Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It was Old Age havin' a go at Youth.....

Our next Popeye cartoon is called simply With Poopdeck Pappy.  Now I'm not too familiar with other cartoon franchises, so I'll be the first to admit that I'm wrong, but it seems like these Fleischer Popeye shorts are the only ones to have titles that start with "With" and then give the name of the new character.  You got your With Little Swee'Pea, you got your Popeye the Sailor With The Jeep, you got your Betty Boop Presents Popeye the Sailor, and so on and so on.  Oh, it's worth a million damn dollars!  Now say hello to Paul Shaffer... something like that.
Anyway, much like our last Popeye cartoon, Popeye has to struggle with his pappy Poopdeck Pappy.  Instead of trying to build a boat, however, this time Popeye's just trying to get a good night's sleep, and I suppose it'd be hard to not have nightmares knowing your elderly father's out on the pier causing a major ruckus.  This one definitely calls for a play-by-play style review.


And they're off... we start with a very Fleischer-esque gag.  It looks like Popeye's going to make the bed, when in fact he's hanging up a hammock for Pappy.  Pappy tries sneaking out, but somehow Popeye's ready for him.  Popeye: 1, Pappy: 0.
And so, Popeye starts lecturing the old man.  Sheesh!  How good a caretaker can Popeye be, after all?  HE LEFT THE FRONT DOOR OPEN, FOR GAWD'Z ZAKE!  Popeye seems to make a salient point, however: "You CAN'T be goin' out EVERY night!!!"  While we don't know if this is true or not, it probably is, given how ornery Poopdeck is gettin' to be.  Poopdeck sheds a few crocodile tears, then offers his hand to Popeye for a friendly truce handshake.  Poopdeck then decks Popeye and makes a run for it!  I guess the score should be tied at 1, but I dunno... I just feel so dirty about it.  Popeye: 1, Pappy: 1.  Of course, Popeye acts quickly and ropes the old man back in with a life preserver with a rope on it.  Popeye: 2, Pappy: 1.  "I DON'T WANNA GO TO BED, SON!" cries the exasperated old man.  Sheesh!  I guess this is what I have to look forward to if I'm lucky.
Poopdeck begrudgingly climbs into his hammock.  Popeye gets hit twice as a result, but I'm not going to score it 3 to 2 like I probably should.  Anyway... and so, Popeye climbs into bed, turns out the light and says "Good night, Pappy!"  Silence.  Popeye reiterates: "GOOD NIGHT, PAPPY!!!!"  Popeye turns on the light and... poof!  The old man's gone!  Totally gone!!!  Popeye: 2, Pappy: 2.  Sure, Poopdeck could've stayed around and waited for Popeye to fall asleep, but where's the sport in that?  He gets to pull a fast one... a very fast one.  Why pass that opportunity up?  Alas, for Popeye, sleep deferred is sleep denied.  Off into the wide world he must venture to get his pappy back.
Next scene: Pappy's so incredibly happy, having shaken off the yoke of his immediate oppressor.  He's happily marching along down the street... and his eyes aren't even open!  Soon enough, however, here comes Mr. Corn Cob Pipe Killjoy himself.  Hate that guy.  Someone call Amnesty International on his ass!  When the two meet up, Pappy thinks quickly and starts pretending to sleepwalk.  Love that musical accompaniment.
Back at home, the struggle continues anew, but Popeye's ready with giant industrial-strength ankle cuffs.


And so, ankle cuffs in place, Pappy is returned to his place: in the hammock above Popeye's bed.  Now for that finishing touch to seal the deal.  "Good night, Pappy!" says Popeye, expecting a response.  No response.  "I SEZ GOOD NIGHT PAPPY!!!!"  The light comes on, and Pappy is off again!  Dayamn, but he's quick.  In this Second Act, Pappy penetrates even further into enemy territory.... I mean, the dance hall slash saloon that he tried to get in before, before Mr. Kill-Joy Popeye came along and said "UH UH!!!"  This time, Pappy gets past the swinging doors and starts burning up the dance floor... actually, he ends up kicking a lot of big tough guys in the ass, and subsequently pissing them all off.  Still, he manages to find a couple willing girl dance partners!  Just something about that ornery old man.  You can't resist his death wish and his recklessness.  However, the angry guys he kicked in the ass... note the phrasing there.  Also, you can see for yourself.  He doesn't kick anyone's ass, not by a longshot.  His legs are just flying all over the place and, like that hockey episode of The Simpsons, the guys' glutes just happened to occupy that same space.  Still, it is a bar, or the emotional equivalent of international waters, and a couple of the more alpha males have had enough of Poopdeck's antics.  Their hands are big enough to completely wrap around Poop's body... I want to make sure I get the wording right here.  I believe that landlubber says "I'll CHOOSE ya for foist licks!"  That's when you put your fists on something, and whoever's fist is at the top gets said item.  Real kindygarden type stuff, indeed.  Somehow I don't see the big guy giving up Pappy to Mr. Monobrow on the left.
I guess I should point out that Pappy actually realizes that he's pissed these guys off.  Maybe tiptoeing will calm them down a bit!  That he tried the "I'm sorry... Shake!!" bit on one of them surely didn't help.  Popeye arrives at this point... but I don't know.  It's that whole fortunately / unfortunately question again.  Is it indeed fortunate that Mr. Killjoy shows up to save his pappy?  Short term: yes, if only for the audience's benefit.  Long term: Pappy manages to squeak out of the... somehow, the phrase "Fist Tornado" doesn't do the scene justice.  See, this is the kind of thing where a caption contest would come in handy... Fist Earthquake?  Fist Tsunami?... Fist-nami?  Palooka-nado?  Clearly this needs some focus grouping.  The point being, Pappy manages to squib out of the Testosterone Tornado... test-nado?  Anyway, the original acorn of this Mighty Oak of Destruction is reborn, and he gets right back into cutting in to other dude's dancing.  She looks like an original Thimble Theater-er!  One of Olive Oyl's relatives on her father's side, perhaps.
As usual, the time for spinach is at hand, but mostly because it's that time in the proceedings.  Personally, I think Popeye didn't get enough of a beating yet.  Also, he makes a gesture here like "Ah!  I've got an idea... SPINACH!"  Normally it seems to be his last dying gesture when he reaches into his shirt for the can that no one can see.  Not this time.  Also, it used to be that he would eat the spinach, then look into the crystal ball that was his now significantly larger arm muscle to see what piece of machinery rages within... a tank or a turbine, perhaps?  Usually?  No, now he becomes the freakish shapeshifter.  Surely Beetle Juice drew some inspiration from this part for his big finale?
Out the various windows everyone goes flying.  Then we zoom in on the swinging saloon doors, and out comes Popeye, shooing Pappy along like he's a puppy that ran away or something.  A swinging jazzy variation on the Death March plays as they march home to that awful makeshift bunk bed aboard Popeye's dinghy.


Surely this time Pappy's not escaping!  Popeye's got Pappy tied to the hammock with thick sailor's rope, tighter than even the bar bum bastards' fists or the stack of life preservers in Popeye's living room.  Surely he's not escaping this time!  I hate to spoil it, but let's just say that Popeye's angry words were probably a bit too harsh, even though Pappy's catch phrase seems to be "I DON'T LIKE RELATIVES!!!!"  ...is this Comfort Cinema?  Probably.  Not as many calories as comfort food, anyhow.  Just as long as I don't think about all the time I should be spending studying Wittgenstein and jQuery......................

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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