Sunday, March 3, 2019

The All New Popeye Hour: "Merry Madness at the Mardi Gras"

Premiered December 17, 1979.

Popeye (Jack Mercer) and Olive Oyl (Marilyn Schreffler) are watching a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans.  They’re planning to attend a costume contest after the parade. 

They’re planning to attend a costume contest after the parade.  The sailor man says he enjoys Mardi Gras, but he worries their nemesis Bluto (Allan Melvin) will show up and mess up everything, like he always does.  Olive suggests they get Mardi Gras costumes, so Bluto won’t recognize them.

Sure enough, Bluto shows up disguised in a gorilla suit.  He throws Popeye up in air and takes his place by Olive’s side.  She thinks it’s Popeye dressed as a gorilla.  Popeye quickly returns and dispatches of Bluto. 

Bluto eventually decides to encase Popeye in quick-drying liquid iron.  This upsets Popeye, since Olive was counting on him to escort her to the costume contest. 

With his rival (seemingly) out of the picture, Bluto puts on a “Popeye” costume and escorts Olive Oyl to the contest.

Can Popeye escape from his liquid-iron prison?  Will Bluto ruin their Mardi Gras celebration? 

J.A. Morris says:

This isn’t a great episode and the plot is rather thin.  However, I was a regular viewer of The All New Popeye Hour when it was new, so this was a nice opportunity to revisit a childhood favorite.  If you’ve seen a Popeye cartoon, you know the drill: Popeye and Bluto compete for Olive Oyl’s attention, stuff happens, etc.  Only this time their competition takes place at a Mardi Gras parade. 

This episode features some funny visuals, such as Bluto’s Popeye costume, and Bluto turning Popeye into a “Popeye balloon.” 

This series might not have been the best Popeye cartoon, but the voice actors were top-notch.  Jack Mercer voiced Popeye, a role he’d been performing since 1935. 

Veteran character actor Allan Melvin provided the voice of Bluto in this series.  Melvin did a lot of cartoon voice work, but he’s probably best remembered for his roles on The Phil Silvers Show, Gomer Pyle:USMC, The Brady Bunch and All In The Family

"Merry Madness at the Mardi Gras" is a short, fun Mardi Gras-themed episode.  There aren’t many episodes, specials or movies that focus on Fat Tuesday, so it’s always nice to discover one.  It’s not great, but it’s recommended, especially for Popeye fans.

J.A. Morris’ rating:

2 and a half King Cakes.

RigbyMel says: 

As a Saturday morning cartoon devotee, The All-New Popeye Hour was my introduction to Popeye as a child.   In the manner of lots of Hanna Barbera produced animation, it's pretty cheap looking from an adult perspective, but it's generally enjoyable, plus (as noted by J.A.)  the voice talent is great.

Wimpy makes a cameo as a balloon vendor in the short. 
"Merry Madness at the Mardi Gras" is a harmless, family-friendly romp around New Orleans.   I am not sure I remember seeing this particular episode as a child, but it may well have been some folks' introduction to the concept of the Mardi Gras.   Some of the physics (even if it's cartoon physics), bugged me -- wouldn't liquid iron be scaldingly  hot, for example?    Also, poor Olive Oyl doesn't come off too well in this,  Bluto's disguises are pretty darned easy to see through.

Maybe her Mardi Gras mask was obscuring her vision?
It's short and silly,  but as there aren't too many Mardi Gras themed cartoons out there, it's amusing enough.  Not a classic, but worth seeing at least once. 

RigbyMel's rating:

2 King Cakes