Monday 1 October 2012

Fighting is Kosher

Popeye doesn’t just have Bluto to worry about in “I Eats My Spinach” (1933). It’s a bullfighting cartoon so after Popeye predictably chows down on spinach and dispatches the bad guy, he’s got a charging bull to worry about.

The bull is a train, with a steam-whistle sound and smoke coming from its horns.

One punch is all it takes (we are talking Popeye, after all) to deal with the bull. One drawing per frame.

And back down comes the bull. The punch has turned him into a meat market. Here are some of the drawings. You can see how the words “Dog Bones” develop from a scrawl.

And, of course, the meat indicates it is kosher. Early ‘30s cartoons on both coasts seemed to like to use kosher food gags.

The animation credits on screen go to Seymour Kneitel and Doc Crandall.


  1. This was also the first cartoon where Olive was voiced by Mae Questel, so Ms. Oyl sounds the way you expect her to sound. But the Knietel Unit was still a little wary of handling humans, since all the supporting characters here are the Fleischer 'funny/weird animals' they had been using in the Betty Boop series.

    (Also, as far as the Hebrew writing, it continued to show up now and then all the way to just prior the studio's demise in Miami -- At the end of 1941's "You Can't Shoe a Horsefly", the kind-of morbid end gag has Hunky swatting the group of flies to death, with the final scene a shot of a fly graveyard complete with headstones ... including at least one with Hebrew writing.)

    1. These earlier Popeyes make the character seem like he belongs in Betty Boop's world than the one that developed for him once they got the funny animals out of the way.

    2. It's interesting how the early Popeyes had human leads in a funny-animal world, since that's pretty much the reverse of what most cartoons would have by 1950.