Popeye (cartoon)

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I'm Popeye the Sailor Man! (TOOT!)
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man!
I'm strong to the finich,
Cause I eats me spinach,

I'm Popeye the Sailor Man!
—Part of the iconic Popeye theme song.

Originally a minor character in Elzie Segar's newspaper comic strip Thimble Theater, Popeye the Sailor quickly took over the series, edging out Ham Gravy as the principal suitor of Olive Oyl. He made his animation debut in a 1933 Betty Boop short produced by Fleischer Studios, and continued appearing in cartoons throughout the 1940s and 1950s, when Famous Studios produced the series, and even continued on into several made-for-tv cartoons. Despite his sailor moniker, Popeye rarely ventured out to sea, instead spending his days romancing Olive Oyl and competed with Bluto for her affections.

He starred in an impressive 231 theatrical cartoons during The Golden Age of Animation, lasting from 1933 to 1957, his most noteworthy short being the first of the three two-reeler, 20 minute long, full-color Technicolor specials: specifically, "Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor". This iconic short, being a precursor even to Disney's Snow White, was extremely popular and was even billed along with the feature of the theater, above the main feature of the theater that played it, or even billed as the main feature of the theater itself. While it failed to win an Oscar (losing to the now obscure Walt Disney Silly Symphonies short "The Country Cousin"), it is still considered to this day to be one of The 50 Greatest Cartoons ever made, influencing even filmmakers like Ray Harryhausen, especially on his film The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.

Television syndication packages of Popeye cartoons tend toward a mixture of theatrical shorts and the 1960s shorts produced by Al Brodax. In the late 1970s, Hanna-Barbera produced a new series of Popeye cartoons for CBS. This was followed by Popeye and Son in 1987.

The Movie, released in 1980 and starring a young Robin Williams in one of his first film roles, is a Cult Classic. Sony Pictures has made a deal to develop an All CGI Cartoon Popeye feature film.


Theatrical Cartoon Filmography[edit | hide | hide all]

1933[edit | hide]

  • Popeye the Sailor: Billed as a Betty Boop cartoon, but is really a Poorly-Disguised Pilot for the Popeye cartoons. Betty herself recieves barely a minute of screentime, with almost all of her animation recycled from "Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle". The series formula is established right out of the starting gate with this cartoon, with Bluto kidnapping Olive and Popeye having to chase him down and beat him into submission before Olive gets run over by a train.
  • I Yam What I Yam: The first solo Popeye short. Renamed "The Indian Fighter" in reissued prints. Wimpy makes his debut here.
  • Blow Me Down!
  • I Eats My Spinach
  • Seasin's Greetinks!
  • Wild Elephinks: First Bluto-less short.

1934[edit | hide]

  • Sock-a-Bye Baby: First Popeye short with neither Olive Oyl nor Bluto. Features Popeye caring for Betty Boop's baby brother.
  • Let's You and Him Fight
  • The Man on the Flying Trapeze: Sole animated appearance of Olive Oyl's mother, in the opening. Bluto does not appear here, although the eponymous man on the flying trapeze is an obvious stand-in for him.
  • Can You Take It?: A short that bears some similarities to Bimbo's Initiation.
  • Shoein' Hosses
  • Strong to the Finich
  • Shiver Me Timbers
  • Axe Me Another
  • A Dream Walking: Features the Bing Crosby song "Did You Ever See A Dream Walking?", flawlessly synchronized with the animation.
  • The Two Alarm Fire
  • The Dance Contest
  • We Aim To Please
  • Let's Sing With Popeye: A Screen Song short featuring a sing-along version of the Popeye song. Recycles footage from the very first Popeye short.

1935[edit | hide]

  • Beward of Barnacle Bill
  • Be Kind to Aminals: A bizarre short, if just because the Fleischers opted for a completely unsolicited change in voice, with Popeye's radio voice playing the role here (who sounds absolutely nothing like Popeye).
  • Pleased to Meet Cha!
  • The Hyp-Nut-Tist
  • Choose Your "Weppins"
  • For Better of Worser
  • Dizzy Divers
  • You Gotta Be A Football Hero
  • King of the Mardi Gras: First Popeye cartoon to have Jack Mercer voicing the character. First Popeye short to feature usage of the Fleischers 3-D setback.
  • Adventures of Popeye: A cheater short, recycling footage from "Popeye the Sailor", "Wild Elephinks" and "Axe Me Another". It is interesting for its Framing Device, with some brief Roger Rabbit Effect moments.
  • The Spinach Overture

1936[edit | hide]

  • Vim, Vigor and Vitaliky
  • A Clean Shaven Man
  • Brotherly Love
  • I-Ski Love-Ski You-Ski: Features usage of the 3-D setback.
  • Bridge Ahoy!
  • What-No Spinach?
  • I Wanna Be a Lifeguard
  • Let's Get Movin'
  • Never Kick a Woman
  • Popeye the Sailor with Little Swee'Pea
  • Hold the Wire
  • The Spinach Roadster
  • Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor: First color Popeye. One of The 50 Greatest Cartoons.
  • I'm in the Army Now

1937[edit | hide]

