Popeye the Sailor Man

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Post by Kurtis » August 6th, 2007, 1:53 am

I was at the best buy in Bellingham, Washington today and they still had three or four of the tins. It looks nice but it takes up more room on my shelf and all the paint will get scratched off in no time.

I am peeved that the price is so steep. I may not be able to get this set for a little while.

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Post by GeorgeC » August 6th, 2007, 9:43 pm

Kurtis wrote:
I am peeved that the price is so steep. I may not be able to get this set for a little while.



Oh, boy...

Should we tell him how expensive most anime is compared to most American animation, Droo?

You break down the costs of any of these collector's sets of classic Hollywood animation by disc I can almost guarantee they are at least 30-40% cheaper than the average anime DVD at Best Buy!

Granted, I'd rather spend $20 on one DVD versus $48 for a four-disc set in one shot but simple math's going to show I'm getting a better deal on the set.

It's also always cheaper to buy sets and new releases the week they're released at Best Buy. They almost always jack up the prices back to MSRP on new single DVD and DVD set releases unless it's a Disney film. The Disney films they may only jack up to the regular price of $19.99 from the $15.99 debut week special.

Best Buy has always pulled those sales special gimmicks for as long as I can remember. Granted, the box sets will eventually go down in price after a few years, but by then the only place you'll be able to get them is online if they're even stilll in print or widely available.

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Post by droosan » August 7th, 2007, 5:23 am

With Popeye in particular, the price is a result of the 'economy of scale' .. Warner Bros. hasn't manufactured nearly as many copies of this Popeye collection as they would've for a more 'modern' cartoon DVD release. Thus, the 'per-unit' cost is greater.

Moreover, WB isn't likely to go to a 'second printing' for this set .. once the copies which are 'out there' have sold, that's probably 'it'. So it may not be a good idea to wait. :?

As much as fans of Popeye (and 'classic' cartoon fans in general) may wish otherwise, the reality is: the 'audience' for these cartoons is limited .. both because of their age/obscurity, and the fact they are in black-and-white (we should all thank our lucky Paramount stars that WB resisted the temptation to release 'colorized' versions of these cartoons).

---------------------

And yes, anime prices can be pretty 'steep' on a per-minute/per-episode basis (and often much more-so in Japan, than the U.S.) .. there again, suppliers are dealing with a 'niche' market (or a 'niche within a niche' when it comes to portions of the U.S. anime fandom). :wink:

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Post by Kurtis » August 7th, 2007, 2:03 pm

Yeah, you're both right. Popeye is a niche market. But the Looney Tunes collections are way more popular (IMO). Why are they the same price?

Anime is a whole other ball game.

My rule of thumb is ten bucks a disc. If it is a six disc set I feel that $60 is a reasonable price. So $60 for four discs is a little much.

I caved and spend the $60 for Looney Tunes every year and since Popeye is the same manufacturer I am not really surprised to see this price here too.

I caved and bought the Popeye set yeaterday too. Got it in the collector tin too. It's awesome. The set is really sharp, cartoons are great and the docs are interesting (although they tend to repeat themselves a lot). I've only watched the first disc so far but I am really happy with this set.

Does anyone know how many volumes are planned for this series? The rest of the Fleishers could be collected in one more volume. Will they move on to the Famous, APP and UKF shorts?

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Post by Ben » August 7th, 2007, 2:41 pm

Looney Tunes, I would wager, don't shift many more than the Popeyes will, hence why they put out that mass-"Spotlight Collection" for the kids.

They're still a great deal when you factor in these are not <I>just</I> catalog titles: they all need to be restored, re-transferred, and we get a great mixture of both vintage and new extras, so we're all paying a little towards those costs too, remember.

With Popeye, another disc could have finished off the Fleischers in this first set...I'm a bit miffed they didn't drop some of the supplements and add a year for the 1933-1939 Collection which would have included the last remaining color two-reeler, Aladdin.

As such, we'll be into the Famous cartoons pretty quick with a Volume 2, though I hope, <I>hope, HOPE</I> for Dave Fleischer's 1946 Popeye feature to be included there.

APP were a distributor, not a producer of the cartoons, so there are no "AAP shorts". They continued with Paramount/Famous before running out in the late 1940s. Popeye came back in the 1950s TV cartoons by King Features (what I'm assuming your UKF was, though it should be KFS) and then again in the later Hanna Barbera television shows.

I think I'll be done with Popeye after Volume 2. They'll be into the Famous cartoons by then, and a sampling of those is all that's needed. Once they get into the TV cartoons, which I've already resisted in the previous 75th Anniversary box set, there's not really much going for them, and I can make do without adding the HB Popeye shows to the growing pile of TV material I'll never likely get around to watching again...!

So, Popeye Volumes 1 & 2 should do the trick for most of us! :)

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Post by Kurtis » August 7th, 2007, 2:50 pm

Yeah, another volume would be fine for me too.

I'm sort of embarrassed of my Popeye knowledge. (The APP and UKF mistakes) Oops. I have a lot to learn.

The KFS shorts are terrible. I could do without those too. But I just want to know how thorough this series will be. I'd imagine they will stop after the Famous shorts.

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Post by Ben » August 7th, 2007, 3:17 pm

Sorry, I misunderstood your question...

The plan, as far as I am aware, is to go the whole hog on these "official" Popeye releases.

So a second volume would finish Fleischer (they went on until 1942) and get into Famous, which could potentially fill up a third and fourth too. The KFS cartoons would make up a fifth, therefore discounting the Koch release, while possibly including any of the interim cartoons before Hanna-Barbera started. Naturally, since WB also own the HB library, the sets would continiue way into those incarnations, "The All New Popeye Show", "Popeye And Son", etc...

In theory, allowing for extras space, this could run seven, eight or more sets.

