Settings & Music
An eerie Goon Island inspired by Segar's comics. From Goonland (1938)
Fleischer Studios "Popeye" cartoons were animated by such talents as
Willard Bowsky, Roland "Doc" Crandall, Dave Tendlar, Seymour Kneitel,
Myron Waldman, and others. Although the cartoons were done in black
and white, they displayed an astonishing attention to the animated
detail (both in terms of character designs and backgrounds). Beautiful
shadows, rich grey tones, and meticulous ink lines were utilized by
Fleischer animators to perfection.
Another shot of the Goon Island
Just like Segar's stories, some Fleischer cartoons such as Wild Elephinks (1933)
and Goonland, took place in exotic locations such as mysterious jungles or eerie
islands. But the majority of Fleischer "Popeyes" were set in a recognizably urban
milieu. Unlike Segar's romanticized stories of "wooden ships and iron men,"
which took place in coastal villages that existed due to the shipping industries
of the past, Fleischer "Popeye" cartoons displayed worn-down buildings, poverty-stricken streets,
and rough-edged characters, reminiscent of the Fleischers' immigrant upbringings in
Brownsville, New York.
Many Fleischer "Popeyes," unlike their successors from other studios, were very
funny musical pictures. Cartoons such as The Man on the Flying Trapeze (1934) and
Beware of Barnacle Bill (1935) used popular old songs, written by such talents as
George Laybourne, and Carson J. Robison and Frank Luther, respectively, giving them an
original, comic spin. Other cartoons like Brotherly Love (1936) and A Clean Shaven Man (1936),
used the original songs by Sammy Timberg, often subverting the lyrics through contrasting
visual actions. For example, the title song that preaches brotherly love in the cartoon of
the same name is undercut, at the end of the picture, by Popeye's unique way of
teaching "brotherly love" to a group of street bullies - by literally beating it into them.
Fleischer Popeye Musicals
Poverty-stricken urban milieu with grey,
worn-down buildings in the background was
typical for Fleischer Studios cartoons in the 1920s and 1930s.
Still from Brotherly Love (1936)
Beware of Barnacle Bill (1935)
A Clean Shaven Man (1936)