Pastor Steve's Popeye Page

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POPEYE ESSAYS

PART III

It's amazing what we learned watching cartoons AFTER school!  Here are some philosophical, theological, and psychological observations that come from the toons.

 


 
 

I Yam Popeye The Sailorman

A Rabbit Punch

Olive and the Bad Boys

 

The Magic Green Veggie

 


 

For more essays...

Popeye Essays - Part I

Popeye Essays - Part II

 

 
 

Page last updated on 10-24-08.   
See What's New for details.


 
 
 

I Yam Popeye The Sailorman

   One of the many reasons that Popeye and his supporting cast have remained favorites of mine over the years is that I can relate to them.  Seriously!  I know the ways that they think and feel, because, at various points in my life, I have thought and felt the same things.  I have found myself imitating their actions, for better or worse.   At times, I even wanted to be them.

   When I was a young boy watching Popeye cartoon after Popeye cartoon, the sailor was my hero.  He, like Bugs Bunny, had the ability to take whatever anybody dished out and come out on top.  And Popeye has super strength, too!  How cool was that!  The fantasy of every child!




(She-Sick Sailors)


   Popeye also had a "magical" way to escape any danger or difficulty which seemed at first to be too much for him.  When the going got too rough, he would eat his spinach and, suddenly, the tables would be turned and everything would work out all right.  What kid wouldn't want that!  I certainly did.  I would have given anything to be able to instantly be a better athlete, or to suddenly gain the muscles needed to beat up the school bullies, 




(The Island Fling)



or to be able to do my chores and homework at super speed.  Even as adults, we have the tendency to want someone or something to enter our lives and instantly make everything okay.  A hard fact of life, though, is that some problems take quite a while to solve and wounds, emotional and physical, need time to heal.  And sometimes, we, ourselves, hold the key to the solution of our problems.  We need to make changes, or take risks, or make amends, etc.  A quick fix just won't do it.  Yet still the fantasy endures.  Some even view a quick prayer as the equivalent of spinach.  "No matter what I get myself into, all I have to do is pray and God will take care of it for me."  But that's not the way The Almighty works.

   As I grew older, and even today, one thing I came to appreciate about Popeye was his determination to do what he believed was right no matter what other people thought, said, and did, no matter if anyone would join him or not.  At my best, I have done this, too.  There were times in High School when I stuck up for my beliefs while sitting at cafeteria tables full of scoffers or disagreeing with substitute teachers.  In college, as editor of the campus newspaper, I chose to print articles which I knew would be unpopular and which would get me into trouble with the administration.  And as a pastor, I'm duty bound to preach the Word Of God as best as I can understand it, even those parts of it that go against popular notions or convict people (including myself) of sin.  Thanks for being one of my role models, Popeye!

   However, at my worst, I have given in to peer pressure in order to be accepted or popular or cool, or because I was swept along by the enthusiasm of the group and the emotions of the moment.  In other words, yes, I yam Olive Oyl, too!  Just as Olive comes to her senses as a guy is getting too frisky with her, or violently disposing of Popeye in front of her, I, too, have suddenly asked myself, "What am I doing here?  What in the world is really going on?"  I remember my friends and I being horrified after a confrontation with students from our rival college led to the destruction of personal property and supposedly Christian kids were screaming words of hatred at each other.  Yet we were right there going along with the mob.

   And, like Olive Oyl, I have fallen for the wrong person, based mostly on looks, "coolness," or sex appeal, even though many signs were pointing out the fact that she wasn't really the one for me, and intelligent friends were warning me about what was happening.  My heart (or maybe it was mainly my hormones) overruled my head.  But when my heart and my head finally came together over my wife, I knew I had found someone special.

   Also like Olive Oyl, though, at times I'm caught up in the joy of living and it's a positive experience.  I can start to dance along to a golden-oldie playing over the loud speaker system at the supermarket while shopping, or "caw" along with a bunch of crows hanging out in the tree outside my office.  I just wish I was more like Olive Oyl in that I could be innocently oblivious to the opinions and stares of those around me.  More than once, I've let possible "public opinion" stifle me.

Not only have I been Popeye and Olive Oyl, but there have been times during my life when I could have said, "I yam Bluto," too.  As an adolescent and a young adult, I was able to relate to Bluto's...er...healthy interest in the opposite sex.  I even learned some principles of dating, courtship, and wooing from him.  (And don't worry.  I'm not talking about throwing a woman off of a moving roller coaster if she didn't want to kiss me or using trick mink coats with straight jackets inside.)  Bluto, and Popeye's other rivals in the Famous Studios cartoons would often be winning Olive Oyl by being attentive to her and affectionate and by entering her world and getting involved with her dreams, desires, and interests.

