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Blunder Below

Original release date: Feb. 13, 1942

This was one of Popeye's gung-ho World War II epics, in which he really is a sailor rather than just wearing the uniform in civilian life. Here, Popeye is aboard a Navy battleship and completely goofs up in target practice but gets it right when he has a genuine enemy submarine to battle.

After seeing countless cartoons in which Popeye is street-smart and eventually gets the upper hand, it's a little painful to watch him be such a dolt in target practice. Obviously the cartoon wants to present him as Everyman (or Every-sailor), but compared to his earlier stances, presenting Popeye as a "regular guy" starts him at a disadvantage. Happily, once the submarine comes into view, so do Popeye's street-smarts and the Fleischers' gag sense.

My rating:

© 2007, Steve Bailey.

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