Animation History
February 13, 2023 posted by Jerry Beck

Cartoon Research 10th Anniversary Post

Yes, it’s true! It was exactly 10 years ago today I posted the first new article on this new format of Cartoon Research. “Cartoon Research 2.0” was what I called it back then. 3,246 posts later – here we are.

I started the idea for a “Cartoon Research Co.” back around 1996, set up an LLC, got artist Leslie Cabarga to create me a logo and stationary (remember that?). I also grabbed the URL then, even though I had no idea what to do with it. I was still a full time employee at Nickelodeon and later Disney Television Animation. In 1999 I went freelance, and fooled around with the idea starting a Cartoon Research website.

In February 2000, Cartoon Research went live as a combination news feed, data base and overall resource. Here was the website’s main page in May 2000:

The CARTOON RESEARCH main page in May 2000

In 2004, I combined my online efforts with Amid Amid’s (who was doing a similar Animation Blast website) to create the Cartoon Brew blog. For the next nine years (2004-2013) Amid and I co-wrote CB. During that period, this Cartoon Research website stood still – frozen with its basic information and data bases available, my daily updates posted on Cartoon Brew. It looked like this for 9 years:

Remember this front page? It was like this for nine years with minor adjustments. This image is from 2008.

For a variety of reasons my partnership with Amid came to an end at the beginning of 2013 – and on February 13th 2013, I returned to reboot and renew Cartoon Research as a group blog (or a “multi-author blog”). And we’ve been doing that ever since – for ten years.

Cartoon Research, for me is dedicated hobby, a “labor of love”. In some ways I can see its become my life’s work. I spend more time with it on a daily basis than I should. No money is made by my running this website (the ads you see at the top or on the right column are “freebies” that I give to projects I’m involved with or friends I want to support). This is simply a website I want to see, one that I want to read, and one that I think needs to be here on the internet.

I’m quite proud of being its “editor/curator”. But every once in a while I give serious thought to slowing down or stopping the page… but I’m not sure if I can stop. It may be a lot of work, but it’s forever “in my blood”.

I want to thank all the contributors to this page, over the years. It’s become a great body of research – with over 3,000 posts of good solid information, new discoveries, and even trivialities worth a look.

I also want to thank our loyal readers: Those who regularly pipe in to add or correct, or those who just enjoy reading it without comment, daily or weekly. We do this for you.

That all said, I might need some help to keep this going. See the the yellow box at the bottom of this post for more details.

I didn’t want this to just be a commemorative post with no “real content” – so we interrupt the 10th Anniversary festivities with a small post I was going to do at some point – another one of those “Things I Promised Not To Tell”, for all you Famous Studio Popeye fans out there.


Back around 1981, I was working for United Artists, in their home office at 729 7th Avenue. A spaghetti western had opened in July that became a box office sensation – Comin’ At Ya in 3D. It’s success launched a second 3-D Movie fad in the 1980s that spawned such masterpieces as Jaws 3-D, Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn and the animated feature Starchaser: The Legend of Orin.

Warner Bros. had quickly rereleased House of Wax in response to the Comin’ At Ya success in 1981. There was talk of United Artists re-releasing MGM’s Kiss Me Kate – the most prestigious 3D film they had rights to in their library. When I suggested adding the Popeye theatrical, Popeye The Ace of Space, as an added attraction… I was laughed at!

The fellow in charge of UA’s shorts subjects at the time (Arthur Reiman) was convinced I had no idea what I was talking about. He insisted there was “no 3D Popeye cartoon” in the library. The next day I showed up at his office with a Xerox copy of the movie poster! (Remember, in those days we didn’t have the internet, Google or IMDB to quickly access such information). Despite this proof, he was convinced that United Artists did not have the film itself in 3D. He immediately called up Bonded Film in Fort Lee (where apparently, at that time, all the Popeye negatives were kept) to call in the negative and have it inspected at a lab.

I watched his smug face turn serious when the person on the other end of the line told him they had TWO negatives of Popeye The Ace of Space. Did he want to inspect neg “R” or neg “L”? I quickly suggested one was the right eye, the other the left.

