'POPEYE' shone brightly in the 1960s black-and-white TV days, and in those low-resolution screen days, the utter genius of these early MAX and DAVE FLEISCHER works impressed deeply, the skill and sheer cleverness self-evident on the flickering TV set.
After COLOUR TV became standardized in the 70s, most B/W FLEISCHER 'POPEYES'were dropped from TV schedules in favour of the later colour 'FAMOUS' studios [more inferior] version of the spinach-eating sailor, and it became increasingly rare to rediscover the superior artistry that went into the original b/w classics....
Since the advent of the VCR, ----and later, DVD home viewing systems, 95% [and perhaps higher] of all 'POPEYE' product available has been of ultra-shoddy, murky quality that does absolutely no justice to the sterling work originally presented, and these cartoons have been largely unavailable to view in a crystal-clear format they truly deserve.
I knew that quality prints of 'POPEYE' did indeed exist, [via cinema screenings at an 80s 'revivalist' cinema] ------also, BBC2 screened several decent-quality examples occasionally, around '87-'89.
----FINALLY, these masterworks are available on US import, [the first 60 are featured here]; and if you appreciate this stuff, I urge you to get a multi-region DVD player so you can savour these fantastic works. The second you see the opening PARAMOUNT logo in almost HD quality, you just KNOW those hissy, inferior tapes and DVDS are but a bad memory you will never have to endure again.
Within the compactly-housed package are beautifully-polished [with clearer sound, to boot] shorts that are simply brimming with deliciously eccentric, vital energy, the black-and-white fantasy world breathtakingly realized in it's gritty 'realism', the cel-painted characters overlaid the character-filled backgrounds, in pin-sharp, 'poster-effect' contrast.
The FLEISCHER 'POPEYES' have far more diversity, effective pacing, and use of surprize than the later more routine versions by other studios......with often brilliant perspective work [like in 'A DREAM WALKING'] and the excellent use of this studios' '3-D' miniature backgrounds, which give a still-startling illusion of depth that, for me at least, supercedes DISNEY STUDIOS' similarly-concieved 'multiplane' camera.
A TECHNICOLOUR bonus,---in the form of '35-'36 'two-reeler' extravaganzas 'POPEYE meets SINBAD the SAILOR' and the following 'ALI BABA and his 40 THIEVES' [which you surely MUST be familiar with] are presented in definitive, high-resolution format.
These early works are from an age in which pride and effort went into the field of cartoon animation; when many studios strived to equal DISNEY, and I personally prefer the skewed, off-the-wall humour contained within these frames [some incidents are mind-boggling when viewed initially, but DVD capability means it is simple to re-run the multi-layered comedy here]---to DISNEY'S more conventionally-themed , and soetimes 'soft' use of gags and timing.
These cartoons stand up extremely well to repeated viewing, so you will get your money's worth, and this overall set is easily in the top 3 of my diverse DVD collection. Packed with 'pop-tastic' behind-the scenes features and many vintage [relatively obscure] items containing other characters as a bonus.