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The Twisker Pitcher

Original release date: May 21, 1937

The cartoon opens on a baseball stadium advertising a game between "Popeye's Pirates" and "Bluto's Bears." (Check that spinach for steroids!) In the stands, Olive is yelling for Popeye, only to be countered by what appears to be Mrs. Bluto standing next to her, yelling for her man and even using his strong-arm tactics to silence Olive.

As the game is about to start, Popeye unknowingly loses his can of spinach. After a few dozen cartoons, Bluto finally wizens up: He eats the can's contents, fills the can with field grass, and "returns" the can to Popeye.

Naturally, Popeye tries to take a hit of spinach during the game, only to realize it's not his usual fine-cut stuff, whereupon he does Bluto's usual slow-burn routine.

Luckily, a debilitated Popeye finds a packet of spinach seeds (!) in his uniform. (Drug tests for everyone, I say!) He plants the fast-growing seeds and eats the plant in time to save the game for his team. Olive even gets to subdue butch Mrs. Bluto for the closing theme.

Lots of great baseball spot-gags here, an area later mined like crazy by MGM's Tex Avery and Warner Bros.' Bugs Bunny animators.

My rating:

2007, Steve Bailey.

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