Friday, December 14, 2012

The Fleischer Popeyes: The Man On The Flying Trapeze!

009-01This cartoon opens with Popeye singing a variation on his theme song as he pilots a ship through high waves, missing each wave... and then he steers the ship onto land and down the street, parking it in front of Olive Oyl's house! He disembarks and knocks on the door, and it's answered by (I believe) Nana Oyl, Olive's mother, who tells Popeye that Olive's run off with the man on the flying trapeze (she sings "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze," with Popeye singing the last line, "And my love he has taken away.").

009-02Dejected, Popeye walks down the porch to the sidewalk, and what's across the street but the circus, and three boys are dancing and singing the theme song of this episode, with Popeye again singing the last line. Popeye tells the boys in song how he used to be happy, but isn't now that Olive's run off with the acrobat (when he hands the boys a framed photo of Olive from inside his shirt, they turn it around and see her from behind!).

009-03Nearby, the circus barker is singing about Popeye's rival, which causes Popeye to punch out the picture of the man on the flying trapeze from the billboard he was sitting nearby, and then Popeye and the boys walk into the circus through the hole he's made. When they get into the grandstand, all the seats are taken, so Popeye merely lifts up the entire section of seats and raises them up one, so there's room at the front!

009-04Wimpy, the ringmaster, blows his whistle and (between bites of hamburger) announces the star of the show, The Man on the Flying Trapeze! Once he starts singing, however, it seems obvious it's Bluto in a different form, so I'll just say "Bluto" through the rest of this. Bluto has somehow roped Olive into his act, and she seems less enamored of him how... but Popeye's unaware of this. When Olive waves and calls to him, Popeye ignores her. Then, Bluto swings over to her and grabs her around the head with his ankles, swinging back and forth!  Olive's not happy about this, but Popeye doesn't seem to notice.

009-05Then, Bluto tosses her to a trapeze that breaks, and when Olive grabs the ropes, Bluto uses her as the trapeze bar, swinging back and forth! Then, Bluto puts a stick in his mouth, and puts the other and in Olive's mouth as the sole means of supporting her as he swings back and forth! Popeye suddenly decides he's had enough of this, and climbs up to the high platform. Getting on another trapeze, Bluto and Popeye start "trapeze fighting," each trying to take Olive away. When Olive's tossed aside and is in danger, Popeye tries to get to her rescue, but Bluto punches him away.

009-06Finally, Popeye reaches into his shirt and pulls out a can of Spinach! Eating it, we hear a bit of a fanfare (but not the Theme fanfare we've come to expect of these cartoons, but have yet to find), and then we get a rousing rendition of the "Flying Trapeze" song as Popeye steps easily from one trapeze to another, getting to Bluto. He then proceeds to punch at Bluto as their trapezes swing closer to each other. Finally, Popeye knocks Bluto out of his shoes, and then punches him from trapeze to trapeze across the big top.

009-07As the boys start singing the song, Popeye delivers the final blow to Bluto, and it's a Transformation Punch, turning Bluto into a ceiling lamp! Laughing, Popeye slides down the pole to the ground, and then calls Olive to jump down at him... but when the boys rush him and say "Hooray for Popeye!" Popeye's distracted long enough to shake their hands just as Olive hits the ground (serves her right, if you ask me!). Popeye sings the last line of his song, and we iris out.

So... this was a decent Popeye, but not one of the Fleischers' best. Indeed, the best gag was probably Popeye sailing the ship onto the land and down the street, and that was early in the cartoon! This is the first cartoon where Olive's jilted Popeye while he was at sea, but she's already changed her mind by the time Popeye shows up. Still waiting for the spinach-eating fanfare, and I'm kind of disappointed that once Popeye's eaten the spinach, Bluto still manages to get some blows in.  With all the above, I have to give this one Two Cans of Spinach out of Five.

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