It’s Saturday in January and the NFL is holding forth. OK, I watched for a little while and quickly lost interest, largely because of the efficiency of the Patriots and the boorishness of their fans. So I popped in a DVD of my old buddy Popeye the Sailor. These cartoons were made 80 years ago and they’re funnier than anything made today. The stories are silly and funny and anarchic like the Marx Brothers. Before the cartoons begin, we are advised that these cartoons reflect the prejudices of their times and the violence depicted is not nice, or something like that. I don’t know anybody who takes Popeye slugging it out with Bluto seriously. But the Politically Correct crowd must always make sure nobody is having any fun that they don’t approve of. But we ignore them and laugh anyway. As my sister points out, even four year-olds know that cartoons aren’t real.
I love the animation. It is beautiful, whimsical, and charming. This animation was unique to the Fleischer Brothers studio. It is a true burlesque of the erotic. Popeye and Bluto are driven mad with desire for Olive Oyl, that magnificent bean pole. The voices of the characters, Jack Mercer as Popeye, Gus Wickie as Bluto, and Mae Questel as Olive Oyl contributed to the comedy. Mercer was famous for Popeye’s hilarious under-the-breath ad libs. Mae Questel was a pure comic genius as well as a great voice talent. Most people will remember Mae as Aunt Bethany of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. That funny lady was Olive Oyl.
One of my spies has informed me that the Patriots won and the Chiefs lost. Oh well. I guess the Chiefs didn’t eat their spinach.