Blu-ray Review: Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s – Volume 1

Popeye was created by cartoonist E.C. Segar and is one of the biggest animated stars in American history. The fan favorite character made his debut on January 17, 1929 in the comic strip “The Thimble Theater.”  The spinach-loving sailor man who always stands up for the underdog is one of the world’s most recognizable pop culture icons who has maintained a loyal following for decades.

Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1 is a 14-cartoon set that includes many shorts unseen in their original form for more than 60 years. In stunning 1080p high definition created from 4K scans of the original nitrate Technicolor negatives, and never before officially released for home entertainment. Produced especially for the adult animation collector, Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1 features 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.

The 1940s brought new sights and sounds to America’s favorite cartoon star. In Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s – Volume 1, regulars Olive Oyl and Bluto return, while Popeye resumes his riotous relationship with his shipmate Shorty and his naughty nephews Pipeye, Poopeye, Peepeye and Pupeye. With the addition of full color, cartoonists were now free to let loose with journeys to exotic lands and give Popeye a fresh stock of new friends and foes. But it’s the eternal love triangle, Popeye and Bluto competing for Olive, that drives the majority of these zany situations – as well as the hilarious action-packed gags. Whether our heroes are posing as circus acrobats or puppeteers or even taking turns at being Superman, these gems from the Golden Age of Hollywood will blow you down with laughter.

These Popeye shorts were all conceived and released during war time which allowed the animators to push the fan favorite character forward and place him in silly predicaments with the other characters. What this means is that it was more adult oriented because some of the content featured more zany plot lines and funny situations that some viewers could possibly find offensive. It’s the whole damsel in distress scenario with two men fighting over her. So yeah, there’s a little violence here. You can’t beat the hand drawn animation style and the classic look of these beloved characters. This batch of classic ‘toons featured Popeye, his oddball nephews, Olive Oyl, Bluto and Shorty but I noticed the hamburger-loving Wimpy was nowhere to be scene so I’m guessing he was introduced at a later time.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes series details, more artwork and specs. The Blu-ray disc also features its own individual artwork. All 14-episodes have been meticulously restored from the original 35mm nitrate Technicolor negatives, which have been scanned at 4K as part of Warner Bros. ongoing film preservation efforts. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition upgrade were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio. The entire Popeye library is currently undergoing this process.

Bottom line is, all of these uncut animated shorts included in Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s – Volume 1 were first time watches for me and I had a blast checking them out. These classic ‘toons come from a much simpler time that focuses on the spinach eating super sailor who’s always fighting with his best frenemy Bluto for the love and honor of Olive Oyl. What’s funny is how Olive Oyl occasionally gets stuck cooking or doing laundry while the two sailers fight over her. I’m sure there’s that group of wackos creepy crawling around out there in crazy land that would find content like this offensive but these classic cartoons come from a different time period and thankfully they’re all being remastered and preserved for common sense fans like us. This is the first installment of Famous Studios cartoons from the Paramount Technicolor era and WB did an amazing job with the high-def upgrade. Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s – Volume 1 is intended for the Adult Collector and May Not Be Suitable for Children. this release is also available at wb.com/warnerarchive. Popeye will celebrate his 90th anniversary in 2019.

Distributor: Warner Archive Collection 

Run Time: 1 Disc / 14 Episodes / 99 Minutes

  1. Her Honor The Mare
  2. The Marry-Go-Round
  3. We’re On Our Way To Rio
  4. The Anvil Chorus Girl
  5. Spinach Packin’ Popeye
  6. Puppet Love
  7. Pitchin’ Woo At The Zoo
  8. Moving Aweigh
  9. She-Sick Sailors
  10. Pop-Pie A La Mode
  11. Tops In The Big Top
  12. Shape Ahoy
  13. For Better Or Nurse
  14. Mess Production

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Full Frame (1.37:1) Color

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: N/A

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