Popeye the sailor is an embattled cab driver in our latest Saturday Morning CarTune, Taxi-Turvy. Jump in and buckle up.
It’s not like Popeye the cartoon sailor requires any introduction. Invented by comic strip artist Elzie Crisler Segar in 1929, the Popeye repertory company included the mumbling, one-eyed, spinach-munching sailor, his perpetual rival, the loutish Bluto, and Popeye’s anorexic romantic interest, Olive Oyl. Other members of the off-kilter Popeye universe who entered the American consciousness included J. Wellington Wimpy, a con artist specializing in hamburgers, and Eugene the Jeep, an odd little dog-like creature with magical powers.
In this 1954 color theater short by Famous Studios, Taxi-Turvy, Popeye and Bluto play a pair of battling taxicab operators, naturally, in a violent competition over a single fare—Olive Oyl. We’re stretching here, but we’re going to say Popeye’s hack could be a 1930 Dodge, while Bluto is wheeling a stylish new Checker A2. As he did from 1935 to 1978, the incomparable Jack Mercer provides Popeye’s distinctive voice, while Olive Oyl is voiced by Mae Questrel (who was also Betty Boop). Enjoy the show.