Tag Archives: Olive Oyl

On the Loose

Directed by Hal Roach
Produced by Hal Roach
Starring Zasu Pitts & Thelma Todd
Distributed by MGM
Release date 1931
Country  United States
Language English

This is an interesting short film from 1931 that features a cameo appearance from Laurel & Hardy. Of course the real stars of the film are Zasu Pitts and Thelma Todd.

The other day I was reading about the untimely death of Todd and the rumours surrounding it. Rumour has it that the gangster Lucky Luciano murdered her because she vocally opposed him setting up am illegal casino. The official line is that she committed suicide, but police bungled the investigation completely.

The other star of the picture, Zasu Pitts is also interesting. In the silent era she was a dramatic actress but was relegated to comedy roles in the talky era due to her highly distinctive voice. In fact Mae Questal modelled her characterisation of Olive Oyl on Zasu Pitts, and in watching this film you can see the origins of that.

Overall the film is quite amusing in that 1930s way an interesting to watch.

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Popeye The Sailor Meets Sindbad The Sailor

Directed by Dave Fleischer
Produced by Max Fleischer
Voices by Jack Mercer (Popeye)
Mae Questel (Olive Oyl)
Gus Wickie (Bluto)
Music by Sammy Timberg, Sammy Lerner & Bob Rothberg
Animation by Willard Bowsky, George Germanetti, Edward Nolan & Orestes Calpini
Studio Fleischer Studios
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) November 27, 1936
Color process Technicolor
Running time 16 min (two reels)
Language English

Today I am going to do something a little different. Instead of watching a feature film I have watched a number of great short films. The first of those is this one from 1936, Popeye The Sailor Meets Sindbad The Sailor.

Now I know what you grown ups will be saying, cartoons are strictly for kids. That is simply rubbish. So many artists worked on this, so many drawings done, for this simply to be something to amuse children.

These Fleischer Popeye cartoons have become my favourites and it is easy to see why. Whilst they were never the best animated cartoons they do have a grittiness about them that is different to what the other studios, notably Disney, were doing.

I also love the 3D backgrounds that Fleischer used here and in their other cartoons too. This gave them a unique feeling as did the great ad-libbing between Jack Mercer, Mae Questel and Gus Wickie.

It is easy to forget how popular Popeye was and just how important short cartoons were on a film program. In the 1930s, 40s and 50s patrons would often go to the cinema just to see Popeye, Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny rather than the feature length film that the cartoons accompanied.