Both negs were brought into New York, and I was able to visit the lab to look at the successive exposure negatives myself! My biggest thrill was seeing the black & white (Technicolor) frames of the Paramount opening logo – and the words “A Stereotoon” that appeared on the Popeye title card. For me in 1981 it was mind blowing.

All that said and done – the studio decided not to make new prints and made no plans to re-release the cartoon. I suppose the legalities between UA releasing a cartoon with a Paramount logo and the who-knows-what might happen with King Features over promoting a Popeye short… they just let it lay.

A few years later at one of those fabled Meadowlands Film Collector conventions in New Jersey, my friend Sam Sherman (movie distributor and former editor of Screen Thrills Illustrated magazine) was there selling B-Westerns and serial chapters in 16mm… I asked if he had any 16mm cartoons – he only had one for sale, a Popeye. I bought it. It was a Technicolor print of Popeye The Ace of Space – with the original titles.

My friend, 3D expert Eric Kurland, says its a print of the ‘right eye negative’… Can you imagine if we ever found a 16mm print of the left eye? In fact, I never compared the print to the AAP TV prints… Hmmm…

I used this print to “restore” the cartoon run when it aired on Cartoon Networks’ The Popeye Show (Season 1, Episode 13, December 24th, 2001). We grafted my 16mm opening and close to the Turner Broadcasting master they had. Here is a link to that Cartoon Network episode.

For this post, I just made a new HiDef scan of my 16mm print. Looks like the color faded a bit… but we can fix that. Enjoy!

About the film itself – I’ve seen it several times in 3-D, on the big screen, where it was run twice at Jeff Joseph’s World 3-D Expo at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, in 2006. In fact they even ran it with Those Redheads From Seattle – one of the films it was originally paired with (it was later paired with the historical drama Sangaree – see advertisements below).

This promotional flyer was mailed to theater owners in 1953.

The two Famous Studios cartoons (the other one is Boo Moon (1954) with Casper) are superb examples of animation in 3-D. Seeing them in 3D is a revelation – a completely different experience (especially when screening them in a theater) from the flat versions.

There are those who consider the two Famous cartoons as the best of the 3-D bunch (I do) – The Woody Woodpecker, Bugs Bunny and Donald Duck shorts are really standard story fare (with a few “gimmick” shots to enhance them). Disney’s Melody is also a stand out – especially as its the only one of the bunch that gives dimension to 50s cartoon stylization (with UPA-esque designs).

Both the Casper and the Popeye have scenarios set in outer space – a conscious story decision that shows how these two films were conceived from scratch to be in 3D – as the far away star-field backgrounds loan depth to the visuals from the outset.

Paramount’s animation staff was already familiar with spacial layout and settings, as they had animated for the Fleischer “stereo-optical” films in the 1930s.

Regional sales managers are ready to release “Popeye The Ace of Space” in 3D or Flat. Paramount’s head of short subjects, Oscar A. Morgan at right, standing in front of the drapes.

It’s not so much things heading toward the camera – those things are a little corny – it’s the simple shots that dazzle in 3D viewings. Kneitel understood that. He uses 3-D the right way, as a window box that dazzles with depth. Lots of full fast paced action would be too much for the eye – note that much of the film has the characters standing still, with visuals happening around them or behind them.

Popeye spends much of the time standing in front of the “Cosmic Ager”, “The Electronic Distintegrator” and the “Atom Apple Smasher”; steering the space ship; scat singing in his boat-car… these things are unexciting viewed “flat”. But in 3D, with deep depth behind the foreground character, it visually pops.

I hope you get a chance to see Popeye The Ace of Space in 3D – in a theater – someday. I guarantee you’ll like it a lot better. It’s a real treat.

Meanwhile, here’s a few other images from my Popeye file – enjoy!

Above and Below: Publicity art stills for “Popeye The Ace of Space” (1953)


After ten years of writing, editing and hosting this blog, we’d like to ask for a little help.

