Originally a minor character in Thimble Theater
, a newspaper comic strip drawn by Elzie Segar for King Features Syndicate
, Popeye the Sailor quickly took over the series, edging out Ham Gravy
as the principal suitor of Olive Oyl. He made his animation debut in a 1933 Betty Boop
short produced by Fleischer Studios
, and continued appearing in cartoons throughout the 1940s and 1950s, when Famous Studios
produced the series, and even continued on into several made-for-tv cartoons. Despite his sailor moniker, Popeye rarely ventured out to sea
, instead spending his days romancing Olive Oyl and competed with Bluto for her affections.
He starred in an impressive 232 note
theatrical cartoons during The Golden Age of Animation
, lasting from 1933 to 1957
, his most noteworthy short being the first of the three two-reeler, 20 minute long, full-color Technicolor specials: specifically, "Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor
". This iconic short, being a precursor even to Disney
's Snow White
, was extremely popular and was even billed along with the feature of the theater, above the main feature of the theater that played it, or even billed as the main feature of the theater itself.
While it failed to win an Oscar (losing to the now obscure Walt Disney Silly Symphonies
short "The Country Cousin"), it is still considered to this day to be one of The 50 Greatest Cartoons
ever made, influencing even filmmakers like Ray Harryhausen
, especially on his film The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
Television syndication packages of Popeye cartoons tend toward a mixture of theatrical shorts and the 1960s shorts produced by Al Brodax. In the late 1970s, Hanna-Barbera
produced a new series of Popeye cartoons for CBS
. This was followed by Popeye And Son
in 1987.The Movie
, released in 1980 and starring a young Robin Williams
in one of his first film roles, is a Cult Classic
. Sony Pictures has made a deal to develop an All-CGI Cartoon Popeye
feature film, directed by Genndy Tartakovsky
Theatrical Cartoon Filmography
- Blow Me Down!: Public Domain.
- I Eats My Spinach: First Popeye short with Mae Questel voicing Olive Oyl. Only Popeye short to bear the NRA (National Recovery Association) logo.
- I Yam What I Yam: The first solo Popeye short. Renamed "The Indian Fighter" in reissued prints. Wimpy makes his debut here.
- Popeye the Sailor: Billed as a Betty Boop cartoon, but is really a Poorly Disguised Pilot for the Popeye cartoons. Betty herself recieves barely a minute of screentime, with almost all of her animation recycled from "Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle". The series formula is established right out of the starting gate with this cartoon, with Bluto kidnapping Olive and Popeye having to chase him down and beat him into submission before Olive gets run over by a train.
- Seasin's Greetinks!
- Wild Elephinks: First Bluto-less short.
- Axe Me Another
- Can You Take It?: A short that bears some similarities to Bimbo's Initiation.
- The Dance Contest
- A Dream Walking: Features the Bing Crosby song "Did You Ever See A Dream Walking?", flawlessly synchronized with the animation.
- Let's Sing With Popeye: A Screen Song short featuring a sing-along version of the Popeye song. Recycles footage from the very first Popeye short. Public Domain.
- Let's You and Him Fight
- The Man on the Flying Trapeze: Sole animated appearance of Olive Oyl's mother, in the opening. Bluto does not appear here, although the eponymous man on the flying trapeze is an obvious stand-in for him.
- Shiver Me Timbers
- Shoein' Hosses
- Sock-a-Bye Baby: First Popeye short with neither Olive Oyl nor Bluto. Features Popeye caring for Betty Boop's baby brother.
- Strong to the Finich
- The Two Alarm Fire
- We Aim To Please
- Adventures of Popeye: A cheater short, recycling footage from "Popeye the Sailor", "Wild Elephinks" and "Axe Me Another". It is interesting for its Framing Device, with some brief Roger Rabbit Effect moments.
- Be Kind to Aminals: A bizarre short, if just because the Fleischers opted for a completely unsolicited change in voice, with Popeye's radio voice (Floyd Buckley) playing the role here (who sounds absolutely nothing like Popeye).
- Beward of Barnacle Bill
- Choose Your "Weppins"
- Dizzy Divers
- For Better of Worser: First Popeye short to use the 3-Dimensional Setback, which was a giant stop-motion turntable with a model set mounted on top, with cels superimposed seamlessly over it, to create a startling illusion of depth.
- The Hyp-Nut-Tist
- King of the Mardi Gras: First Popeye cartoon to have Jack Mercer voicing the character. Uses the 3-Dimensional Setback.
- Pleased to Meet Cha!
- The Spinach Overture: Cameo appearance by Castor Oil.
- You Gotta Be A Football Hero: Last Popeye short with William Costello as the Popeye voice.
- Bridge Ahoy!: Uses the 3-D Setback.
- Brotherly Love
- A Clean Shaven Man: Notable for having artist Jack Kirby working on it as an Assistant animator, during his extremely brief tenure at Fleischer Studios.
- Hold the Wire
- I Wanna Be a Lifeguard: Public Domain.
- I'm in the Army Now: Clip show episode, with footage from "Blow Me Down", "Shoein' Hosses", "Choose Your Weppins", and "King of the Mardi Gras". Public Domain.
- I-Ski Love-Ski You-Ski: Features usage of the 3-D setback.
- Let's Get Movin': Uses the 3-D setback.
- Never Kick a Woman: First and only Fleischer cartoon in which Olive Oyl eats Popeye's spinach to overcome her adversary. Public Domain.
- Popeye the Sailor with Little Swee'Pea: Debut of Swee'Pea in the cartoons. Public Domain
- Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor: First color Popeye, first of the three Two-reeler features. Uses the 3-D Setback. One of The 50 Greatest Cartoons. Public Domain.
- The Spinach Roadster
- Vim, Vigor and Vitaliky
- What-No Spinach?
- The Football Toucher Downer
- Fowl Play
- Hospitaliky: Popeye feeds Bluto spinach to get beaten and put in the hospital with Olive.
- I Likes Babies and Infinks
- I Never Changes My Altitude: Uses the 3-D setback. Public Domain.
- Lost and Foundry
- Morning, Noon and Nightclub
- My Artistical Temperature: Uses the 3-D Setback.
- Organ Grinder's Swing
- The Paneless Window Washer: Public Domain.
- Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves: Second Popeye color two-reel feature. Uses the 3-D Setback. Runner-up on The 50 Greatest Cartoons. Public Domain.
- Protek The Weakerist: Features usage of the 3-D setback.
- The Twisker Pitcher: First short where Bluto uses Popeye's spinach against him.
- Big Chief Ugh-A-Mugh-Ugh: Last Fleischer short to use the voice of Gus Wickie, although Bluto does not appear.
- Bulldozing the Bull
- Cops Is Always Right
- A Date to Skate: A short centered solely around Popeye and Olive Oyl. Last time in the Fleischer shorts that Mae Questel would voice Olive Oyl, being replaced by Margie Hines. Public Domain.
- Goonland: First appearance of Poopdeck Pappy in the cartoons. Only theatrical short appearance of the Goons. Public Domain.
- The House Builder-Uppper
- I Yam Lovesick: Bonnie Poe, the original pre-Mae Questel Olive Oyl voice, reprises her role as Olive Oyl due to Mae refusing to move to Miami along with Fleischer Studios.
- Learn Polikeness: Uses the 3-D Setback. Last Popeye short to have Gus Wickie as the voice of Bluto.
