive were having an argument.
Popeye was saying, "But, Olive, I thought we had a date today!"
"We did, Popeye, but I've already explained to you that I've volunteered to be involved in my neighbors' children's soccer leagues. You know my neighbors and their spouses all work full time. The kids need rides and a sponsor. That's me! So I've got to spend the afternoon reading all these books on the subject because I know nothing about the game."
"Phooey! Let's go to the movies."
"I wish I had a coach to show me the fundamentals," Olive sighed. "But for now, its the books."
"It's the pits, ya means."
Bluto was looking through the window. "Mmmm Mmmm!" he said to himself. "What a sultry Soccer Mom! I'd like to sit next to her in a crowded mini-van!" He snapped his fingers. "And that gives me an idea of how to heat that dish up." He zoomed down the street like a rocket.
A short time later, Popeye was still at it. "C'mon, Olive, tell your neighbors you bit off more than you can chew."
"I guess you're right. These books aren't helping at all."
"Sure, I'm right. Besides soccer ain't even a real American game, likes football."
Just then Olive's doorbell rang. She answered it and there stood Bluto, looking dashing in a soccer uniform. "Anyone up for a little soccer?" he asked.
Olive let out a squeal of delight. "Oh, Bluto, you're a lifesaver! You're just what the team doctor ordered!"
Popeye came over. "But, Olive, I thought you was giving up on soccer!"
"Nonsense," Bluto brushed him aside, "Soccer is the most popular sport in the world." Bluto put his arm around Olive's waist and steered her out the door. "Come on, Gorgeous, our field awaits."
Popeye protested, "But, Olive..."
Bluto looked back over his shoulder. "Get it through your head, chum. There's been a substitution!" So saying, he kicked the door shut hard into Popeye. The sailor flew across the room and smashed against the table holding all of Olive's books. They went everywhere! One landed across Popeye's face and opened to the words "Time Out."
Later, at the soccer field, Bluto and Olive were practicing heading the ball to each other. They were volleying it back and forth, each time taking a step toward each other. Finally, they were standing toe-to-toe with their foreheads touching the ball between them. Suddenly, Bluto moved his head back an inch. The ball dropped to their feet. They puckered up and started to kiss.
"Hey!" Popeye came running up, "I wants to learn the game, too. Teaches me to play Center Halfback Inside Forward or one of them other positions."
A picture of a little devil turning on a light bulb appeared over Bluto's head. "Sure, Pal, but first, let's make sure you're really ready to run up and down the field, unencumbered by excess weight." So saying, he pulled the pipe out of Popeye's mouth and then reached into his shirt and pulled out the can of spinach.
"Hey, waits a minute!"
"Don't worry, Popeye," Bluto said smoothly, "I'll keep them safe for you in my reinforced leather gym bag." He dropped them inside. "It even has a combination lock." He slammed the bag closed and gave the lock a violent spin. "There, now set your mind at ease. I can guarantee you that no living human being besides myself will ever be able to get in and disturb them."
"Well, then I guess it's all right." Popeye scratched his head and muttered, "Then why does that sounds so funny to me?"
"It's your turn to try heading the ball." Bluto turned away from Popeye and Olive and picked up, not the ball, but a heavy rock. Using his super strength, he wound up his arm and heaved the rock straight up through the stratosphere.
"Where did it go?" Popeye asked.
"Oh, it'll be back any minute."
Olive pointed, "Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane!"
Popeye chuckled, "I used to hear them words all the time when I worked with the Fleischers."
"It's a meteor!" She shrieked.
"No, it's the ball Popeye has to head," Bluto sneered.
"Well, I'm game for anything, particularly since I ain't had a bath." So saying, Popeye positioned himself under the in-coming fireball that was wailing like a bomb dropping. WHAM! It hit Popeye square on the head, driving him and it far, far into the ground. All that remained was a seemingly bottomless pit where the sailor had been standing.
"While Popeye is learning that lesson, Olive, I'll give you another," Bluto said matter-of-factly, as though there was nothing wrong. He began kicking the ball and running.
"Why, Bluto, you're dribbling!"
"You mean drooling, don't you, Babe? It happens every time I look at you. Now, watch as I make my shot." He started toward the goal."
"Oh, Bluto," Olive swooned, "you're such a captivating kicker!"
But just then, the ground in front of Bluto started shaking. Something that looked like a molehill quickly appeared and Popeye popped out of it. Bluto, not able to stop, tripped over the sailor and went sprawling.
"Hey, Bluto," Popeye said enthusiastically, "you wuz right about soccer being' popular all over the world. I just found outs that they love it in China!"
Bluto got up, dusted himself off, and advanced menacingly toward the sailor. "What he did, tripping, was a foul, Olive. Here's some more fouls you need to watch out for." He slammed into Popeye. "Tackling!" He began using Popeye as a punching bag. "Playing too rough!" He pulled back his foot. "Any of these fouls can earn the other team a penalty KICK!" So saying, he booted Popeye all the way across the field into the opposing net.
"You scored!" Olive clapped her hands together. "You're my soccer hero!" She walked toward him with open arms.
"Hey, Olive!" Popeye's voice came wafting its way over the field, "here are some fowls that he forgots to mention!"
Bluto and Olive turned. Walking across the field were Foghorn Leghorn, Roadrunner, Tweety Bird, and Daffy Duck.
