I love the black and white Fleischer Popeye cartoons. I especially love the ones that they made before they moved to Florida in the late 1930s. There are a miriad of reasons why I love these cartoons and most of them can be seen in Lost And Foundry.
Firstly, the backgrounds that the Flesichers used were just beautiful, whether they were using the 3D table top backgrounds or the more traditional cel painted backgrounds.
The voice work and chemistry of the actors was terrific. You can tell that Jack Mercer and Mae Questel and Gus Wickie (Bluto, who is not featured in this cartoon) are enjoying themselves and the under the breath mutterings that they do are so hilarious. The later Fleischer cartoons and early Famous Popeyes don’t have the same chemistry, probably because Questel did not move to Florida with the Fleischer studio, and Wickie’s untimely death. However once they got back to New York and Questel rejoined Mercer, and Jackson Beck took over as Bluto, that chemistry returned (too bad the quality of the cartoons had gone down at that stage!).
The cartoons weren’t just about Popeye and Bluto beating the crap out of each other. Even the most formulaic of Fleischer cartoons were really interesting and the Fleischer always tried to be innovative.