Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cartoon a Day: Beware of Barnacle Bill

Beware of Barnacle Bill
Directed by Dave Fleischer
Available on: Popeye the Sailor Vol. 1

It's been so long since I've blogged. Doesn't quite seem right to call it "Cartoon a Day" with a such a long absence. What can I say, life gets crazy sometimes. Well, let's give it another go, shall we.

Today we return with a true classic of the early Popeye series, "Beware of Barnacle Bill," sometimes refereed to simply as "Barnacle Bill the Sailor." In this short, Popeye has come to ask Olive to ask him to marry her, but she tells him that she is in love with Barnacle Bill, played by Bluto.

This film is sort of like a mini opera, with the characters singing the song "Barnacle Bill the Sailor" as a bridge between the fights. The Fleischer studio excelled at producing cartoons where music was the centerpiece and this short is a great example of that. The cartoon is not complex, it's just three characters and it all takes place in one room. However, the way the music and the animation work together is superb.

I've got to say, the final gag involving Popeye is a classic. It seems so out of character for him to be cleaning up the mess that he and Bluto caused, but then when he undoes all that work with one door slam it makes perfect sense.

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