THE JEEP (1938) – Can I have a dog instead?

Jeep

Twice, baby Swee’Pea crawls right out of Olive Oyl’s apartment window (several stories above ground) and dangles from a clothesline before Olive comes to his rescue and lectures him. Nothing like tough love. Ever thought about closing the window, Olive?

Popeye visits Olive and offers a “Jeep” to play with Swee’Pea. Popeye offhandedly describes him as “a magical dog that can disappear and things” — just the type of creature to give to a baby who suffers from attention deficit.

Turns out the baby’s gone again anyway. Popeye offers the Jeep an orchid to eat (yum-o!) if he’ll find Swee’Pea. The Jeep leads Popeye on an extravagant chase across rooftops in his search of Swee’Pea.

This cartoon seems strangely surreal — people are surprisingly nonchalant about an animal who can levitate and disappear at will. (Yeah, I know, he started out in E.C. Segar’s comic strip, but it doesn’t look as though he was explained any more clearly there.) But the weird nature of this cartoon is offset by the usual, delightful skewed perspectives of the Fleischers, and the great gags inspired by such heights. (Among other gems, there’s a wonderfully animated shot of Popeye climbing out of a full water barrel and shaking himself off like a mutt.)

Don’t rush to pick up a Jeep from the humane society for me, though.

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

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