- Let's Celebrake
- Mutiny Ain't Nice
- Plumbing is a 'Pipe'
- Popeye the Sailor with the Jeep: Debut of Eugene the Jeep. Margine Hines voices Olive Oyl from here on out.
- Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp: The third and last of the Popeye color two-reel features. Public Domain.
- Customers Wanted: Clip show episode, reuses footage from "Let's Get Movin'" and "The Twisker Pitcher." First Popeye where Pinto Colvig (formerly the voice of Goofy at Disney) voices Bluto. Public Domain.
- Ghosks is the Bunk
- Hello How Am I?
- It's the Natural Thing to Do: Public Domain
- Leave Well Enough Alone
- Never Sock a Baby
- Wotta Nitemare: This short is a nightmarish throwback to the early days of Fleischer Studios, especially odd considering that they were pushing to imitate Disney during this time period.
- Doing Impossikible Stunts: Compilation film, includes scenes from "I Never Changes My Altitude", "I Wanna be a Lifeguard", "Bridge Ahoy" and "Lost and Foundry."
- Females is Fickle
- Fightin' Pals: Last Popeye short with Pinto Colvig as the voice of Bluto.
- Me Feelins is Hurt: Public Domain
- My Pop, My Pop
- Onion Pacific
- Popeye Meets William Tell: Notable for animation by veteran Shamus Culhane.
- Popeye Presents Eugene the Jeep: Last Popeye short to feature Eugene the Jeep. Pinto Colvig makes a voice cameo as a mailman, while using his Goofy voice, no less!
- Popeye the Sailor With Poopdeck Pappy: Public Domain
- Puttin' On the Act
- Shakespearean Spinach
- Stealin' Ain't Honest: Tedd Pierce voices Bluto in this short instead of Colvig.
- Wimmin Hadn't Oughta Drive
- Wimmin is a Myskery
- Child Psykolojiky: Last Popeye short to use the original shipboard opening titles.
- Flies Ain't Human
- I'll Never Crow Again: Last short to use the original Popeye design.
- The Mighty Navy: First Popeye Wartime Cartoon. First short to use Popeye's navy suit redesign.
- Nix on Hypnotricks
- Olive's Boithday Presink
- Olive's Sweepstakes Ticket
- Pest Pilot
- Popeye Meets Rip Van Winkle
- Problem Pappy
- Quiet! Pleeze: Public Domain
- Alona on the Sarong Seas
- Baby Wants a Bottleship: The last of the Fleischer Popeye cartoons.
- Blunder Below
- Fleets of Stren'th
- A Hull of a Mess
- Kickin' the Conga 'Round (there's a title that gets 'crap' past the radar..)
- Many Tanks
- Me Musical Nephews: Public Domain.
- Olive Oyl and Water Don't Mix
- Pip-eye, Pup-eye, Poop-eye and Peep-eye: Introduces Popeye's eponymous four nephews.
- Scrap the Japs
- You're a Sap, Mr. Jap: The first of the Famous Studios Popeye cartoons. It has gained notoriety for its racist stereotyping of japanese soldiers.
- Cartoons Ain't Human: Last black and white Popeye cartoons.
- Happy Birthdaze - First appearance of Shorty, a Navy-serviceman bespectacled sidekick who did not last long.
- Her Honor the Mare: The series permanently upgrades to color from here on out.
- The Hungry Goat: An odd, pseudo Tex Avery like short centered around the eponymous trickster goat, "Billy the Kid", with Popeye serving as his hapless adversary.
- A Jolly Good Furlough
- The Marry-Go-Round - Second appearance of Shorty ; in this he ends up being another rare non-Bluto rival for Olive's skinny hand.
- Ration for the Duration
- Seein' Red, White n' Blue
- Spinach fer Britain
- Too Weak to Work
- The Anvil Chorus Girl: Remake of Shoein' Hosses.
- Moving Aweigh: - Final appearance of Shorty. Notably, this is the only one of his 3 appearances where Arnold Stang did his voice, the first two times he was done by Popeye's Voice Actor Jack Mercer. Semi-remake of Cops is Always Right.
- Pitchin' Woo at the Zoo
- Puppet Love
- She-Sick Sailors: First of 4 Popeye cartoons to have their story written by Otto Messmer.
- Spinach-Packin' Popeye: Clip show episode, recycling footage from "Popeye Meets Sindbad" and "Popeye Meets Ali Baba".
- Were on the way to Rio: first of Two Famous Studios Popeye Cartoons to use a special Intro.
- For Better or Nurse: Semi-Remake of Hospitaliky.
- Mess Production: Second of 4 Popeye cartoons to have their story written by Otto Messmer.
- Pop-Pie a La Mode: the first of 3 Famous Studios Color Popeye Cartoons Banned due to racist content.
- Shape Ahoy
- Tops in the Big Top: Last of Two Famous Studios Popeye Cartoons to use a special intro.
- The Fistic Mystic: Modern airings edit out a scene in the beginning featuring a Blackface Chauffer escorting Popeye and Olive Oyl. Even with the edit it is very rarely aired.
- House Tricks?: Color remake of "The House Builder-Upper".
- The Island Fling: Herman the Mouse from Herman And Katnip makes a cameo. Second of 3 Famous Studios Color Popeye cartoons banned for racist content, though some airings of this cartoon have tried making it "acceptable" by editing out all scenes with the Blackface native.
- Klondike Casanova
- Peep In the Deep: Semi-remake of "Dizzy Divers". Third of 4 Popeye cartoons to have their story written by Otto Messmer.
- Rocket to Mars: Modern airings cut out a brief scene depicting a racist WWII Japanese caricature. Last of 4 Popeye cartoons to have their story written by Otto Messmer.
- Rodeo Romeo
- Service with a Guile
- Abusement Park
- All's Fair at the Fair: Similarly named, but other no relation to another Fleischer Color Classics short of the same name.
- I'll Be Skiing Ya
- Popeye and the Pirates
- The Royal-Four Flusher
- Safari So Good
- Wotta Knight: A couple scenes depicting a blackface child have been edited out of modern day airings. King Little from Gullivers Travels appears as the jousting announcer.
- Olive Oyl For President: Semi-remake of "Betty Boop For President."
- Popeye Meets Hercules
- Pre-Hysterical Man
- Snow Place Like Home
- Spinach vs. Hamburgers: Yet another clip show episode, recycling footage from "The Anvil Chorus Girl", "Pop-Pie A La Mode" and "She-Sick Sailors". Modern airings edit out the scenes for "Pop-Pie A La Mode" due to its racist content.
- Symphony in Spinach
- Wigwam Whoopee
- A Wolf In Sheik's Clothing
- A Balmy Swami: Color remake of "The Hyp-Nut-Tist".
- Barking Dogs Don't Fite: Remake of "Protek The Weakerist".
- The Fly's Last Flight: Color remake of "Flies Ain't Human"
- Hot Air Aces
- Lumberjack and Jill
- Popeye's Premiere: A clip show episode, using condensed footage of "Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp" with a Framing Device wrapped around it.
- Silly Hillybilly
- Tar with a Star
- Baby Wants Spinach: Semi-remake of "Little Swee'Pea".
- Beach Peach
- The Farmer and the Belle
- Gym Jam: Color remake of "Vim, Vigor and Vitaliky".
- How Green is My Spinach
- Jitterbug Jive
- Popeye Makes a Movie: Clip show episode that reuses footage from "Popeye Meets Ali Baba", with new animation and a Framing Device wrapped around it.