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Post by Kurtis » August 7th, 2007, 4:25 pm

Wow.

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Post by GeorgeC » August 7th, 2007, 9:12 pm

Ben wrote:Sorry, I misunderstood your question...

The plan, as far as I am aware, is to go the whole hog on these "official" Popeye releases.

So a second volume would finish Fleischer (they went on until 1942) and get into Famous, which could potentially fill up a third and fourth too. The KFS cartoons would make up a fifth, therefore discounting the Koch release, while possibly including any of the interim cartoons before Hanna-Barbera started. Naturally, since WB also own the HB library, the sets would continiue way into those incarnations, "The All New Popeye Show", "Popeye And Son", etc...

In theory, allowing for extras space, this could run seven, eight or more sets.

I'm stopping at the Famous era.

There's just no good Popeye after the first couple of years of color theatrical shorts.

Still like the Fleischer B & W shorts the best, though.

My two Popeye maquettes (Electric Tiki, color and B &W Fleischer variants) attest to that fact!





P.S. -- What is that 1946 Popeye feature that you speak of, Ben?

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Post by Ben » August 8th, 2007, 9:02 am

GeorgeC wrote:What is that 1946 Popeye feature that you speak of, Ben?
I can't seem to find reference ANYwhere else about it, but in a book I own that lists every animated feature release up until around 1975, it is clearly stated that Dave Fleischer directed a 52 minute Popeye "feature" that pitted him against Sinbad The Sailor.

Though I can't find anything about it anywhere else, the book specifies the length at 52 minutes, meaning that SOMEwhere SOMEthing exists along these lines, or has been shown at somepoint, while it also makes a point of saying that this production should NOT be confused with the earlier color two reeler.

It seems to be an obscure curio, but it would have come right at the end of Dave's directing career (the book says Max was not involved) which makes it right time-wise, and there's enough here to suggest it is a real deal.

I'll get the name of the book when I get home...it was by John Halas, I think.

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Post by ShyViolet » August 14th, 2007, 12:26 pm

Cartoon Brew references an older Popeye commercial:

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/cartoon-cult ... s-material
Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?

I think so, Brain, but if we didn’t have ears, wouldn’t we sort of look like weasels?

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Post by Randall » August 15th, 2007, 3:16 am

Here's my review of the DVD set:
http://animated-views.com/2007/popeye-t ... olume-one/

No surprise: I loved it!!!

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Post by Ben » August 19th, 2007, 11:49 am

GREAT review Rand! :)

I've been away this week and the set turned up...I really REALLY want to just spend a day going through it but have notes to write up from my (working) trip. Darn it...I'm actually more interested to see the quality and can't wait to look at the extras in particular, since I have all these toons on off-air VHS tapings from the AAP prints. I can't say they were great, but they were by no means bad at all, so I'm hoping for some good looking images (better than those in the trailers hopefully) and your screenshots look fantastic!


<B>The "missing" Popeye feature...</B>

As promised above, I looked and found that book: it's simply called "FULL LENGTH ANIMATED FEATURE FILMS", by Bruno Edera, edited by John Halas, published by Focal Press on 10 March 1977. Yes, the same John Halas, and the same Focal Press.

It's actually specified in the dust jacket as "the first book ever written on the subject of animated feature films", beating Jerry Beck by a good few years! In two parts, the first half is a five-year research project by the author to describe the evolution of the animated feature medium worldwide, covering each country and its history. It's a fantastic book, and the second half is a complete rundown of the 200 or so features to have been made up until that point (1974).

In the first half, we obviously cover Disney and it then moves on to other American animators. It says this about Dave Fleischer (on page 39):
Dave Fleischer had separated from his brother Max in 1941 after the closing of their Miami studios (where there was a serious strike in 1937), and he left for New York. In spite of the limited success enjoyed by his two previous feature films [<I>Gulliver</I> and <I>Hoppity</I>], Dave started on a new one with Popeye as the main character. <I>Sinbad The Sailor</I> came out in 1946 and was a comparative failure. This seemed confirmation of a situation in which no American would dare try his luck, although there were many large studios in operation at the time. Because of this feeling that Walt Disney was too strong a competitor, and that his distribution system was too well organised, more than ten years lapsed before a new non-Disney full-length animated cartoon appeared.
Later, in the catalog section, on page 164 the film is described:
Title: <I>SINBAD THE SAILOR</I>
Year: 1946
Country: USA
Running Time: 50 mins
Medium: Animated cartoon/color
Director: Dave Fleischer

Method: This production makes excellent use of three dimensional illusion by utilising the different panning capabilities of the rostrum camera. The foreground moves more slowly than the background, and the relation between various planes give the illusion of depth.

Subject: The film uses the character of Popeye as Sinbad in an Arabian nights adventure.

Now...tell me THAT isn't intriguing!

Everything else about this book is spot on, so it would be a glaring error if this did not exist or had been mistaken for the earlier two-reeler, but there's enough there to suggest this <I>is</I> an odd curio and its own film.

:?:

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Post by Randall » August 19th, 2007, 4:50 pm

Sounds fishy to me. Who put it out, if Paramount held the Popeye rights? I'm pretty sure it's an error.

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Post by GeorgeC » August 19th, 2007, 6:57 pm

Randall wrote:Sounds fishy to me. Who put it out, if Paramount held the Popeye rights? I'm pretty sure it's an error.


Yeah, I've never heard about this film, either.

It would have been on TV at some point in the past. Popeye was really popular until the animated shorts were yanked off mainstream (non-cable) TV in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

There was no way with all the reading and TV-viewing I've done that I wouldn't have run across a "194 Popeye" feature until today. I've read most of the cartoon histories of the past 20 years and I've never come across a Popeye feature other than the live-action Robert Altman movie.

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