"Huh?" Bluto was incredulous. "How did they get in this picture?"
Popeye came running up. "Don't ya know," he laughed, "Warner Brothers and Cartoon Network owns the rights to all us cartoon caricatures now."
Bluto slapped his forehead in frustration. Then he quickly composed himself and said, "Now, Popeye, let's try you out as a goalkeeper. Go get into position."
As Olive Oyl watched Popeye trot downfield, Bluto surreptitiously unlocked his bag and took out some spinach! He gulped it down and immediately felt the muscles in his legs swelling. He looked down and saw the labels. "One Thousand Horse Power" appearing on his thighs, along with pictures of the back ends of horses kicking. He locked up the spinach again. "Ready, Popeye?" he called. "Here I come!"
He morphed into a huge locomotive and went barreling down the field, moving the ball in front of him. Popeye began to sweat. When Bluto was almost to Popeye, he suddenly morphed back to himself and gave the ball a mighty kick. When his foot connected with it, it sounded like an artillery shot. The ball streaked to Popeye, slammed him in the chest, lifted him up off the ground, and carried him through the back of the net and off past the horizon.
Olive cheered and jumped up and down. "You're the strongest soccer player in the world!"
Bluto began swaggering toward her. But just then he heard in back of him, "H...H...Hey, B...Bluto! I...I caught the ball! Does...Does that m...mean you don't g...get a p...point?"
He turned and saw Popeye staggering toward him on rubbery legs. The day was taking its toll on the spinach-less sailor.
"You look awful, Popeye," Bluto feigned concern. "You better lie down and get some rest."
"Non...Non...Nonsensk." Popeye now seemed to be wavering before him. "I wants to...stay...in the...g...game."
Bluto hastily glanced over his shoulder and saw that Olive Oyl had gone to the fountain for a drink and wasn't looking at them.
"Okay, Runt!" Bluto grabbed the dilapidated Popeye and began scrunching him into a round shape. "You can stay in the game. As the ball!" And sure enough, because he was in his white sailor's suit and was a little muddy, Popeye resembled a soccer ball.
"Hey, Olive," Bluto called, "I'll make a pass at you in more ways than one." He kicked the sailor/ball downfield. Olive trapped it and kicked it back. The two practiced drills for awhile with Olive unknowingly kicking Popeye! Finally, Bluto spotted some sharp rocks. He purposely kicked the sailor/ball into them. "Ooops," he said. "Out of bounds!"
When the sailor/ball hit the rocks, a loud popping sound was heard. The sailor/ball began flying through the air and flopping around like a balloon that the air was streaming out of. It finally came to rest in a trash can.
Bluto looked inside and saw a very tiny, flat-as-a-pancake, deflated, unconscious Popeye. "Too bad, Chum," he muttered, "but you have to be more multi-dimensional to play soccer. Heh! Heh! Having three dimensions would be a start. Besides, when you come to. you'll probably want a five day nap." Bluto watched as a garbage truck drove up and the workers dumped the can's contents into the back and drove off to the dump.
"Nothing stands between me and the goal anymore," Bluto laughed softly to himself. "Now to win the World Cup of l'amour with Olive Oyl!"
He sprinted up beside her. "How about calling it a day, Doll?"
"Fine, but where's Popeye? I haven't seen him in awhile!"
Bluto shook his head solemnly. "I'm afraid he's suffered a career-ending injury. He will be out for the foreseeable future." Then he brightened, "Since we can't really do anything to help him while he recovers, how about helping ourselves to dinner at my place after we shower in the clubhouse?"
"You've got yourself a date, Mate." Olive batted her long lashes at him.
Later, as Bluto used the water, he heard Olive singing "Too Romantic" from the women's side. He answered by singing, "I'm In The Mood For Love." They both giggled. Bluto finished and took a bottle of the aftershave, "Ladykiller," out of his gym bag. He poured it over his head. Meanwhile, Olive was rummaging through her purse. "Here's a male's favorite scent," she said. She pulled out a bottle of perfume marked "Eau De Pizza" and squirted some behind each ear.
The two met in front of the clubhouse and began walking hand-in-hand to Bluto's house.
"Look, Olive, I know you haven't ever been able to finally choose between me and Popeye..."
"Until today," Olive said coyly.
"Yes, Bluto, I'll go steady with you. I'm your girl."
"YIIPPEEE!!!" Bluto scooped her up in his arms and took off like a house on fire to his place. He zoomed Olive over the threshold and deposited her on the couch. He then yanked the phone out of the wall, dimmed the light, turned on some CDs softly in the background, and planted himself next to her.
"At last!! Let's seal our new relationship with a kiss." He took the willing Ms. Oyl in his arms. She leaned back, gave him a wistful, longing smile, closed her eyes, and puckered up. "I've got to warn you, Babe," Bluto murmered, "once I start kissing you, I won't be able to stop for the rest of the night!"
"Night!" Olive sat bolt upright, breaking Bluto's hold. "Oh, no! I forgot! There are team meetings tonight! I gotta go!!!"
"What? But Olive, what about our date?"
She whipped out her address book. "Tomorrow night. Oh, wait! That's practice."
"How about the next night?"
"Fund-raisers and cleaning up around the field."
"No. Tournament and games, I'm afraid."
"Well, when can I see you?"
