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 (March)

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series Bewitched - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek) Maude - The Complete Series WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete First Season (Shout! Factory) The Donna Reed Show - Season 2 (MPI Home Video)

03/03 - CHiPs - The Complete Third Season
03/10 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series
03/10 - Hey Dude - The Complete Series (Walmart Exclusive)
03/10 - Petticoat Junction - Family Favorite Episodes
03/17 - Bewitched - Season 5 (Mill Creek)
03/17 - Bewitched - Season 6 (Mill Creek)
03/17 - Bewitched - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek)
03/17 - Maude - The Complete Series (Shout! Factory)
03/17 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete First Season (Shout! Factory)
03/17 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Second Season (Shout! Factory)
03/24 - The Donna Reed Show - Season 2 (MPI Home Video)
03/31 - Silicon Valley - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
03/31 - Veep - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, March 4

The Middle - "Flirting with Disaster" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Frankie finds herself innocently flirting with Axl's hot friend, Finn. But when she makes a not-so-innocent remark about him to her sister, she fears that both Finn and Axl may have overheard her conversation. Meanwhile, Sue is forced to take Brick to a “Planet Nowhere” sci-fi convention, and Frankie's dad, Tag (Jerry Van Dyke), asks Mike to secretly help him study and pass his driver's test so that he can keep his license from being taken away.

The Goldbergs - "Happy Mom, Happy Life" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Dana and Adam have to parent a doll for class, Beverly becomes a grand-smother and compromises their project AND relationship. Meanwhile, Erica is annoyed Barry takes up all her best friend time with Lainey. To get back at him, she joins the JTP and they shun Barry out of the group, but it later backfires for Erica.

Modern Family - "Closet? You'll Love It" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jay and Claire scramble to shoot a Pritchett Closets commercial in response to their competitor’s new and catchy ad, but there might be some creative differences between father and daughter. A peeping-Tom in the neighborhood keeps using a drone to spy on Gloria sun-bathing so Phil, Luke and Manny make it their mission to take it down. Elsewhere, a tone deaf Lily prepares to perform in her school talent show and Cameron is more worried about it than she is, and Haley’s feelings for Andy become even more complicated when he gets rushed to the hospital with appendicitis.

black-ish - "Parental Guidance" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Dre, determined to make up for the no-frills, last-minute wedding he and Bow had, organizes an amazing vow renewal for their 15th anniversary. But when Bow’s hippie-dippy parents, Alicia (Anna Deveare Smith) and the very white Paul (Beau Bridges) show up unannounced -- bombshells are dropped and old disagreements re-ignite between the two families, especially with Pops and Ruby (Jenifer Lewis).

Schitt's Creek - "The Cabin" (Pop, 10:00PM ET/PT)
When Johnny and Moira use the mayor's cabin for the night, Alexis and David throw a party.

Melissa & Joey - "Parental Guidance" (ABC Family, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Joe makes the difficult decision to call Felicia when he learns that Dani has broken the rules.

Baby Daddy - "Happy Birthday Too You" (ABC Family, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Ben panics when he forgets his mother's birthday; Emma is injured while in Riley and Tucker's care.

The Game - "Switch!" (BET, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Blue has suspicions about Keira and Malik; Coach Sparks has a heart attack; Chardonnay vows to return to San Diego for revenge.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - "The Gang Goes on Family Fight" (FXX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
When the gang appears on a nationally broadcasted game show, Dennis does his best to keep the gang's weirdness under wraps.

Man Seeking Woman - "Branzino" (FXX, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Josh is convinced that he's finally found his soul mate.

Love Thy Neighbor - "The Ring" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Philip doubts himself; Hattie convinces him to start over and give Linda the ring.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 2) (All times ET unless noted)

Wednesday, March 4

  • Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation) - Watch Aziz on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Danny DeVito (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia/Taxi) - Danny is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Whitney Cummings (Whitney) - Whitney appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. She will also be on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Drew Carey (The Drew Carey Show/The Good Life) - Drew guest co-hosts The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Felicity Huffman (Sports Night) - Felicity stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She also talks about her new ABC series American Crime on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Anne Heche (Save Me/The Michael J. Fox Show) - Anne appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Tim Daly (Wings) - Tim visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Vivica A. Fox (True Jackson, VP/Arsenio/Out All Night) - Vivica talks about her experience on The Celebrity Apprentice and tells us what she really thinks about Kenya Moore on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Lauren Graham (The Odd Couple/Conrad Bloom/Townies) - Lauren talks about dating her Parenthood co-star Peter Krause and reveals why one of her co-stars sent stolen property to her house on a repeat of The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Fran Drescher (The Nanny/Happily Divorced) - Fran appears on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly is a guest on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.
  • Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) - Cristela guest co-hosts The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • James Van Der Beek (Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - James and the cast of CSI: Cyber are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Christian Slater (Breaking In) - Christian talks about Archer on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Jeremy Sisto (Suburgatory) - Jeremy is a guest on Big Morning Buzz Live on VH1 at 9am.
  • Nick Jonas (Jonas LA) - Nick appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Alyssa Milano (Who's the Boss?/Romantically Challenged) - Alyssa guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.