 And Bluto and the guys knew what they wanted and pursued it with single-minded gusto, whether it was a job, or to win a race, or to go out with Olive.  They didn't let anything - not even a super-powered Popeye - stand in their way.  The Bible talks about forceful people forcing their way into the Kingdom Of God, meaning that a relationship with God can be had by those who are determined to have one and who will let nothing - peer pressure, other commitments, their pasts, etc. - stand in their way.  My relationship with the Lord works best when I work at it.

However, there was one time in my life where I could have played the Bluto role for real.   I was in a "just friends" situation with an ex-girlfriend who was engaged to marry someone else.  A couple of times we found ourselves alone in romantic settings, particularly during the holidays, and were tempted to do things we would have both regretted later.  Fortunately, my "inner Popeye" took control and I ended up honoring their pre-marital commitment and refusing to cut in on another guy.
 

Wimpy is another character I can relate to.  I share his love of hamburgers.  "Beef, it's what's for dinner," is my motto.  But I'm referring to something else.  Like Wimpy, I've discovered that brains can often triumph over brawn.  A knowledge of human psychology will often open doors that a straight-forward, "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today," will not.  It's often the person who works smarter, not the one who works harder, who succeeds.  Early in my ministry, I learned that, in small churches and small towns, one doesn't announce, "Here's a new program that we desperately need and here's how it's going to work."  Instead, one has to understand the culture of a small people group and operate within it.  Not that I trick people, but I do introduce ideas slowly.  Surely, little-by-little, I plant seeds here and there in hearts and minds that, hopefully, will bear fruit later on.  Also,  instead of pointing ahead to a glorious future, I reference the "glory days" of the past and ask the congregation to help me figure out how to recapture some of that glory today.  And, I find the influential people in the community and try to sell them on new ideas first, before presenting them to official boards.  The Bible urges us to be "as wise as serpents" but "as harmless as doves."  That pretty much describes Wimpy, doesn't it?  





And that's what I aspire to, but not so I can mooch free meals or con information out of the Sea Hag.  Rather, I do my best to do what it takes to advance the Kingdom of God.

And finally, the older I get, the more I find myself relating to Poopdeck Pappy.  Like him, I get annoyed with those who want me to "act my age."  I have little patience for those who wonder when I'll grow out of my love for Popeye, or when I'll quit wearing Fantastic Four T-shirts, or stop dancing to rock music, or give up my comic book collection.

 The Popeye characters were with me when I was young, they are with me today, and I believe they will be with me into the future.  I'm glad I know them like I know myself, or actually, I'm glad that knowing them has helped me to know myself.


 

"All this adulation is sure embarrassking.  I onliest tried to do wha's right, tha'ts all.  I yam what I yam!"


 
 
 

A Rabbit Punch

Bugs Bunny and Popeye have a lot in common even though one is a rabbit and the other a sailor.  They are both among the most widely recognized animated cartoon stars in the world.  They both are addicted to a vegetable - Bugs to carrots and Popeye to his spinach.

And, when they first hit the screen, they weren't quite the heroic figures we've come to know and love.  To the contrary, in their early cartoons they could be nasty, temperamental, self-absorbed, and sort of living in their own little worlds, not caring all that much about how their actions affected those around them.  Bugs started out as a character who was only borderline sane and who would often heckle and play tricks on Elmer Fudd for no other reason than that Elmer was there!  (See cartoons such as Elmer's Pet Rabbit, Wabbit Twouble, and The Wacky Wabbit.)  In a couple of films, Bugs is even wanted by the law (Fresh Hare, Buckaroo Bugs) and in one, goes out of his way to prove to the world that he's a menace (Rebel Rabbit)!  In Popeye's first appearances, he was grim-faced and would use his strength to change his environment however it suited him.  He would hit or destroy anything he felt like bopping.  And in his debut cartoon, he horns in on Betty Boop's hula dance, seemingly only because he can, and this Popeye does whatever he wants to, when he wants to.  The conventions of normal society do not apply to him.