"I can pencil you in as a definite maybe for a year from yesterday," she said hopefully.
"But, Olive, it isn't fair!" Bluto shouted.
"You're right, Bluto. I can't be in a relationship right now. I'm just too busy. What was I thinking when I said I'd go steady with you?" She got up and started for the door.
Bluto jumped in front of her, positioning himself between her and the exit. "Oh, no, Gorgeous," he said darkly, "there's no Popeye around to save you and you are definitely not getting away from me!"
"Bluto," Olive snorted, "I don't have time for the usual nonsense! I'm late already!" She elbowed him in the stomach. He doubled over. Olive thrust the palm of her hand hard against his forehead. He fell backwards, landing on his tailbone. And with that, she was gone!
Sometime later, a dejected Bluto trudged out to the city dump. He unlocked his gym bag and slowly took out the spinach can. Sighing, he poured its remaining contents onto the mound of trash where snoring noises could be heard. Then chewing and swallowing noises filled the air. Popeye's theme song played from somewhere. Popeye instantly inflated and sprang to his feet up through the mound. His arms morphed into huge bricks and he advanced on Bluto with fire in his eyes. To his surprise, Bluto didn't run. In fact, the big bully was crying!
"That's it," Bluto blubbered, "beat me up! I want you to. I deserve it! I'm such an idiot!"
"When I encouraged Olive to pursue soccer, I created a monster! Now she doesn't have time for either of us!"
Popeye's arms morphed back to normal. He put one of them around Bluto's shoulder and began weeping and commiserating. He sang:
Us guys can't get "that feelin'"
When soccer's in season,
Cries Popeye The Sailorman!
Oh, Popeye, Olive trilled, "we're finally in Paris!" She hugged herself.
"Yeah, Lafayette, we is here. Arf! Arf! Arf!"
"Popeye, Olive said in a low, sexy voice, "doesn't being here give you all kinds of ideas?"
"You bet! I wonders if there is a Jerry Lewis film festival playin' around here anywheres."
"But, Popeye, Paris is the city of love!" She did her best Mae West impression.
"Yeah, and they sure loves Jerry Lewis, not to mentions Maurice Chevrolet, Bridget Bardough, and Pepe Le Pew."
Olive turned from him in disgust, "Why do I even bother?"
On a nearby street corner, Pierre was setting up a cart with a sign on it that read "Tour Paris Avec Un Guide." He looked up as he heard a frustrated, but definitely cute sigh, followed by the same appealing voice saying, "Oh, I wish I could meet a tall, dark, and handsome French lover who would sweep me off my feet and give me the romance of a lifetime!"
Then he saw Olive Oyl, the speaker. His jaw dropped open in amazement. His tongue hung out with a small "Welcome" mat on the end of it. Words appeared on his eyeballs - "Tres Magnifique! Quelle Babe!" He morphed back, stroked his mustache, and said softly, "Ma Cherie, your wish ees my command. Zis ees our lucky day, n'est-ce-pas?"
He raced to Olive's side, crashing into Popeye in order to stop his forward momentum. The sailor recoiled on impact and went flying backwards, bouncing for about 50 feet (Oh, wait. I'm sorry. I should use meters since this story is in France. Let's see. How does that conversion table go? One if by land, two if by sea? No. Thirty days has September...Let's just say Popeye went for some distance.) down the cobblestone street.
"I've heard about people comin' to Paris to gets stoned, but I doesn't think this is what they meant,"
Popeye muttered. "Luckily, I has a redoubtable derriere!"
He looked up and saw Pierre kissing Olive's hand. "Yeow! Olive's picked up a Romeo on the rebound!" He dusted himself off and hurried over to the couple.
"Enchante, Mademoiselle," Pierre was saying.
Popeye ripped his hand away from Olive's and shook it saying, "Glad to meets ya, Mr. Enchante."
"No, the moniker is Popeye."
Olive broke in. "His name is Pierre, Popeye." She could feel her heart starting to beat faster and faster. An x-ray would show her heart having a very feminine face and applying eye shadow and lipstick as though preparing for a date. "He wants to give me a personal guided tour of the city." She started giggling like a school girl.
Popeye said, "That's a swell offer, Pierre, 'cept we can't affords a guide."
Pierre looked Olive straight in the eyes and said, "It ees my gift to YOU." And there was no misunderstanding who he meant.
"Thanks anyways, Pierre, but I pays me way." Popeye was adamant. "We ain't used to accepting charity."
"Then the price ees just one kees at ze top of ze Eiffel Tower from ze most exquisite lips I have evair seen."
"Well, okay, Pierre," Popeye turned red, "but I usually don't do that on the first date. Let's go!"
"Yes...'let's'" Pierre growled. He offered his arm to Olive. She gladly wrapped hers around his and they all started down the street. "First, we shall visit the Louvre."
"Not necessary, Pierre. I used the facilities before we lefts the hotel." Popeye assured him.
When they were inside the museum, Pierre turned to Olive and said, "Here is wair you belong, Gorgeous, among the greatest, most beautiful works of art of all time. But they all pale beside your beauty, and your perfection will live for all eternity in my heart long after these poor imitations have turned to dust."
Olive herself had turned into a pool of melted butter and was flowing around Pierre's feet.
Popeye tapped Pierre violently on the shoulder. "Hey, what's the idea of bringin' us to a place like this? What kinds of a tour guide are you, anyway?"