  • The Paneless Window Washer
  • Organ Grinder's Swing
  • My Artistical Temperature
  • Hospitaliky
  • The Twisker Pitcher
  • Morning, Noon and Nightclub
  • Lost and Foundry
  • I Never Changes My Altitude
  • I Likes Babies and Infinks
  • The Football Toucher Downer
  • Protek The Weakerist: Features usage of the 3-D setback.
  • Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves: Second Popeye color two-reeler. Runner-up on The 50 Greatest Cartoons.
  • Fowl Play

1938[edit | hide]

  • Let's Celebrake
  • Learn Polikeness
  • The House Builder-Uppper
  • Big Chief Ugh-A-Mugh-Ugh
  • I Yam Lovesick
  • Plumbing is a 'Pipe'
  • Popeye the Sailor with the Jeep
  • Bulldozing the Bull
  • Mutiny Ain't Nice
  • Goonland: First appearance of Poopdeck Pappy in the cartoons.
  • A Date to Skate: A short centered solely around Popeye and Olive Oyl.
  • Cops Is Always Right

1939[edit | hide]

  • Customers Wanted
  • Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp: The third of the Popeye color two-reelers.
  • Leave Well Enough A Lone
  • Wotta Nitemare: This short is a nightmarish throwback to the early days of Fleischer Studios, especially odd considering that they were pushing to imitate Disney during this time period
  • Ghosks is the Bunk
  • Hellow-How Am I?
  • It's the Natural Thing to Do
  • Never Sock a Baby

1940[edit | hide]

  • Shakespearean Spinach
  • Females is Fickle
  • Stealin' Ain't Honest
  • Me Feelins is Hurt
  • Onion Pacific
  • Wimmin is a Myskery
  • Nurse-Mates
  • Fightin' Pals
  • Doing Impossikible Stunts
  • Wimmin Hadn't Oughta Drive
  • Puttin' On the Act
  • Popeye Meets William Tell: The sole Popeye cartoon directed by Shamus Culhane.
  • My Pop, My Pop
  • Popeye the Sailor with Poopdeck Pappy
  • Popeye Presents Eugene the Jeep

1941[edit | hide]

  • Problem Pappy
  • Quiet! Pleeze
  • Olive's Sweepstakes Ticket
  • Flies Ain't Human
  • Popeye Meets Rip Van Winkle
  • Olive's Boithday Presink
  • Child Psykolojiky
  • Pest Pilot
  • I'll Never Crow Again
  • The Mighty Navy
  • Nix on Hypnotricks

1942[edit | hide]

  • Kickin' the Conga 'Round (there's a title that gets 'crap' past the radar..)
  • Blunder Below
  • Fleets of Stren'th
  • Pip-eye, Pup-eye, Poop-eye and Peep-eye
  • Olive Oyl and Water Don't Mix
  • Many Tanks
  • Baby Wants a Bottleship: The last of the Fleischer Popeye cartoons.
  • You're a Sap, Mr. Jap: The first of the Famous Studios Popeye cartoons.
  • Alona on the Sarong Seas
  • A Hull of a Mess
  • Scrap the Japs
  • Me Musical Nephews

1943[edit | hide]

  • Spinach fer Britain
  • Seein' Red, White n' Blue
  • Too Weak to Work
  • A Jolly Good Furlough
  • Ration for the Duration
  • The Hungry Goat
  • Happy Birthdaze
  • Wood-Peckin'
  • Cartoons Ain't Human: Last black and white Popeye cartoon.
  • Her Honor the Mare: The series permanently upgrades to color from here on out.
  • The Merry-Go-Round

1944[edit | hide]

  • Were on the way to Rio
  • The Anvil Chorus Girl: Remake of Shoein' Hooses
  • Spinach-Packin' Popeye
  • Puppet Love
  • Pitchin' Woo at the Zoo
  • Moving Aweigh
  • She-Sick Sailors

1945[edit | hide]

  • Pop-Pie a La Mode
  • Tops in the Big Top
  • Shape Ahoy
  • For Better or Nurse
  • Mess Production

1946[edit | hide]

  • House Tricks?
  • Service with a Guile
  • Klondike Casanova
  • Peep In the Deep
  • Rocket to Mars
  • Rodeo Romeo
  • The Fistic Mystic
  • The Island Fling

1947[edit | hide]

  • Abusement Park
  • I'll Be Skiing Ya
  • Popeye and the Pirates
  • The Royal-Four Flusher
  • Wotta Knight
  • Safari So Good
  • All's Fair at the Fair: No relation to the Color Classics short of the same name.

