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Man on the Flying Trapeze

Original release date: March 16, 1934

This is not your ordinary musical. Popeye returns from sea and sails his boat several miles inland to reach Olive Oyl's home. There, Olive's mother gives Popeye a "Dear John" letter in the form of a spirited rendition of the title song, informing Popeye that Olive has run off with said trapeze artist. Well, what did Popeye expect after all those months at sea?

Luckily, the trapeze artist's circus is right across the street from Olive's house, so Popeye doesn't have far to go and be lovesick. (After seeing the trapeze artist, I give points to Olive just for finally finding someone besides Bluto with whom she can be fickle to Popeye.) Turns out that Olive is even the man's partner in the act, giving Popeye the chance to croak "And my love he has taken away" a few thousand times.

When the trapeze artist starts using Olive as a prop to keep from falling to the ground, Popeye has had all he can stands, 'cause he...oh, well, you know the rest. Popeye gets into the act, does the spinach bit, and turns the guy into a chandelier. Popeye returns to terra firma and calls for Olive to jump to his arms, which she does rather blithely considering all she's put her man through; appropriately, Popeye doesn't completely save Olive but is polite enough to catch her on the first bounce.

Simple plot, extraordinary marriage of music and gags. Another Fleischer gem.

My rating:

© 2007, Steve Bailey.

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