Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on March 22, 2004
Quite remarkably, there are no fewer than four direct references in Warner Brothers cartoons to the rival Popeye series from the Fleischer studio. In Porky’s Garden (Avery, 1937), a little chick who loses out to a big bully chicken in a scramble for veggies eats some spinach and turns into a mini-Popeye, complete with bulging forearms and gravelly voice, and proceeds to thrash the bully. In The Major Lied Till Dawn (Tashlin, 1938), the Major gets bounced from a boxing ring where he has been sparring with numerous animals, remarking as he takes out a can of spinach: “by Jove, if its good enough for that sailor man, its good enough for me!” He eats the spinach, gets bulging muscles, and goes on to pummel the animals. In Porky’s Hero Agency (Clampett, 1937), Porky adds a pair of Popeye arms to the Venus de Milo, and in Scrap Happy Daffy (Tashlin, 1943), Daffy moans for a can of spinach after getting thrashed by the Nazi goat.