Thursday, February 01, 2007

Well, blow me down

A lot of us here in the Kraal have been struck down by a nasty cold. First Thomas, then James, and now Dean have been prostrated by severe coughing and general yuckiness. So the blogging is light, because our one computer is doing extra duty as an entertainment center to comfort the kids, and a home office for Dean, who has figured out how to access his office computer so he can work and do emails from home.

There's a silver lining, though; Thomas has employed his usual genius with computers to locate some really cool cartoons, and he's developed a taste for early Popeye. I used to watch Popeye on TV as a kid, but these are from the 30s, and I don't remember ever seeing them - they're unbelievably detailed and lavish. I was so impressed, I went over to Future Shop and found this dvd of restored Popeye cartoons from the Fleischer Studio. I highly recommend it. There are 3 colour cartoons on it, and our favourite is "Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor". You can watch it here (though you have to put up with a short commercial at the beginning):
I hope the link works; YouTube has a copy of this one too, but it's an old, unrestored one that's so faded it looks black and white. This one shows it in "glorious Technicolor", and it certainly is glorious. Just look at the detail of the backgrounds! Even the clouds in the sky are moving. The other thing I love about these cartoons is that they must have provided great work for basses and baritones of the era. I go around singing "Who's the most remarkable, extra-ordinary fellow?" all the time now.

Thomas isn't so much for the singing; he is a great mimic (thanks to his echolalia) and recites a great deal of the bad wizard's dialog in Popeye - Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp, accent and all.

The third colour cartoon on the dvd is Popeye - Ali Baba and His Forty Thieves. I like this one for the singing as well, as Popeye fights of the nefarious Abul Hassan (leading to my favourite gag, where Popeye manages to grab his enemy's long underwear, and sneer "Abul Hassan got 'em anymore!").

YouTube hasn't got such a big selection of Popeye cartoons, but they do have a good black-and-white one called "Beware of Barnacle Bill". It's a complete musical, and provides another good bass voice part.

One thing all of these cartoons share is a big climactic fight scene, accompanied by 'The Stars and Stripes Forever', or as Dean calls it, "Popeye Whoopass Music."


Blogger Kasia said...

Nice to see Dean doesn't lost his sense of humor when he's sick. ;-)

Hope everyone's feeling better soon!

1:43 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Well, the kids are getting better, but I'm afraid now I'm succumbing. I rushed to wash the floors today, because I know I'll be too sick to do it tomorrow! At least there's a pretty snowfall happening right now, so it's not just depressing gray skies outside - that just makes everything worse when you're sick.

2:48 pm  

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