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Olive Oyl and Popeye (1942, Kickin' the Conga Round)

Prod. and Airdates:


1933 - 1957, released theatrically

Fleischer/Famous Studios


1960 - 1962, syndicated

King Features Syndicate (various studios)

Theme Song: Popeye shorts



opeye began his animated career in much the same way he originated on the printed page - as a secondary character whose popularity pushed him into a lead role. He first appeared in the King Features newspaper strip, Thimble Theatre, in 1929. The strip was already ten years old by that time, but Popeye became the featured character shortly after he was written in. Similarly, a positive reception following his debut animated performance in the 1933 Betty Boop short Popeye The Sailor quickly lead to his own self-titled series of short theatrical films, beginning in 1933 with I Yam What I Yam.


Popeye was a middle-aged, workin' class sailor with thinning hair who smoked a corncob pipe. His demeanor was aptly exemplified in the titles of his film shorts, which were consistently formed of horrikibly misspelled words n' poor grammers. He dated Olive Oyl, a gangly and sometimes fickle girlfriend who made Popeye work for her affections. She was not above taking an interest in other men, at times even falling for Popeye's chronic nemesis Bluto, a large, brutish bully who fit perfectly into whatever role was required for the antagonist of the story. Popeye was a brave and self-assured sailor, but his struggles with Bluto, or whatever disaster he was facing, usually got the best of him until near the end of each film, when he ate from a can of spinach to gain a surge of strength. With his extra strength he was able to perform fantastic feats that allowed him to quickly and easily overcome his immediate problems or foe.



Several secondary characters (most being versions of characters taken from the newspaper strip) appeared from time to time throughout the series. Wimpy was a portly fellow who appeared in a variety of roles. One thing that never changed was his love of hamburgers, which he enjoyed to such a degree that he became distracted and absent-minded about everything else. Swee'Pea was an infant who was sometimes cared for by Olive Oyl (no real explanation was given in regards to their relationship). Because of his curiosity and restlessness, Swee'Pea was prone to wandering off and getting into hazardous circumstances that Popeye had to rescue him from. Occasionally Popeye also had to care for his own nephews - a set of four rambunctious and untiring quadruplets by the names of Peepeye, Poopeye, Pipeye and Pupeye. Popeye was sometimes helped by a magical, pet dog named Eugene The Jeep, who could appear and disappear at will. Depending on the cartoon, he also had abilities like phasing through solid objects or manipulating his tail into a useful shape. Poopdeck Pappy was Popeye's ninety-nine year old father, who caused Popeye endless consternation by living life to the fullest, assuming the behavior and engaging in the activities of a much younger man.


In 1941, with the United Stated edging closer to getting involved in the second World War, Popeye joined the U.S. Navy and - beginning in the short The Mighty Navy - was outfitted with a white Navy uniform in place of his original dark shirt and brimmed mariner cap. With a few exceptions, the new uniform remained Popeye's mode of dress throughout the TV cartoons of the 1960's.


Other than the three, 16 to 21 minute, two-reeler specials Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor (1936), Popeye Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves (1937), and Popeye Meets Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp (1939), Popeye shorts were made in black & white until color was introduced on a standard basis in 1943, beginning with the short Her Honor, the Mare. Popeye theatrical shorts continued to be made by Famous Studios/Paramount until 1957.


Owning the rights to the characters, King Features Syndicate commissioned a number of different studios to produce new Popeye cartoons for syndication beginning in 1960. These cartoons were made for television, but they continued in the tradition of the theatrical shorts, keeping the stories between five and six minutes in length. 220 cartoons were produced in two years, and to facilitate costs and speed production the animation was greatly simplified in comparison to the theatrical shorts. A majority of the same characters were used, but believing Paramount Pictures owned the rights to the Bluto character, a near duplicate was created for the KFS cartoons by the name of Brutus. There was very little difference between the two characters. The series remained in syndication from 1960-62.


Later Popeye series include The All New Popeye Hour (1978), The Popeye and Olive Comedy Show (1981), and Popeye and Son (1987).





William Costello (first few pictures)


Jack Mercer


Mae Questel (several pictures)

Olive Oyl

Mae Questel

Olive Oyl

Margie Hines (1938-43)


Gus Wickie (1933-38)


William Penell


Jackson Beck (1943-57)


Pinto Colvig


Jack Mercer


Allan Melvin


Jackson Beck


Opening Themes:


The opening theme for each Popeye short was re-recorded, based on a standard arrangement with slight variations. The standard arrangement itself was changed several times, although each of its variations sounded similar. The only opening themes that differed significantly from the standard were the very first Popeye short, I Yam What I Yam (1933), and the three Fleischer Studio color specials, Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor (1936), Popeye Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves (1937), and Popeye Meets Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp (1939).


As an example of the slight variations to the same arrangement, Pleased to Meet Cha! (1935), The Spinach Overture (1935) and Leave Well Enough Alone (1939) were all variations of the same standard arrangement. The following are examples of the different arrangements that were used throughout the series:


theme 1 (used from Blow Me Down, 1933 to Seasin's Greetinks, 1933)

theme 2 (used from Wild Elephinks, 1933 to Child Psykolojiky, 1941)

theme 3 (used from Pest Pilot, 1941 to Alona on the Sarong Seas, 1942)

theme 4 (used from A Hull of a Mess, 1942 to mid-? 1940's)

theme 5 (used from mid-? 1940's to 1957)

theme 6 (used for the King Features Syndicate cartoons from 1960-62)

theme 7 (replacement opening used by Associated Artists Productions)


Similar Shows:




















Olive Oyl and Popeye (1935, The "Hyp-Nut-Tist")
Popeye and Swee'Pea (King Features Syndicate 'The Golden Touch')
Brutus and Popeye (King Features Syndicate, 'Sea Serpent')
Popeye and Brutus (King Features Syndicate, 'The Medicine Man')
from 'The Super Duper Market' (King Features Syndicate)


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