Never Kick a Woman (1936)

Article 5282 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-25-2016
Directed by Dave Fleischer and Seymour Kneitel
Featuring the voices of Mae Questel and Jack Mercer
Country: USA
What it is: Popeye short

Popeye takes Olive Oyl into a gym to teach her the art of self-defense, but she doesn’t take to it… until a sexy female boxer starts flirting with Popeye.

This cartoon pops up in my collection of banned cartoons, but it doesn’t appear to be due to any racial stereotypes. Rather, I think it’s the cartoon’s flirtation with domestic violence as comedy that is the controversial element; after all, Popeye only manages to get Olive Oyl into the gym by nearly assaulting her. Still, I should point out that Olive Oyl here ultimately manages to take care of herself, even if she has to eat a can of Popeye’s spinach to do so. I also need to point out that the can of spinach and the superpowers it brings about remains the only fantastic element here; there are no anthropomorphic animals here to contend with, even if the female boxer describes Popeye as a “fascinating monster”. Overall, this is a pretty good Popeye cartoon, with the mutterings of both Mercer and Questel adding to the fun, as well as whoever voices the female boxer (as a Mae West impersonation).


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