BB Cartoon Circus: The Fleischers and Popeye

Popeye in Goonland (Fleischer/1938)

Max Fleischer and his brother Dave Fleischer have really been given short shrift in animation histories. No cartoons of the 1920s and 30s are more imaginative, and they pioneered many technical advances in animation as well- timing to a musical beat, the rotoscope and three dimensional backgrounds. The Fleischers' Bouncing Ball, Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons were hugely popular and reflected the ethnic diversity and toughness of the streets of New York. But the Fleischers turned their back on all that in a vain attempt to imitate Disney. It ended up being their downfall. Read more about the Fleischer Popeye cartoons after the jump…

Today, when we think of popular cartoon characters of the mid-1930s, we automatically think of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. But the Disney cartoons were eclipsed in popularity at their very peak by a one eyed sailor from the comic pages. Created in 1929 by E. C. Segar, the Popeye of the comic strip bore only a passing resemblance to the Popeye of the animated cartoons. The combination of the creativity of Segar and the Fleischers is what made the Popeye cartoons so great.

The Fleischer Popeye series is the most consistent of all golden age cartoon studios when it comes to sheer entertainment. Every one of the Fleischer Popeye cartoons has been released on DVD. If you love animation, you shouldn't be without these disks… Popeye the Sailor 1933-1938 / Popeye the Sailor 1938-1940