Thursday, June 08, 2006

Popeye on DVD, Finally!

Animated Discussions
by Rudy Panucci and Melanie Larch

THE SAILOR MAN COMETH!

In some of the best news for animation fans ever, Warner Home Video has announced that they have finally worked their way through the myriad of red-tape and ownership issues, and will release the complete library of Popeye cartoons, fully restored, on DVD, beginning next year. Quoting from the press release: " Warner Home Video (WHV), Hearst Entertainment and King Features Syndicate have reached an agreement for the exclusive worldwide home entertainment distribution of both the classic Popeye theatrical animated shorts and the Popeye made-for-TV animated shorts. The announcement was jointly made by Jeff Brown, WHV Senior Vice President and General Manager TV and Franchise, and T.R. ("Rocky") Shepard III, President of King Features Syndicate. "

This will include the classic Max Fleisher Popeye cartoons from the 1930s and 1940s, widely considered to be among the finest cartoons ever made, as well as the later Famous Studio cartoons, and the often-bizarre made-for-TV cartoons from the 1960s, which, while fairly awful, have a train-wreck quality that makes them worth trying to watch. Warners have even licensed the rights to the downright evil-bad Popeye cartoons from the 1970s and 1980s, just so that they can release the good cartoons without competing against the dreck. The real meat here are the Fleisher Popeye cartoons, which will be fully restored under the watchful eye of animation historian, Jerry Beck. These cartoons are holy grails for animation buffs, and to finally get a chance to seem clean, restored prints is a dream that many thought would never come true.

We're already stocking up on Spinach and clearing off a space on the DVD shelf for these sets.

Animated note: Check back this weekend, and we blog our review of Disney/Pixar's CARS!

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