(It’s Saturday morning, kiddies! And today is the 74th anniversary of the release of Fightin’ Pals, the 83rd entry in the Fleischer Bros.’ Popeye cartoon series, and the final Popeye cartoon to feature the voice of Pinto Colvig as Bluto. WARNING: Spoilers ahead!)
The story: Popeye sees off “Dr. Bluto’s African Expedition.” (Doctor Bluto?? Correspondence degree, I presume?) By way of wishing each other well, Bluto and Popeye knock each other in the stomach a few times rather than just shaking hands.
Popeye goes through months of Bluto-withdrawal (Geez, couldn’t he just beat up on Wimpy for all those stolen hamburgers?) before hearing that Bluto is lost in Africa. Popeye vows to find Bluto — a process that apparently consists of riding in a boat barely bigger than the one in your kid’s bathtub, hitting the shores of Africa, and immediately yelling, “Doctor BLUTO!!” until he gets a response.
Popeye domesticates about half of darkest Africa before stumbling onto Bluto, who is happily being catered to by some native women. Popeye collapses from exhaustion, and Bluto knows the only cure: He pulls some spinach out of his own pocket (who knew?) and revives his pal. Bluto makes sure Popeye is in maximum shape before they get to beating on each other to make Popeye feel better.
A very clever twist on the familiar “mirthology,” including some great spot-gags of Popeye turning jungle animals into house pets.