Spooky Swabs (1957)
Article 6034 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Izzy Sparber and Thomas Johnson
Featuring the voices of Jackson Beck, Gilbert Mack, Jack Mercer
What it is: The last Popeye cartoon
Popeye and Olive Oyl are adrift on a raft when they find a ship, unaware that their find is actually haunted, and that its inhabitants don’t want to return to civilization.
The Popeye cartoons of the fifties were pale shadows of the ones made in the thirties, and this one is no exception. Still, they were the best thing Famous Studios were putting out at the time, and given that this was the last theatrical Popeye cartoon, one can’t help but feel a little sad at reaching the end of the line for one of animation’s beloved characters. The cartoon is mostly scenes of the ghosts terrorizing Popeye and Olive Oyl until Popeye eats his spinach and the ghosts get their comeuppance. Still, despite all the ghost action, by favorite bit is before the ghosts appear, and that is the running gag of how Popeye, Olive and their game of checkers react to the waves of the sea. The ghosts look a little bit like the grown-up ones you’d see in a Caspar cartoon. It’s certainly not a high point for Popeye, but it’s sad to see him go nonetheless.