Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cartoon a Day: Wild Elephinks

Wild Elephinks
Directed by Dave Fleischer
Available on: Popeye the Sailor Vol. 1

“Wild Elephinks” is another very memorable early Popeye short. I remember this one being in the regular rotation on Channel 32 in Chicago when I was a kid. It’s another one in which Bluto does not appear, but don’t worry, Popeye has his hands full with a bunch of nasty animals. In other words, this short is PETA’s worst nightmare.

Popeye and Olive Oyl end up on a jungle island in this one. As Popeye is doing battle with a giant elephant, a gorilla takes the opportunity to run off with Olive. This leads to one of my favorite moments in this short, and a perfect example of the Fleischer sense of humor, when the gorilla picks coconuts as he carries Olive and uses her head to crack them open.

Eventually, Popeye must battle a snake, a moose, a lion, and all sorts of other creatures. These animals have a great look. There is a lot of character, not just the generic look-as-much-like-Mickey-Mouse-as-you-can style that was so prevalent during this era. The great look of the animal characters is all the more important when Popeye beats them to pulp, and we get some great reaction shots.

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