Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Popeye Joins Navy, All Hell Breaks Loose

...of course, America was late to the war.  I'm no expert, but Poland got the brunt of it around 1938 or so?  And of course, we didn't join in until Pearl Harbor happened, and according to the DVD commentary, The Mighty Navy was released a month before that happened.  After it happened, Mr. Bug Goes to Town got released to little fanfare, and the Fleischers got out of the feature game.  Alas, they weren't beloved by Oscar and the public like Walt Disney was.  Oh well.
Popeye's fallen on hard times as well, if only to me.  He's never joined the Navy proper before... or did he?  Well, he's been out of Active Duty since the first cartoon in 1933.  He came ashore and never looked back.
But now he's back and already there's trouble fitting in.  There's a clash of egos between Popeye and his commanding officer.  The commanding officer picks up Popeye like a gun and looks in the barrel of Popeye's mouth.  Well, part of Popeye must be in order, anyway!  Sure, he doesn't look like the rest of the sailors.  I just hate to refer to them as Nazis since they're on our side, but the sailors' uniforms are supposed to be uniform, not the sailors wearing them!  The Fleischers were also doing Superman shorts at the time, so they must've lifted the design from that... I swear, I thought of that on my own before I heard the DVD commentary!  I swear!
Anyway, after he misunderstands the meaning of a "dive bomber", he's assigned to onion whittling duty.  We'll leave behind the irony of a sailor flying a plane for now... I mean, seriously, dude!  Why would a sailor have to know how to fly a plane?  Oh well.  Shows you what I know about our armed forces.  Oh, incidentally, thank you for your service, people.  The Farrellys thanked them on The Tonight Show and damn it, so do I.
And so, Popeye's assigned to kitchen duty because of his show-off-manship.  And then... FATE INTERVENES!  One of them battles breaks out just in the nick of time for Popeye to redeem himself.  The enemy is unnamed at this point, but if you look at their planes closely enough, you just might spot a three-tined swastika.  Don't worry, folks.  While the enemy is unnamed in this one, I think they eventually settle on the Japanese as the bad guys.  Wild guess.  Well, that's World War II for ya; not all rose petals.
And so, the enemy ships form a proverbial circle around our lone hero ship and... yup, the ships turn into Indians.  The smart guys on the commentary said that the theme from Big Chief Ugh-Amugh-Ugh starts playing... As politically incorrect as this all is, I just had to laugh, because I thought it sounded a bit Ugh-Amugh-Ugh-ish!  God, but I love Gus Wickie's voice.  And, irony of ironies, Popeye sticks his head out of the ship's porth... I mean, one of the ship's windows and starts moving his head around like the black dude at the fair in the very first Popeye cartoon.  Popeye dares the ships to hit his head with a torpedo.  One dares.  Popeye lets the torpedo out the other side of the ship.  Good thing there was a window there!  Popeye clearly has a low tolerance for violence in wartime.  One torpedo is all he can stand!  He can't stands no more, so up to the deck he runs.  Meanwhile, the college boys are too busy trying to aim the damn gun!  Reminds me of the recurring gag in The Eager Beaver...  It's a Warner Brothers cartoon, sickos!
Popeye single-gunnedly takes down all the enemy ships, then plays skeet shoot with their planes.  But there's still a minute left to go in the flim.  Time for the archenemy to appear!  It's a big-ass ship shooting torpedos at a rate of about 4 per second.  Well, that tears it.  It's so spinach time.  Popeye loads himself into a torpedo launcher, puts down its lid, eats the spinach and off he sails, creating one of the biggest, baddest explosions in all of cartoondom.
EPILOGUE: Popeye's redemption.  Apparently in real life, Popeye's picture was used on our bombers in WWII, along with the occasional Betty Grable.  What can I say?  We're the Great Satan, all right, with our engraved images on our unholy flying contraptions.  The DVD commentators say that this is one of the best Popeye cartoons from this period, so it's just kind of meh, basically.  Probably the most politically correct as well.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

1 comment:

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