But Bugs and Popeye both evolved from their rough-and-tumble roots.  Gradually, the creators of their films changed them into nice guys who would only strike back after someone had done them dirt.  The rabbit and the sailor would be unjustly provoked in their cartoons, and then we would root for them to win, or they would be the ones who would stick up for and rescue other victims of oppression.  Two of their catch phrases help illustrate this.  Bugs was known to turn to the audience and say, "Of course you realize that this means war!"  Popeye would spit out, "Tha's all I can stands, 'cause I can't stands no more!"  Bullies felt their wrath, while they were friends to the innocent everywhere.

Here is where a difference between these two icons comes into play, though.  Bugs would usually be harassed very early in his adventures and then the bulk of his films' running times would feature the wascally wabbit wreaking clever and hilarious revenge on his tormentors.  But Popeye's writers could go just a little too far in trying to prove that Popeye was the sort who would only hit back and not hit first.  Some of his cartoons have our hero being continually picked on, humiliated, tricked, and placed in dangerous situations, and then, only at the very end of the films, would he finally turn the tables on the villains.  Unfortunately, rather than making him admirable, this would sometimes make him seem like a patsy, or a sap, or a whipping boy.

In this respect, Jesus Christ, as he is portrayed in the Bible, is more like Bugs Bunny than like Popeye, because he was nobody's whipping boy.  His whole life's mission was to set straight what the devil and humanity had done to God's world.  And though he is often characterized as being meek and gentle, it is forgotten that he was only meek and gentle to those who wanted help.  With others, he took the gloves off.  He confronted the corrupt and legalistic religious leaders of his day - pointing out their hypocrisies, calling them names - and he physically destroyed the swindlers' place of business and kicked them out of the temple, even wielding a whip to do so!  "Indiana Jesus" faced the "Temple of Doom" of his day and triumphed!  He withstood direct temptations coming from Satan himself.  And even when he was crucified, it wasn't a matter of his enemies placing helpless Jesus in a deathtrap and him having to await "the spinach" of Easter morning.  Instead, the Gospels show us Jesus willingly laying down his life to pay for our sins and to carry out his Father's plan.  He LET his enemies have control over him.  They didn't TAKE control over him.  You could even say Jesus tricked his enemies so that the greater good could be accomplished.  This is another way that Bugs was often like him.  For example, Bugs could trick an enemy into believing that a fire was being lit to cook the rabbit while the villain was really lighting dynamite to obliterate himself.

And in the majority of Bugs Bunny cartoons, the impression was given that Bugs was really the one in control, no matter what his enemies were doing to him and no matter what seeming chaos swirled around him.  The Bible certainly sees God as the one who is always The Boss, The Sovereign, no matter what's happening on Planet Earth, or to us, at the time.

But lest you think I'm being too hard on Popeye, let me say that, although he may not have been control in his cartoons, he outshines Bugs in other areas of godliness - those of mercy, unconditional sacrificing love, and perseverance.  Think about how many times Popeye came to Olive's rescue, even after she had jilted him.  Or about the way he kept protecting Swee'Pea and his nephews, even though they would disobey him and get into trouble.  Popeye is like God in this regard.  And that's good news for us because we are prone to be like Olive, Swee'Pea and the nephews.  Bugs never really had continuing characters that he rescued, so the extent of his mercy remains unknown.  However, in one cartoon, he was reluctant to help a penguin because it was inconvenient for him.  He finally did get involved in the little bird's plight, showing us his good heart (another trait he shares with Popeye.)

So, a rabbit and a sailor have more in common than it may at first seem.  So do a rabbit, a sailor, and a savior!


 
 

Olive and the Bad Boys

The Bible warns about people who are really "savage wolves" and who will "distort the truth in order to draw" people away from safety and to themselves (Acts 20:30).  "They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women..." (2 Timothy 3:6).  "Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight...With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable..." (2 Peter 2:13-14).  "For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world." (1 John 2:16).

Wow!  It almost sounds as though the biblical authors were writing to Olive Oyl, warning her about the wrong guys she has a tendency to fall for, doesn't it?  Well, actually they were warning the church against false teachers and false prophets, but still, there are some similarities between the way conmen preachers and cult leaders and immoral leaders take advantage of people and the way guys in the animated Famous Studios cartoons tried to take advantage of Ms. Oyl.  

Learning what Popeye's rivals did and what Olive herself did or didn't do may help us to escape the clutches of the phony religious leaders of our day.  And we may learn how to be wary of falling for the wrong members of the opposite sex in our own affairs of the heart.