Olive had managed to pull herself back together. "Believe me, Popeye," she gushed, "this guy knows EXACTLY what he's doing!"
"What ees the problem?" Pierre asked Popeye.
"Look at that disgustipatin' statue over there!" Popeye pointed to Michelangelo's David. "Why, it's pornographite, that's what it is!"
"You're quite right," Pierre said while winking at Olive. "Why don't you remove it?"
"That's just what I wuz gonna do!" Popeye hitched up his pants, spit on his palms and strode purposely toward the statue. He hoisted it up onto his shoulders and began walking away with it.
Suddenly, bells and sirens went off and Popeye found himself surrounded by security guards with their guns drawn.
Pierre shook his head. "Zees will throw off our schedule unless you and I depart togethair and Le Popeye can catch up later."
Olive nodded and allowed herself, in a dreamy, love-intoxicated state, to be led away.
Later the two were slowly strolling hand-in-hand down by the river, the glittering reflection of the sun on the water and the calm air making the whole scene seem gloriously unreal in a fairy-tale sort of way. Olive put her head on Pierre's shoulder.
"Say!" The mood was jarringly broken as Popeye came running toward them. "Is this the Left Bank? I needs to cash a Traveller's Check."
"I thought you'd be in ja...I mean, what happened back there?" Pierre was incredulous.
"Oh, one of them guards muttered somethin' like, "What can we expect from an uncultured American? I wonders what they meants by that." Then they told me I'd have to look elsewhere for the velvet paintings of Elvis and dogs playin' poker and they let me goes. I've always wanted to see The Left Bank."
Pierre said under his breath, "And I want to see you left out!"
"Hey, where is all them mimes which don't say nuthin? I thought they hung out by the river!"
"You want to see a mime? I weel pantomime for you." Pierre turned to face Olive exclusively. He pointed to his eye, then his heart, then to Olive.
"Er...a pupil had a stroke and ran toward Olive," Popeye guessed.
"No, Popeye," Olive swooned. " 'I love you!' "
"Well, that's great, Olive, but we shouldn't ought to express our feelings in public," Popeye admonished her.
Pierre stepped up to Popeye. "See if you can guess thees one, Sailor." He began raining blow after blow upon the hapless gob. "Give up? I'm a man fighting for the hand of ze woman he loves." He paused. "Get it?" He wound up for a huge super-powered punch. "You WILL!" So saying, he delivered an uppercut which sent Popeye flying high in the sky to splash down in the river. "Because I am a man who knows what he wants and takes eet, letting nothing stand in ze way!" He drew Olive to him.
"Pierre, you take my breath away!"
"And you make every breath I take worthwhile!"
Popeye began swimming back to shore. Finally he exited the river saying, "This water is just as wet as the H20 we gots in the states. Don't drinks it, though! Pierre, that was a very realistic pantsomine. Congratulations! Pierre? Olive? Where did they goes?"
They had gone to the Eiffel Tower. At the top, Olive opened her arms wide and closed her eyes, letting the wind caress her and dance through her hair.
"I've never felt so alive!"
At this point, a fire extinguisher hanging near the elevator came to life and sprayed Pierre.
"Thanks," Pierre said to it. "I needed zat."
Olive was mesmerized by the city beneath her. "Such a view!" She became aware that Pierre was looking her up and down.
"Utterly magnificent!" he said.
Olive gave him a pleased, coy, little laugh. "Pierre, could this be any more romantic?"
"I can't think of a single way."
"I can. I believe I owe you a fee for the tour."
"And I willingly collect." He took her in his arms and suddenly they were deliciously enmeshed in each other. As they kissed, the metal under their feet began to melt. The fire extinguisher tried spraying them, but the chemicals just boiled and evaporated as soon as they touched them.
They began to float up from the tower. The longer they kissed, the higher they rose. Their lips slowly unlocked, but their eyes and hearts didn't. They began dancing on a cloud.
"I always heard that Paris was the city of lights, but this is ridiculous!' Popeye yelled from the top of the tower, breaking the spell.
The two floated down and landed next to the sailor.
"Nice tower ya gots here, Pierre, but when are they gonna finish it? It's just a bunch of steel girders!"
Olive and Pierre rolled their eyes and the three of them descended to the street in an elevator. They made their way toward the Cathredral Of Notre Dame, with Popeye prattling on, giving the kind of "information" about Paris that would make Cliff Klavin look like a genius, and Olive and Pierre walking in stony, aching, frustrated silence. A sampling of Popeye's pearls of wisdom would include:
Finally, they all arrived at the cathedral.
"Ain't this the place that's famous for them taco bells?"
"Yes," Pierre sighed, "why not?" But then he squeezed Olive's hand and added, "And I hope ze famous bells might someday ring for my wedding day. And soon!"
The reference flew right over Popeye's head. "And didn't that Quasi-Mental or Quasar Motors or whatever live up there? Some places got bats in the belfry. This place had hunchbacks. Hey, can I go up and sees where he hung out?"
The tour guide in Pierre almost said, "No, it's not permitted. Too dangerous. Remember the sound of the bells deafened Quasimodo and nearly drove him insane." But instead, he said, "Certainment. Hurry! The bells are about to chime ze hour. There's a stairway over there."
It was covered with warning signs written in French, of course.
