Friday, 25 January 2013

Popeye Killed Harpo

In “Sock-a-bye Baby,” Popeye tries to keep New York City quiet so the baby in the pram he’s taking care of can sleep. The topper is none of the loud city noises (cars, construction, a ship’s horn) will wake the child but the drop of a pin will.

The gags are really good and the violence is funny. Oh, and there’s a celebrity caricature. Popeye kills him with one punch.

Harpo develops a halo and he and his harp ascend to wherever Jewish vaudeville harp players go in the afterlife.

The best gag is an old one. Felix the Cat used to travel through radio wires in silent cartoons in the ‘20s. Here, the force of Popeye’s punch travels through a radio outside a store, and all the way into a city in the distance where it comes through the microphone and knocks out the singer, who’s belting out a version of Johnny Green’s “Out of Nowhere.”

Sammy Timberg has a nice violin arrangement of In “Rock-a-bye Baby” over the credits. Seymour Kneitel and Doc Crandall get the animation credit.


  1. I seldom ever comment on the blogs I frequent every day--but I must say this 61 year old animation fan/nut really enjoys your postings! Keep up the good work.

  2. It's interesting to watch the early Popeyes to see that the Seymour Kneitel unit got the comedy aspects of the character first, while the Willard Bowsky unit was the first to really get the animation design of the main characters down -- i.e., the sailor's funnier in Kneitel's cartoons, but he looks and moves better (as do Olive and especially Bluto) in Bowsky's shorts and the ones by Dave Tendlar, when he got his own full-time unit.