Saturday, June 07, 2008

Mini-DVD Review: Popeye The Sailor - 1938-40, Volume 2 (June 17)

Welcome to another edition of mini-DVD reviews. This week we take a look at Warner Home Video's Popeye The Sailor: 1938-40, Volume 2. 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: 1938-40, Volume 2:

Popeye The Sailor: 1938-40, Volume 2 (Warner, $34.98) brings 31 more classic unedited Popeye cartoons along with more bonus features to DVD on a classic 2-disc set! The first 60 theatrical shorts (1933-38) were on the volume one set on four-discs, now we get the next 31 Fleischer Popeye cartoons (1938-1940) on a two-disc set. It is strange why they didn't just do a four-disc set with 1938-1942 and finish off the Fleischer cartoons. Oh well...at least we get some anyway. After the Fleischer cartoons, Popeye continued on with more cartoons from Famous Studios (1942-1957), so we should start getting those soon, too.
Each short on this set is in black & white and runs anywhere between 5-8 minutes. Most are in the 6-7 minute range. However, one episodes is in full color and runs 21:15. This is the Technicolor Two-Reeler episode, titled "Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp." This is the third two-reeler ever, as the first two were on the first volume DVD. There are no chapter stops again, which is acceptable here because the episodes are very short. The video is remastered once again and it looks great! No editing of the episodes because of ethic reasons either...it is from the original masters. Well, blow me down! The audio is decent, nothing too bad about it.
Packaging has a nice brown-tan outer box this time with Popeye and Olive Oyl turning a wheel 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 Popeye showing his muscle with a tank. There is also a section detailing the special features, but it is more detailed inside the case. Inside the box is a digipak case, as we had on the last set. The front of the digipak has Popeye with something that looks like a spear or something. Opening the case once, we get a very nice disc by disc breakdown for disc one on the left side, which has lots of screen shots and a photo of Popeye about to punch Bluto. We also get the episode number, title, if it has commentary and by who, and the list of special features per disc. The two discs are on the right side, overlapping each other unfortunately. The discs are all in that brown-tan color, matching the color scheme of the set. Disc one's artwork has Popeye with a kiss mark on his forehead and disc two has Olive Oyl holding a flower. When we take out both discs, you can see more photos in the packaging itself. The back of the digipak case has the disc two breakdown and a photo of 'lil Swee'pea and Eugene the Jeep the dog.
The menu screen has Play, Episodes, Special Features, and Languages. But before the main menu screen comes, we get auto trailers on both discs...hmm no ethic message saying that these shorts were never intended to stereo-type, blah blah, like we saw on the volume one DVD. The main menu has the theme playing in the background (and it loops), with the same color and artwork as the box cover. Languages section has us in English only and subtitles can be added for English only as well. Special Features are on both discs, and are listed in a list form on the menu. Episodes is where we can choose the classic shorts. If it has commentary or a Popeye 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 both discs. So, here we go, we have a lot once again: Disc one has a retrospective documentary titled, "Out of the Inkwell: The Fleischer Story" that runs 47:20. Then we have 3 Popeye Popumentaries: "Eugene the Jeep: A Breed of His Own" (3:16) talking about the puppy himself, "Poopdeck Pappy: The Masty Old Man and the Sea" (5:08) as this talks about the old Pappy, and "O-Re-Mi: Mae Questel and The Voices of Olive Oyl" (8:38) as this is a very interesting Olive Oyl featurette with lots of details on her voices. Finally 10 of the 15 episodes have audio commentaries on this disc, they include commentaries from Historians: Glenn Mitchell, Michael Barrier, and Jerry Beck; Writer: Paul Dini; Animators: Gordon Sheehan, Dave Tendlar, Mark Kausler, and Arnold Gillespie; Filmmaker: Greg Ford; and Director: Eric Goldberg.
Moving on to disc two, it has items from the vault such as 2 Fleischer shorts: Paramount Presents Popular Science from 1938 (6:31) and The Mechanical Monsters from 1941 (11:01). The latter has Superman even in it. Then we have an Early Max Fleischer Art Gallery with 19 sketches that runs 3:05. Then we have a short pencil test, Females is Fickle that runs 30 seconds. We also have a storyboard reel titled Stealin Ain't Honest that runs 6:11. Finally, we get two audio clips from the vault: I'm Popeye the Sailor Man Vintage Recordings that runs 2:25 and Animator Michael Sporn Interviews Voice of Popeye, Jack Mercer that runs 6:10. Classic stuff! Then we have a Popeye Popumentary on this disc as well! Men of Spinach and Steel is the title and it runs 6:20. This popumentary debates who was America's first super hero...Fleischer's Popeye or Fleischer's Superman? Interesting! Then finally, 3 of the 16 episodes have audio commentaries on this disc, they include commentaries from Historian: Daniel Goldmark; Filmmaker: Greg Ford; Animator: Shaumus Culhane and Director: Bob Jaques.
I highly do recommend any fan of classic cartoons and Popeye to pick-up this set. If you have the first volume, then you have to get this to continue the classic collection. If you haven't gotten that, get that and this volume. It is well worth it! Let's hope we get a volume three very soon and it is packed with special features just like these last two sets. We should be done with the Fleischer cartoons soon, and then we will move on the Famous Studios cartoons that lasted 15 years. Warner Home Video is also releasing The All-New Popeye Hour on DVD on the same day titled Popeye & Friends: Volume 1. That series was from 1978 on CBS's Saturday morning block. Warner will release eight shorts on a one-disc set. They should release more since that show lasted 1978-1981..various other incarnations were done through 1988. We should have a review on that set soon, as soon as we get the set...so stay tuned! Warner did a very nice job once again with the Fleischer cartoons and let's hope they continue to do so! Oh, boy! As Popeye and Olive Oyl are on a quest for hidden gold, you should be on a quest to buy this set! So toot-toot your way in buying it!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(5/5 stars)