"What does all them pieces of paper say?"
"Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It gladly tolls for you!"
"Oh, boy!" Another reference left Popeye in the dust. He went zooming up the stairs eagerly.
The bells rang in 6 PM. Pierre winced. "I'll bet zat hurts!" he said to himself and then inwardly chuckled. He turned to Olive Oyl. "And now, Ma Cherie, dinner at a sidewalk cafe while we watch ze sun go down and ze lights of Paris come on?"
"Come on!" Olive grabbed his arm again and they started hastening toward the exit. But then, Popeye came happily down the stairs two at a time.
"Howdy, doody all!" He called.
Pierre was stunned. "Was it not noisy up zair?"
"Oh, that was nuttin'. I'm used to Swee'Pea cryin', and Rough House yellin' at Wimpy, and Pappy squawkin' about goin' out at night. That wuz a walk in the park!"
And speaking of walking, the three were soon on the streets again. Popeye fairly skipping, Pierre and Olive trudging along.
"How will I evair dispose of zis pest?" Pierre inwardly stewed.
But the French are notoriously lucky in love and this evening was no exception. Popeye actually took himself out of the picture by going to the pictures! As they passed by a movie theater, Popeye glanced up a the marquee. "I recognize them English words. They're a name. That place is havin' a Jerry Lewis film festival!"
"And it lasts all night until ze dawn," Pierre translated cheerfully.
"Oh, boy! I gots to go! See ya later!" And Popeye took off without a backward glance.
Pierre tenderly framed Olive's face with his hands. "And now to dine with ze most delectible dish in all of Paris. Mais, non! Make zat in all ze world!"
"Ooohhh, Pierre, flattery will get you everywhere."
And so the two of them spent a couple of happy hours at a cozy table of a sidewalk cafe doing what lovers do - flirting, teasing, gazing, laughing, making small talk, exchanging opinions about bigger issues, and planning the future. The candle on the table mirrored the waning day, which had gone from dusk to dark, as it burned down.
Olive sighed disappointedly. "I never want today to end. And I've only got another two days here in Paris."
Pierre stroked her hand. "We shall spend zem togethair, Olive, and, like ze candle, we shall make every moment we have left a beautiful one. And who knows? Pairhaps at ze end of ze two days, you will tear up your tickets and stay here in Paris with me forevair."
Olive almost blurted out, "Yes!" but a look inside Olive's brain would reveal a mini-Olive, representing her thought processes, grabbing a pair of reins and shouting, "Whoa, Girl, not so fast! It's true that he's the French lover that you've always dreamed about, and that you two seem totally compatible, and that he turns your knees to Jello, but there are other things to consider like...like...and then there's...Well, there just is, that's all! So listen to me and SLOW DOWN!!"
Later, Pierre and Olive were seated on the balcony of Pierre's apartment, resting on a very large couch that was able to recline slightly, letting the Parisian night work its special magic. Olive held up her glass as Pierre poured her more wine. Some of it sloshed out onto her hand.
"How clumsy of me!" Pierre said, but he didn't seem clumsy at all as he took the glass out of Olive's hand, set it aside, put Olive's hand up to his mouth, and began slowly and sensuously licking the wine off of each of her fingers.
"Ooops! That does it!" the mini-Olive inside said breathlessly and began waving a white flag. "I surrender!"
And suddenly, Pierre's lips found Olive's. Evidently they didn't want their lips to lose each other again, as they kept them in that extremely close proximity to each other well into the wee hours of the next morning.
After this delicious interval of reassuring, and exercising, their lips, they gave them a break. Pierre held Olive, losing himself in her eyes. "Ah, Olive, je t'adore!"
"I shut the door on me way in." Popeye was now there with them! His presence violently wrested them apart and they sat glaring at the sailor.
"What happened to ze all night marathon?" Pierre demanded.
"Well," Popeye explained, "it turns out they mades a mistake and ordered some wrong films. It suddenly became a Jerry LEE Lewis film festival and hearin' 'High School Confidential' sung in French was creepy. So's I left. Besides, the night's almost over anyhows. It's 4 AM!"
"But how did you evair know we were here? You didn't know where I live!"
"No, but I saws the strangest thing outside. A little man with wings on his back was hovering in the sky nears this buildink. He had a bow and wuz shootin' arrow after arrow over and over again at this balcony. So I comes up here to investigate and I found you two." Popeye looked around in confusion. "So where did all of them arrows go?"
Olive panted, "Believe me, Popeye, they all hit their marks! And how!"
"Anyways, Olive, I'll walks ya back to yer hotel room now."
"I'm walking her back - alone!" Pierre snarled.
"Is that true, Olive?"
Olive snuggled against the Frenchman. "Sorry, Popeye, but it's no contest. I've made my choice and I definitely choose Pier...
"Waits a second, Olive! Before ya says another word, let me do this." Popeye whipped a can out of his shirt, popped the contents into his mouth, and swallowed. His theme song played.
"No, Popeye! You're not thinking of beating up Pierre in a brawl? You brute!"
"Ya doesn't understands, Olive. I gots this spinach from a market here. It's French spinach, and French spinach has an entirely different effect." Suddenly, the spinach kicked in. Popeye straightened up. His white sailor's outfit turned into a tux. He now had a suave, Pierre-like bearing.