- Quick on the Vigor
- Riot In Rhythm: Shot for Shot Remake of "Me Musical Nephews", except in color, with different music and slower timing. Public Domain.
- Alpine for You: Semi-remake of "I-Ski Love-Ski You-Ski".
- Double Cross Country Race
- Let's Stalk Spinach
- Pilgrim Popeye
- Punch and Judo: Modern airings cut out a brief scene showing a Blackface child.
- Thrill of Fair
- Vacation with Play
- Big Bad Sindbad: Another stock footage episode, reusing animation from "Popeye Meets Sindbad" with a new Framing Device added. Public Domain.
- Friend or Phony: Reuses footage from "I'll Be Skiing Ya" and "Tar with a Star".
- Lunch with a Punch
- Popalong Popeye
- Popeye's Pappy: Color remake of "Goonland". One of three appearances Poopdeck Pappy makes in the Famous Studios shorts. The last of 3 Famous Studios Color Popeye cartoons banned due to racist content.
- Shuteye Popeye: Public Domain. Has gained some infamy for a sped up voice clip used for the mouse, which includes some swearing in it.
- Swimmer Take All
- Tots of Fun
- Ancient Fistory: Poopdeck Pappy's second appearance in a Famous Popeye short. Public Domain.
- Baby Wants a Battle: Third and final appearance of Poopdeck Pappy in a Famous short, and as a younger man in a flashback.
- Child Sockology
- Fireman's Brawl: Color remake of "The Two-Alarm Fire".
- Popeye's Mirthday
- Popeye, the Ace of Space: A Popeye cartoon made in 3-D. Semi-remake of "Rocket to Mars".
- Shaving Muggs: Color remake of A Clean Shaven Man.
- Beaus Will Be Beaus
- Car-azy Drivers: Color remake of "Wimmin Hadn't Oughta Drive".
- Cookin' with Gags: Public Domain.
- Cops is Tops
- Gift of Gag
- A Job for a Gob
- Mister and Mistletoe
- Nurse to Meet Ya: Last appearance of Swee'Pea.
- Penny Antics: Color remake of "Customers Wanted", reuses footage from "Silly Hillbilly", "Wotta Knight" and "The Fistic Mystic".
- Assault and Flattery: Reuses footage from "The Farmer and the Belle, "How Green is My Spinach" and "A Balmy Swami". Public Domain.
- A Haul in One: Color remake of "Let's Get Movin'". Public Domain.
- Hill-billing and Cooing
- I Don't Scare: Public Domain.
- Insect to Injury: Public Domain. Only Popeye short supervised by Dave Tendlar.
- Out to Punch: Semi-remake of "Punch and Judo". Public Domain.
- Parlez-Vous Woo: Public Domain.
- Popeye for President: Public Domain.
- The Crystal Brawl: Reuses footage from "Quick on the Vigor" and "Alpine for You". Public Domain.
- Nearlyweds: Last Popeye short to bear the Famous Studios name before it changed its name to "Paramount Cartoon Studios". Public Domain.
- Patriotic Popeye: Last short to have Popeye's nephews appear. Public Domain.
- Spooky Swabs: The last of the theatrical Popeye cartoons. Public Domain. Semi-remake of "Shiver Me Timbers".
- Spree Lunch: Final theatrical appearances of Bluto and Wimpy. Public Domain.
This series provides examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: The Fleischer Popeye's played up Popeye's strength much more, gave him his Reality Warping powers, his love of spinach, and made Bluto and his rivalry with Popeye much more prominent.
- Adult Fear: "Lost and Foundry" had Swee'Pea wandering off into a dangerous factory. Although he ends up having to rescue Popeye and Olive Oyl instead of the other way around.
- An Aesop: The Aesop of the theatrical short "Be Kind To Animals" is...well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin. This lesson is repeated in the later short "Bulldozing The Bull".
- Aesop Amnesia: In other episodes however, Popeye is perfectly willing to punch animals and transform them into meat stands, fur coats or purses.
- Early Installment Weirdness / Characterization Marches On: most of those examples come from earlier Popeye cartoons.
- Generally it seems to be casual meaningless animal cruelty that he objects too. An animal that attacks of its own free will him is going to get the same treatment as anything else, but one being forced to attack him like in a bull in a bullfight is going to get softer treatment.
- Affectionate Parody: Poopeye the Farmer Man, from The Bob Rivers Show.
- Ambiguous Gender: So, is the Goon male or female? The original comics actually suggested female, but later strips implied male, possibly due to the lack of torso coverage in the character.
- Elzie Segar named the original Goon "Alice". She worked for the Sea Hag under duress.
- Both male and female Goons have been seen over the years, especially on Goon Island. Maybe the two sexes prefer to dwell apart.
- Amusing Injuries: Notably, the injured are almost always humans who get beaten up in relatively realistic ways, even accounting for the usual comedic flattening. When talking about cartoon violence on the audio commentary track of the Futurama episode "A Tale of Two Santas", Matt Groening said, "But Popeye kills people."
- And I Must Scream: The fate of Bluto at the end of "We Aim To Please", when Popeye transforms him into "A Lot of Bologna."
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: In the 1970s Hanna-Barbera series.
- Animated Adaptation
- April Fools' Plot: An episode focuses on Bluto playing pranks on Popeye during April 1.
- Ass Kicks You: Popeye does this as an attack on the Hypnotist in "The Hyp-Nut-Tist", and also uses this in the climax of "You Gotta Be A Football Hero".
- Asteroids Monster: "Sock-a-bye Baby" sees Popeye punch out a cellist who was playing his instrument, only for the cello to start playing itself. He then punches the cello, only for it to split into 4 violins. He then decides to just scare the violins into their cello case.
- Badass Boast: The extended theme song includes this gem:
If anyone dares to risk my Fisk,
It's Boff and it's Wham, understan'?
So keep good behavior
That's your one lifesaver
With Popeye the Sailor Man.
- Badly Battered Babysitter: Tends to happen whenever Sweet Pea is involved.
- Beam-O-War: Done with water from fire hoses in "The Two-Alarm Fire".
- Beastly Bloodsports: "Bulldozing the Bull" has Popeye in the ring with the bull. Throughout the whole cartoon Popeye protests that bullfighting is "inhumink to dumb anamals" and while he'll down his spinach to defend himself from an irate bull, he breaks a sword over his knee rather than deliver a killing blow, ultimately winning the bull's friendship.
- Big Eater: Wimpy, who loves hamburgers so much that he is often just incidental to the plot at hand, and only wants to eat.
- Popeye has his moments when a lot of spinach is involved.
- Big Friendly Dog: Dinky Dog, from The All-New Popeye Hour.
- Black Bead Eyes: Except in most of the Famous Studios shorts.
- Book Ends: The first scene "Popeye the Sailor" is Popeye on a ship singing his theme song. The last scene in "Spooky Swabs" is Popeye on a ship singing his theme song.
- Bottomless Magazines: Bluto's six shooter in "Blow Me Down!" is capable of firing lots of bullets without reloading.
- Brother Chuck: The entire Oyl family other than Olive (Castor, Cole and Nana), Ham Gravy, and all the rest of the original main characters from Thimble Theater, save Olive Oyl and Wimpy, became markedly less important when the comic strip was retooled around Popeye. Ham Gravy in particular disappeared for decades.
- Bullet Seed: A favorite technique of Popeye's.
- Canned Heroic Resolve The infamous can of spinach.
