Thursday, 29 September 2016

A Deck of Sandwiches

Silent films were hardly a distant memory when the Fleischer studio started making Popeye cartoons. So maybe that’s why little bits of non-speaking business work their way into the studio’s shorts. I suspect a couple of decades later, they’d be deemed unnecessary and too expensive.

In “We Aim To Please” (1934), Bluto orders a half dozen sandwiches. Popeye passes the order onto Olive Oyl. She nods her head with her eyes closed like Stan Laurel, bangs her knife on the table, takes a one-eye aim and starts slicing. Is this the first time the shuffle-the-ingredients-like-cards gag was used in a cartoon?

Then she licks her finger twice before tossing the sandwiches to Popeye the Waiter Man.

Willard Bowsky and Dave Tendlar are the credited animators. I’ve always liked the theme song of this cartoon. There’s a nice little tune, With My Eyes Wide Open I’m Dreaming by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel, in the sequence just before, and while, Popeye makes Wimpy a burger. Whether Sammy Timberg did his own arrangements, I don’t know, but there’s a really good use of solo instruments, especially a violin, in the score of this cartoon.

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