Popeye swept Olive up in his arms, away from the Frenchman. Then he gazed into her eyes and said, "Ah, my dear Ms. Oyl, you is my can of spinach in the death-trap of life. I'm drawn to you like a bug to one of them lawn zappers. Your hair is as dark as the Sea Hag's heart. Your soul is as deep as all of them philosophies I can't understands. Your skin is as soft as Wimpy's commitment to change. You makes this strong man as weak as the plot to Popeye's Premiere. Your voice is as welcome as a fog horn on a pea soup-like night, guiding me into port."
"Oooh, Popeye! You make me giddy with all your gabbing!"
"But I matches me actions to me words, too." So saying, he planted such a sizzling smooch on her that Olive completely evaporated! A mist rose up from where she had been, formed a pretty, feathery cloud above the balcony, and began to rain down on it. The raindrops began pulling themselves back together as they hit the floor and re-formed into Olive Oyl again.
"Hubba! Hubba! Hubba!" she gasped.
Popeye offered the entranced miss his arm and the two of them strolled back through the apartment and out the door without as much as a glance at Pierre.
Popeye began singing:
"What a perfect night to take Olive to the drive-in," Bluto said to himself as he popped a cassette labeled, "Olive's Favorite Love Songs" into the tape deck of his car, threw a couple of pillows and blankets into the back seat, and sprinkled some drops of cologne over the upholstery. "A double feature! Along with the cartoons, that means about five hours of necking with that doll!"
Across town, Popeye was saying, "What a perfeck night to takes Olive to the drive-in!" He pulled a fire hydrant up out of the ground and carried it over to his car. Loosening the bolts on it, he sprayed a stream of water at his windshield, washing the glass clean. Then he rammed the hydrant back into the ground. "A double feature! Along with the cartoons, that means about five hours of cinedramatic entertainsment!"
The two suitors both hopped into their cars at the same time and sped away to Olive Oyl's house which was, by coincidence, exactly mid-way between their two homes. (Don't you just love animated universes?)
Arriving at exactly the same moment, they jumped out of their jalopies and glared at each other.
"Whatter you doin' here, Runt? I got a date to take Olive to the drive-in," Bluto snarled.
"Then your name must be Popeye, cuz that's the gob she's goin' out with tonight!" Popeye sneered back.
"Outta my way or I'll knock you silly - or, in your case, sillier."
"Oh yeah? I'll belt ya into next week, even though it means I'll eventually has to see yer ugly puss again."
Olive came running out of her house, waving her arms and shouting, "Boys! Boys! Stop! Break it up!" She caught her breath. "I'm afraid this is all my fault. I didn't check my calendar carefully and I accidentally made a date with both of you for the same night. Oh, you two must think I'm a total airhead!"
"Yeah..er, I mean, no, no, no!" Popeye and Bluto said in unison.
Olive brightened, "But it's okay. We can all go see the movies together."
"What?" Bluto blurted out. Then he caught himself. "What a great idea, Olive. You're as smart as you are beautiful. (He crossed his fingers behind his back.) We'll take my car because it's bigger."
"Likes your ego," Popeye muttered.
Bluto gave Olive his arm and escorted her to the passenger-side front door. He opened it and ushered her in.
"Why thank you, Kind Sir," she batted her long lashes at him.
"And, Popeye," Bluto began, "you can have the backseat all to your..."
But Popeye had already opened the driver's door and crawled in to position himself between Olive and Bluto.
"Snug as a pug in a rug," Popeye chuckled.
Bluto walked around the car and got behind the wheel, a dark look on his face. He turned the key and they were off.
"How about some music?" Popeye asked cheerfully as he turned the tape player on.
"No, wait!" Bluto yelled, but it was too late. The sounds of Olive's favorite group, The Backstab Boyz, began filling the car. Olive swooned.
"This song gives me goosebumps!"
"And it's already crowded enough in here as it is. I'll just turn it off." But before Bluto could, Olive had draped her arms around Popeye, totally losing herself in the music.
She began singing along to The
Bluto said to himself, "I've got to apply the brakes to this situation - and fast!" Sure enough, he stomped on the pedal, bringing the car to a screechingly abrupt halt. Popeye and Olive pitched forward.
"What happened?" Olive asked.
"I'm sorry folks, but there was just the cutest puppy in the world darting across the street and I couldn't very well hit him, now could I?"
"Oh, Bluto," Olive gushed, "you're such a sensitive man!"
Popeye looked around mumbling, "It must have been an airydale because it vanished into thin air!"
They were on their way again.
The music was still playing, but this time Olive was looking past Popeye and
singing to a smug Bluto!
Arriving at the drive-in, they pulled up to the ticket counter/concession stand. The worker leaned out of his window slightly. He began counting adult admissions. "Okay, you've got one, two, WOW!!!!" He had caught sight of Olive Oyl. Immediately, the bags of unpopped corn surrounding him began popping. A roll of breath mints from the candy counter came to life, hurried over to him, and shot one of its inhabitants into his mouth. Candy bars and boxes of bon-bons under a sign that read, "Sweet Treats," came to life, grabbed little suitcases and ran off, leaving behind a little placard of their own that said, "We quit! There's no way we can compete with her!" The Hot Dogs rose up in their buns and began howling like wolves.
The worker gazed at Olive. "You I'll let in for free because you look so much like a movie star that if my boss sees you, he'll just think he's watching the screen."
