Sunday, April 4, 2010

044 Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp

Title: Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp
Studio: Fleischer
Date: 4/07/39
Dave Fleischer
David Tendlar - William Sturm
Nicholad Tafuri - Reuben Grossman
Musical Direction:
Sammy Timberg
Series: Popeye
Running time (of viewed version): 21:15

Synopsis: Olive Oyl writes a script of an Aladdin story, in which Popeye obtains the lamp, lucks into getting it instead of the vizier(?) who wants it, becomes a rich prince, woos princess Olive, loses the lamp to the vizier who takes away Olive and her castle which inexplicably puts Popeye into tattered clothes, at which point the people try to execute him, whereupon Popeye eats his spinach which gives him the power to defeat everything the lamp throws at him; writer Olive is then fired for the script.

Comments: A two-reeler, this should be the longest cartoon of the year, excluding Gulliver. They claimed it was a Popeye Color Feature, but that was pretty solidly just puffery. The cartoon opens with a movie lot, as I have found is perfectly in keeping with cartoons of 1939. Olive speaks in rhyming couplets outside of the story within the story. This has horrifying toothless Popeye; even the evil vizier has three teeth. You'd think once he's a wealthy prince, he could buy some teeth. I think the genie has a Germanic accent, but he looks Asian. There are many examples of text images in the cartoon, but they're virtually all spoken aloud by the characters. I wonder what the point of both was; it saves drawings, but it's bad film making. I guess they just loved their voice actors and their background painters equally, and didn't want any of them to have hurt feelings. "I never made love in Technicolor before" is a pretty good line. Genies doing things in their off time appears as a gag here. The common people in the area are rather murderous towards Popeye when he is no longer a prince; I wonder what he was doing to them when he had power. The genie inexplicably comes out of the spinach at the end and the genie says goodbye, but then begins to move the castle. As we then break to author Olive stroking her typewriter, perhaps she was just unhinged. As the spinach is more powerful than the lamp (and may have its own genie in it), why was Popeye in a bad state to begin with? They were right to fire Olive. I wonder how much carriage return jokes are in danger of becoming simply confusing to kids. The treasure room may be more appealing than the 7 dwarfs' mine. The vizier has quite the set of fingers; so does Olive.

This cartoon is available on at


  1. I remember how ornate and sumptuous this feature seemed to me when I saw it as a kid...thank you for the breakdown and for showcasing these classics!