I. Bluto In Disguise

In some of the Famous Studios cartoons, Bluto is like a character actor playing a role in the storyline, for example, an athletics instructor who is meeting Popeye and Olive for the first time (Vacation With Play), 





or Hercules (Popeye Meets Hercules), 





or Count Marvo (The Royal Four Flusher).  





But in other films he is a sailor who has an on-going relationship with both Popeye and Olive and is well-known by them.

However, in three cartoons in which Bluto is the sailor, he decides to play a role.  He disguises himself as famous objects of Olive Oyl's affections and adopts their personality traits in order to convince the beautiful brunette that she is really in the presence of her dream crushes.  In She-Sick Sailors, he pretends to be Superman.  In Mister and Mistletoe, he passes himself off as a handsome, muscular Santa Claus.  





And Parlez-Vous Woo finds him portraying The International, a suave TV star.




Olive's radar should have activated to warn her that at least something may have been up when the three characters appeared at her door.  Things should have seemed to her to be too good to be true.  After all, she's reading a Superman comic book and telling Popeye that the Man of Steel is the only one who makes her heart jitterbug, and, suddenly, the Big Red S shows up at her apartment!  She wishes on Christmas Eve that there was a Santa Claus for adults and, voila, one slides down her chimney!  And she's watching The International's television program 





when he announces that one viewer will have a date with him that night and, sure enough, out of all the doorbells in the world, the ladykiller rings hers.




Beware of people who promise to make all your dreams come true if you will follow them, or embrace their beliefs or lifestyles, or get involved romantically with them.  Watch out for religions, or sects, or cults who assure you that soon all your worries, struggles, and problems will be gone and you'll have nothing but joy, joy, joy down in your heart all the time.  Don't send money to those who assure you that, if you do, your prayers will suddenly be answered and/or you'll get out of debt.  Don't commit to possible mates who refuse to talk about the future or about any differences you may have by saying, "Oh, all those things will just work out."  Olive may be forgiven for seemingly being very gullible when it comes to believing that her fantasies will come true, because she lives in a cartoon universe.  In a cartoon universe, a person can say, "Gee, a huge mallet would come in handy right now," and one appears.  But in our world, it rarely does.  So we have no excuse.

Olive catches on to Bluto's true identity in the cartoons when her heroes suddenly act very unheroic.  Superman tries to murder Popeye by blasting him with the rapid fire of a tommy gun.  And Santa Claus lets out a chillingly evil laugh after having tricked Popeye into holding a stick of dynamite which blew The Sailorman out through Olive's roof to land, and become frozen, in the icy waters of a nearby pond.  Supes' and Santa's actions didn't match their professed identities.

Some religious leaders ask their followers to sacrifice while they, themselves, live in luxury.  Some preach against the sins of the flesh while they indulge their lusts.  Some talk about peace and reconciliation while taking their followers away from family and friends.  Some promote inner tranquility and humility while they are obsessive control freaks who get bent out of shape whenever they are questioned or things don't go their way.  Their actions don't match their professed identities.  And it's the same with some lovers, too.  Don't believe in saviors who act like the devil.






II. Wolves in Chic Clothing

Olive tends to be attracted to guys who, at least at first glance and outwardly, seem to have it all.  It's as though she believes that where there's flash and dazzle, there also has to be substance.  And so she is smitten with guys who are good-looking (in too many cartoons to name), rich and suave (The Royal Four Flusher, 





A Wolf In Sheik's Clothing, 





Popeye and the Pirates, 





etc.), skillful in athletics or feats of strength (Popeye Meets Hercules,





Vacation With Play, 





Quick on the Vigor





etc.) or even magic (The Fistic Mystic, 





A Balmy Swami





or music (Symphony In Spinach). 





Some guys win her heart by rescuing her from disgrace or danger (Tops in the Big Top, 





Snow Place Like Home, 





Pre-Hysterical Man, 





Beach Peach, etc.).  







But once they show their true characters by getting violent with Popeye in front of her and/or putting the moves on her too quickly and refusing to take her "No" for an answer, she utterly rejects them.

The Bible warns us that some false religious leaders will look real good to us, even to the point of being able to work miracles.  But it tells us that by their fruits (in other words, by their actions) we shall really know them for who and what they are (Matthew 7:15-23).

