Popeye and Olive Oyl in OLIVE’S BOITHDAY PRESINK (1941) – What the market will bear


Popeye decides to buy a bearskin fur coat for Olive’s birthday. Popeye first tries to deal with a cheating furrier, who tries to pass off a rabbit-skin fur as bearskin until (in probably the cartoon’s best gag) a cute little bunny muzzles the coat and pleads, “Mommy? Mommy?”

Popeye decides to hunt for his own bearskin. Once Popeye encounters a bear, the cartoon turns into a variation on Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes hunting epics, with the wily bear doing Bugs Bunny and the usually savvy Popeye standing in for clueless Elmer Fudd. (Tedd Pierce, a long-time Warner Bros. story man, gets a story credit here, possibly explaining the similarities. For an interesting contrast, check out the Bugs cartoon Hare Brush [1955], which pulls a similar switcheroo, even including an unruly bear.)

That said, it’s a pretty funny outing, particularly when Popeye suffers a guilt trip as the bear’s family pays him a teary farewell visit.

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

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