- Canon Immigrant: Bluto was created in 1932 for a particular story in the comic strip, but quickly started to appear in the cartoons. So quickly, in fact, that the comic strip owners later forgot they had created him, and briefly replaced him with Brutus to hedge their bets. Later writers speculated that Bluto and Brutus were twins.
- Captain Ersatz: Superman fought (and befriended) a sailor named Captain Strong who resembled a realistic-looking Popeye and became superstrong from eating shaunta, an alien seaweed. Just to confirm the homage, he was revealed to have a girlfriend, Olivia, who resembled Olive.
- In the story's sequel, Captain Strong, his girlfriend and a glutton friend (a Wimpy lookalike) invite Clark Kent and Lois Lane to a boat trip. When a disaster forces Clark to dive and use his powers to save the day, he quickly wraps canned spinach around himself and claims he got superpowers after he accidentally swallowed it, making Captain Strong believe it was the same seaweed that gave him powers in the previous story (and thus, explaining how mild-mannered Clark Kent could emulate Superman)
- Unfortunately (for Clark Kent) some weird natural disasters kept attacking their boat and Captain Strong (truly believing he had a new cache of "Alien Seaweed") insisted on dealing with them all by himself in a completely over the top fashion (like for example, rowing a boat through the air) much like in Popeye's classic shorts. Of course, Clark Kent was secretly behind all of Strong's awesome feats but let the captain be the hero, thus keeping the seaweed charade intact. The story is way, way better (and funnier)than how it sounds.
- Similarly, one of the early Popeye cartoons had Bluto disguising himself as Superman to try to woo Olive. (And since Popeye was a Fleischer cartoon, that episode borrowed the theme music from the Fleischer Superman cartoons of the era.)
- Cast of Snowflakes: Hoo boy...first, we have a one eyed, balding, big chinned toothless sailor with bulging arms, super strength and reality warping powers, who is ignorant but noble and is a force of good who eats terrible tasting spinach to aid himself, his girlfriend is a walking pipe-cleaner who is very fickle and as a result keeps switching between Popeye and Bluto, depending on who has the advantage of the other, Bluto, a hulking bully we've all known and met in life, and Wimpy, a intelligent but extremely manipulative glutton who would sell out his friends for a hamburger (which he will surely not pay back on Tuesday) and has a obsession with burgers in general. Elzie Segar, the creator of Thimble Theater, invented dozens if not hundreds of unique characters. Even the "bit players" have unique appearances and personalities.
- Catch Phrase
- Popeye: The theme song above, as well as "Blow me down!" and "I yam what I yam!"
- Olive Oyl: "Ohhhh deaaaar!"
- Not to mention: "HEEEEEEEEELP!!!", "Unhand me, you brute!" (with variations), Don't you dare 'reproach' me!", "Oh, Popeye!", etc.
- Wimpy: "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today," and (particularly in the comics) "I would gladly mow your lawn for you, if you had a lawn to mow!"
- In one strip, Popeye was so frustrated with Wimpy that he bought a vacant lot just to force Wimpy to mow its grass.
- Don't forget "I want you to come up to the house for a duck dinner. You bring the ducks." This is made fun of by Popeye in the Plunder Island storyline in the comics when Wimpy tries to cut Popeye's head off (long story) and complains when he ducks. Popeye replies, "Yeah, I'll furnish the ducks".
- In one strip he actually has duck and the punch line is, "You bring the tartar sauce."
- "Let's You and Him Fight."
- Cereal Induced Superpowers: In this infamous Quaker Oats commercial, Popeye chose oatmeal over spinach for super strength. The ad was quickly pulled when people (especially the nonviolent Quakers) complained.
- In the mid-1930s radio series, it was Wheatena.
- In one of the early strips, he has a temporary dearth of spinach so he temporarily partially replaces his strength boost with milk.
- On the other hand, Popeye has been credited for saving the spinach industry in the 1930's by convincing more kids to eat it, invoking this trope without it being an official advertisement.
- Crystal City, Texas, an agricultural town that was based around spinach growing, actually erected a statue of Popeye in the town square.
- Cerebus Syndrome: In what is sure to surprise many people, Thimble Theater went from gag strip parodying vaudeville and overwrought film serials, to an adventure/comedy strip in the tradition of Roy Crane's Wash Tubbs, and was quite popular. Created in 1919, it had been running (mostly in Hearst papers) for ten years when Popeye showed up. His appearance only served to make it more successful.
- Chaste Toons: Swee'Pea, who just appeared on a doorstep one day, and Pipeye, Peepeye, Pupeye and Poopeye, Popeye's quadruplet nephews, who dressed just like him and got into various misadventures alongside him.
- It's not like Popeye had a choice. Just look at his girlfriend; Olive Oyl would have exploded if she tried to make a baby!
- Olive Oyl was once shown with twin sons she'd had with Popeye, who were indistinguishable from Pipeye/Peepeye/Poopeye — but this was in a Dream Sequence. And her sons in the dream were so obnoxious that after she woke up she never wanted to see Popeye again.
- "There's no ifs, ands or maybes, I'll never have babies, I'm Popeye the Sailor Man!"
- Averted in Popeye & Son.
- Christmas Episode: "Seasin's Greetinks!"
- Chubby Chaser: Bluto in "Weight for Me", although you'd never think the trope could apply to Olive, of all people (she gained weight while the boys were at sea). The short contains some pretty massive Values Dissonance, too, as the heroic Popeye tries to make Olive thin down before he can be attracted to her, and Bluto is completely accepting of it.
- Clip Show: At least 14 shorts consisted of stock footage from from previous shorts, with a framing device always wrapped around them. The Fleischers only made 4 clip show episodes, but Famous produced 10.
- Cock Fight: Whenever Olive Oyl shows up, Bluto and Popeye immediately start a competition to win her affections. (Unless they've had Minute Maid Orange Juice.)
- Comedic Hero
- Comic Book Adaptation: From 1948 to 1984 there was a comic book being published from many different publishers (Dell, Fawcett, Charlton, etc.). A new series began in 2012 through IDW.
- Conspicuously Light Patch: The original black and white shorts weren't too bad about this, but the recolored versions from the 80's suffer terribly from it.
- Construction Zone Calamity: The short "A Dream Walking" has Olive Oyle sleepwalk into a construction site, as Popeye and Bluto try to stop her from killing herself.
- A Recycled Script short "Nix on Hypnotricks" has Olive wander into a construction site after being hypnotized.
- And in "Mess Production" she does the same thing in a boiler factory.
- In "Child Shockology", Popeye and Bluto chase an escaped Sweet Pea, who wanders into a construction site.
- Cool Ship: Popeye's flying gunboat from "Ali Baba and His Forty Thieves."
- Couldn't Find a Lighter: Popeye used a hot plate to light his pipe once.
- Crushing Handshake: Bluto/Brutus does this to Popeye in several cartoons, followed by a shot of Popeye's red, crushed hand and a "wrumph-wrumph" sound effect.
- Damsel in Distress: Olive Oyl.
- Dark Horse Victory: The ending of "A Clean Shaven Man", where Popeye defeats Bluto and goes off to Olive shaved—only for both him and Bluto to find she's already gone off with another man (who, unlike them, is very hairy) prompting Popeye and Bluto to deliver a butt-kick to each other.
- Deadpan Snarker: In the 1930s shorts, this was Popeye to a tee. It mostly came about due to his voice actor having to ad-lib many quips after the animation was done.
- Deranged Animation: "Wotta Nite-Mare", which almost feels like a throwback to the earliest Fleischer cartoons like "Swing You Sinners" in terms of content.
