I Eats My Spinach

In which Popeye pulls a horse’s head out of its ass, and sorts out the bull in a rodeo.


A Language All My Own

Betty Boop closes her New York show and sets the dial on her winged one-seater for Japan.

Wearing kimono, she sings the title song again in English and in Japanese, to great acclaim.

Two years before Mr. Moto, and just when Ozu was busy making American-style films.

Ricky Ricardo later repeats the gag by singing “Tokyo Pete” in a geisha house, accompanied by shamisen, shakuhachi, and koto.


The Hot Air Salesman

The salesman is a little India rubber maven with wavy airplane arms, who saunters and traipses around Betty’s house enough to finally do some real damage, or anyway muss the place up, until even greathearted Betty must eject him, to her everpresent refrain, “not today, kind sir!”


The Impractical Joker


The exquisiteness of Fleischer’s observations is the main impetus of the work. Sweet Betty is at the hot oven, which burns her delicate fingertips, baking a cake. “That was some batter,” she says, “I’ll have to use that all the time!”

Irving is the wavy-armed fellow who appeared as the Hot Air Salesman in another guise, a little goofier here, with a great big wink. He puts the razz on Betty something awful, she paws her face in the desperation of a Stooge and stamps upstairs to Prof. Grampy for a remedy.

Grampy knows all the tricks, wards them off when Irving brings up the cake, and gives the poor sucker an education. Irving just about gets the last laugh with an exploding candle, but a battleship on the wall showers him with attention.


Gulliver’s Travels


In a moonlit night, waves are breaking on the shore, rotoscoped with the precision of Stanton Macdonald-Wright’s Haiga. Capt. Lemuel Gulliver, who looks as if he might be Sterling Hayden or Charles Bickford rotoscoped, is sitting on the shore beside a diminutive lighthouse and singing a song by Ralph Rainger as he empties his pipe and looks out to sea.

The sublimity of this is matched in every way by kingly comedy and Garbo as the Lilliputian love interest.


The Mechanical Monsters


The robots spread their arms, which become wings, and fly with the aid of a rotary prop at the head. Jewelry stores are their prey, walls are no obstacle. Gems are stored in the rectangular body, which opens at the back like a coal chute. Each robot has a number on the front like a ballplayer. The head shows electrical activity when the monster is activated, otherwise the several dozen robots stand inert or lean motionless on a wall.

They’re sent out one at a time by a gentleman in evening dress who operates them by remote control. Police are helpless to stop them, even with Tommy guns.

Lois Lane and Clark Kent are at the House of Jewels to cover opening day. One of the monsters flies to the building and lands, repelling all bullets, then strides through a cruciform window resembling its locked-arm configuration. The wings are retracted so that its hands are free to pluck all the treasure. Kent phones the story in while Lois out of his sight climbs up and into the hopper at the back of the monster. She’s carried off into the air with the jewels. Kent, seeing her gone, re-enters the phone booth and emerges as Superman.

In the air, his X-ray vision shows Lois and the jewels locked within the monster. Superman forces it open, but a radio signal alerts the operator to “Interference”. The robot is made to roll several times, spilling the jewels out but not Lois, who hangs on and arrives at the laboratory.

Superman has been cast down to earth by the monster and is momentarily entangled in some high-power lines, which he breaks apart one by one.

The robot empties its hopper into a raised vault in the floor, but there is only Lois, who surveys the scene and reflects on the story she’ll write. She is tied to a chair suspended above a vast crucible of molten metal.

Superman arrives and does battle with the monsters, striking them with his fists until they are broken and crumpled. The last one smashed ignites a fire in the laboratory. He forces his way through steel doors after the gentleman in evening dress, who holds a knife to the rope attached to the chair. In one swift motion, Superman frees Lois and carries her to safety. The gentleman tips the crucible, pouring its contents over them. Superman spreads his cape to shield her, then carries the two of them back to Metropolis, grasping Lois by her waist and the gentleman by his collar.

Kent compliments Lois on her front page story, but she modestly says, “I owe it all to Superman.” Standing beside the desk where she is sitting, Kent looks at her with an unseen smile.


Billion Dollar Limited


Superman stops train robbers after a gold shipment. Lois is aboard, covering the story.

The gangsters ditch the last car full of police, fight and fall off a bridge. Lois reaches the engine, nothing there but a Tommy gun she uses to fend off an armor-plated car firing alongside.

They divert the train onto a siding where a boxcar full of explosives is parked. Clark Kent reads the teletype, Superman moves the tracks.

They dynamite a high bridge, toss a bomb at the locomotive. Superman hauls the train to the Government Mint and rounds up all the gangsters.

Kent smiles at Lois behind his Daily Planet.


Blunder Below


At a gunnery lecture and target practice Popeye’s a zero, but given a real Jap “skunkmarine” he turns up quite a hero.


Fleets of Stren’th


What the Navy gave Popeye, what Popeye gave the Navy.