One of the biggest animated stars in American history returns to prominence in a specially remastered Blu-ray & DVD presentation with the Warner Archive Collection (WAC) release of Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1, a 14-cartoon set that includes many shorts unseen in their original form for more than 60 years. In stunning 1080p high definition created from 4K scans of the original nitrate Technicolor negatives, and never before officially released for home entertainment, the single-disc Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1 will be available December 11, 2018 through wb.com/warnerarchive and your favorite online retailer.
Produced especially for the adult animation collector, Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1 features the first two Technicolor® seasons of Popeye’s animated theatrical shorts (1943-44 and 1944-45) produced by Famous Studios, Paramount’s revered New York-based cartoon studio.
Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1, the first authorized Blu-ray release of the color cartoons, covers their initial theatrical release – starting with “Her Honor The Mare” (originally released on November 26, 1943) and extending through the 1945 cartoon, “Mess Production.” Each of the 14 cartoons has been meticulously restored from the original 35mm nitrate Technicolor negatives, which have been scanned at 4K as part of Warner Bros. ongoing film preservation efforts. From these new recombined scans, Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging department has created new masters under the direction of Warner Archive Collection for this Blu-ray and DVD release.
Popeye, who will celebrate his 90th anniversary in 2019, made his debut on January 17, 1929 in the comic strip “The Thimble Theater,” created by cartoonist E.C. Segar. Loved by fans from around the globe as the tough, spinach-loving sailor man who always stands up for the underdog, Popeye is one of the world’s most recognizable pop culture icons who has maintained a loyal following for decades.
“This is a landmark moment in Warner Bros. providing animation enthusiasts with the ability to own treasured animated classics from our library with the best possible quality, aimed directly at the adult animation collectors,” says George Feltenstein, Senior Vice President, Theatrical Catalog, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. “Popeye is a beloved character whose popularity has endured for 90 years – starting as a comic strip, continuing as a headliner in motion pictures for almost 25 years, and cherished for decades on television. Warner Bros. has been pleased to bring earlier incarnations, including the renowned Fleischer cartoons, to DVD, and now we continue to cater to animation superfans with this first installment of Famous Studios cartoons.”
As part of Warner Bros. decades-long corporate film preservation program, the restoration process on these Popeye cartoons has been meticulous in its mission to address any and all film damage while preserving the original animated frame. Dirt, debris and any film damage has been repaired from the original sources, most of which have not been touched in over 70 years. Warner Archive Collection has ensured great care was taken to keep the animation authentic to its original look as first presented on movie theater screens in the 1940s. The entire Popeye library is currently undergoing this process.
“Popeye is one of the all-time great cartoon characters, but he hadn’t gotten a fair shake in the world of home entertainment until Warner released all of his black & white shorts,” said Leonard Maltin, animation historian, and author of Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons. “What came next? The first Technicolor Popeye cartoons were also the last ones made under the aegis of the Fleischer Brothers, Max and Dave. Animation aficionados should welcome the opportunity to see these long-forgotten cartoons in such pristine condition, taken from the original 35mm negatives.”
“This is the first time anyone has gone back to the master nitrate negatives to ensure a crisper picture and vivid colors – nor have these films ever sounded so good,” said respected animation historian and author Jerry Beck. “The animators at this time, during the war years, were allowed to push the Popeye character forward, creating particularly zany plot lines and funny situations beyond the classic Popeye/Bluto rivalry for Olive Oyl. I’m particularly tickled over the cartoon where Bluto becomes a pseudo-Superman (courtesy of a licensed tie-in with DC Comics) and another where Popeye and Bluto romance Olive as marionette puppets. This was the ‘Golden Age’ of animation – and these are particularly strong cartoons that have been long in demand by animation buffs.”
In addition, all cartoons in Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1 are complete and uncut as they were originally seen on movie screens, and retain their original titles (which were removed for television exhibition in the 1950s).
The 1940s brought new sights and sounds to America’s favorite cartoon star. In Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1, regulars Olive Oyl and Bluto return, while Popeye resumes his riotous relationship with his shipmate Shorty and his naughty nephews Pipeye, Poopeye, Peepeye and Pupeye. With the addition of full color, cartoonists were now free to let loose with journeys to exotic lands and give Popeye a fresh stock of new friends and foes.
But it’s the eternal love triangle, Popeye and Bluto competing for the attention of Olive, that drives the majority of these zany situations – as well as the hilarious action-packed gags. Whether our heroes are posing as circus acrobats or puppeteers or even taking turns at being Superman, these gems from the Golden Age of Hollywood will blow you down with laughter.
Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1 includes:
- Her Honor The Mare
- The Marry-Go-Round
- We’re On Our Way To Rio
- The Anvil Chorus Girl
- Spinach Packin’ Popeye
- Puppet Love
- Pitchin’ Woo At The Zoo
- Moving Aweigh
- She-Sick Sailors
- Pop-Pie A La Mode
- Tops In The Big Top
- Shape Ahoy
- For Better Or Nurse
- Mess Production
In anticipation of Popeye’s 90th anniversary year, brand owner King Features Syndicate, a unit of Hearst, unveiled a full slate of new content, exciting merchandise and events for 2019, including dozens of international and domestic partners that will support the salty sailor at retail across all major categories, including apparel, accessories, collectibles, health and nutrition, and publishing.
“We are thrilled to include Warner Bros.’ release of Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1 in the rollout of consumer products that will be available to fans during Popeye’s anniversary year,” says Carla Silva, VP and GM, Global Head of Licensing for King Features. “For millions of fans, the long-awaited experience of viewing this content for the first time in their own homes is priceless.”