"Put your eyes back in your head, Pal," Bluto rumbled. "She's taken!" He drove the car away from the stand and found a spot to park. He put the speaker on the window just as the cartoon was starting.
"Oh, look!" Olive was excited. "It's a Squinty The Sailor cartoon! They're my favorites. I just love it when Squinty's rival, Boffo, keeps coming up with clever plans to get Squinty out of the way so he can be alone with Georgia Peach."
"Say, everyone," Bluto announced, "it's time for me to be the man and go out foraging for food. I'll be back with the snacks soon. And put your money away, Popeye. I'm a considerate guy and I'll treat everybody."
"Oh, yeah?" Popeye climbed over top of Bluto and tumbled out the door. "I yam the man and I'll get us some grub. And it's on me!" He hurried away from the car.
"Olive," Bluto said as he turned on the engine and put the car in gear, "we'll be able to take in more of the screen if we move way to the back of the lot." He tromped on the gas and peeled out.
"I mean, I know Boffo is the villain and all," Olive was explaining, "but I find it very romantic that he lets nothing stand in his way when he's pursuing Georgia."
"I know you do," Bluto grinned and slid the car into a spot far, far away from where they had been.
"And when he finally gets her alone, I can't help but start rooting for the big lug."
"Mm hmm." Bluto stretched his arm across the seat, put it around Olive, and pulled her close. "And we're all alone now, Babe!"
"Speaking of which, do you think Popeye will be able to find us?"
"Sure he will...at least by next Christmas!"
Olive gave a coy laugh. "Oh, Boffo, I mean Bluto, you're so incorrigible!"
"And then, Boffo always starts to kiss Georgia." Bluto puckered up. Olive did, too. Their lips moved closer, closer, closer...
Suddenly, the car began bouncing violently up and down. They heard a thump and the trunk flew open.
"But something always happens to interrupt," Olive said disgustedly.
They looked out the back window and saw Wimpy emerging from the trunk.
"My thanks, Good People, for providing, however unknowingly, the conveyance by which I entered these grounds," Wimpy said. "But don't be alarmed. I will gladly pay the management Tuesday for the movies I'm about to enjoy today." He shut the trunk and ambled away to find an empty spot where he could sit on the ground, turn a speaker up, and watch the show.
Bluto turned back to Olive Oyl. "But interruptions are okay because they increase the tension and make the kiss, when it happens, all the more sweeter."
"And when they do kiss, all kinds of strange things happen," Olive said, "signifying what's going on in their hearts."
Bluto took Olive's face in his hands, drew her to himself, and gave her a long, passionate kiss. The car's engine suddenly roared to life and the speedometer revved up to 120 mph and then the needle flew off the scale! The "overheating" warning light came on. The tires on the car morphed into hearts. The radio turned itself on and switched over to a station playing, "I'm in the mood for love."
Bluto and Olive slowly peeled apart.
"And then," Bluto stated gently and hopefully," it seems as if he's finally won her forever and Squinty is permanently out of the picture."
"It certainly seems that way to me," Olive sighed contentedly.
"But in the nicks of time, Squinty shows up," Popeye said as he started kicking the driver's door, his hands and arms full of an impossibly big mound of refreshments, "and reminds Georgia that she likes him, too."
Bluto snorted. "A geek bearing gifts!"
But Olive was purring. "Popeye, you always go overboard when it comes to generosity."
Popeye climbed in over the top of Bluto and shoved his way in between them once again. The refreshments landed in every available space and now the front seat was more crowded than ever. "I couldn't finds ya," Popeye explained, "so I asked at the food stand. Funny, but that guy knew exactly where ya wuz. He said he hasn't taken his eyes off the car all night. I wonders why."
Olive blushed. Then she looked up at the screen and exclaimed, "The first movie is starting! It's a James Bomb picture! Oooo, I just love those movies!" Then she added in a low, Mae West voice, "They take me away and make me feel so romantic, so exotic!"
Bluto bit the steering wheel in frustration, then inspiration struck.
"Popeye," he said, "since you were kind enough to bring back all the treats, I'd like to do something nice for you. It's so crowded up here. Why don't Olive and I move to the back and give you some room to stretch out?"
"Gee, thanks, Bluto! You're not such a bad fella, after all."
"Well, okay, but let's hurry," Olive urged. "I don't want to miss a second of this love scene."
"My sentiments exactly, Gorgeous," Bluto rubbed his hands together. The two of them raced into the backseat. Once there, Bluto waited until Olive was swooning over what was happening on screen. Then he slowly snaked his arm around her and began moving his face toward her making kissing motions with his lips.
"Something's wrong!!!!" Popeye shouted, startling Bluto and Olive apart. "There's a gun battle up on the screen now, but I keeps hearing kissing noises! It's like the speaker is still stuck on the last scene or somethin'." He tapped the speaker a few times with his finger.
"Our speaker's probably broken, Popeye. Why don't you go see if you can find us another spot that has one that works?"
Popeye tooted his pipe in agreement and hurried off.
Bluto rubbed his hands together and licked his lips. "And now, Luscious..." he began.