1948[edit | hide]

  • Olive Oyl For President
  • Wigwam Whoopee
  • Pre-Hysterical Man
  • Popeye Meets Hercules
  • A Wolf In Sheik's Clothing
  • Spinach vs. Hamburgers
  • Snow Place Like Home
  • Robin-Hood-Winked
  • Symphony in Spinach

1949[edit | hide]

  • Popeye's Premiere
  • Lumberjack and Jill
  • Hot Air Aces
  • A Balmy Swami
  • Tar with a Star
  • Silly Hillybilly
  • Barking Dogs Don't Fite
  • The Fly's Last Flight

1950[edit | hide]

  • How Green is My Spinach
  • Gym Jam
  • Beach Peach
  • Jitterbug Jive
  • Popeye Makes a Movie: Clip show episode that reuses footage from "Popeye Meets Ali Baba", with new animation and a Framing Device wrapped around it.
  • Baby Wants Spinach
  • Quick on the Vigor
  • Riot In Rhythm: Shot for Shot Remake of "Me Musical Nephews"
  • The Farmer and the Belle

1951[edit | hide]

  • Vacation with Play
  • Thrill of Fair
  • Alpine for You
  • Double Cross Country Race
  • Pilgrim Popeye
  • Let's Stalk Spinach
  • Punch and Judo

1952[edit | hide]

  • Popeye's Pappy
  • Lunch with a Punch
  • Swimmer Take All
  • Friend or Phony
  • Tots of Fun
  • Popalong Popeye
  • Shuteye Popeye
  • Big Bad Sindbad: Another stock footage episode, reusing animation from "Popeye Meets Sindbad" with a new Framing Device added.

1953[edit | hide]

  • Ancient Fistory
  • Child Sockology
  • Popeye's Mirthday
  • Toreadorable
  • Baby Wants a Battle
  • Fireman's Brawl
  • Popeye, the Ace of Space: A Popeye cartoon made in 3-D.
  • Shaving Muggs: Remake of A Clean Shaven Man.

1954[edit | hide]

  • Floor Flusher
  • Popeye's 20th Anniversary
  • Taxi-Turvy
  • Bride and Gloom
  • Greek Mirthology
  • Fright to the Finish
  • Private Eye Popeye
  • Gopher Spinach

1955[edit | hide]

  • Cookin' with Gags
  • Nurse to Meet Ya
  • Penny Antics
  • Beaus Will Be Beaus
  • Gift of Gag
  • Car-azy Drivers
  • Mister and Mistletoe
  • Cops is Tops
  • A Job for a Gob

1956[edit | hide]

  • Hill-billing and Cooing
  • Popeye for President
  • Out to Punch: Semi-remake of "Punch and Judo"
  • Assault and Flattery
  • Insect to Injurt
  • Parlez-Vous Woo
  • I Don't Scare
  • A Haul in One

1957[edit | hide]

  • Nearlyweds
  • The Crystal Brawl
  • Patriotic Popeye
  • Spree Lunch
  • Spooky Swabs: The last of the theatrical Popeye cartoons.

