Premiered May 10, 1957.
"Fireworks is too dangerous! I'm gonna see that you haves a safe and sane 4th of July!"
On Independence Day, Popeye the sailor (Jack Mercer) is tending his garden. His nephews (also voiced by Mercer) are excited about celebrating the occasion by setting off firecrackers.
Popeye forbids this says it's too dangerous and locks the fireworks up in a shed. The nephews accuse their uncle of spoiling their 4th of July.
Popeye is determined that they have a "safe and sane" 4th of July and suggests some alternate ways for the boys to celebrate, like playing baseball, grilling hot dogs and going for a drive in the country. However, every time Popeye turns his back, the nephews attempt to get the fireworks out of the shed.
The boys eventually get the fireworks and predictable pyrotechnic chaos ensues. The nephews' actions place them and their surroundings in danger. Can Popeye save his nephews?
J.A. Morris says:
As we've said here before, there isn't a lot of 4th of July-themed programming out there, so it's always nice to find stuff like "Patriotic Popeye."
Popeye says he wants the boys to have a "safe and sane 4th of July." This is a reference to a movement that started in Cleveland in 1908 in the wake of several fireworks-related accidents that caused injuries and deaths. Cleveland passed laws that made it a "safe and sane" city which prohibited firework use and their ordinances served as a model for other cities. So you might say "Patriotic Popeye" is PSA about fireworks safety.
Popeye certainly comes off as a killjoy here, but the nephews' antics ultimately prove him right. This short contains some nice animation, such as this bit where a swarm of hornets forms an eye:
Like most Popeye cartoons, "Patriotic Popeye" does feature (SPOILER ALERT!) some spinach-enhanced heroics from the sailor man.
A note about the nephews:
Popeye's four nephews first appeared in a 1942 cartoon called "Pip-eye, Pup-eye, Poop-eye an' Peep-eye," which were the nephews names. "Patriotic Popeye" only features two of these four and doesn't name them. I'm not sure what happened to the other two.
"Patriotic Popeye" isn't the best Popeye short ever but it's fun and filled with fireworks, roman candles and hot dogs, it's full of 4th of July imagery. It's worth watching, especially recommended for hardcore fans of Popeye the sailor.
J.A. Morris' rating:
2 and a half American Flag.
"Patriotic Popeye" is an amusing, if not a "classic" animated short. I appreciated the safety message about fireworks, even if the humorous action of the short kind of undercuts it a little bit.
I find it interesting that since this is a short made during the 1950s, we see a large bottle rocket labeled the "Atomic Sky Rocket" -- a reference very much of the time and of the "space race" period of U.S. history.
Popeye's troublemaking nephews strike me as perhaps owing more than a little bit to some similar tropes employed by other animation studios and it's odd that neither Olive Oyl nor Bluto make an appearance in this cartoon. However, there's plenty of holiday-themed action, so maybe they aren't needed?
This is a short worth watching even if it's not precisely a classic.
2 American Flags.