With Little Swee'Pea
part of Popeye the Sailor (Fleischer Studios)
Date: September 25, 1936
This Movie plays Song of the Volga Boat Man composed by Traditional
Little Swee'Pea (or Popeye the Sailor with Little Swee'Pea) is an American animated short film, released September 25, 1936 and featuring Popeye the Sailor, at the time a star of the cartoons of Fleischer Studios. As is the case with all Fleischer shorts of the period, Dave Fleischer is credited as the director. The cartoon makes use of the Fleischers' stereoptical process, by which modeled sets provide three-dimensional backgrounds for the action of the film. The short is in the public domain in the United States.
Popeye the sailor, bearing a posy, struts jauntily through a site of construction, beams, bricks, and buckets all around; ignoring the danger of passing over a large pothole only partly spanned by a plank, he crosses the street out of the site to reach the corner home of Olive Oyl, whose doorbell he rings, twice turning the switch before the damsel appears, her hair up in a towel and a feather duster in her hand. Still expecting her appearance, the sailor absent-mindedly reaches for the switch again and twists the dainty nose of his lady love. A startled Popeye relieves his angered Olive with the little tussie-mussie and states his intention of taking her to the zoo "to see the aminals." Olive is too busy ("Your loss," mutters the Sailor-Man) but offers Swee'Pea as a companion instead. As an agreeable Popeye exits with Swee'Pea and carriage, Olive dreamily sniffs her duster and, noticing her mistake, takes a breath of Popeye's floral gift.
Again in his intrepid strut, Popeye pushes the carriage along a lovely stereoptical walk; his chin held high, Popeye does not notice Swee'Pea's crawling out of his transport and following his protector on all fours: stunned when he does notice the baby's absence, he calls out, turning just as the little fellow escapes his view to return to his provenance. Relieved to see his charge returned, Popeye continues pushing the carriage past the handsome gates of the zoo, along whose promenade Swee'Pea repeats his naughty trick, imitating Popeye's manner in his crawl, but all too pleased now to leave his watcher behind; giggling, he makes his way to the elephant's domain, teasing a mighty beast close to the bars of his cage with a discarded peanut. Swee'Pea has the giant's trunk and, raised high aloft, the alluring legume in his evasive fingers, he lets the peanut down the trunk at last, sliding backwards along the elephant's back as he does so, chuckling the while and plumping at last on the dirt.
Cut to Popeye, who looks down again and, in precisely the same way as before, notices that the baby has gone, more astonished this time to find that turning about and calling has not returned him magically to the cart! For Swee'Pea is now traipsing about the mighty elephant, deftly avoiding his great, lumbering feet. Popeye scours the carriage, umbrella and all, finally catching sight of the boy as he tucks his head between his legs; as his entire form revolves in the direction of the cage, he calls out. Over by the elephant and scolding the wayward infant, Popeye slips through the bars of the cage: Swee'Pea merrily and swiftly crawls off, and the behemoth's trunk seizes the seething seaman. Twice the elephant wraps Popeye in trunk, quickly spinning the sailor out and into the iron bars of his confines. Ever in the fighting vein, the mighty man begins a tug of war with the pachyderm's proboscis; Swee'Pea, meanwhile, is playing with a crocodile, crossing its open jaws just before they snap shut. Victory for Popeye as he flings the elephant's untold tons off to the side, taunting the astounded beast as he catches sight of the new scene. Again running after the babe, Popeye's backside is caught in the jaws of Swee'Pea's playmate just as the tyke finishes another crossing. The awful reptile flings his would-be prey through the air and advances as the sailor makes land. "All right, zipper-mouth, you asked for it!" Man and beast tussle, Popeye prevailing, it seems, when he has his rival s