With the attack on Pearl Harbor, these ads pulled no punches and would frequently show Popeye versus the Japanese. What better way to arouse theater patronage in wartime? If you like WWII “buy bonds and stamps” advertisements, you’re in for a treat over the next several weeks. We’ll also see the only instance of signed artwork in this series soon. Stay tuned!
A merciful lack of Gabby in these.
Gabby, like Willard Bowsky, was killed in action. Unlike Bowsky, Gabby never made it out of the recruiting office.
During that 1942-43 period, Fleischer/Famous cornered the market on action/adventure and action/comedy cartoons. And with a few exceptions, no funny animals. Humans ruled (although Superman is technically an alien and Popeye is, well, Popeye).
Aside from the “Hey, we snuck one past the Hays Office” title.”Kicking the Conga ‘Round” was really the first Paramount short that showed the studio had fully absorbed the Disney/West Coast style of timing and cutting.
The Tom Johnson, Al Eugster and Dave Tendlar units really took to the new freedom to speed up their Popeye cartoons, let alone what Jim Tyer would do when Famous handed him a unit a few months later. Which is why it was so sad to see what happens by the end of the 1940s, because unlike Terrytoons, it wasn’t that Paramount couldn’t do West Coast-style cartoons, but that they stopped trying to do them in favor of cheaper formulistic efforts.
Pardon me for being slow today, but what did you mean by sneaking one past the Hays Censors with Kickin’ the Conga ‘Round? I just can’t detect anything racy in the title.
It’s a play on “kicking the gong around”, which is slang for smoking opium.
From the lyrics of “Minnie the Moocher”: “He took her down to Chinatown. Showed her how to kick the gong around.”
Thanks, Mr Bickert. I never would have got that one.
The title went over my head when I first saw it as well. It was only in recent years that I learned what it was based on.
Don’t worry, John, you’re in good company. In 1932 the British crooner Al Bowlly covered Cab Calloway’s ‘Minnie the Moocher’, including a lot of Chinese talk and gongs in the performance, clearly thinking that Calloway was actually referring to gongs.