Tropes used in Popeye (cartoon) include:
  • Adaptation Distillation: The Fleischer Popeye's played up Popeye's strength much more, gave him his Reality Warping powers, his love of spinach, and made Bluto and his rivalry with Popeye much more prominent.
  • Adult Fear: "Lost and Foundry" had Swee'Pea wandering off into a dangerous factory. Although he ends up having to rescue Popeye and Olive Oyl instead of the other way around.
  • Affectionate Parody: Poopeye the Farmer Man, from The Bob Rivers Show.
  • Ambiguous Gender: So, is the Goon male or female? The original comics actually suggested female, but later strips implied male, possibly due to the lack of torso coverage in the character.
    • Elzie Segar named the original Goon "Alice". She worked for the Sea Hag under duress.
    • Both male and female Goons have been seen over the years, especially on Goon Island. Maybe the two sexes prefer to dwell apart.
  • Amusing Injuries: Notably, the injured are almost always humans who get beaten up in relatively realistic ways, even accounting for the usual comedic flattening. When talking about cartoon violence on the audio commentary track of the Futurama episode "A Tale of Two Santas", Matt Groening said, "But Popeye kills people."
  • An Aesop: The Aesop of the theatrical short "Be Kind To Animals" is...well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin. This lesson is repeated in the later short "Bulldozing The Bull".
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: In the 1970s Hanna-Barbera series.
  • And I Must Scream: The fate of Bluto at the end of "We Aim To Please", when Popeye transforms him into "A Lot of Bologna."
  • Animated Adaptation
  • April Fool's Plot: An episode focuses on Bluto playing pranks on Popeye during April 1.
  • Badly-Battered Babysitter: Tends to happen whenever Sweet Pea is involved.
  • Beam-O-War: Done with water from fire hoses in "The Two-Alarm Fire".
  • Big Eater: Wimpy, who loves hamburgers so much that he is often just incidental to the plot at hand, and only wants to eat.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Dinky Dog, from The All-New Popeye Hour.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Except in most of the Famous Studios shorts.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Bluto's six shooter in "Blow Me Down!" is capable of firing lots of bullets without reloading.
  • Brother Chuck: The entire Oyl family other than Olive (Castor, Cole and Nana), Ham Gravy, and all the rest of the original main characters from Thimble Theater, save Olive Oyl and Wimpy, became markedly less important when the comic strip was retooled around Popeye. Ham Gravy in particular disappeared for decades.
  • Bullet Seed: A favorite technique of Popeye's
  • Captain Ersatz: Superman fought (and befriended) a sailor named Captain Strong who resembled a realistic-looking Popeye and became superstrong from eating shaunta, an alien seaweed. Just to confirm the homage, he was revealed to have a girlfriend, Olivia, who resembled Olive.
    • In the story's sequel, Captain Strong, his girlfriend and a glutton friend (a Wimpy lookalike) invite Clark Kent and Lois Lane to a boat trip. When a disaster forces Clark to dive and use his powers to save the day, he quickly wraps canned spinach around himself and claims he got superpowers after he accidentally swallowed it, making Captain Strong believe it was the same seaweed that gave him powers in the previous story (and thus, explaining how mild-mannered Clark Kent could emulate Superman)
    • Unfortunately (for Clark Kent) some weird natural disasters kept attacking their boat and Captain Strong (truly believing he had a new cache of "Alien Seaweed") insisted on dealing with them all by himself in a completely over the top fashion (like for example, rowing a boat through the air) much like in Popeye's classic shorts. Of course, Clark Kent was secretly behind all of Strong's awesome feats but let the captain be the hero, thus keeping the seaweed charade intact. The story is way, way better (and funnier)than how it sounds.
    • Similarly, one of the early Popeye cartoons had Bluto disguising himself as Superman to try to woo Olive. (And since Popeye was a Fleischer cartoon, that episode borrowed the theme music from the Fleischer Superman cartoons of the era.)
  • Canned Heroic Resolve The infamous can of spinach
  • Canon Immigrant: Bluto was created in 1932 for a particular story in the comic strip, but quickly started to appear in the cartoons. So quickly, in fact, that the comic strip owners later forgot they had created him, and briefly replaced him with Brutus to hedge their bets. Later writers speculated that Bluto and Brutus were twins.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: Originally. With decade-upon-decade of comic strips, countless comic books, and hundreds of animated shorts shown in movie theaters and TV, not to mention the live-action movie, Popeye was one of the heavy hitters in his heyday, but has since become much less popular, aside from baby boomer nostalgia. The "Popeye's Fried Chicken" restaurant chain? Used to be Popeye's very own eatery, but not anymore.
    • Actually, the claim is that the chain is named for The French Connection's Popeye Doyle — but the sailor was used in the advertising for a while.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Hoo boy...first, we have a one eyed, balding, big chinned toothless sailor with bulging arms, super strength and reality warping powers, who is ignorant but noble and is a force of good who eats terrible tasting spinach to aid himself, his girlfriend is a walking pipe-cleaner who is very fickle and as a result keeps switching between Popeye and Bluto, depending on who has the advantage of the other, Bluto, a hulking bully we've all known and met in life, and Wimpy, a intelligent but extremely manipulative glutton who would sell out his friends for a hamburger (which he will surely not pay back on Tuesday) and has a obsession with burgers in general. Elzie Segar, the creator of Thimble Theater, invented dozens if not hundreds of unique characters. Even the "bit players" have unique appearances and personalities.
  • Catch Phrase
    • Popeye: The theme song above, as well as "Blow me down!" and "I yam what I yam!"
    • Olive Oyl: "Ohhhh deaaaar!"
      • Not to mention: "HEEEEEEEEELP!!!", "Unhand me, you brute!" (with variations), Don't you dare 'reproach' me!", "Oh, Popeye!", etc.
    • Wimpy: "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today," and (particularly in the comics) "I would gladly mow your lawn for you, if you had a lawn to mow!"
      • In one strip, Popeye was so frustrated with Wimpy that he bought a vacant lot just to force Wimpy to mow its grass.