But Olive was engrossed in the movie, never taking her eyes off the screen. "Now James Bomb is fighting Topjob, Bronzethumb's henchman! There's a karate chop!" So saying, she lashed out with her hand and caught Bluto in the Adam's Apple. He gasped for air. "Give it to him!" Olive screamed at the screen. "Kick him!" She got Bluto in his shin. "Finish him off with an uppercut!" So saying, she swung her arm and landed a blow on Bluto's chin. He went out like a light and Olive, oblivious to everything but the movie kept cheering and coaching her hero, acting out the fight scene as best as she could in the small space.
Suddenly, the car received a jolt and Olive felt it being lifted up in the air. She rolled down her window and leaned out to look under the car. There was Popeye carrying it. "I found us a good spot with a better speaker," he explained.
"What a man!" Olive sighed. "Why, you're as strong as James Bomb."
"I yam Sailorman. (pause) Popeye The Sailorman."
A while later, Bluto came to and saw Popeye and Olive Oyl snuggling in the front seat as the spy movie was coming to an end.
"What's wrong with this picture?" He grumbled a little too loudly.
"Nothing, Bluto. It's four stars for sure!" Olive enthused. "Even better than 'Live And Let Fly' and 'The World Is Hot Enough'."
The opening credits of the next feature came on the screen.
Olive let out a terrified shriek. "Oh, no! It's a horror movie! I can't stand these things! They give me bad dreams for weeks! Do something, quick!"
"At your service, Olive." Popeye took a deep breath and exhaled a cloud of white smoke out of the bowl of his pipe that fogged the front windshield. "There ya are!"
"It's no good, Popeye, now I'm thinking about horror movies and remembering all the ones that upset me in the past!"
"Don't worry, Babe," Bluto said, as he exited the backseat and opened the driver's door. "I've got just the thing to take your mind off everything. But it's a treatment that has to be administered IN PRIVATE!!!" He grabbed Popeye by the collar and hauled him out of the car. Then he wound up his arm and gave Popeye a superpowered sock that sent the sailor flying away through the air.
Popeye landed hard on a swing of the playground equipment near the concession stand. His momentum caused the swing to fly back and then up and over its supporting rod, depositing Popeye on top of the rod as it did so. Then it kept right on going - up and over and down, up and over and down - winding its chain around Popeye and the rod, binding him to the spot.
Back at the car, Bluto popped into the front, turned off the drive-in speaker and turned on the cassette of Olive's Favorite Love Songs.
"There's no need to fear, Dollface. Bluto is here!"
Olive stopped shivering and began listening to the music. "Ooohhh, Bluto, this is really helping. You've saved me! But...but...I just started thinking about those movies again! Give me something else to think about, and fast!"
"For that we have to get in the backseat." The two of them hurriedly retired to the rear of the car.
At the playground, the ever-tightening chain had squeezed Popeye's spinach can out of his shirt and onto the end of his pipe. Popeye's theme song began playing from somewhere.
"Ah, me favorite swing music! Arf! Arf! Arf!" Popeye inhaled the spinach through the pipe - can and all. He swallowed and his muscles swelled, breaking the chain to pieces. Meanwhile, Bluto had Olive drape herself across the seat (and his lap), so that her legs were by the back door of the passenger's side, while her upper body was in Bluto's arms on the opposite side.
"And now, Beautiful..." Bluto puckered up.
"Yes, Bluto, you're right. This will work. This'll do the trick. Quick! Kiss me repeatedly all over and whatever you do, don't stop!"
Bluto had an amazed, enraptured look on his face. "I must be dreamin'! Somebody pinch me!"
Popeye yanked the door open. "Would ya settle fer a punch in the nose? I'm callin' you out!"
Bluto pushed Olive upright. "Okay, Punk! We'll settle this once and for all!" He jumped out of the car and the two fighters began circling one another.
Olive, meanwhile, was in shock. Not because of the scary memories any more, but because what was happening was totally alien to her. A guy had actually left her alone in the backseat at a drive-in! Her universe had come to an end!
Popeye and Bluto pummeled each other with blows that made the ground shake like an earthquake. People got out of their cars to see what was going on and began forming a circle around them. Wimpy grabbed an empty, discarded popcorn container and began using it as a mega-phone.
"Come one, come all! It's the fight of the century! Only a dollar, a mere one hundred pennies to see the greatest contest of them all. You will thrill to the pulse-pounding sight of two men engaged in ferocious combat! You'll gasp! You'll applaud! You'll put your money in my hat there on the ground!"
The antagonists kept at it until they heard Olive Oyl giving one of her delighted, flirty laughs. Popeye and Bluto froze in mid-grapple and stared as they saw Olive getting into a car with the drive-in worker.
He was saying, "Imagine bringing a classy woman like you to a junky movie! What's wrong with those guys? You need to be taking a moonlit stroll on the beach."
Olive glanced over at Popeye and Bluto. "Toodleoo, Boys! Since you'd rather beat on each other than be with me, far be it from me to spoil your fun. I'll just get out of your way and accept this better offer." She and the worker then drove off to begin their date.
Popeye and Bluto just stood there dumbfounded for a few moments. Then Bluto said, "This is all your fault, Runt!"
"You started it, Ya Big Blowhard!"
And they went at it again. The crowd re-formed and Wimpy picked up his spiel where he had left off, as the screen read.....
My home page with links to my Buffy, Popeye, TV/Movies, Beliefs, and other pages.
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All the aspects of Bluto I could think of are discussed on various Bluto pages. Go here for a complete listing.
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.