- Did You Die?: One old cartoon features Popeye telling his nephews about one of his adventures. At one point they ask, "Did you get killed?"
- Diner Brawl: We Aim To Please and What - No Spinach?
- Dirty Old Man: Poopdeck Pappy
- Disproportionate Retribution: "Sock-A-Bye Baby" has Popeye beating up people, demolishing a building under construction, smashing cars and sinking a cruise liner, all because they're making noise and he's afraid they'll wake a baby he's taking care of (which happens anyway, courtesy of a tiny pin hitting the ground).
- Doorstop Baby: Swee'Pea joins the cast in this manner.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Thimble Theater ran for a full decade before Popeye arrived and had a different lead in his steed, Ham Gravy, and was a gag a day strip without the sprawling story arcs it had later on. Besides that, Popeye was a much rougher personality in his early appearances (both in the comics and in the theatrical shorts), and he had a remarkably different appearance. Also, he gained his powers not from eating spinach, but from rubbing the head of a magical whiffle hen—he almost died of gunshot wounds in his first battle, until the Hen rejuvenated him. The comics also lacked the visual metaphors and reality warping powers that would become hallmarks of the Popeye cartoons. And Bluto, his infamous nemesis, only appeared once in the original Segar comics, and didn't become a mainstay of the comics until later on.
- Either/Or Title: One cartoon from the Al Brodax era is titled "Voice from the Deep" or "See Here Sea Hag".
- Everything's Better with Spinning: Popeye's classic twister punch demonstrates this.
- Evil Counterpart: Bluto to Popeye, to a certain degree.
- Expy: Brutus replacing Bluto (or Sindbad or whoever)
- Extreme Omni Goat: Billy the Kid, the eponymous goat from "The Hungry Goat"; an oddly Avery-esque Screwy Squirrel character who ended up eating the entire ship Popeye was on. A Bizarro Episode if there ever was one, since the character seemed as if it had stepped into the wrong cartoon series.
- Eyes Always Shut: Wellington J. Wimpy never seems to open his eyes.
- Eye Scream: The comics explain this is what happened to Popeye's right eye. He allowed himself to get beat up over a matter he felt accountable for, and lost his right eye in the process. This may have transitioned into the Fleischer cartoons, but was eventually abandoned by the Famous Studios shorts.
- Finishing Move: The twister sock/punch.
- Flexing Those Non-Biceps: Curiously averted, in that when Popeye has his spinach, they become huge, with objects inside like a battleship firing to show how powerful they are.
- Played straight in one short where Bluto has killed all the spinach in the world. After eating some broccoli ("That's almost the same as spinach!") Popeye flexes, and his upper arm droops into a U-shape.
- Friendly Enemy: Depending on the Writer, Popeye and Bluto often get along fine til they spot Olive Oyl, and even then, Popeye is often a very gracious winner. In one cartoon, after a fierce fight over treasure, Popeye gives half of it to Olive, and the other half to Bluto.
- In that particular episode, Popeye gave Bluto his half because Popeye was living up to an agreement they'd made at the start of the episode, and even after Bluto had been a total Jerk Ass throughout the episode trying to steal all the treasure for himself. Though because of that, Popeye knocks both Bluto and his share of the treasure into the sea.
- And, as an infamous Minute Maid commercial showed, once they've had their orange juice, they're downright affectionate.
- Not to mention the entirety of the cartoon "Fightin Pals" is focused around Popeye going into Darkest Africa to find Bluto. And when he finds Bluto (surrounded by wine, woman and coconuts, no less) and faints, being on the verge of death after finding Bluto, Bluto and his girls rush over to him, Bluto telling them that their efforts won't work as he pulls out a can of spinach, from his own shirt, and gives it to Popeye - sure, they start fighting at the end, but it comes off as a sort of friendly game. If that ain't a friendship, what is?
- Funetik Aksent: Ever wonder why Popeye talks that way? During his first appearances, his bizarre speech was Seger's written approximation of how sailors—possibly BRITISH sailors—really talked.
- Gainax Ending: In Al Brodax cartoon "Coach Popeye", Popeye and Brutus were arguing over who's the best to teach Swee'Pea and Diesel how to play sports. As usual, Popeye and Brutus ended up fighting. Near the end, they generated a fight cloud and, when it disappeared, it revealed them playing amicably as if they weren't just fighting.
- Gender Flip: "Never Kick a Woman" features a variation on the traditional formula, with Olive having to overcome a voluptuous adversary to win back Popeye's affections, and eating spinach to do so.
- Gentle Giant: Alice the Goon. While her inital appearances subverted this, it was only because the Sea Hag was holding her child hostage; she became more amiable when she was freed from her servitude.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- This clip from "Shuteye Popeye", which was sped up in the actual cartoon. It's apparently the voice of Seymour Kneitel, the director of these cartoons.
- "Never Kick a Woman" features a busty Mae West expy at a gym. When Popeye sees her, he mumbles, "Nice equipment they've got here."
- Go-Karting with Bowser: "A Haul in One" starts off with Popeye and Bluto as friends. This doesn't last too long, as they arrive to help Olive Oyl move, and both compete for her affections.
- Growing Muscles Sequence: Every time Popeye eats his spinach, with images like cannons, warships, turbines etc. superimposed over his arm for extra imagery.
- Have a Gay Old Time: From the third Popeye color special: "I've never made love in Technicolor before!"
- I Am What I Am: What he says in his theme song. He's probably the Trope Codifier.
- Iconic Sequel Character: Thimble Theater ran for ten years before Popeye made his debut.
- Image Song: Sort of. At the end of every short, Popeye sings some variation of the "Popeye the Sailor Man" song, depending on the situation or setting of that particular short, and always ending with the trademark "Toot, Toot!" whistle. For instance, in a short where Popeye is a sculptor and Bluto is a painter and the two fight over who gets to use Olive as a model, he sings, "A painting won't match you / it must be a statue / I'm Popeye the Sailor Man / Toot, toot!"
- Informed Attractiveness: Olive Oyl is apparently ravishingly beautiful.
- It's more apparent in the Famous Studios shorts, however.
- As mentioned elsewhere, Olive was originally conceived as a flapper, which, in 2010, is a fashion now almost a century out of date, but in general the flapper ideal was, indeed, something like Olive Oyl: skinny as a rail, with as little of a figure as a girl can possibly manage, and sort of tomboyish of attitude. They tended to be party people.
- Instant Roast: In the cartoon "I Eats My Spinach," Popeye's Megaton Punch turns a bull into a meat market stocked with beef hocks, steaks, and deli cuts.
- It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY: Subverted with Popeye's trademark mis-"pronunskiation".
- It Runs in the Family: Poopdeck Pappy, Popeye's nephews, and Swee' Pea all behave just like Popeye, more or less.
- Junior, from Popeye & Son metabolizes spinach no less than his famous father, although the boy hates the taste of it.
- Jabba Table Manners:
Bluto Abu Hassan when he's eating a large meal in his cave. Complete with improvised hamming, as he makes amusing chewing and gobbling noises as he devours his meal.
- That may be a Viewers Are Geniuses reference to the real story of Abu Hassan in the Arabian Nights... a man who enjoyed all the good things in life a bit too much. Doubtful that Bluto would have been that embarrassed, though.
- Bluto in We Aim to Please orders half a dozen sandwiches (with no intent of paying for them) and, flipping them in the air, gobbles them down like a dog.