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New on DVD/Blu-ray (May)

Mad About You - The Complete Series The Jim Gaffigan Show Newhart - The Complete Fifth Season The Facts of Life - The Final (Ninth) Season The Wonder Years - Season Five

05/03 - Mad About You - The Complete Series
05/03 - The Jim Gaffigan Show - Season One
05/10 - Newhart - The Complete Fifth Season
05/17 - Angie Tribeca - The Complete First Season
05/17 - The Facts of Life - The Final (Ninth) Season
05/24 - The Wonder Years - Season Five
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, May 3

Fresh Off the Boat - "Rent Day" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The flip house is finally finished, and Jessica convinces Honey and Grandma that they would make more money if they rent it out instead. Honey and Grandma are reluctant to get into the landlord business, but Jessica assures them that she will take care of everything. However, when the perfect renters become more of a nuisance, Jessica fears that she might be in over her head. Meanwhile, amateur detectives Emery and Evan, better known as “The Huang Boys,” take on the mystery of Louis’ missing watch.

The Real O'Neals - "The Real Retreat" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Jimmy is unexpectedly named Faith Leader for the weekend at the Catholic Youth Retreat, a jealous Kenny decides to take on his older brother’s role as ring leader of the bad kids. Home alone without the kids, Pat invites a new lady friend over, and Eileen can’t help but enlist Jodi to spy on them, with surprising results.

New Girl - "Dress" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Jess races to make alterations to Cece’s bridal dress, while Schmidt tries to keep his “wedding workshop” a secret at work, and Nick struggles to ask Reagan to be his date to the nuptials. Meanwhile, Winston and Aly (guest star Nasim Pedrad) try to keep their relationship on the down-low at work.

Grandfathered - "The Memorial" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Jimmy plans an emotional memorial service while processing a painful loss. Meanwhile, Sara is faced with a difficult decision after Craig asks her to take the next step in their relationship.

New Girl - "Return to Sender" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jess meets Sam’s (guest star David Walton) female best friend, Diane (guest star Caitlin Fitzgerald). Meanwhile, Nick is worried Gavin (guest star Peter Gallagher) will disappoint Schmidt (Max Greenfield) again and Winston is offended by a reaction to a birthday gift.

The Grinder - "Divergence" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
After finding out Dean Sr. is guilty, Stew thinks they should settle the case. Dean, of course, believes they should try to win, and wants to use one of his old “Grinder” tricks, by throwing himself into an unrelated sub plot that will lead him to what he needs to solve the case. Meanwhile, Stew is concerned that he is now “infected”.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 2)

Tuesday, May 3

  • Marc Maron (Maron) - Catch Marc on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Dakota Johnson (Ben and Kate) - Dakota drops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Josh Hopkins (Cougar Town) - Josh appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Matt Walsh (Veep/Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Matt is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Zoey Deutch (The Suite Lofe on Deck) - Zoey appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Kate Micucci (Raising Hope/Scrubs) - Kate visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Morris Chestnut (Out All Night) - Morris talks about Rosewood on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie) - Jane stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Fran Drescher (The Nanny/Happily Divorced) - Fran appears on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family/The Class) - Jesse is a guest on People Now.