Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Bluto in HOSPITALIKY (1937) – Taking a turn for the nurse


(WARNING: Major spoilers abound!)

Olive Oyl is a hospital nurse. To get Olive for himself, Popeye and Bluto each knock on the hospital door and try to garner Olive’s sympathy with their fake illness. (Popeye’s histrionics result in one of the great unheralded pieces of animation in this series. Love that chicken from Popeye!)

When Olive realizes The Boys are both faking, she tells them that someone must be very sick or in great pain to be admitted to a hospital, and then she leaves them to their own devices. If this isn’t a situation pregnant with comedy, blow me down.

Popeye and Bluto add new meaning to the phrase “an accident waiting to happen,” as they practically will themselves to get killed, only to come out of each situation annoyingly unscathed. (The all-time winner is when Bluto crashes a motorcycle into a wall, only to have two dutiful ambulance drivers zip in and rescue the motorcycle.)

Popeye and Bluto end up fighting each other for a spot in front of an oncoming train. (In a welcome piece of nostalgia, it’s the train that makes its own face, from Popeye’s debut cartoon.) In a beautiful twist, the fight ends with Popeye breaking out the spinach and making Bluto eat it; thus, Bluto beats Popeye sufficiently enough to garner Olive’s attentions.

Maybe it’s time for Bluto to re-open his fight club and re-hire Olive as its nurse (Can You Take It?).

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


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