- "Just So" Story: Popeye's story of why the sea is salty from one of the 60's TV cartoons, played straight, then promptly lampshaded by Swee'Pea's response.
- Karma Houdini: Wimpy in "What—No Spinach?". His obsession with scamming free food from Bluto's restaurant leads to him goading Popeye and Bluto into fighting each other over a misunderstanding, which allows Wimpy to get away with all of the food in Bluto's safe.
- Kick the Dog: The short "Seasons Greetinks" literally has Bluto whipping a dog.
- And Be Kind to 'Aminals' is centered around his mistreating the horse who pulls his cart.
- Kidnapping Bird of Prey: The Witch in the comics has a giant vulture who is able to lift up people and bring them to her.
- Sindbad the Sailor has the Roc who destroys Popeye's boat and carries Olive off.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: Popeye the justice defender has a huge jawline.
- Large Ham: Bluto, and any variation on him (Abu Hassan, Sindbad, etc.)
- Last Name Basis:: J. Wellington Wimpy
- The Sea Hag often calls him Wellington.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Popeye in the The Shadow Strikes comic book (1), and probably others.
- In the Porky Pig cartoon Porky's Garden, a baby chick eats a spinach leaf and assumes Popeye's physical form and speech ("I'll lays him among da sweet peas!") as he clobbers the chicken the bullied him a moment before.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Popeye's trademark line, "That's all I can stands, and I can't stands no more!"
- Popeye will usually spend much of his time getting his butt kicked by Bluto. But once he gulps down a can full of spinach, the tide turns in his favor considerably.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Trope Namer; one of Wimpy's early Catch Phrases
- Licensed Pinball Table: Popeye Saves The Earth, released in 1994 by Williams Electronics. Infamous among Pinball enthusiasts for being one of the worst tables in modern history.
- Live-Action Adaptation: Released in 1980, with Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall
- Love at First Punch: Played straight with Popeye and Olive in the original comics.
- Love Triangle: Popeye, Olive and Bluto. Depending on the Writer Olive's feelings toward Bluto vary from hatred to lust, and she sometimes gets tired of Popeye. In some episodes Popeye really deserves better than her.
- Lull Destruction: Popeye tends to mutter to himself under his breath when he's just ambling along without much of a goal in mind.
- Made of Iron: Cripes, the things Popeye and Bluto have survived!
- In the comics, this verges on Nigh-Invulnerability — Mafia bosses will invite Popeye to sit at the table with them in a restaurant, because he makes for such a good bulletproof shield.
- In the early Fleischer cartoons, too. He's thrown into an iron maiden ("Can You Take It?"), walks into a buzzsaw (ditto), is pounded by a pile-driver ("I Eats Me Spinach"), and is even shot in the back of the head ("Blow Me Down"), and he doesn't even flinch. And this is without spinach.
- In fact, Popeye's indestructibility was his main "superpower" in the original comic strip, and spinach had nothing to do with it. In his initial adventure he was shot several times, and survived by repeatedly rubbing the head of an African whiffle hen — Castor had brought her along because rubbing her head brings good luck, and he was going to an island of gambling casinos. The whiffle hen is also indestructible, and although Segar never made this explicit, Popeye had apparently managed to permanently infuse himself with these qualities.
- Mad Libs Theme Song: When singing his iconic tune at the end of an episode, Popeye frequently inserts episode-specific references in lines three and four.
- Magical Native American: If one's definition of this trope is broad enough, the indians from the very early short "I Yam What I Yam" (AKA "The Indian Fighter") feature a tribe of hostile indians who are capable of shapeshifting into nearby foliage (and in one's case, a miniature house) in order to sneak up on Olive and Wimpy's cabin.
- Manipulative Bastard: Wimpy
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover:
- The 1972 TV special The Man Who Hated Laughter, which teamed up virtually every popular King Features Syndicate character, even those from strips of completely different genres and art styles.
- He was also part of the Imaginationland defense force on that episode of South Park. ("More spinach for Popeye!" <poof!>)
- Megaton Punch: Usually how he ends his spinach-boosted beatdown combos. Maybe the Falcon PAWNCH from Super Smash Bros. was based on this ultimate finisher?
- Musical Nod: One scene in "A Dream Walking" where Popeye is swinging between girders uses a bit of the same melody that played throughout "The Man on the Flying Trapeze."
- Never Wake Up A Sleepwalker: Bluto and Popeye have to join forces to save Olive Oyl from herself in the short "A Dream Walking", especially once she wanders into a construction site.
- No OSHA Compliance: True, Popeye predates OSHA by a long shot, and started back when A-list stars in the movies still did stunts without the benefit of a Stunt Double or safety nets, but you still wouldn't want to work in, say, a factory with Everything Trying to Kill You, right? Well, it's clearly nothing for the world's strongest sailor to worry about in "Lost and Foundry".
- Not His Sled: Readers of the original Segar comics will be surprised to find out that not only was Bluto a minor oneshot villain in a 1932 story, but that Popeye did not use his spinach to defeat him, settling for the Twisker Punch instead.
- Not-So-Safe Harbor: Sweethaven, especially in the Live-Action Adaptation.
- Once an Episode: Popeye gets in a life-threatening situation, pulls out a can of spinach, and summons the strength necessary to save himself — and, probably, Olive. Occasional variations cropped up, such as Olive Oyl saving Popeye from a hillbilly giantess in Hill-Billing and Cooing, but even these variations nearly always involved the strategic use of spinach.
- One Extra Member: "Jeopardy Sheriff" in which Popeye starts to read Swee'Pee the story of the Three Bears: Moe, Sam, Lefty, and George. Also referred to as "The three bears of which there were four".
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Scooner, generally called Swee'pea
- In the live action movie, Swee'pea was the baby's name. This led to the following exchange:
Olive: Well I think "Swee'pea" is the worst name ever given to a baby!
Popeye: What would you have called him? "Baby Oyl"? I found him in Swee'haven and he's me Swee'pea.
- Only One Name: Popeye. In a 1980 sequence, Olive Oyl tried to get Popeye to reveal his full name so she could register him for the U.S. Census. While Popeye managed to find out his surname during the storyline, readers didn't.
- Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: Used in an infamous storyline in the comic strip; A woman overhears Olive Oyl talking about getting rid of a baby robot a home shopping channel had mistakenly sent her and assumes she's talking about getting rid of her (unborn) baby and quickly assembles a crew of her cohorts to talk her out of it. Although there was little negative feedback from readers or newspapers, the artist behind this strip was soon fired (The official reason being that the artist had gone too far in trying to include modern elements into such a legacy strip. The "abortion" strip was merely the last straw).
- Out of Focus: As the Fleischer Popeye cartoons ran their course, Bluto became a much less prominent character than before, and he was absent from a surprisingly large number of their shorts (49, to be exact).
- Overly Long Name: Again Swee'pea, who's full name is Scooner Seawell Georgia Washenting Christiffer Columbia Daniel Boom.
- Painting the Medium: In "The Ace of Space" after Popeye has been captured by the aliens, when subtitles of what the aliens are saying pop up, Popeye himself takes a moment to read some of them.
- Panty Shot: A rare moment for Olive Oyl in "Abusement Park", when a rope (or seat belt) in the back seat of the roller coaster cart is tied to her ankle by Bluto and she's dangled, and dragged across the whole way. A frontal shot of her white unmentionables exposed to the audience occurs after a turn is made and just before she crashes into a tower.
