WHAT ABOUT THAD?
February 16, 2015 posted by

Paramount Sales News #38: “Pest Pilot”

The hawking of Popeye’s Navy pictures is now in full-swing. At this point, the sales department gave up on putting a positive spin on the Fleischers’ original characters and concepts. Besides the financial strain, the Fleischers delivering potboiler after potboiler was an obvious factor in the seismic overhaul of the day-to-day operations. At this point the studio was the Fleischers’ in name only: they were the active producers, but the Miami studio was now Paramount’s.

Open question: did anyone ever ask the Fleischer/Famous alumni why they rarely switched back to the original sailor outfit? Easier to paint, perhaps?

July-August 1941 (click each to enlarge)

07-02-41

07-02-41

07-16-41

07-16-41

07-23-41

07-23-41

08-06-41

08-06-41

08-13-41

08-13-41

08-20-41

08-20-41

08-27-41


Above PEST PILOT – released August 8th 1941

7 Comments

  • I’d say economy. Note that it was the default costume for Bluto as well. Did Famous/Paramount ever recycle animation (as opposed to complete clips)?

    Think the only times Popeye reverted to old garb was to match footage from the Fleischer two-reelers. Beyond that, they’d put him in costumes (race car driver, Robin Hood, etc.) but the whites were his “real” clothes, much as Donald Duck’s sailor uniform outlasted even Mickey’s shorts.

    When King Features began cranking out their own television shorts, they tossed in some vintage Segar characters but kept the white uniform as well.

    • I can think of some examples of reused animation that happened before the budget cuts in 1957:

      Popeye’s reaction to being kissed by Olive at the beginning of “Bride and Gloom” was reused in “Nearlyweds”.

      Popeye pulling a pitcher off his head, leaving his head still shaped like the pitcher, in “Popeye’s Mirthday” was reused in “Fright to the Finish”.

      The gorilla splitting into “Three Wise Monkeys” in “Baby Wants Spinach” was reused in “Casper Comes To Clown”

      Popeye running off to do something while flanked by Olive and Bluto in “The Farmer and the Belle” was reused in “Child Sockology”. (The reuse is noticable because the characters are off-model.)

      (Also, I THINK Olive acting like a snake while hypnotized in “The Fistic Mystic” was reused in “A Wolf in Sheik’s Clothing”, but I would have to rewatch both cartoons to be sure.)

    • Yeah, I’d also heard that they rarely switched back to his original dark outfit due to economy. Famous was known for having tight budgets but they weren’t as cheap as Terrytoons.

    • Famous cartoons were not low-budget until the 1957 season. Typical cartoon was $25-$30 grand.

  • George Wildman, who drew the Popeye comic book from 1969 until Western quit publishing it in 1984, said that he thinks the reason most of Segar’s characters wore at least one article of black clothing was to make them stand out. Wildman drew Popeye wearing his white Navy uniform in at least 2 of the regular issues from 1975, and also some of the “educational” Popeye comic books from the 1970’s. In an interview for the Official Popeye Fanclub newsmagazine years later, he said he did it to save time, but later regretted doing it because Popeye didn’t stand out as much.

    • Black articles of clothing in comics surely did make them stand out but also meant one less thing to color, which was a more complicated process involving cutting a rubylith acetate for the seperation afaik, as even in Donald Duck’s jumper in the comics.

  • BTW, Thanks, Thad, for sharing your treasures.

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