Thursday, February 13, 2014
The Fleischer Popeyes #13: Shiver Me Timbers!
This Popeye cartoon opens at the site of a shipwreck, a sign on the ship saying, "Ghost ship, beware!" As the camera pulls to the left, we see Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Wimpy, just arriving in a dinghy. The ghost ship's planks play the Skeleton Dance, which of course makes Olive scared, but Popeye doesn't believe in ghosts. The three board the ghost ship (one porthole becomes an eye that winks at Wimpy), and once on board, the ghost ship takes to sea. Popeye stalks the deck, and the deck of the ship again plays the Skeleton Dance, with one board hitting Popeye in the back!
Wimpy opens a door as he and Olive look for Popeye, and inside the door a number of ghostly faces appear, making Wimpy close the door and telling Olive, "There's nothing in there!" He opens the next door, and sees a plate full of steaming hot hamburgers! But when Wimpy tries to eat them, they vanish in his hand before he can take a bite! On deck, Olive continues to look for Popeye, and is knocked down into the hold, where she lands in a barrel of flour. Of course, this causes her to look like a ghost herself, as is always the case in cartoons. It gets worse when she tries to get out and pulls a few buckets of water onto herself, causing the flour to become batter-like.
On deck, Popeye and Wimpy find each other, and Wimpy spots Olive, identifying her as a ghost. Popeye picks up two belaying pins, handing one to Wimpy, and goes to the attack! Olive, for her part, is doing a lot of "Woo-woo"-ing, instead of actually speaking English, so this helps add to the confusion, and when she sees Popeye running towards her, she runs away. Popeye chases her around the deck, and at one point, Olive stops in front of Wimpy trying to convince her of who she is. Popeye catches up, and for a moment, he and Wimpy hit each other, as Olive ducks their blows. but then Popeye grabs her and swings her around. This causes the dough to come off of Olive, also stunning her, and Popeye says to Wimpy, "I told you there ain't no ghosts!" Of course, this causes a bunch of ghosts to appear, saying, "Oh, yeah?"
A fight begins that we can't see much of, and then we see Popeye's been attached to a rope, and he's swung back and forth, hitting the masts of the ship. On deck, Wimpy's chained to a broken mast, and in front of him is a table with a piping hot chicken (or is it a turkey?), but when Wimpy tries to get at it, the table walks away from him. Olive is tied to the deck, her shoes and socks off, with milk dripping on her feet, and a pair of kittens lick the milk off her feet, causing her to laugh uncontrollably. Above, the rope Popeye's on is cut, sending him plummeting to the deck! Ghosts appear around Popeye and start hitting him, and Popeye goes into the icebox, the ghosts following him. Popeye ducks out and slams the door, and the ghosts quickly freeze!
Then, Popeye's beset upon by a group of ghostly skeletons, which start dancing. One of them pulls a large hot ball of fire out of the boiler room, and bowls it at Popeye, who dodges. Meanwhile, the sea is getting choppy, as a storm is brewing, and lightning hits the ship, manifesting itself as a hand with an axe, cutting down the masts. The entire ship is starting to fall apart, and Popeye finally decides enough is enough, and eats his spinach. We don't get his fanfare, but we do get the "Hooray for the red, white and blue" refrain from Stars and Stripes Forever as he goes to the attack!
He first fights off the skeletons, sending them flying in every direction, his Transformation Punch turning them into first a pair of dice, then a set of pool balls. As the sea itself attacks, Popeye punches it back, making the seas calm again. Popeye takes the wheel, and sings his theme song, the ghosts now banished, and Wimpy finally has his hands on some food!
This was quite a change of pace from previous episodes, as it completely breaks the formula... Popeye doesn't sing his song at the beginning, there's no Bluto at all, no demonstration of his strength until after he eats his spinach... I find myself wondering if this cartoon was planned for theatrical release around Halloween (making this a post that could've been better planned, as it would've fit in October's "Countdown to Halloween" posts). It's not nearly as funny as some of the other installments, either... there's no wisecracking from Popeye under his breath, for example. An "Oh my garshk!" when Popeye realizes that Olive wasn't actually a ghost after he's beat the dough off of her would've been nice, as well!