No news to anyone that all costs are rising – that includes our web hosting and plans for a much needed WordPress backend upgrade. Also, rewarding our loyal and on going contributors for their incredible work is long overdue. So, I’ve decided to open a tip jar to help defray costs. If you’ve enjoyed our posts and have found them entertaining and informative, consider throwing something in the jar. It would be very appreciated and help us continue to do even greater cartoon research for another decade. – Jerry Beck

Please Support Cartoon Research By Donating Here


  • Congratulations on reaching this milestone, Jerry, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store on Cartoon Research over the next ten years!

    In 1984 I saw a 3D film of images of the landscape of the planet Mars that had been taken by the Viking probe. The two cameras were about a metre apart, yielding an exaggerated perspective. Still, it’s telling that even NASA was jumping on the 3D bandwagon at the time.

    So the aliens who capture Popeye are from… the planet Shrek?

  • My word, where do the years go? Has it really been so long since I first came across the original Termite Terrace Trading Post and Cartoon Brew sites and made them daily visits, no matter what? Those years of my adolescence were not the happiest in my life, but one very bright spot was the world of classic animation, and those sites were the gateway. The days when Cartoon Network was proud to showcase the classic WB/MGM cartoon libraries with shows like Toonheads and Late Night Black & White, when Disney was putting out the first wave of the Treasures sets and WB finally started restoring the Looney Tunes for DVD. It’s been a long journey since then, with some incredible highs as well as devastating lows, but I’m always supremely grateful for the work this blog represents and all the projects it supports and has spawned in the intervening years.

    Now comes the chance to become a patron and repay it all in some small way, and I’m proud to say I’ve seized it. Long may this site continue!

    • By chance David did you post on TTTP? I wasn’t there posting, but I lurked on its’ final days, lurked on its’ successor (Golden Age Cartoons) day 1, and started posting there in 2008. Lot of cringe I posted back then–who looks back at the stuff they written at age 15 with any fondness–but I wouldn’t trade the discussions and friendships that was born from that era for the world. Always great to reconnect from folks back in those days.

  • Happy 10th anniversary to this extremely useful website!

  • “Dang, I forgot our anniversary again…”

    Thank you for being Jerry Beck!

    I can’t think of any one person who has more impactfully promoted and championed Golden Age Animation than you. Just as a reminder to other readers and visitors, the volume and quality of home video collections from the major studios over the years has your fingerprints all over them. They are immortalized.

    And we are grateful.

    And now, I’m off to the tip jar.

  • happy ’versary bash

    no more website crash

    us users are still the same

    those bad spammers are hard to tame

    (For real tho, 10 years was the success of finding easy posts. Congrats!)

  • Ten years goes by really fast when we look back though sometimes it seems snail paced at the moment. Congratulations. Now if only Warner Archive would open its 3D vault. The 3D FILM ARCHIVE restorations (which include BOO MOON and HYPNOTIC HICK) show that everything in their 3D vault has a value in the burgeoning 3D community. Hope I and you are around for your 20th anniversary. There are still lots of wonderful things to be done.

  • Congratulations Jerry, on 10 years of your labor of love. Many hearts have been revived because if your heartfelt and genuine desire and love for the artists and cartoons. You could say….. YOU lived thru it all with what you have given us to read and enjoy🎉

    A world of thanks….

    Mariana Givens

  • Speaking of Popeye and 3D it was a post you did on the conversion of a 2D Popeye cartoon to 3D that spurred my interest in Digital 3D. I said to myself after reading it, “How did they do that?” Then I googled until I got the answer. In the process I discovered anaglyph and field sequential 3D dvds of HOUSE OF WAX, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON and a whole lot more. Then I bought everything I could find. Then I bought my first 3D camera. Then I….

  • Congratulations on the milestone, Jerry! I can’t donate right now but I guarantee you something when I my paycheck comes in!

  • I was foolishly hoping the yellow box at the bottom was a “Help contribute to the site” box, ah well. I’ll be sure to donate to the site I’ve checked every day for past four-ish years!