But, of course in order to see someone's fruit, you need to observe him or her over time.  Time is something that Olive Oyl doesn't have in a six minute cartoon, of course, but you and I don't have to join the first religious group that dazzles us.  We can take our time, observe, and consider.  What kinds of changes is the group really making in the lives of their members and are those changes positive or negative?  Do the leaders walk their talk?  As a pastor, I'm always suspicious of people who want to join my congregation after visiting us one time.  I think to myself, "But you don't really know us, do you?"  And it's been my experience that those who are quick to join, are also the first to leave - usually when they get dazzled by some other preacher or some other church.

And when I do pre-marital counseling, one of the first questions I ask a couple is, "How long have you known each other?"  I'm trying to find out whether they have spent enough time with each other to see past the flash to the character underneath.  And have they seen each other in a variety of settings, circumstances, and situations?

In choosing mates, or even steady dates, don't be like Olive Oyl and wait until the Count has bound you up in a straight jacket alone in his penthouse to suddenly learn the hard way that "character counts."  You should get to know His Highness BEFORE you agree to get alone with him.  Don't wait until Mr. Crusoe jams your friend into a treasure chest, jumps up and down on top of it, and throws it to hungry alligators before realizing, "Hmmm...this guy has a temper!"  Wait until you're sure what kind of guy he is before you get intimate on the couch with him and start to give your heart away, no matter how smooth "Robinson" seems to be.

Flashy guys and girls are "a dime a dozen" as the song, "Shop Around," says.  Ones with character are special.  Take the time to discover and uncover a person's character, so when asked about your Significant Other, you can say more than, "She's a cheerleader!" or, "He has a hot car!"

Proverbs 31:30 warns us, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."  We could also say, "Coolness is deceptive and handsomeness is fleeting, but a man who fears the Lord is to be praised."

And now, we'll turn our attention to Olive's relationship with the baddest bad boys of all - Bluto, as himself, and ... Popeye!?!?!

III. They Yam What They Yam

While watching the Famous Studios cartoons which portray Popeye, Olive, and Bluto as part of a seemingly eternal love triangle, a question can readily spring to mind.  "Why does Olive Oyl continue to be interested in Bluto when, in cartoon after cartoon, he shows himself to be an evil snake?"  It's a fair question.  But it requires a fair assessment of Bluto in order to come up with an answer, not to mention that we have to ignore the fact that cartoon characters starring in series of theatrical shorts always seem to suffer some sort of short tern memory loss between films (or else why would Wile E. Coyote keep ordering from Acme, or Tom stick his arm in Jerry's hole in the wall yet again) to even consider the question in the first place.  Let's assume for a few moments, then, that Olive always has her wits about her and get back to analyzing Bluto.  While it's true that, by the end of each cartoon, Bluto has displayed some considerably less than desirable character traits, think for a moment about what he can be earlier in the picture.  In Jitterbug Jive, for example, he's a fun and skillful dance partner for Olive who really moves in sync with her and shares her love of jazzy music. 





Bluto is an ardent, yet gentle and respectful lover in Beaus Will Be Beaus





He wants to marry Miss Oyl in Nearlyweds. 





He tries to be helpful to her in House Tricks, Service With A Guile, 





and Floor Flusher.  And when he disguises himself (see section 1 above) to fulfill Olive's dreams, he shows us that, when it comes to romance, he can be very creative.

So maybe Olive believes that the good qualities of Bluto make him worthy of her love.  Maybe she believes that she can change those things about him that she doesn't like.  We want to scream at the screen, "But you're wrong, Olive!"  Yet, as a counselor and pastor, I've seen my share of people who get involved in harmful relationships while naively trusting that they can change their potential mates or that "Things will be better after we're married."  And I've known people to join congregations and religious groups because they think that they can influence the group to become what they want it to be.  I've also seen that in about 90 per cent of all cases, whether Significant Others or churches are involved, change doesn't happen.  So beware and be wise!  Bluto is likely to continue to pull sneaky tricks, get violent, and want what he wants NOW despite "the love of a good woman."





 

Olive is probably better off with Popeye.  Although Popeye is far from perfect and can be a bit of bad boy himself.  He sometimes is self-absorbed, bumbling, neglectful of Olive, unwilling to enter into or understand her mindset, and he can put her down and make her the butt of a joke (Jitterbug Jive,





Vacation With Play, 







Car-azy Drivers, Olive Oyl For President, 





I'll Be Skiing You, Quick on the Vigor, and more).  Yet he is loyal and has an undying love for Olive that overcomes all obstacles in cartoons too numerous to list.  He sometimes can learn lessons and then he sometimes DOES change (ex. Cops is Tops, Olive Oyl For President,






Gopher Spinach), and he looks out for the poor, the weak, and the helpless (ex. Punch and Judy, Child Sockology).  He even saves his arch-rival in Abusement Park.  In Popeye's case, Olive probably figures that his strengths outweigh his weaknesses.

