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Little Swee’ Pea

Original release date: Sept. 25, 1936

Popeye heads for Olive Oyl's house doing his strut from Brotherly Love. Said strut apparently worked a little too well for Popeye, as Olive now has a heretofore-unseen baby in her home. (That's all we'll say about the subject here -- see Entry No. 5 on our Popeye Pledge page.)

As a favor to Olive, Popeye takes Baby Swee'Pea to the zoo to look at the "aminals." But Popeye keeps losing track of Swee'Pea, who enters into the cages of dangerous animals, leaving Popeye to rescue him and get the short end of the stick.

When Popeye has come back to Olive's doorstep safely in hand, he tells Swee'Pea, "If ya wants to play with aminals, play with this." He pulls out a wind-up monkey, which frightens Swee'Pea into squawling and earns Olive's wrath for scaring the baby. Popeye finishes the cartoon with his latest theme-song variation: "There’s no if's or maybe’s, I'll never have babies.” A little too late for that sentiment, I'd say. (Oops, sorry.)

What could have (and did in later years) become a stale Popeye-rescues-Swee'Pea motif is saved here by some lovely animation, including the lifelike "aminals" and the Fleischers' typically lovely 3D backgrounds. It was only after the Fleischers were fired from this series that it relentlessly relied on such formulaic plotlines.

My rating:

© 2007, Steve Bailey.

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