Popeye Cartoons Coming From Warner Archive

Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1

Warner Archive has announced that they will be releasing on Blu-ray and DVD a set of Popeye the Sailor cartoons never before available on home entertainment.

Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1 will contain 14 theatrical shorts making up “the first two Technicolor seasons of Popeye’s animated theatrical shorts (1943-44 and 1944-45) produced by Famous Studios, Paramount’s revered New York-based cartoon studio.” Many of these haven’t been seen in the original form for 60 years, and they’re being remastered in “stunning 1080p high definition created from 4K scans of the original nitrate Technicolor negatives” created as part of Warner Bros.’ ongoing film preservation efforts.

Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1

What I find exciting about this release is that they’re aiming it directly at the adult animation collector. It’s terrific to see so many animated projects for kids, but there are historical efforts adults are interested in as well.

Popeye was created in 1929 by cartoonist E.C. Segar as part of his Thimble Theater comic strip. Warner previously put out three volumes of Popeye cartoons: Volume 1, 1933-1938; Volume 2, 1938-1940; and Volume 3, 1941-1943. KC has previously talked about enjoying that second collection.

“Popeye is one of the all-time great cartoon characters, but he hadn’t gotten a fair shake in the world of home entertainment until Warner released all of his black & white shorts,” said Leonard Maltin, animation historian. “What came next? The first Technicolor Popeye cartoons were also the last ones made under the aegis of the Fleischer Brothers, Max and Dave. Animation aficionados should welcome the opportunity to see these long-forgotten cartoons in such pristine condition, taken from the original 35mm negatives.”

“This is the first time anyone has gone back to the master nitrate negatives to ensure a crisper picture and vivid colors — nor have these films ever sounded so good,” said respected animation historian and author Jerry Beck. “The animators at this time, during the war years, were allowed to push the Popeye character forward, creating particularly zany plot lines and funny situations beyond the classic Popeye/Bluto rivalry for Olive Oyl. I’m particularly tickled over the cartoon where Bluto becomes a pseudo-Superman (courtesy of a licensed tie-in with DC Comics) and another where Popeye and Bluto romance Olive as marionette puppets. This was the ‘Golden Age’ of animation — and these are particularly strong cartoons that have been long in demand by animation buffs.”

In addition, all cartoons in Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1 are complete and uncut as they were originally seen on movie screens, and retain their original titles (which were removed for television exhibition in the 1950s).

Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1

These cartoons will be included:

Her Honor the Mare
The Marry-Go-Round
We’re on Our Way to Rio
The Anvil Chorus Girl
Spinach Packin’ Popeye
Puppet Love
Pitchin’ Woo at the Zoo
Moving Aweigh
She-Sick Sailors
Pop-Pie a la Mode
Tops in the Big Top
Shape Ahoy
For Better or Nurse
Mess Production

Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1 will be available December 11 in either Blu-ray or DVD editions.

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