Saturday, August 11, 2007

Mini-DVD Review: Popeye The Sailor - 1933-38, Volume 1; Solomon's Weekly Rant: TV Networks Playing Musical Timeslots

Welcome to another edition of mini-DVD reviews. This week we take a look at Warner Home Video's Popeye The Sailor: 1933-38, Volume 1. Popeye is of course the classic TV sailor who eats his spinach and gets energy to save Olive Oyl from Bluto! See my mini-DVD review of Popeye The Sailor: 1933-38, Volume 1:

Popeye The Sailor: 1933-38, Volume 1 (Warner, $64.98) brings 60 classic unedited Popeye cartoons along with over five-hours of bonus features to DVD on a classic 4-disc set for the first time ever! The first 60 theatrical shorts (1933-38) come from the Max Fleischer Cartoon Studio and are remastered and uncut. Here you'll find Popeye with spindly Olive Oyl, burger opportunist Wimpy, lil' See'pea, and the brooding Bluto. Toot-Toot!
Each short is in black & white and runs anywhere between 5-8 minutes. Most are in the 6-7 minute range. However, two episodes are in full color and are much longer...one is on disc three (Popeye Meets Sindbad the Sailor)that runs 16:30 and the other ((Popeye Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves) is on disc four that runs 17:13. These are the Technicolor Two-Reeler episodes. There are no chapter stops, which is acceptable here because the episodes are very short. The video is remastered and it looks great! No editing of the episodes because of ethic reasons either...it is from the original masters. The audio is decent, nothing too bad about it.
Packaging has a nice yellow outer box with Popeye and his big fists on the front cover...the back cover has information on the set and has some screen shots of the shorts along with a big photo of Olive Oyl and Popeye. There is also a section detailing the special features, but it is more detailed inside the case. Inside the box is a digipak case. The front of the digipak has Popeye holding a can of spinach with the spinach about to go in his mouth. The back of the digipak has a photo of Olive Oyl yelling at Bluto. Opening the case once, we get a very nice disc by disc breakdown, which is has lots of screen shots. We get the episode number, title, if it has commentary and by who, and the list of special features per disc. Opening the case one last time, we get to the discs. They are all yellow, matching the color scheme of the set. Disc one's artwork has Popeye carrying Olive Oyl, disc two has Bluto beat-up, disc three has the Burger-meister himself...Wimpy, and disc four has lil' Swee'pea...whose baby is that anyway?? Did Popeye and Olive Oyl have him together? There is a nice special feature that talks about this! Also inside the case we get a little insert that has a coupon for 25 cents off of two cans of Popeye Spinach! Now you have no excuse to get strong. On that insert we also have some Popeye party recipes for Pizza and Dip.
The menu screen has Play, Episodes, Special Features, and Languages. But before the main menu screen comes, we get an ethic message, saying that these shorts were never intended to stereo-type, blah blah. The main menu the theme playing in the background (and it loops), with the same artwork as the box cover. Languages section has us in English only and subtitles can be added for English only. Special Features are on each disc, so they are spread out evenly. Episodes is where we can choose the classic shorts. If it has commentary or a popumentary, we can also select that from here, but we can also do that in the special features section.
Moving on to those special features. As I mentioned, they are evenly placed on each disc. So, here we go, we have a lot: disc one has a retrospective documentary titled, "I Yam What I Yam: The Story of Popeye the Sailor" that runs 43:23. Then we have 2 Popeye Popumentaries: "Mining the Strip: Elize Segar and Thimble Theatre" (8:39) and "Me Fickle Goyl, Olive Oyl: The World's Least Likely Sex Symbol" (4:20). Finally on this disc we have three items from the vault from Bray Productions/IFC Studio Shorts: "Colonel Heeza Liar at The Bat - 1915" (9:29), "Krazy Kat Goes A-Wooing - 1916" (2:43), and "Domestic Difficulties - 1916" (8:17). 8 of the 15 episodes have audio commentaries on this disc, they include commentaries from Historians: Michael Barrier, Jerry Beck, and Glenn Mitchell; Animators: Dave Tendlar, Mark Kausler, Jorge Gutierrez, and Sandra Equihar; Filmmaker: Greg Ford; and Director: Eric Goldberg.
Moving on to disc two, it has a retrospective documentary titled, "Forging the Frame: The roots of Animation 1900-1920" that runs 31:01. Then we have 2 Popeye Popumentaries: "Wimpy the Moocher: Ode to the Burgermeister" (4:30) and "Sailor's Hornpipes: The Voices of Popeye" (9:29). Finally on this disc we have three items from the vault from Bray Productions/Sullivan Studio Shorts: "Bobby Bumps Puts A Beanery on the Bum - 1918" (4:36), "Feline Follies - 1919" (4:13), and "The Tantalizing Fly - 1919" (3:55). 7 of the 15 episodes have audio commentaries on this disc, they include commentaries from Historians: Michael Barrier, Jerry Beck, Daniel Goldmark, and Glenn Mitchell; Filmmaker: Greg Ford; and Actor: Jack Mercer.
Moving on to disc three, it has 2 Popeye Popumentaries: "Blow Me Down! The Music of Popeye" (10:02) and "Popeye in Living Color: A Look at the Color Two-Reelers" (5:46). Finally on this disc we have six items from the vault from Inkwell Shorts: "Modeling - 1921" (7:58), "Invisible Ink - 1921" (7:31), "Bubbles - 1922" (4:48), "Jumping Beans - 1922" (10:51), "Bedtime - 1923" (8:54), and "Trapped - 1923" (10:57). 4 of the 15 episodes have audio commentaries on this disc, they include commentaries from Writer: Paul Dini; Directors: John Kricfalusi and Eddie Fitzgerald; Cartoonist: Kali Fontecchio; and Animator: Mark Kausler.
Finally we move on to disc four, it has 2 Popeye Popumentaries: "Me Lil' Swee'pea: Whose Kid Is He Anyway?" (3:51) and "Et Tu, Bluto? Cartoondom's Heaviest Heavy" (4:40). Finally on this disc we have four items from the vault from Inkwell/Fleischer Studio Shorts: "A Trip to Mars - 1924" (6:46), "Koko Trains 'Em - 1925" (10:06), "Koko Back Tracks - 1927" (9:03), and "Let's Sing with Popeye - 1933" (2:10). 3 of the 15 episodes have audio commentaries on this disc, they include commentaries from Historian: Jerry Beck; Directors: John Kricfalusi and Eddie Fitzgerald; and Cartoonist: Kali Fontecchio.
I highly do recommend any fan of classic cartoons and Popeye to pick-up this set. This is the second set this summer that is amazing for classic cartoon fans...the other being Woody Woodpecker from Universal Home Video. This set is on par with that, but might be even better! Let's hope we get a volume two very soon and it is packed with special features just like this set. Warner did a very nice job indeed! Reward yourself with spinach and buy this set, who cares if you don't like spinach. you will by the time you finish with this set. So, head on to our link below to order this series because I'm Popeye the Sailor Man...Toot-Toot!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(5/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Popeye TV.com Page


