Thursday, November 20, 2014

Four Conga Café

Whew!  This one's not as racist as the title might suggest, but maybe that's just my privileged view of things, on the other hand.  In any event, Bluto returns as Popeye's oldest and heaviest foil in Kickin' the Conga Round.  That must be a play on words.


In a slight twist, the title of the cartoon comes before the credits.  Clearly this is not a Famous Studios Popeye cartoon.  And so, we find a massive navy battleship off the coast of... an unnamed South American country.  Bluto and Popeye are bunkmates... probably not a good idea.  Popeye spends some time admiring a note from his goil in this picture: Olivia Oyla.  I dare not ruin the surprise... oh, right.  It's there in the attached jpeg file.  The note has Olivia's phone number on it, which Bluto quickly memorizes.  Normally Bluto's not into the thin chicks, but he never misses a chance to f... mess with Popeye.  Bluto beats Popeye to the "ferry boat" to shore.  Oh, I don't like this new voice of Bluto, whose name is... Dave Barry?  The writer for that Miami newspaper?, different guy.  Ooh!  He did some old Warner Brothers cartoons.  I think he was Old King Cole in Have You Got Any Castles?... nah, different guy.  Never mind.  Back to the current one.  And so, Popeye misses the boat, and Bluto gives Popeye one last taunt for good measure.  Fade to black.
Fade in: dang!  Bluto works fast!  He's already sitting at a table someplace with Olivia, impressing her with slick magic tricks.  "Aw, dat's nuttin... Watch this!"  Bluto says as he stands up and walks away from the table a bit... good Lord, but he's fat.  Bluto is apparently looking around for something to prestidigitate with... hold on while I make sure I'm using that word right... meh, close enough for the internet, know whut I mean?  Alas, for poor old, long-suffering Bluto, Popeye shows up and ruins everything for him.  Popeye tries a couple magic tricks of his own.  To be fair, I think Bluto's were a little more clever.  But as you can see from the look of defeat on Bluto's face, Popeye's won this round.  Olivia laughs equally at all acts of cruelty the boys heap upon one another, but her loyalty's ultimately with Popeye.


"This is my favourite conga café!" says Olivia, as she and Popeye arrive at the Café La Conga.  Bluto is close behind, reconnoitering.  And once inside, the music is going and everyone has fallen prey to it.  Olivia and Popeye conga over to their table.  There's a dude on stage doing the conga... a "Censored" sign is placed in front of him at one point in the dance.  Lol!  What is this, a Bob Clampett cartoon?  Even the waiter's doing the conga!  But Popeye's not having any of it, even after Olivia invites him to dance.  Bluto seizes the opportunity and says "May I have da honor of this conga?"  I don't know who says "Uh, pardon me" before that, but it don't sound like the same Bluto.  And so, Olivia's loyalty belongs to he who can conga best.  Popeye's in a real prickly pickle now as he enviously watches Bluto and Olivia dance.  Does he dare betray his strict moral code and dance?  Or does he continue to sit there and fester?  For now, he chooses to fester... ugh.  Wish I hadn't seen the outline of Bluto's enormous booty.  Must... have... antidote!
At one point, I can see you now in the kitchen, bending over a hot stove... but I can't see the stove... I mean,  at one point, Bluto and Olivia are dancing, and we can't see Olivia.  Reminds me of Hollywood Steps Out, I think it is.  Did the same gag with Oliver Hardy.  Also a conga!  And so, Bluto, the alpha dog that he is, congas over to Popeye's table, and gives it a good nudge with his ass... twice!  Man, but that dude can put multi-tasking on his résumé.


And so, as if through some kind of psychic connection, the waiter from earlier brings over a can of spinach in one of them hemispherical covered trays.  The dude ends up wearing said platter cover on his damn head like some kind of fool!  Similar thing happened in an Art Davis Warner Brothers cartoon, but that led to an unfortunate Chinese stereotype.  I'd try to find it on one of my Warner Brothers Looney Tunes DVDs, but I think they're saving all of his cartoons for Volume 18 or so... man, but I've never seen Popeye in such a funk before!  He seems to have lost all zest for life or something.  He barely even touches his spinach!  As he munchy-wunches on the tiny pinch of it that he took, he mumbles "I don't like no conjure..."  Boy, even his mumbling while he eats spinach is down in the dumps.  But then.....
And then, the spinach kicks in, and Popeye gets the goofiest expressions on his face that I think I've ever seen in any Popeye cartoon ever.  Popeye's spinach-eating theme has been hijacked by the conga beat, but never mind that.  Popeye's happy again, caught, caught in time.  It's really a bone setter; thank you for mending him, Spinach.
Popeye wolfs down the whole damn can.  Ah, that's the old stuff!  Popeye's a slovenly eater once again.  Ah, spinach.  Is there nothing it cannot do?  It can create electromagnets, cure broken backs, and even teach Popeye how to be a master conga dancer.  Sure, this isn't Popeye's first spinach-enhanced dance, but it's his first conga.  And so, Popeye congas over to kick Bluto's ass and win Olivia back.  But before that, the animators throw in a little joke of their own.
And so, Popeye removes Bluto from the scene with one fell swoop.  Olivia's a little concerned at first, but Popeye soon wins her over with his slick new moves.  Olivia couldn't have a bigger smile on her face.  Then, the two threaten to win first prize, if there was a dance contest.  Again, American Imperialism.  They do some stunt poses, but arguably, Olivia's not too terribly thrilled with that third one.


It ain't over yet?  I mean... it ain't over yet, folks!  Bluto makes a resurgence, kicking obstacles out of his way to that infectious conga beat.  Bluto gets Popeye's attention when a giant vase that Bluto kicked at Popeye knocks Popeye over.  Popeye starts beating Bluto up and Olivia gets out of the way.  The boys' fighting eventually turns into several Fist Tornados (TM), stopping of course for that fourth beat.  Olivia calls for help, and a couple of MPs show up.  They take Popeye and Bluto away, kicking them in the ass on that fourth conga beat!  It ain't the old endings anymore, folks.  No more sending Bluto all the way around the world.  They're in the Navy now, and they'll always have their chow.  I kinda like the novelty of that ending, but I'm afraid they're going to end every Popeye cartoon that way... okay, maybe I'm overreacting.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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