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Western Animation / Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor

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I'm Sindbad the Sailor, so hearty and hale,
I live on an island, on the back of a whale,
It's a whale of an island! (That's not a bad joke.)
Its lord and its master is this handsome bloke.
Whooooo's the most remarkable, extraordinary fellow?!

(Lions Roar) Sindbad, the Sailor!
— The Opening Villain Song

Possibly the peak of Popeye the Sailor's cartoon career during The Golden Age of Animation, this lavishly animated, full-color, two-reeler 16-minute theatrical cartoon from 1936 brings together a crisply paced plot with impressive action scenes and comedy. Oh, and awesome 3-D backgrounds too (courtesy of Fleischer Studios' trademark "tabletop" technique).

The short starts off with a close-up on the isle of Sindbad the Sailor, and not long after we see the man himself, he begins his epic villain boast song, complete with amazing live-action model set and animation blending, ending with the introduction of Popeye himself, singing his theme song.

Sindbad promptly sends his giant roc to "Wreck that ship!" and kidnap Olive Oyl ("But bring me the woman.") and naturally, Popeye has to travel to Sindbad's Island (along with Wimpy) to save Olive Oyl.

The short was a smash hit when it was released, resulting in two follow-ups being done within the next few years. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1936, but lost to the now obscure Silly Symphonies short The Country Cousin. Fortunately, this cartoon got a better reward later on — it got selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

This cartoon is in the Public Domain and can be viewed online on YouTube or The Other Wiki's article on the cartoon.

This short was popular enough to receive a follow-up in 1937, Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves.

Tropes associated with this short:

