Popeye, Swee’pea, and Poopdeck Pappy in CHILD PSYKOLOJIKY: Paging Dr. Spock!

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(Yesterday was the 73th anniversary of the release of the Fleischer Bros.’ 97th Popeye cartoon Child Psykolojiky, and the final such cartoon to feature the ship-door opening credits. WARNING: Spoilers ahead!)

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The story: Popeye and his Pappy are babysitting Swee’Pea, who is up to his usual shenanigans. Pappy wants to give the baby a good thrashing, but Popeye recommends a gentler, diversionary approach to discipline. Unfortunately, neither method is very effective.

This is another of those Popeye cartoons that got by in a less politically correct era, but today it comes off more cringe-worthy than funny. Popeye tells Swee’Pea the story of “George Wash-Lincoln” and how George confessed when he was caught chopping down a cherry tree. Swee’Pea gets about half the point; he chops a hole in the floor and lets Pappy fall through it, and when Swee’Pea confesses to the misdeed, Popeye goes out to buy him a toy as a reward for confessing to the wrongdoing. (Uh, yeah.)

On the other hand, it’s also not a good idea to leave a baby alone with Pappy, who dangles Swee’Pea out of his apartment window and tries to teach him to shoot a gun, all so that he’ll be less of a sissy. Then when Pappy practically blows the place up with his gun, he tries to pin the rap on Swee’Pea upon Popeye’s return.

Wherever Olive Oyl is, text-message her and get her home, real fast.

On a rating scale of 1 to 4 spinach cans, I give this cartoon: CanCanCanHalf

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