Thursday, December 25, 2008

Was Popeye the Sailor Man a Farrier, too ? Vintage Popeye Horseshoeing Cartoons

(Sorry, you may have to watch an ad before the Popeye cartoon.)
If the video does not play, click here:

So you think woman farriers are something new? How about Olive Oyl for a role model?

The first cartoon posted here for your enjoyment, Shoein' Horses, has a great introduction song and was made in 1934.

It was the prelude to a remake, Anvil Chorus Girl, created in 1944. This is one of the first Popeye animated short films to be created in color, and it is the first with Mae Questal as the voice of Olive Oyl and Jackson Beck as the voice of Bluto.

Popeye's cartoons made during World War II were quite controversial, and some were even banned and have only recently become available for study by cultural historians.

The second cartoon,  As you will see, Anvil Chorus Girl has overt war-related themes. Some sources call it a propaganda film.

What does a sailor man know about running a shoeing shop? Popeye's willing to do whatever it takes to impress the lady blacksmith in these theater-length cartoons from the early days of animation.

In these cartoons, you will see that the animators spent some time in a forge to get the details down.

The opening shot of "Anvil Chorus Girl" shows a sign reading "no coupons needed", referring to coupons used to pay for services during the war. Notice the fabulous horse-shoe shaped doorway to Olive Oyl's shop! And the sharp ice calks that Bluto heaves into a shoe.

If this video does not play, click here to watch it:

You may also notice that Popeye's clothes change between 1934 and 1944. That is because Popeye went to war in 1941 and, after that, was always shown in military sailor "whites" rather the multi-colored civilian clothes you see in the 1934 version. That's one way to tell how old the Popeye cartoons you are watching are.

Enjoy these vintage cartoons, share them with the kids in your life, or just scroll on to some other news. I know that some people are like me and will enjoy the details and have a laugh, especially at the way that, in spite of all her trials, Olive Oyl always comes out on top at the end.

These examples of rare vintage Popeye, an American icon from all our childhoods, still make me laugh. How about you?

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. Popeye cartoons are property of the current license holders.