Popeye, Bluto, and Olive Oyl in IT’S THE NATURAL THING TO DO (1939) – Puttin’ on the airs

Popeye

This cartoon doesn’t even bother with giving Popeye a motive for wailing on Bluto. It starts right out with the two of them beating the bejesus out of each other in the front yard of Olive, who warns them only to stay out of her flower bed.

Then Olive receives a telegram from The Popeye Fan Club, admonishing The Boys to “cut out the rough stuff once in a while and act more refined, like ladies and gentlemen. It’s the natural thing to do!” (Uh, which fan club did you say sent this telegram?)

The trio ends up doing their version of high-society etiquette (which plays like My Fair Lady outtakes), and that’s all I’m going to give away about this delightful cartoon. After hearing for years about how prim-and-proper 1950’s parents’ sensibilities were offended by these cartoons — and how we baby-boomers ended up suffering for that with ’70s “educational” Saturday-morning fare — this cartoon plays like a bracer. Cartoon violence was never so anarchic, cathartic, and welcome. Wail on each other, boys — it’s the natural thing to do!

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

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