- Olive has another in "Popeye, The Ace Of Space." She's yanked out of the window bay of a suddenly propelled rocket ship and hanging outside the bay by her knees, stretched out. Her thigh-length pantaloons are in total view.
- The first time we see Olive's unmentionables is in the very first Popeye cartoon simply titled "Popeye the Sailor" (which was billed as a Betty Boop cartoon) when Bluto lifts her into the air and she tries kicking him.
- Pirate Girl: The Sea Hag (although she is definitely not a Buccaneer Babe).
- Pocket Protector: In one episode, at the losing end of a fencing duel against Bluto, Popeye is saved from a finishing thrust by none other than a can of spinach hidden in his shirt.
- Also, when Bluto impersonated Superman, he challenged Popeye to best him in (among other things) being bulletproof. During Bluto's turn to shoot Popeye, the can of spinach did its job again.
- Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: One story features Popeye and Brutus as rival farmers trying to win a competition. One of the events is the tastiest hamburger contest and Brutus sprinkles Popeye's burger with red hot pepper. Popeye and Brutus constantly swap burgers behind each other's back until Popeye outsmarts Brutus by pretending to swap burgers.
- Poorly Disguised Pilot: The Betty Boop short Popeye the Sailor, making this trope Older than Television.
- Power Incontinence: In at least two shorts ("For Better or Nurse" and "Beaus will be Beaus") Popeye force-feeds a can of spinach to Bluto, whose body uses its new super-strength to beat Popeye senseless despite Bluto legitimately not wanting to hurt Popeye.
- That would explain why he's initially reluctant about using his Power-Up Food.
- In "Seein' Red, White and Blue," Popeye administers spinach to both Bluto and himself so they can both open a can of whoopass on some Japanese agents who had gotten the best of them (as well as Hirohito and Hitler). Ends with Bluto joining the Navy, which he tried to avoid earlier in the cartoon.
- At least one story from Al Brodax's Popeye has Brutus willingly eating spinach and it not forcing him to hit Popeye.
- Power-Up: He's strong to the finich 'cause he eats his spinach, remember?
- Power-Up Food: Spinach, of course!
- Hard to believe, but there was a time when Popeye didn't get his strength from spinach! Segar had him simply as a very tough sailor. He put the spinach business in later, but never with the inevitable focus that the cartoons had.
- The spinach also has other uncanny abilities besides merely granting excess strength. It also grants Popeye Reality Warper powers, and can even reverse odd effects that have occurred to Popeye (i.e. being squished down into a midget in "Popeye Meets Rip Van Winkle", being aged to 125 years old and later being turned invisible in "The Ace of Space")
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: When Popeye says, "That's all I can stands, and I can stands no more!", beware. Asskicking, spinach or no spinach, to begin in 5... 4... 3... 2...
- Primal Fear: Slapstick as they are, "A Dream Walking" and "The Paneless Window Washer" involve the fear of heights.
- Public Domain Animation: a fair amount of Popeye cartoons have fallen into the Public Domain, including the 3 two-reel color specials so they're commonly found of public domain VHS tapes or DVDs.
- Public Domain Character: Not in the US, where Popeye falls under the "work for hire" provisions of US copyright law. However, this is the case in many other countries, including the EU. See here for a more complete explanation.
- Punched Across the Room: And how. In one episode, a spinach-addled Popeye punched Bluto all the way to the moon.
- Punny Name: Olive Oyl, and everyone from the original comic's cast
- Rapid Aging: In "The Ace of Space", the aliens use such a device to age Popeye into being 125 years old. Eating spinach reverses the effect, but to the point of where Popeye becomes two years old. Quickly spitting out some of the spinach reverts him back to his normal age of 40 years old.
- Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Popeye may well be the Trope Maker in this case, as his cartoons are the earliest example of Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs anyone can find.
- Reality Warper: Big time. Popeye has altered the forms of the things he's punched, punching tigers into leopard skin coats — that's right, tigers into leopard skin coats — as well as punching Indians into nickels, Bluto into bologna, a trapeze artist into a light fixture, and breaking the very film he was printed on at one point.
- Not to mention punching a big Native American chief and turning him into GANDHI!
- In one short, Popeye punched The Sun and changed day into night. Or killed the sun, depending who you ask.
- Recycled IN SPACE!!: Especially with a lot of the later Famous Studios shorts.
- Remake: 17 shorts in the series were remade throughout the series run.
- Retool: The original comic strip changed drastically after Popeye's breakout popularity, dropping many regular characters.
- Retraux: The Famous Studios short "Cartoons Ain't Human".
- Satellite Love Interest: Olive Oyl, sometimes. She's always fiercely devoted to Popeye, but her ability to be charmed by Bluto and how she acts when Popeye isn't around can change greatly depending on the short.
- Scenery Porn: Had some very elaborate architecture backgrounds, all done in perfect perspective. "A Dream Walking" and "The Paneless Window Washer" take full advantage of this.
- Sealed Good in a Can: Spinach grants super strength to any character who consumes it, not just Popeye.
- Shaggy Dog Story: "Sock-A-Bye Baby". After spending the entire cartoon going out of his way to keep the baby asleep, a tiny safety pin falling from his carriage ends up waking the baby! Fortunately, Popeye decides to literally zip up his mouth to keep him quiet.
- Shooting Superman: In "She Sick Sailors", Bluto impersonated Superman, he had a metal plate under the suit to make it seem he was bulletproof.
- Shout-Out: "She-Sick Sailors" is a shout-out to Superman, the other major property of Fleischer/Famous Studios. Bluto impersonates Superman in order to woo Olive, who is obsessed with the comic book hero.
- Shout-outs to Popeye can be seen in a few Warner Bros. cartoons, including "Porky's Garden," "The Major Lied 'Til Dawn" and "Scrap Happy Daffy."
- Signature Laugh: Popeye's "Ug-ug-ug-ug-ug!"
- Before his "Ug-ug-ug-ug" laugh caught on though, it was "ARF, ARF, ARF, ARF," in the comics.
- Signature Move: Popeye's twister punch.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Believe it or not, that's how Popeye and Olive started out. This was no Love at First Sight; they fought for weeks before they realized they loved each other. In fact, Olive's first words to Popeye were "Aww, shut up, you big bilge rat!"
- Sliding Scale of Realistic Versus Fantastic: Surreal. Aside from characterization, the only truly consistent thing about the cartoons is that Popeye gets stronger when he eats spinach. Otherwise, pretty much anything goes as far as what can happen in each short.
- Slippery Swimsuit: In the short Alona of the Sarong Seas, this happens first to Olive, then to Popeye and Bluto.
- Spinoff: Popeye first appeared in animated form in the Betty Boop cartoon Popeye the Sailor (1933).
- Spin-Offspring: Popeye & Son. (Though fans have complained that except for the sporadic, usually brief usage of spinach once in a while, there really wasn't much connecting this to the classic series, it could've been -anybody- & -any- son.)
- Standard Snippet: Whenever "The Stars and Stripes Forever" cues up, it means Bluto's about to take a beating.
- In "I Yam What I Yam", the Volga Boatmen folksong plays when Popeye and co. walk out of the water, with Olive still rowing the oars and dragging Wimpy with her.
- Stock Footage: 13 shorts were clip show episodes consisting of older footage, but even normal episodes occasionally reuse footage. For instance "With Poopdeck Pappy" in the scene where Pappy scats off to the bar after tying up Popeye, is partially recycled from an earlier short "The Dance Contest". The mini-short "Lets Sing With Popeye" reuses all of its animation from the very first Popeye short.
