I Yam What I Yam (1933)

Article 4803 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-21-2015
Directed by Dave Fleischer and Seymour Kneitel
Featuring the voices of William Costello, Charles Lawrence and William Pennell
Country: USA
What it is: Popeye cartoon

Popeye, Olive Oyl and Bluto are in a lifeboat at sea. They make it to shore and inhabit a log cabin prepared by Popeye, but are then set upon by Indians.

The series hadn’t quite hit its peak yet; Popeye’s hilarious muttering is not yet present, and the short doesn’t use Fleischer’s wonderful three dimensional backgrounds. But then, what do you expect from only the second one in the series? And if you consider that, this one is pretty impressive; there’s a real confidence with the characters on display here, and it’s energetic, full of gags, and fast-moving. In fact, it’s almost a surprise for Popeye to pull out the spinach in this one; he’s always in control of the situation, and both Olive and Wimpy seem to be doing a decent job of defending the cabin without him. The strangest gag involves a caricature of a famous Indian leader, and by Indian, I don’t mean “American Indian”; it’s one of the only times I’ve known a cinematic work to address the fact that the Native Americans were mistakenly titled as residents from an entirely different country. It’s easy to see why the Popeye series would become as popular as it did. Fantastic content includes Popeye’s super powers, and anthropomorphic lightning.

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