Improvised Popeye

The “Popeye” cartoons made directed by Max and Dave Fleischer between 1933 and 1942 achieve unmatched feats of visual complexity, creative slapstick and pacing. All the storytelling is done in the action – and yet the characters barely stop talking throughout. Eh? Why does this work? How come the dialogue feels as exciting, freeform and spontaneous as the madcap animation, in contrast to other cartoons of the same period? Because, of course, there was no script; the dialogue was almost entirely improvised over the animation, by voice actors Jack Mercer (Popeye), Gus Wickie (Bluto) and Mae Questel (Olive Oyl). The animation is breathtaking, but it’s the voices that bring the characters to life. Here they are in full flow: improvised Popeye.

I love this a lot. More on the Fleischer Popeye cartoons here.

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2 Comments on “Improvised Popeye”

  1. […] Evans Interview: Part One (of Two) Chris Werren The Best Improv Show Ever Improvised Popeye Mark Beltzman […]

  2. V.E.G. says:

    Jack Mercer is the best Popeye voice. He was a Hoosier.


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