    Anyhoo, a certain off hand comment in this article caught my interest: “the who-knows-what might happen with King Features over promoting a Popeye short”?

    What could AAP/UA/MGM/Turner do with the properties they owned? If they wanted to, could have silently released a Popeye or WB cartoon into theaters? Where does Bugs Bunny Superstar fit into this? While I’d imagine the Looney Tunes (and definitely Popeye) would be off the table to making new material, could one of them decided to make “Maltese Falcon 2: The Falcon Strikes Back!” or any other sequel to the Warner Bros. pics they owned?

    • Let’s assume you are talking about the situation in 1981 – When United Artists owned the pre-1948 package of features and shorts.

      Yes, they could rerelease Popeye and Warner Bros. cartoons to theaters. As shorts were essentially dead in 1981, they didn’t do that – but any pre-48 Warner (or Paramount Popeye) at the local film depots were controlled by UA. I myself saw BIRTH OF A NOTION in a theater around that time – UA booked it to that theater. UA Classics (and non-theatrical) booked pre-48 Warner Bros. cartoons (in 35mm) to theaters… mainly repertory theaters showing older classic films… in fact that was part of my job, when I worked there back then.

      BUGS BUNNY SUPERSTAR was a documentary produced by Larry Jackson (who I believe reads this website) that was enhanced with several full cartoons, all of which were licensed by United Artists at that time, as they had the rights to do so. As far as I know UA never distributed this feature itself. Jackson had to “clear” with Warners, the legalities of using Bugs Bunny in the advertising and on the poster. You have to remember that the early 1970s were a low point in Warner Bros. personal interest in Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes. The merchandising was at its all-time off-modelness, they even let Filmation make a TV movie with them… so letting an independent producer use the name on a film marketed to adults (or stoner teenagers) meant nothing to them then.

  • I’m glad you broke your promise not to tell, Jerry. These behind-the-scenes stories are my meat. You’ve done things that I, an original titles freak, can only dream of doing. Long may you keep doing it!

  • Congrats! Was not a Golden Age fan until 2019, so I’m sad I missed out on the old fun with Tom Stathes and Thad Komorowski.

  • Just checked this print against the AAP print. They seam to be from the same side but each are edited a bit different.

  • I really hope that someday the 1950s Famous Studios color Popeye cartoons will be restored from 4k scans of the original technicolor negatives and released onto DVD and Blu-Ray from Warner Archive Collection!

  • Has to be the most valuable ongoing resource for traditional animation. Congratulations and thanks!

  • Congratulations on your 10 years, and thank you for this wonderful site.

    Interesting that the poster shows Bluto, even though he isn’t in the film.

  • Congratulations!

  • Thanks for everything Jerry. Been here since day one back in 2013 and have no interest in stopping now! Frankly gone to a point where I’m not sure what would happen to my online habits if the site just dies one day!

    Really happy to see that Popeye print come to life! Hopefully one day I do get to see it the way you’re supposed to, but it’s a treat to see a pristine print of what I think is the last hurrah for the character on film. The history’s a hoot too!

    If money ever comes in I’ll be sure to donate and to keep this train going! Maybe I’ll start commenting here more often now as well.

  • If only the pre-1941 Fleischer Popeye could have done 3D (particularly with those 3D backgrounds). Maybe “Sindbad” can be 3D-ized. Technology aside, “The Ace of Space” is noteworthy for revealing Popeye’s age.

  • Congrats on the 10 year anniversary, Jerry! Never had the opportunity to see POPEYE THE ACE OF SPACE on the big screen with an audience, unfortunately – thanks for posting it. For the most part, I didn’t get closer than Count Floyd’s Monster Chiller Horror Theatre to a 3-D film, but do recall running Castle Films 16mm excerpts, complete with 3-D glasses, from THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE and other 1950’s classics.

  • Congratulations on the tenth anniversary of Cartoon Research, Jerry! I came across the site just this past year and I greatly look forward to what’s to come.

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