During pre-marital counseling, I always say to the couples at one point, "Remember that you are marrying a sinner and so is your mate."  If one waits around for a guy or a girl who is totally perfect and without fault, one will be waiting forever.  And when you join a church or a religious group, you join a congregation of sinners, and that congregation, in accepting you, is embracing a sinner, too.  If you are looking for a perfect church, you'll be "church shopping" and "church hopping" forever.

Not that you should ever settle for Bluto, but you'll have to accept somebody, and some group, warts and all, because warts are universal.  Just make sure the warts don't outweigh the virtues. 

Let's learn our lessons from Olive and her bad boys so that we won't have to start screaming, "Help!  Save me!"




 
 
 

The Magic Green Veggie?

 We all know that spinach gives Popeye "vim, vigor, and vitaliky" - superhuman strength, speed, and recuperative powers that allow him to bounce back from any thrashing, burst free from any trap, triumph over any mighty foe, and morph himself into hard objects, heavy machinery, and weapons of mass destruction.  But sometimes, it does even more than that.

 In the Spinach Overture, it gives Popeye musical ability.  It enables him to dance the Samba in We're On Our Way To Rio.  Olive feeds Popeye spinach to break a spell placed on him in The Fistic Mystic.  It transforms his clothes into new outfits, appropriate for winning Ms. Oyl in Ancient Fistory, Jitterbug Jive, and Parlez Vous Woo.  And in Jitterbug Jive, it turns him into a light on his feet hepcat





while spinach makes him a smooth lover in Parlez Vous Woo.  





Spinach transforms Olive into a firefighter, complete with uniform in Fireman's Brawl.  It enables Popeye to use his bicep as a crystal ball in The Crystal Brawl.  Spinach equips our hero with alpine gear and a mountain climbing outfit in Alpine For You and decks him out in a matador's suit during Toreadorable.  After eating spinach, Bluto uncontrollably does exactly what Popeye wants him to do in Hospitaliky, Too Weak To Work, For Better Or Nurse, and Beaus Will Be Beaus.  Spinach enables Popeye to complete his wedding vows in Olive's dream in Bride and Gloom, gives him a backbone in Scairdy Cat, and increases the sailor's intellectual capacity in The Spinach Scholar.

 The question I was pondering the other day (I have way too much time on my hands, I know!) is "How does spinach know when Popeye needs more than strength and physical restoration?"  A simple answer, aside from the simplest answer which would be, "It's just a cartoon," would be that somebody's will power is directing the energies of the spinach, much as the superhero Green Lantern directs his own form of green magic. 

And magic would be an appropriate term to use.  In many belief systems, magic is the ability of a person to control powerful supernatural forces or beings, to bend them to one's will, and get them to do your bidding.  In the examples listed in the paragraph above, it could be deduced that spinach performed as it did because either Popeye or Olive was guiding its energies with their minds and desires.

 However, magic doesn't account for every instance in the Popeye films where spinach does something out of the "ordinary."  In Vacation With Play, for example, Popeye is launched toward Olive and Bluto before it even seems that he is fully conscious and aware of what's going on.  It's as if the spinach is directing him, instead of the other way around.  In Vacation, though, it might be argued that the squirrels were controlling the spinach's actions.  But what about the time in Friend Or Phony when the spinach can comes to life and warns Popeye when Bluto is tricking him into throwing it away?  Or the fact that, later in that same cartoon, the spinach can once again proves that it is sentient by sniffing Popeye's smoke signal SOS and coming to his rescue.  And in A Wolf In Sheik's Clothing, the hieroglyphics on an ancient can of spinach come to life and spell out in English for a trapped Popeye what's inside.  In these instances the spinach appears to be an intelligent, living being. 

It's also pro-active.  It is much more like the Judeo-Christian God than it is in other cartoons.  And I don't know about you, but I love having a powerful supernatural Being watching out for me, warning me, directing me, sending me messages, and helping me even when  I'm unaware that I even need help.  I would rather have such a God than rely on my ability to "control" whatever forces there be.

 


 
 
 

 
 
 

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