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 (October/November)

Dr. Ken - Season One Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season The Lucy Show - The Complete Series The Mindy Project - Season Four

10/04 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Christmas Special (Colorized)
10/04 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #1 (Colorized)
10/11 - Dr. Ken - Season One
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Series
10/11 - Nurse Jackie - Seasons One and Two
10/11 - Weeds - Seasons One and Two
11/01 - Schitt's Creek - Seasons One and Two
11/08 - Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season
11/08 - Your Family or Mine - Season One
11/15 - Community - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Lucy Show - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Mindy Project - Season Four
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, December 2

Last Man Standing - "Precious Snowflakes" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mandy chooses local-celebrity Mike as the speaker for her business school’s graduation. After learning that the school requires his speech to be PC and micro-agression free, Mike decides whether or not to play by the rules. Meanwhile, Eve’s friend Cammy (Sarah Gilman) is home from college, bragging about how fantastic her new life has been, leaving Eve feeling slightly fruitless and discouraged.

Dr. Ken - "D.K's New Girlfriend" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When D.K. overhears Allison complain about him overstaying his welcome, he decides to move in with his girlfriend of three weeks. Meanwhile, Pat wants Dave to pretend he’s his adopted son; and Allison is convinced Molly wants to talk about something when she suggests they do a spa day, but the tables turn when Molly is the one doling out the advice.

I Love Lucy - "I Love Lucy Christmas Special" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL features “The Christmas Episode” and the newly colorized “Lucy Gets in Pictures.” Both were colorized with a vintage look, a nod to the 1950s period in which the shows were filmed. The main titles and end credits of the two episodes are seamlessly combined into one set at the beginning and end of the hour, with no interruption between the episodes.

“The Christmas Episode” finds the Ricardos and Mertzes decorating Lucy and Ricky’s Christmas tree and reminiscing about how their lives have changed since the arrival of the Ricardos’ son, Little Ricky (Keith Thibodeaux). Flashbacks recall the night Lucy tells Ricky she is pregnant, the time Lucy shows up unexpectedly as part of a barbershop quartet and the day Ricky and the Mertzes rehearse taking Lucy to the maternity ward.

“The Christmas Episode” was first broadcast on CBS in December 1956. The episode was not included in the series’ long history of rebroadcasts, first on CBS Daytime and later in syndication. Thought to be lost, CBS rediscovered the episode in 1989.

In the newly colorized “Lucy Gets in Pictures,” Lucy’s lifelong dream of appearing in a motion picture seems to have come true when Ricky arranges for her to play a showgirl in a new musical. Unfortunately, the enormous feathered headdress she is expected to wear as she descends a staircase proves to be too cumbersome. After numerous mishaps on the stairs, the musical’s frustrated director (Lou Krugman) decides to make a change.

“Lucy Gets in Pictures” was originally broadcast Feb. 21, 1955, and was an immediate favorite not only of viewers, but of Lucille Ball herself. She restaged the famous headdress scene, again with Krugman, in the 1962 CBS special, “Opening Night,” and in 1965 in a slightly modified form, this time with actor Danny Thomas, in her second CBS series, “The Lucy Show.”

Liv and Maddie: Cali Style - "Cali Christmas-a-Rooney" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Maddie gets upset that she can't be in Wisconsin for Christmas, so Liv helps cheer her up.

Girl Meets World - "Girl Meets a Christmas Maya" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
As Christmas approaches, Riley gets excited to celebrate her favorite holiday, but for Maya, the holidays only bring back unhappy memories from her childhood.

Bunk'd - "How the Griff Stole Christmas" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The holidays arrive at Camp Kikiwaka with everyone in good spirits -- except for Griff.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 28)

Friday, December 2

  • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Watch Chelsea on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Andrew Rannells (Girls/The New Normal) - Andrew is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men/The Powers That Be/Bosom Buddies) - Holland chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) - Melissa appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) - Randall stops by LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Scott Patterson (Aliens in America) - Scott is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Quinn (Bunk'd) - Kevin appears on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Miss Piggy (The Muppets) - NBC's Today catches up with Miss Piggy in the 10am hour.
  • Gaby Hoffmann (Transparent/Someone Like Me) - Gaby appears on Chelsea on Netflix.