      • Don't forget "I want you to come up to the house for a duck dinner. You bring the ducks." This is made fun of by Popeye in the Plunder Island storyline in the comics when Wimpy tries to cut Popeye's head off (long story) and complains when he ducks. Popeye replies, "Yeah, I'll furnish the ducks".
        • In one strip he actually has duck and the punch line is, "You bring the tartar sauce."
      • "Let's You and Him Fight."
  • Cereal-Induced Superpowers: In this infamous Quaker Oats commercial, Popeye chose oatmeal over spinach for super strength. The ad was quickly pulled when people (especially the nonviolent Quakers) complained.
    • In the mid-1930s radio series, it was Wheatena.
    • In one of the early strips, he has a temporary dearth of spinach so he temporarily partially replaces his strength boost with milk.
    • On the other hand, Popeye has been credited for saving the spinach industry in the 1930's by convincing more kids to eat it, invoking this trope without it being an official advertisement.
      • Crystal City, Texas, an agricultural town that was based around spinach growing, actually erected a statue of Popeye in the town square.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: In what is sure to surprise many people, Thimble Theater went from gag strip parodying vaudeville and overwrought film serials, to an adventure/comedy strip in the tradition of Roy Crane's Wash Tubbs, and was quite popular. Created in 1919, it had been running (mostly in Hearst papers) for ten years when Popeye showed up. His appearance only served to make it more successful.
  • Chaste Toons: Swee'Pea, who just appeared on a doorstep one day, and Pipeye, Peepeye, Pupeye and Poopeye, Popeye's quadruplet nephews, who dressed just like him and got into various misadventures alongside him.
    • It's not like Popeye had a choice. Just look at his girlfriend; Olive Oyl would have exploded if she tried to make a baby!
    • Olive Oyl was once shown with twin sons she'd had with Popeye, who were indistinguishable from Pipeye/Peepeye/Poopeye — but this was in a Dream Sequence. And her sons in the dream were so obnoxious that after she woke up she never wanted to see Popeye again.
    • "There's no ifs, ands or maybes, I'll never have babies, I'm Popeye the Sailor Man!"
    • Averted in Popeye & Son.
  • Christmas Episode: "Seasin's Greetinks!"
  • Clip Show: "Adventures of Popeye", "I'm In The Army Now" and "Customers Wanted"
  • Cock Fight: Whenever Olive Oyl shows up, Bluto and Popeye immediately start a competition to win her affections.
  • Commedia Dell Arte Troupe: The characters' roles never changed, but the shorts would shoehorn them into a wide variety of settings and personalities
  • Comedic Hero
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: The original black and white shorts weren't too bad about this, but the recolored versions from the 80's suffer terribly from it.
  • Construction Zone Calamity: The short "A Dream Walking" has Olive Oyl sleepwalk into a construction site, as Popeye and Bluto try to stop her from killing herself.
    • A Recycled Script short "Nix on Hypnotricks" has Olive wander into a construction site after being hypnotized.
    • And in "Mess Production" she does the same thing in a boiler factory.
    • In "Child Shockology", Popeye and Bluto chase an escaped Sweet Pea, who wanders into a construction site.
  • Cool Ship: Popeye's flying gunboat from "Ali Baba and His Forty Thieves."
  • Couldn't Find a Lighter: Popeye used a hot plate to light his pipe once.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Popeye's voice actor Jack Mercer had to briefly leave the studio to serve a tour of duty during WWII. In his absence, Mae Questel voiced Olive Oyl and Popeye, and nobody could tell the difference. Incredible.
  • Damsel in Distress: Olive Oyl
  • A Day at the Bizarro: The short It's the Natural Thing to Do, as well as the later Famous Studios short The Hungry Goat, which feels more like a Tex Avery cartoon with Popeye thrown in as an afterthought.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In the 1930s shorts, this was Popeye to a tee. It mostly came about due to his voice actor having to ad-lib many quips after the animation was done.
  • Deranged Animation: "Wotta Nite-Mare", which almost feels like a throwback to the earliest Fleischer cartoons like "Swing You Sinners" in terms of content.
  • Did You Die?: One old cartoon features Popeye telling his nephews about one of his adventures. At one point they ask, "Did you get killed?"
  • Diner Brawl: We Aim To Please and What - No Spinach?
  • Disproportionate Retribution: "Sock-A-Bye Baby" has Popeye beating up a bunch of people because they're making noise and he's afraid they'll wake a baby he's taking care of.
  • Door Step Baby: Swee'Pea joins the cast in this manner.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Popeye's classic twister punch demonstrates this.
  • Evil Counterpart: Bluto to Popeye, to a certain degree.
  • Executive Meddling: At the height of his popularity, Popeye developed a strong following among children. King Features Syndicate, as a result, force the character to be a better role model for kids. Poopdeck Pappy was soon created as an outlet for some of Popeye's old vices.
  • Expy: Brutus replacing Bluto (or Sindbad or whoever)
  • Extreme Omni Goat: The goat in question was an oddly Avery-esque Screwy Squirrel character who ended up eating the entire ship Popeye was on. A Non Sequitur Episode if there ever was one, since the character seemed as if it had stepped into the wrong cartoon series.
  • Finishing Move: The twister sock/punch.
  • Flexing Those Non-Biceps. Curiously averted, in that when Popeye has his spinach, they become huge, with objects inside like a battleship firing to show how powerful they are.
  • Friendly Enemy: Depending on the Writer, Popeye and Bluto often get along fine til they spot Olive Oyl, and even then, Popeye is often a very gracious winner. In one cartoon, after a fierce fight over treasure, Popeye gives half of it to Olive, and the other half to Bluto.
    • In that particular episode, Popeye gave Bluto his half because Popeye was living up to an agreement they'd made at the start of the episode, and even after Bluto had been a total Jerkass throughout the episode trying to steal all the treasure for himself. Though because of that, Popeye knocks both Bluto and his share of the treasure into the sea.
    • And, as an infamous Minute Maid commercial showed, once they've had their orange juice, they're downright affectionate.
    • Not to mention the entirety of the cartoon "Fightin Pals" is focused around Popeye going into Darkest Africa to find Bluto. And when he finds Bluto (surrounded by wine, woman and coconuts, no less) and faints, being on the verge of death after finding Bluto, Bluto and his girls rush over to him, Bluto telling them that their efforts won't work as he pulls out a can of spinach, from his own shirt, and gives it to Popeye. If that ain't a friendship, what is?
