WHAT ABOUT THAD?
March 16, 2015 posted by

Paramount Sales News #42: Popeye Kickin’ Enemy Rear

As in all American media at the time, Paramount pushed a sense of patriotic duty in 1942’s advertisements. Popeye was doing his part for the war effort; now exhibitors should do theirs by renting and showing them. That’s a cynical take, admittedly, but the war years were highly attended for a reason.

Please excuse that some schmuck did the puzzle on the April 8th panel, but at least you don’t have to figure out for yourself that the dots on the pig’s ass make a swastika!

March-April 1942 (click each to enlarge)

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A perfect example of the Popeye shorts, at the time these promotional pieces above appeared in print, is Fleets Of Stren’th (released March 13th 1942):


We’d be remiss if we ignored the Fleischer’s two-reeler, The Raven (released April 3rd 1942). The short was overlooked entirely in the pages of Paramount Sales News, but trade ads (below left) were published to promote it to exhibitors – and a dedicated theatrical poster was made (below right) – ending the studio’s contractual obligation for an annual Fleischer two-reeler. The less said about the film the better… we shall speak of it “nevermore“.

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6 Comments

  • I saw “The Raven” for the first time last year. As a piece of animation it’s well done; I would like to see a full-color restoration. That said, however, it certainly is a peculiar take on the poem.

    Is that Jack Mercer doing the opening narration in his actual speaking voice?

  • Hitler, Tojo and Mussolini gave the Popeye series a reason for being again, along with a justification by the animators for abandoning the slower timing the studio had employed in past, and with declining results since the move to Miami (you couldn’t float a bullet or a torpedo at a ship or a character, even in a comedy short).

  • “The Raven” is a puzzler. A perfectly good one-reel cartoon stretched into two, and bizarrely marketed as inspired by Poe.

    Was there an “Emperor’s New Groove” scenario here, where they punted and made a gag cartoon after promising (and maybe starting) a real “Raven”? Or did they start with a short gag cartoon and pad it out?

    It’s not awful. It’s just too long for the material and too much a disappointment when stacked against the Popeyes and Raggedy Ann.

    • As that said, The Raven was used to fulfill a contractual obligation for a two-reeler at Paramount. Certainly sounds like Fleischer Studios just padded out a one-reeler they had in the works and called it a day.

  • Gotta love the inspiration of connecting the dots on a pig’s ass.

  • The Raven is indeed an oddity. There’s no Fleischer there. (Except for the drunken anthromorphized vacuum cleaner). It’s hard to judge it from a crappy oxblood color NTA print.

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