- Stock Yuck: Some stories are about the titular character trying to convince someone to eat spinach. In the Popeye and Son cartoon, the son doesn't like spinach but will eat it on occasion since it's as much of a Power-Up Food for him as it is for his father.
- Story Arc: As mentioned above, the original comic strip began to use these.
- Strawman Political: The short Olive Oyl for President presents Congress as a room full of arguing donkeys and elephants (Democrats and Republicans, respectively) — for every proposal that Olive presents, the donkeys say, "We accept it!" in unison, and the elephants scream, "We reject it!" in response. Political polarization is Older Than They Think.
- It was a remake of Betty Boop for President (1932), complete with the "We accept it! We reject it!" from elephants and donkeys, and Oyl imitating politicians of the day.
- I'm strong to the finish/ 'Cause I vote Kucinich!
- Straying Baby: Swee'Pea is capable of pulling this off.
- Strictly Formula: While the Famous Studios Popeye cartoons are notorious for this, this is surprisingly not the case with the Fleischer Popeye cartoons. Despite the notoriety of the spinach cliche and the characters love triangle, more than half of their shorts eschew the latter formula or have some clever variation of it. Out of the 109 Fleischer shorts, 49 of them (close to half of them) don't feature Bluto at all. Even shorts that do feature both Bluto and the spinach have clever gags and unique situations built around them—one short, "Fighting Pals", twists the formula by having Popeye tearing through a jungle in search of Bluto, and when he's clearly battered and fatigued from his endless search, Bluto ends up saving his life with the spinach! "Lets Celebrake" is completely devoid of conflict, as Popeye lets Olive and Bluto go out together so Popeye can take Olive's grandmother out for New Years Eve. And on top of that, there are 19 of the Fleischer Popeyes where he doesn't eat the spinach, or spinach is absent altogether.note
- Succession Crisis: One story arc in the comics featured King Blozo of Spinachia being pressured into marrying because his subjects were fearing this trope. He didn't like the idea of having a wife but was reconsidering because the people of Spinachia was threatening to depose him and elect a President.
- Super Mode: Popeye's Spinach Mode counts as this.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Some animated cartoons feature Brutus instead of Bluto, perhaps under concern of copyright issues.
- Temporary Bulk Change: Olive in Weight For Me.
- Terrible Artist: In the short "Cartoons Ain't Human".
- Theme Music Power-Up: "Popeye the Sailor Man" plays in the background of every "spinach strength" scene.
- Some could argue that the original shorts were among the earliest innovators of this trope.
- Three Shorts: In TV syndication packages. On the Boomerang network, there is a half-hour block consisting of four unedited shorts, and sometimes airs the early black-and-white Fleischer Studios shorts during Late Night Black and White.
- In previous decades, when the cartoons were syndicated, local stations would create their own Popeye programs, where the classic shorts were sandwiched by live-action hosts.
- Through a Face Full of Fur: In "Abusement Park", Olive Oyl's face turns pale with petrification and panic when she and Bluto take a huge, long drop from the highest height of a roller coaster in the cart, and she screams on the way down it.
- In "Lunch With A Punch", a young Bluto's (seen in a flashback of a story that Popeye tells his nephews about how spinach has aided in his super strength) face turns red with ire and his hair forms devil's horns, as he devises a way to get back at young Popeye for stealing young Olive Oyl away from him.
- Tiny-Headed Behemoth: Alice the Goon (and all other Goons). Their heads are about the same size as their shoulders (which admittedly are larger than average).
- Trademark Favorite Food: Spinach and hamburgers for Popeye and Wimpy, respectively.
- Unfortunate Names: Seriously, Poopeye!?
- Another case of Have a Gay Old Time, as back then the word "poop" hadn't yet come to mean what it means today.
- It's a nautical series; he's named after the poop deck.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Popeye's nephews. There are at least 2 shorts where they won't eat their spinach. Popeye is finally able to talk them into it. The nephews then use their newfound strenght to beat the ever-living CRAP out of their kindly uncle!
- Universal-Adaptor Cast: The characters' roles never changed, but the shorts would shoehorn them into a wide variety of settings and personalities
- Verbal Ticksk
- Villain Song: Sometimes the villains have one. For example, Sindbad and Abu Hassan have them in the colour features.
- The Walls Are Closing In: Popeye and his friends were once trapped in a pit with the walls closing in. Desperately, Popeye throws his can of spinach to jam in the edge of the walls on top. The walls crush the can, causing the spinach to fall into Popeye's mouth. Now strong to the finish, Popeye easily forces the walls back and the gang escapes.
- Wartime Cartoon: During World War II, Popeye (re)enlisted in the Navy and delivered all kinds of cartoon smackdown on stunningly racist depictions of the Japanese in the Pacific theatre.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Popeye's voice has a very distinctive accent of unclear origin.
- Why Won't You Die?: A crook and conman shoots Popeye fifteen times, but he refuses to go down.
- Wicked Witch: The Sea Hag, a cadaverous old woman who menaced ships and stalked Popeye. She was said to have "a face that sank a thousand ships." Her slave, Alice the Goon, was a terrifying figure who reportedly gave kids nightmares, until Segar revealed that Alice only worked for the Sea Hag because the Sea Hag was holding her baby hostage. Rescued by Popeye, Alice became Swee'Pea's babysitter. The Sea Hag had a crush on Wimpy, and among other things once made him grow to giant size.
- Wild Take: Olive Oyl's eyes bulging out when she notices just how high she and Bluto are on the roller coaster as she looks down in "Abusement Park".
- William Telling: "William Won't Tell" has Popeye as William Tell forced to shoot a very tiny apple off Olive Oyl's head for refusing to remove his hat before the king. Popeye uses a trick arrow to spear the tiny apple but it boomerangs around and removes his hat to reveal what he did not intend—a kiss on his forehead, bestowed upon him by the Queen for helping her in a time of need.
- With Friends Like These...: Wimpy certainly qualifies.
- Women Prefer Strong Men: A central trope throughout all of the cartoons, with Popeye and Bluto trying to perform greater feats of strength to impress Olive Oyl.
- World's Strongest Man: Popeye
- In one episode, Popeye dreamed he'd lost a boxing match by knockout, and that Olive Oyl dumped him because he was therefore now a "weakling." When he awoke, he ran over to Olive's house to prove himself, and lifted the entire house into the air. Without eating spinach first!
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Humorously subverted. While Popeye is too much of a gentleman to hit a woman, that doesn't prevent Olive Oyl from fighting a female villain for him. One notable incident had Popeye and Olive Oyl both consuming spinach at the same time to fight Bluto and the Sea Hag, respectively.
- In another episode Bluto dresses as a woman specifically because he knows Popeye won't fight back, and proceeds to try to humiliate Popeye at the woman's gym he's working at by out-doing him and taking cheap shots at him. But once Popeye finds out it's Bluto and not a woman doing this to him, it's on.
- Subverted by Popeye at the ends of "Wild Elephinks", "Shiver Me Timbers", "Brotherly Love", and "Ghosks Is The Bunk" though those were only accidents. The same goes in one early Sunday strip where Popeye was asleep and thought Olive was an enemy of his and slapped Olive in the "Clint Gore" story arc for saying bad things to him. Of course, that was before he was toned down in 1934.
- Also subverted by Pappy in one strip.
- During the arc that introduced Alice the Goon, Popeye beats her up during the fight, however this happens before he learns her gender.