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: This clip from "Shuteye Popeye", which was sped up in the actual cartoon. It's apparently the voice of Seymour Kneitel, the director of these cartoons.
  • "Growing Muscles" Sequence: Every time Popeye eats his spinach, with images like cannons, warships, turbines etc. superimposed over his arm for extra imagery.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: From the third Popeye color special: "I've never made love in Technicolor before!"
  • I Am What I Am: What he says in his theme song. He's probably the Trope Codifier.
  • Image Song: Sort of. At the end of every short, Popeye sings some variation of the "Popeye the Sailor Man" song, depending on the situation or setting of that particular short, and always ending with the trademark "Toot, Toot!" whistle. For instance, in a short where Popeye is a sculptor and Bluto is a painter and the two fight over who gets to use Olive as a model, he sings, "A painting won't match you / it must be a statue / I'm Popeye the Sailor Man / Toot, toot!"
  • Informed Attractiveness: Olive Oyl is apparently ravishingly beautiful.
    • It's more apparent in the Famous Studios shorts, however.
    • As mentioned elsewhere, Olive was originally conceived as a flapper, which, in 2010, is a fashion now almost a century out of date, but in general the flapper ideal was, indeed, something like Olive Oyl: skinny as a rail, with as little of a figure as a girl can possibly manage, and sort of tomboyish of attitude. They tended to be party people.
  • It Runs in The Family: Poopdeck Pappy, Popeye's nephews, and Swee' Pea all behave just like Popeye, more or less.
    • Junior, from Popeye & Son metabolizes spinach no less than his famous father, although the boy hates the taste of it.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Bluto Abu Hassan when he's eating a large meal in his cave. Complete with improvised hamming, as he makes amusing chewing and gobbling noises as he devours his meal.
  • Just-So Story: Popeye's story of why the sea is salty from one of the 60's TV cartoons, played straight, then promptly lampshaded by Swee'Pea's response.
  • Kick the Dog: The short "Seasons Greetinks" literally has Bluto whipping a dog.
  • Kidnapping Bird of Prey: The Witch in the comics has a giant vulture who is able to lift up people and bring them to her.
  • Large Ham: Bluto, and any variation on him (Abu Hassan, Sindbad, etc.)
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Popeye in the The Shadow Strikes comic book (1), and probably others.
  • Last-Name Basis:: J. Wellington Wimpy
    • The Sea Hag often calls him Wellington.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Popeye's trademark line, "That's all I can stands, and I can't stands no more!"
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Trope Namer; one of Wimpy's early Catch Phrases
  • Live Action Adaptation: Released in 1980, with Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall
  • Love At First Punch: Played straight with Popeye and Olive in the original comics.
  • Love Triangle: Popeye, Olive and Bluto. Depending on the Writer Olive's feelings toward Bluto vary from hatred to lust, and she sometimes gets tired of Popeye. In some episodes Popeye really deserves better than her.
  • Lull Destruction: Popeye tends to mutter to himself under his breath when he's just ambling along without much of a goal in mind.
  • Made of Iron: Cripes, the things Popeye and Bluto have survived!
    • In the comics, this verges on Nigh Invulnerability — Mafia bosses will invite Popeye to sit at the table with them in a restaurant, because he makes for such a good bulletproof shield.
    • In the early Fleischer cartoons, too. He's thrown into an iron maiden ("Can You Take It?"), walks into a buzzsaw (ditto), is pounded by a pile-driver ("I Eats Me Spinach"), and is even shot in the back of the head ("Blow Me Down"), and he doesn't even flinch. And this is without spinach.
    • In fact, Popeye's indestructibility was his main "superpower" in the original comic strip, and spinach had nothing to do with it. In his initial adventure he was shot several times, and survived by repeatedly rubbing the head of an African whiffle hen—Castor had brought her along because rubbing her head brings good luck, and he was going to an island of gambling casinos. The whiffle hen is also indestructible, and although Segar never made this explicit, Popeye had apparently managed to permanently infuse himself with these qualities.
  • Mad Libs Theme Song: When singing his iconic tune at the end of an episode, Popeye frequently inserts episode-specific references in lines three and four.
  • Magical Native American: If one's definition of this trope is broad enough, the indians from the very early short "I Yam What I Yam" (AKA "The Indian Fighter") feature a tribe of hostile indians who are capable of shapeshifting into nearby foliage (and in one's case, a miniature house) in order to sneak up on Olive and Wimpy's cabin.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Wimpy
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover:
    • The 1972 TV special The Man Who Hated Laughter, which teamed up virtually every popular King Features Syndicate character, even those from strips of completely different genres and art styles.
    • He was also part of the Imaginationland defense force on that episode of South Park. ("More spinach for Popeye!" <poof!>)
  • Megaton Punch: Usually how he ends his spinach-boosted beatdown combos. Maybe the Falcon PAWNCH from Super Smash Bros. was based on this ultimate finisher?
  • Never Wake Up a Sleepwalker: Bluto and Popeye have to join forces to save Olive Oyl from herself in the short "A Dream Walking", especially once she wanders into a construction site.
  • No OSHA Compliance: True, Popeye predates OSHA by a long shot, and started back when A-list stars in the movies still did stunts without the benefit of a Stunt Double or safety nets, but you still wouldn't want to work in, say, a factory with Everything Trying to Kill You, right? Well, it's clearly nothing for the world's strongest sailor to worry about.
    • Or his nephews.
  • Not-So-Safe Harbor: Sweethaven, especially in the Live Action Adaptation.
  • Once an Episode: Popeye gets in a life-threatening situation, pulls out a can of spinach, and summons the strength necessary to save himself—and, probably, Olive. Occasional variations cropped up, such as Olive Oyl saving Popeye from a hillbilly giantess in Hill-Billing and Cooing, but even these variations nearly always involved the strategic use of spinach.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Scooner, generally called Swee'pea
    • In the live action movie, Swee'pea was the baby's name. This led to the following exchange:

