Wednesday, November 3, 2010

137 Never Sock A Baby

Title: Never Sock a Baby
Studio: Fleischer
Date: 11/03/39
Directed by
Dave Fleischer
Animated by
William Henning
Abner Matthews
Series: Popeye
Running time (of viewed version): 5:48

Synopsis: Popeye very gently spanks Swee'Pea, who runs off, avoiding dangers until Popeye gets involved.

Comments: An early anti-spanking cartoon, because babies were the main retirement plan back then. Incidentally, I've never thought of spanking as "socking". I thought for sure Popeye was going to end up punching the kid right in the face, or maybe stuff him in a sock and throw him in the river. Shadows under Swee'Pea's fingers look like random vicious talons. THe overhead shot of the bridge crossing is an interesting choice; bold, yet it doesn't quite work. The angel conscience speaks differently than Popeye; the devil pretty much just talks like Popeye. Popeye pulls one cliff to another, as at least one ape in a Bugs Bunny cartoon would eventually do. The cartoon feels short. Swee'Pea seems to have a witch and a bull and a Gandy Goose amongst the things painted on his wall. I wonder if horned Popeye from this and horned Bluto from Wotta Nitemare are friends. Abnormally high proportion of "it's all a dream" cartoons for Popeye this year... Good line: "Don't drown til I get there". It's good that Popeye seems to have a baby coffin sitting in his living room. Popeye has a droopy formless kiss; must be due to his lack of teeth.

This is a really busy couple of release days; six cartoons in two days. Nevertheless, this is the last Fleischer short for the year; as they still had a feature to crank out, that's totally understandable.


  1. The cliff gag actually was an in-house cannibalizing, since it was used in the first Popeye short back in 1933. One of the great minor trivia questions for the Fleischers is why the ship's door opening vanished for four cartoons and then returned starting with this short, which is also the last one where Elzie Segar receives screen credit (Segar had been dead for a year when they drew up the revised opening title credits for this cartoon, but apparently in those days news traveled slowly to Miami...)

  2. Socking babies is bad!! Wait. It's Only 50 days to Gabby. Right?