Announcing THE POPEYE BLOGATHON!

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After serving for four years as the “breakout star” of E.C. Segar’s comic strip Thimble Theatre, Popeye the Sailor Man made his movie debut on July 14, 1933 and became as big of a hit in animated cartoons as he was in comics. To honor the 85th anniversary of his film career, we proudly announce…

THE POPEYE BLOGATHON!

The rules are simple. Write a blog about any aspect of Popeye you like. Here are some ideas:

  • E.C. Segar’s Thimble Theatre
  • Theatrical cartoons:  the Fleischer Bros. era (1933-1942), and/or the Famous Studios era (1942-1957)
  • TV cartoons: King Features (1960-1962), Hanna-Barbera (1978-1983, 1987-1988)
  • Robert Altman’s 1980 movie adaptation, starring Robin Williams

Again, any aspect of these subjects is fine. (For example, you could write about the entire Fleischer Bros. era, or you could write about just your favorite cartoon from that era.) Also, if you have an idea of your own, let me know, and if it relates to Popeye, I’ll gladly accept it.

My only request: No duplicate entries! At the bottom of this blog entry, I will keep an updated list of blogathon entrants. Be sure to check the list to ensure that your idea isn’t already taken.

How Do I Join the Blogathon?

In the “Comments” section at the bottom of this blog, please leave your name, the URL of your blog, and the movie trio you are choosing to blog about. At the end of this blog entry are banners for the ‘thon. Grab a banner, display it on your blog, and link it back to this blog.

The blogathon will take place from Friday, Sept. 28, through Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. When the opening date of the blogathon arrives, leave a comment here with a link to your post, and I will display it in the list of entries (which I will continually update up to the beginning of the ‘thon, so keep checking back!).

I will not be assigning particular dates to any blog posts. As long as you get your entry in by the end of the day on Sept. 30, I will be satisfied. (That said, the earlier the better!)

Again, be sure to leave me a comment and grab a banner, and have fun with your blog entry! Here’s the line-up so far:

Movie Movie Blog Blog – the 1935 theatrical cartoon For Better or Worser, and a “psychological examination” of Popeye, Olive Oyl, Wimpy, and Bluto

Caftan Woman – the 1936 theatrical cartoon Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor

Movierob – Fox TV’s 2004 CGI special “Popeye’s Voyage: The Quest for Pappy”

The Midnite Drive-In – Robert Altman’s Popeye movie

Talk About Cinema – Seasin’s Greetinks! (1933), Let’s Celebrake (1938), Mister and Mistletoe (1955), and Spinach Greetings (Popeye TV cartoon)

It Came from the Man Cave! – “There Goes the Neighborhood,” Episode 12 of Hanna-Barbera’s “Popeye and Son” (1987)

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How the critics stole Christmas

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Like most people who love Chuck Jones‘ TV adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, I’ve been watching it since I was a kid, and I can never get enough of it. (The less said about Ron Howard’s ghastly movie version starring Jim Carrey, the better.)

I wish I could find a fresh way to describe how much this cartoon delights me, but I can’t. So instead, I refer you to a very enjoyable blog titled Tralfaz, which dives deeper into the creation of animated movies and TV shows than I would have ever thought possible.

Click here to read the blog’s surprising account of how some contemporary TV critics sniffed at what has long since become a holiday classic. If you ever get too full of yourself as a blogger or critic (and I can be as guilty as anyone), remember that the work you’ve critiqued will probably last long after you do.

 

TINY TOON ADVENTURES (1990-1995) – A cartoon work of art

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The following is my second of two entries in my ‘One’ of My-All Time Favorite Cartoons Blogathon, being held at this blog on Nov. 6-8, 2015. Click on the above banner, and read entries about terrific ‘toons that these bloggers just can’t resist!

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Steven Spielberg is already immortalized in Hollywood for far more noble ventures — but for me, if he’d never been responsible for anything but Tiny Toon Adventures, he’d have a huge place in my heart.

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When this TV cartoon was first publicized in 1990 (the 60th anniversary of Warner Bros. first talking cartoon, and the 50th anniversary of the “birth” of Bugs Bunny), I cringed. I felt a little comforted when veteran Warners cartoon director Friz Freleng said he saw a preview of the series and thought it looked as good as any theatrical cartoon. When the cartoon finally debuted, I thought I’d died and gone to animation heaven.

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The characterizations are obviously a nod to the “classic” Looney Tunes characters. Buster Bunny is obviously patterned after Bugs, Plucky Duck is a distant relative to daffy Daffy, and so on. The connection is even more obvious because the Tiny Toons attend Acme Looniversity, where the Looney Tunes veterans tutor them in the art of getting laughs. Well, the Toons have obviously earned their diplomas, because they do the job quite well on their own.

The gags and pacing are top-notch, and the pop-culture level is easily up to that of “The Simpsons.” (How many kids’ cartoons would even attempt a parody of Citizen Kane, let alone pull it off?) Production of the TV series has long ceased, but happily, most of the best of the series is available on home video.

A good intro to the style is the direct-to-video feature “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” worth the price of the rental just for its caricatures of Hollywood stars. But the acme (so to speak) is the tape “Tiny Toons Music Television,” with a number of MTV-style videos of classic and obscure hits performed by the Tiny Toons.

(I’ve posted a clip from that episode below. It’s probably my favorite “Tiny Toons” segment, their hilarious interpretation of They Might Be Giants’ song “Particle Man.” In another nod to Looney Tunes history, that boxer/wrestler who always came up a cropper in Chuck Jones’ Bugs Bunny cartoons such as Rabbit Punch finally holds his own with Plucky Duck here.)

As critic Manny Farber once said about the original Looney Tunes cartoons, the great ones are masterpieces and the bad ones aren’t a total loss.

(If you’ve enjoyed reading this blogathon entry, please click here to read my first entry on the 1935 Popeye cartoon The Spinach Overture.)