Olive: Well I think "Swee'pea" is the worst name ever given to a baby!
Popeye: What would you have called him? "Baby Oyl"? I found him in Swee'haven and he's me Swee'pea.

  • Only One Name: Popeye, due to not having known his parents.
  • Overly Long Name: Again Swee'pea, who's full name is Scooner Seawell Georgia Washenting Christiffer Columbia Daniel Boom.
  • Panty Shot: A rare moment for Olive Oyl in "Abusement Park", when a rope (or seat belt) in the back seat of the roller coaster cart is tied to her ankle by Bluto and she's dangled, and dragged across the whole way. A frontal shot of her white unmentionables exposed to the audience occurs after a turn is made and just before she crashes into a tower.
    • Olive has another in "Popeye, The Ace Of Space." She's yanked out of the window bay of a suddenly propelled rocket ship and hanging outside the bay by her knees, stretched out. Her thigh-length pantaloons are in total view.
    • The first time we see Olive's unmentionables is in the very first Popeye cartoon simply titled "Popeye the Sailor" (which was billed as a Betty Boop cartoon) when Bluto lifts her into the air and she tries kicking him.
  • Pettanko: Olive Oyl
    • She did have noticeable breasts in two shorts (Can You Take It? and Shoein' Hosses, never mind the Robot Chicken parody); however she was Off-Model in them, so they don't count.
  • Pirate Girl: The Sea Hag (although she is definitely not a Buccaneer Babe).
  • Pocket Protector: In one episode, at the losing end of a fencing duel against Bluto, Popeye is saved from a finishing thrust by none other than a can of spinach hidden in his shirt.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: The Betty Boop short Popeye the Sailor, making this Older Than Television.
  • Power Incontinence: In at least two shorts ("For Better or Nurse" and "Beaus will be Beaus") Popeye force-feeds a can of spinach to Bluto, whose body uses its new super-strength to beat Popeye senseless despite Bluto legitimately not wanting to hurt Popeye. This casts a bit of a shadow over Popeye's use of spinach.
    • In "Seein' Red, White and Blue," Popeye administers spinach to both Bluto and himself so they can both open a can of whoopass on some Japanese agents who had gotten the best of them (as well as Hirohito and Hitler). Ends with Bluto joining the Navy, which he tried to avoid earlier in the cartoon.
  • Power-Up: He's strong to the finich 'cause he eats his spinach, remember?
  • Power-Up Food: Spinach, of course!
    • Hard to believe, but there was a time when Popeye didn't get his strength from spinach! Segar had him simply as a very tough sailor. He put the spinach business in later, but never with the inevitable focus that the cartoons had.
  • Punched Across the Room: And how. In one episode, a spinach-addled Popeye punched Bluto all the way to the moon.
  • Punny Name: Olive Oyl, and everyone from the original comic's cast
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Popeye may well be the Trope Maker in this case, as his cartoons are the earliest example of Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs anyone can find.
  • Reality Warper: Big time. Popeye has altered the forms of the things he's punched, punching tigers into leopard skin coats—that's right, tigers into leopard skin coats — as well as punching Indians into nickels, Bluto into bologna, a trapeze artist into a light fixture, and breaking the very film he was printed on at one point.
    • Not to mention punching a big Native American chief and turning him into GANDHI!
    • In one short, Popeye punched The Sun and changed day into night. Or killed the sun, depending who you ask.
  • Recycled in Space!: Especially with a lot of the later Famous Studios shorts.
  • Retool: The original comic strip changed drastically after Popeye's breakout popularity, dropping many regular characters.
  • Retraux: The Famous Studios short "Cartoons Ain't Human".
  • Scenery Porn: Had some very elaborate architecture backgrounds, all done in perfect perspective.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Spinach grants super strength to any character who consumes it, not just Popeye.
  • Series Continuity Error: In Baby Wants a Battle (1953), we see Popeye as a baby living in a contemporary town in The Gay Nineties with his formally dressed Pappy, via photographs. Even though Popeye was an orphan who was separated from his father for so many years that his own father didn't recognize him. Also, where did they get those photos in the first place?
    • And for that matter, why are they even in color?
      • Hand-coloring, especially of portraits, was very popular in the 1890's (and in fact persisted into the 1950's when Kodachrome became available).
    • This man may be the real father of Peepeye/Pipeye/Pupeye/Poopeye (and therefore cousin? uncle? of Popeye). He probably was looking out for the son of his lost relation Pappy.
  • Shallow Love Interest: Olive Oyl, sometimes. She's always fiercely devoted to Popeye, but her ability to be charmed by Bluto and how she acts when Popeye isn't around can change greatly depending on the short.
  • Signature Laugh: Popeye's "Ug-ug-ug-ugug!"
  • Slippery Swimsuit: In the short Alona of the Sarong Seas, this happens first to Olive, then to Popeye and Bluto.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Believe it or not, that's how Popeye and Olive started out. This was no Love At First Sight; they fought for weeks before they realized they loved each other. In fact, Olive's first words to Popeye were "Aww, shut up, you big bilge rat!"
  • Spin-Off: Popeye first appeared in animated form in the Betty Boop cartoon Popeye the Sailor (1933).
  • Spin Offspring: Popeye & Son.
