Thursday, April 18, 2024


Popeye Was Always Battling Bluto and Obsessing Over Olive Oyl.

November 8, 2023 by  
Filed under Cartoons, Gaming, GM, News, TV/Film/Movies

(AfroGamers.com) When I was younger, it wasn’t unusual to see spinach advertised by the cartoon character Popeye. The branding was “Allen’s Popeyes Spinach” and my mom got it all the time. Now, I was a big Popeye fan from watching the cartoons on what was then The Family Channel and I enjoyed the movie starring Robin Williams.

The Spinach Thing Was a Bit Much

What I didn’t enjoy was spinach. I hated the stuff and was annoyed about having to eat it but Popeye was beating folks up after squeezing a can with one hand and throating the spinach. He’d eat the green mushy stuff—these were 1930s or 1940s cartoons now—and his strength would increase. Now, given he could open a can by squeezing it if necessary, so I figure he should’ve been able to spank Bluto easily.

The spinach element smacked of promotion or advertising for Allen’s variety of spinach. To a degree it probably worked and had some kids eating the spinach. So, the promotion worked? I’m certain Allen’s didn’t expect kids around the world to get on board with it at all—but they definitely moved cans. Especially when you think of how kids will badger their parents into getting stuff from cartoons and shows because their favorite whatever endorsed it.

I will say that the cartoons mixed it up every now and then with Popeye opening cans with his pipe’s fire or Olive Oyl eating the spinach and beating up Popeye and/or Bluto. That was an unusual short where the two foes were pressed and found each other while Olive viewed the two as immature.

Popeye Was Always Battling Bluto and Obsessing Over Olive Oyl.

What Does Popeye Do?

Again, these cartoons were released in the 1930s and 1940s but the writing was generally mid. These shorts were meant to be quick watches and weren’t going to involve the deepest writing. Just enough was necessary to get Popeye to the point of fighting. While he may have had a variety of jobs depending on the short. The thing is that with today’s writing, the classic cartoon characters either have a job or are established within their universe as was the case in The Looney Tunes Show.

With Popeye, we knew he was a sailor man and had his own house in what appeared to be a good part of town. His land job always changed and sometimes he was still a sailor man. Who knows, maybe housing was more affordable during the peak of Popeye in cartoon and comics. His job is often mentioned as “adventurer” which makes sense if he’s getting treasure and the like.

It was always a mystery and as you know cartoon and video game mysteries will have me pondering for a while.

Battles with Bluto and Obsessing Over Olive Oyl

The crux of most Popeye shorts was he and Bluto’s obsession with Olive Oyl, a tall, gangly woman with an annoying voice. It was as if she was the only woman of note in the world of Popeye because they would start the short as the best of friends then start brawling over her. It was very ridiculous because Olive didn’t seem like anyone worth fighting over.

I mean honestly, there were times when she could be wishy-washy about which one she wanted. While she was often presented as Popeye’s girlfriend there were times when that was in jeopardy. This was even when Bluto—often presented as a bully and rival—was being a brute. Other times, the sailor man was risking brain, spine, and jaw trauma throwing fists with him to save her after she’d been kidnapped.

Now, it could be funny at times but as I got older, there were times when Popeye shorts just didn’t hold up because the situations just left me scratching my head. Again, this was an old cartoon for kids and adults that was shown in theaters—often before a film or as the feature. There’s just something about getting a cartoon was funny sometimes but it still using the same formula.

Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies could get away with this because it always had bangers. The Wonderful World of Disney, Hanna-Barbera, Universal Studios—those studios’ shorts could repeat the same gags and have it work. For some reason Fleischer Studios couldn’t really get that down with Popeye or Betty Boop. Ultimately, you had to really be a Popeye fan for the characters’ adventures and misadventures to really tickle.

This wasn’t like dropping in on an episode of Tom & Jerry and just enjoying the constant cartoon violence. No, you had to be pretty invested in Popeye winning in the end regardless of the situation.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.


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