Solomon's Weekly Rant
Saturday, August 11, 2007
"TV Networks Playing Musical Timeslots"
By Solomon Davis

Has there ever been a time in your life when you attempted to record something while out of the house and then when you return, you then discover you recorded another show because of a new program schedule? When that happens that means the TV Station is playing a game of musical timeslots with the TV shows on their schedule. This is so annoying to us viewers who have it in our mind what we are going to watch once we get home and then find out the show we wanted to see was moved to a new time slot. And when this happens you are stuck with the options of watching that other show you had no idea was in the timeslot or just dealing with the lost opportunity of not seeing your show on that particular day. The Fox Reality Channel is the best when it comes to the game of musical timeslots because they can change the schedule of a show faster that a person going to the refrigerator during a commericial break.
Three weeks ago I programmed my VCR to record the show Manhattan Matchmaker at 10:30am and when I was all set to relax and watch the show after coming home from work, I discovered the show was not only moved but taken off the schedule completely. I guess that was a result of low ratings but shouldn't viewers receive some kind of notice? Maybe Fox Reality Channel can set up something on their website to email viewers when TV shows are replaced for good? The show I recorded that day instead of Manhattan Matchmaker was Blind Date which was not a big deal but it still left me wondering what happened to the show I wanted to record. Then when I tried to record Blind Date three weeks later, Fox Reality Channel moved that show to another timeslot which allowed me to record LAPD instead. And I was so disgusted by this game of musical timeslots that I just actually sat there and watched LAPD since that's what the station wanted me to do anyway. I guess that was Fox Reality's way of trying to get me into other shows on their morning schedule. All Fox channels seem to do this...Fox, Fox News Channel, etc...that Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. should be blamed.
By the way, I still have not found out any news as to why Manhattan Matchmaker was removed so I guess it will always be a Fox Reality Channel mystery.
So if anyone plans on watching this channel try not to get used to watching a show everyday at a certain time because the station will definitely surprise you at least once a month. To be honest this is kind of driving me away from watch the network because I really don't feel like checking their site everyday to see if the schedule is still the same. It would be nice if this network can just stick to one schedule for two months and not make any sudden moves with the schedule. I swear when I watch Fox Reality, it reminds me of going to my local supermarket and discovering that the food aisles were switched around so that certain ones can get more attention when customers walk inside the store. I wonder how the people who run the Fox Reality Channel would feel if cable companies all of a sudden started playing a game called Musical Channel Listings?

My Turn The Channel Moment of the Week: Wednesday, August 8, 2007 on LIVE! With Regis & Kelly - Kelly Ripa's story about the day she didn't wear any underwear. Way too much info, Kelly!

Agree or disagree with Solomon? Discuss it here.

DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.

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