The Popeye color cartoons from the Famous/Paramount studio were always well animated – but the stories were largely ill-conceived and nauseatingly repetitious. Pick a setting and drop Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Bluto into it, and go on auto-pilot. Or, so it seemed.
But, on occasion, they resisted formula and produced something fun. “Private Eye Popeye” is such a short. And one not yet available on DVD.
Sure, he’s NOT A SAILOR (one of my main complaints) but the “Popeye/Olive/Bluto” triangle is absent and Jackson Beck’s “evil butler jewel thief” makes a good one-shot villain.
As a detective, Popeye apes the shtick of another popular animated character of the time – Tex Avery’s DROOPY – but we hardly mind, as this cartoon is a welcome break from formula.
One final, personal note… I’d never seen this cartoon in color before – as we got our first color TV set in 1968, and I’ve somehow managed to miss this cartoon on TV ever since. There’s a nice gag whenever the gem is exposed, that I’d never noticed until seeing this one online.
Enjoy Jack Mercer, Mae Questel, and Jackson Beck in “Private Eye Popeye”… Toot! Toot!