  • Adaptational Villainy: Sindbad, who goes from the somewhat kindly (if ruthless) man of experience of the stories to an arrogant, kidnapping blowhard.
  • Animation Bump: In spades. The animation is noticeably more fluid and detailed this time around, and that's not even taking into the account the lush, rich Technicolor and amazing model set backgrounds.
  • Aside Glance: Sinbad the Sailor, when he begins his Badass Boast:
    Sinbad the Sailor: I'm Sinbad the Sailor so hearty and hale, I live on an island on the back of a whale! It's a whale of an island (that's not a bad joke!)
  • Badass Boast: Sindbad's Villain Song is basically a long boast about how strong and remarkable he is. The myriad of beasts that fear him show that he's no Miles Gloriosus.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: To make it clear that you’re not supposed to side with Sindbad, he makes his entrance slapping the two lions guarding the entrance to his castle. In addition, he kicks one of his snakes in the face during his Villain Song.
  • The Beast Master: Sindbad has a myriad of fantastic creatures on his island that both respect and fear him, among them: Lions, Leopards, Tigers, Vultures, Snakes, Serpents, Dragons, Ape Men, and even a Roc and a two-headed Giant!
  • Black Comedy: Wimpy chasing a duck with a hand-held meat grinder to turn it into hamburger meat. (Don't worry, it gets away. And steals his hamburger).
  • Bragging Theme Tune: The short opens with Sindbad's villain song where he boasts about his incredible strength and how he defeated hundreds of beasts. It then segues into Popeye’s own theme tune as he sails by.
  • Bullet Dancing: Sindbad does this to Olive Oyl by shooting pellets through a straw.
  • Cranial Eruption: When Popeye hits one of Boola's heads, the other head gets the lump.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Popeye doesn't have a chance before eating spinach, at which point Sindbad has no chance.
  • Damsel in Distress: Olive Oyl, as usual, is kidnapped early in and rescuing her is the main driving force in the story.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The first thing Popeye says after Sindbad's giant bird wrecks his ship? "Oh, that was a nice ship we once had."
  • Digital Destruction: The print included on the official Popeye DVD is a very good restoration — save for some truly bizarre color alterations, which pumped up the pink, purple and turquoise on the print. On that note, Sindbad's outfit was originally purple, but is now bright blue in this print. Not to mention, DVNR problems tend to pop up at times — especially when Olive Oyl cheers on Popeye when he's beating up Sindbad.note  Averted for Thunderbean's restoration of the short on their Popeye Blu-Ray which uses the print from the National Film Registry with far more accurate colors.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Sindbad sinks's Popeye's boat and kidnaps Olive Oyl just because Popeye interrupted his song.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Bluto as Sindbad the Sailor.
  • Evil Is Petty: The reason Sindbad sicced his giant bird on Popeye and his friends, sank their ship and kidnapped Olive Oyl? He got offended because Popeye interrupted his boastful song with a musical number of his own, implying that there may be a sailor in the world who is more badass than him!
  • Expy: Sindbad is an expy to Bluto (and Bluto's other expy Brutus).
  • Fast Tunnelling: After one of Sinbad's punches knocks him inside a tree, Popeye somehow moves down from this tree and into the ground, rapidly moves underground while visible from the surface as a moving bump, and comes back up through another tree.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: Due to its out-of-nowhere adventure story nature, that feels very different from the usual locales of Popeye's world.
  • Hammerspace: Sindbad punches out of Popeye binoculars, several chunks of shipwright equipment (for tying ropes, etc.), a lantern, a pulley, a life preserver, and a boat's steering wheel.
  • "I Am" Song: "I'm Popeye the Sailor-man!"
  • Instant Roast: Sindbad's roc takes Popeye to a volcano. Popeye returns with a giant roast chicken, "with gravy".
  • Isle of Giant Horrors: Sindbad's Turtle Island is full of various monstrous beasts, such as lions, tigers, snakes, apes, dragons, and most notably a roc bird and a two-headed humanoid giant.
  • Leitmotif: Wimpy gets one in the short. It's most noticeable when he pops up inside Sindbad's fortress.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Boola's two heads get into an argument as to what to do with Popeye when they're beating him down. They briefly start thrashing one another, tossing Popeye aside to do so. Popeye then chooses to break it up.
  • The Load: Wimpy just tags along with Popeye and gets distracted by a local duck that he wants to eat, and then sits on the sidelines and does nothing more after he fails to catch it. He contributes absolutely nothing to helping Popeye rescue Olive.
  • Male Gaze: Used to foreshadow Sindbad's motive towards Olive Oyl, as the film jumps to his point of view as he ogles her.
  • Multiple Head Case: The giant Boola has two heads, which at one point leads to him letting Popeye go when the two heads get distracted by their bickering over how they want to eat him and start slapping each other.
  • Nightmare Face: At one point, Sindbad says "boo" while singing and makes an awfully creepy face for a few seconds.
  • The Pawns Go First: Sindbad has a couple of his conquered minions take on Popeye first before taking matters into his own hands.
  • Our Giants Are Different: Boola is a two-headed giant who is about twice as tall as Sindbad, who apparently beat him to submission.
  • Public Domain Animation: The short's copyright is expired, so it's not uncommon to see this cartoon show up on dollar store Public Domain cartoon collections.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Both Sinbad and Popeye wallop each other with them at different points in their fight.
  • Rapid-Fire Nail Biting: Olive bites her nails like a typewriter.
  • Roc Birds: Sindbad has a blue roc bird with a red head that he commands to sink Popeye's ship and bring Olive Oyl to him. Later, he commands it to kill Popeye, so the roc takes him to a volcano. Popeye returns with the roc on a giant plate, roasted with gravy.
  • Shake Someone, Objects Fall: When Sindbad uses Popeye as a human punching bag, a number of nautical items get shaken loose, such as a lantern, a ship's wheel, and a life preserver.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: As soon as Popeye and Wimpy arrive on the island, the latter is occupied by chasing duck to grind into hamburger meat, leaving the Sailor on his own for the majority of the film.
  • Shout-Out: Sindbad mentions King Kong when talking about his two-headed ettin slave.
    Sindbad: He'd frighten King Kong, but he's only my stooge!
  • Shown Their Work: The Fleischer brothers and their studio pulled out all stops for this cartoon, and boy howdy, does it show, resulting in much Scenery Porn and all-around Eye Candy in general. The storytelling and pacing also received much attention to detail.
  • Standard Snippet: Popeye punches Sindbad right in the eye, and the first half of "Call to Post" cues up.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Noticeably averted for one of the few times in the whole franchise. Popeye actually is at sea in this cartoon, manning a ship, and it's central to the plot.
  • There Can Be Only One: The story is set off by Sindbad overhearing Popeye singing his theme song, taking it as a challenge to his title as the greatest sailor in the world. Interestingly enough, Popeye wasn't interested in challenging anyone, he was just passing by. He only wants to save Olive.
  • Toothy Bird: The roc bird has fangs in its beak.
  • Triumphant Reprise: As soon as Popeye defeats Sinbad, the Villain Song is now all about him.
  • Turtle Island: In the opening song, Sindbad says that his island is "on the back of a whale". However, the whale itself is never shown.
  • Unhand Them, Villain!: Subverted. When the roc bird starts flying away with Olive Oyl in hand (or talons), she starts screaming "Let me go!" before quickly switching to "No no no, don't let me go." Clearly, Olive has been brushing up on her TV Tropes.
  • Universal-Adaptor Cast: One of the earliest examples of this in a Popeye cartoon. While Popeye, Olive Oyl and Wimpy are themselves, the cartoon is taking place during the days of Sindbad, with Bluto playing the role (as a villain).
  • Use Your Head: When Sindbad has Popeye's arms pinned in a grip, Popeye resorts to head-butting Sindbad.
  • Villain Song: Sindbad begins the cartoon with an epic song boasting about how powerful and cruel he is.
  • Visual Pun:
    • Sindbad squeezes Popeye so hard his face becomes "beet red" (cue Popeye's head turning into a beet). The "Big Bad Sinbad" remake furthers this joke by having Popeye mutter "Nobody can beet (beat) me!" before headbutting Sindbad.
    • Popeye's balloon biceps show an electrical power generator during his Spinach-induced power-up.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: This short was later remade by Famous Studios in 1952 as "Big Bad Sindbad", which is essentially the same cartoon, only with a Framing Device where Popeye and his nephews go to a museum and encounter a giant statue of Sindbad, prompting Popeye to recount his fateful encounter with the sailor, with the dialogue re-recorded. Once Popeye was done with the story, the nephews chiseled the statue into that of Popeye in his honor. Understandably, a lot of footage from the original cartoon had to be cut to fit in a 9-minute cartoon short.
  • Wind from Beneath My Wings: Sindbad's giant bird can do this, knocking back trees in the process.