  • Standard Snippet: Whenever "The Stars and Stripes Forever" cues up, it means Bluto's about to take a beating.
  • Story Arc: As mentioned above, the original comic strip began to use these.
  • Strawman Political: The short Olive Oyl for President presents Congress as a room full of arguing donkeys and elephants (Democrats and Republicans, respectively) — for every proposal that Olive presents, the donkeys say, "We accept it!" in unison, and the elephants scream, "We reject it!" in response. Political polarization is Older Than They Think.
    • It was a remake of Betty Boop for President (1932), complete with the "We accept it! We reject it!" from elephants and donkeys, and Oyl imitating politicians of the day.
      • I'm strong to the finish/ 'Cause I vote Kucinich!
  • Super Mode: Popeye's Spinach Mode counts as this.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Some animated cartoons feature Brutus instead of Bluto, perhaps under concern of copyright issues.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: Olive in Weight For Me.
  • Terrible Artist: In the short "Cartoons Ain't Human".
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Spinach and hamburgers for Popeye and Wimpy, respectively.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: "Popeye the Sailor Man" plays in the background of every "spinach strength" scene.
  • Three Shorts: In TV syndication packages. On the Boomerang network, there is a half-hour block consisting of four unedited shorts, and sometimes airs the early black-and-white Fleischer Studios shorts during Late Night Black and White.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: In "Abusement Park", Olive Oyl's face turns pale with petrification and panic when she and Bluto take a huge, long drop from the highest height of a roller coaster in the cart, and she screams on the way down it.
    • In "Lunch With A Punch", a young Bluto's (seen in a flashback of a story that Popeye tells his nephews about how spinach has aided in his super strength) face turns red with ire and his hair forms devil's horns, as he devises a way to get back at young Popeye for stealing young Olive Oyl away from him.
  • Unfortunate Names: Seriously, Poopeye!?
    • Another case of Have a Gay Old Time, as back then the word "poop" hadn't yet come to mean what it means today.
    • It's a nautical series; he's named after the poop deck.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Popeye's nephews. There are at least 2 shorts where they won't eat their spinache. Popeye is finally able to talk them into it. The nephews then use their newfound strenght to beat the ever-living CRAP out of their kindly uncle! They get away with it, too.
  • Verbal Tic
  • Villain Song: Sometimes the villains have one. For example, Sindbad and Abu Hassan have them in the colour features.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: Popeye and his friends were once trapped in a pit with the walls closing in. Desperately, Popeye throws his can of spinach to jam in the edge of the walls on top. The walls crush the can, causing the spinach to fall into Popeye's mouth. Now strong to the finish, Popeye easily forces the walls back and the gang escapes.
  • Wartime Cartoon: During World War II, Popeye (re)enlisted in the Navy and delivered all kinds of cartoon smackdown on stunningly racist depictions of the Japanese in the Pacific theatre.
  • Why Won't You Die?: A crook and conman shoots Popeye fifteen times, but he refuses to go down.
  • Wicked Witch: The Sea Hag, a cadaverous old woman who menaced ships and stalked Popeye. She was said to have "a face that sank a thousand ships." Her slave, Alice the Goon, was a terrifying figure who reportedly gave kids nightmares, until Segar revealed that Alice only worked for the Sea Hag because the Sea Hag was holding her baby hostage. Rescued by Popeye, Alice became Swee'Pea's babysitter. The Sea Hag had a crush on Wimpy, and among other things once made him grow to giant size.
  • Wild Take: Olive Oyl's eyes bulging out when she notices just how high she and Bluto are on the roller coaster as she looks down in "Abusement Park".
  • With Friends Like These...: Wimpy certainly qualifies.
  • Women Prefer Strong Men: A central trope throughout all of the cartoons, with Popeye and Bluto trying to perform greater feats of strength to impress Olive Oyl.
  • World's Strongest Man: Popeye
    • In one episode, Popeye dreamed he'd lost a boxing match by knockout, and that Olive Oyl dumped him because he was therefore now a "weakling." When he awoke, he ran over to Olive's house to prove himself, and lifted the entire house into the air. Without eating spinach first!
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Humorously subverted. While Popeye is too much of a gentleman to hit a woman, that doesn't prevent Olive Oyl from fighting a female villain for him. One notable incident had Popeye and Olive Oyl both consuming spinach at the same time to fight Bluto and the Sea Hag, respectively.
    • In another episode Bluto dresses as a woman specifically because he knows Popeye won't fight back, and proceeds to try to humiliate Popeye at the woman's gym he's working at by out-doing him and taking cheap shots at him. But once Popeye finds out it's Bluto and not a woman doing this to him, it's on.
    • Subverted by Popeye at the ends of "Wild Elephinks", "Shiver Me Timbers", "Brotherly Love", and "Ghosks Is The Bunk" though those were only accidents. The same goes in one early Sunday strip where Popeye was asleep and thought Olive was an enemy of his and slapped Olive in the "Clint Gore" story arc for saying bad things to him. Of course, that was before he was toned down in 1934.
    • Also subverted by Pappy in one strip.