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The Popeye logo in the redrawn cartoons.

Colorized by 
Entercolor Technologies

Colorized in 1987-1988

Current copyright holder:
AOL Time-Warner

Popeye character
owned by King Features.

"Leave Well Enough Alone"
An in-depth look at the
colorized Popeye cartoons

Fred Grandinetti

*In 1936, 1938, and 1939, the Fleischer Studio produced three two-reel Technicolor Popeye cartoons. These are "Popeye The Sailor Meets Sindbad The Sailor," "Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp," and "Popeye Meets Ali Baba and His Forty Thieves." All cartoons made after "Cartoons Ain't Human" in 1943 were produced in Technicolor, Cinecolor, or Polacolor.

** More information about Associated Artists Productions can be found at Argus Sventon's Cartoon Distributor's Site.

"I never blushed in Technicolor before..."

    An extremely popular series of cartoons in the 1930's starred E.C. Segar's Popeye the Sailor character. The series was produced by the Fleischer Studios in the 1930's by Max and Dave Fleischer. This series was produced by them until 1942 after their studio was taken over by Paramount's Famous Studios. With the exception of three cartoons* made before the takeover, these cartoons were filmed in black & white. Famous Studios produced a few grayscale cartoons before quickly switching to color full-time.

In the 1950's, Paramount sold the cartoons to a company called Associated Artists Productions. This company, more well known as "AAP" also purchased Warner Bros' entire color cartoon library, as well as their pre-1950 features.**  In the late 1960's, these films ended up with United Artists Television. Even later, United Artists (UA)  merged with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in 1981. Ted Turner bought the entire MGM-UA library in 1986 and quickly sold the United Artists part back to MGM. Turner kept the United Artists Television package and also the entire MGM library. The current MGM company owns its post-1986 MGM films and also all but a few of the United Artists-released feature films.

Shortly after Turner's purchase, he decided that it would be a great financial idea to colorize most of the black & white films in the United Artists TV library. The live-action features such as Yankee Doodle Dandy and Casablanca were controversially colorized using the aid of computer imaging systems.  The computer colorizations were very well done by CST Entertainment, Inc. For some odd reason, the black & white Popeye cartoons were not colorized via computers. Instead, they were colorized using re-tracings made from frame blow-ups just like the 1968 colorizations of the Looney Tunes. Despite the redrawn colorizations seeming to be cheaper than computer colorization, the overall price was rumored to be the same. The later colorizations paid more attention to actual tracing, which they did succeed, but a handful of timing, color, and animation mistakes occured. With this process, it really was hard to avoid. In all, 117 Popeye cartoons were colorized.
Cartoon Network is the sole broadcaster of the classic Popeye cartoons and airs both the black & white and colorized versions of the 1933-1943 cartoons. The Popeye Show, on Sunday nights, is the main source for the originals. The colorized versions are shown on Toonheads and The Acme Hour at various times. Boomerang will often air a 3 or 4-hour block of Popeye cartoons, usually with a large amount of redrawn colorizations. Check their website for current schedules.

Warner Bros. is currently restoring the classic B&W Popeye cartoons directly from the original nitrate negatives.

A Chronological List of Colorized Popeye Cartoons:


Popeye The Sailor (1933)
I Yam What I Yam (1933)
Blow Me Down (1933)
I Eats My Spinach (1933)
Seasin's Greetinks! (1933)
Wild Elephinks (1933)

Sock-A-Bye Baby (1934)
Let's You And Him Fight (1934)
The Man On The Flying Trapeze (1934)
Can You Take It (1934)
Shoein' Hosses (1934)
Strong To The Finich (1934)
Shiver Me Timbers (1934)
Axe Me Another (1934)
A Dream Walking (1934)
The Two-Alarm Fire (1934)
The Dance Contest (1934)
We Aim To Please (1934)


Beware Of Barnacle Bill (1935)
Be Kind To "Aminals" (1935)
Pleased To Meet Cha! (1935)
The Hyp-Nut-Tist (1935)
Choose Your Weppins (1935)
For Better Or Worser (1935)
Dizzy Divers (1935)
You Gotta Be A Football Here (1935)
King Of The Mardi Gras (1935)
The Adventures Of Popeye (1935)
The Spinach Overture (1935)

Vim, Vigor, And Vitaliky (1936)
A Clean Shaven Man (1936)
Brotherly Love (1936)
I-Ski Love-Ski You-Ski (1936)
What, No Spinach? (1936)
I Wanna Be A Lifeguard (1936)
Let's Get Movin' (1936)
Never Kick A Woman (1936)
Little Swee'pea (1936)
Hold The Wire (1936)
The Spinach Roadster (1936)
I'm In The Army Now (1936)

The Paneless Window Washer (1937)
The Organ Grinder's Swing (1937)
My Artistical Temperature (1937)
Hospitaliky (1937)
The Twisker Pitcher (1937)
Morning, Noon, And Night Club (1937)
Lost And Foundry (1937)
I Never Changes My Altitude (1937)
I Likes Babies And Infinks (1937)
The Football Toucher Downer (1937)
Proteck The Weakerist (1937)
Fowl Play (1937)

Let's Celebrake (1938)
Learn Polikeness (1938)
The House Builder Upper (1938)
Big Chief Ugh-Amugh-Ugh (1938)
I Yam Love Sick (1938)
Plumbing Is A "Pipe" (1938)
The Jeep (1938)
Bulldozing The Bull (1938)
Mutiny Ain't Nice (1938)
Goonland (1938)
A Date To Skate (1938)
Cops Is Always Right (1938)

Customers Wanted (1939)
Leave Well Enough Alone (1939)
Wotta Nitemare (1939)
Ghosks Is The Bunk (1939)
Hello, How Am I? (1939)
It's The Natural Thing To Do (1939)
Never Sock A Baby (1939)

Shakespearian Spinach (1940)
Females Is Fickle (1940)
Stealin' Ain't Honest (1940)
Me Feelin's Is Hurt (1940)
Onion Pacific (1940)
Wimmin Is A Myskery (1940)
Nurse Mates (1940)
Fightin' Pals (1940)

Doing Impossikible Stunts (1940)
Wimmin Hadn't Oughta Drive (1940)
Puttin' On The Act (1940)
Popeye Meets William Tell (1940)
My Pop, My Pop (1940)
Poopdeck Pappy (1940)

Problem Pappy (1941)
Quiet! Pleeze (1941)
Olive's $weep$takes Ticket (1941)
Flies Ain't Human (1941)
Popeye Meets Rip Van Winkle (1941)
Olive's Boithday Presink (1941)
Child Psykolojiky (1941)
Pest Pilot (1941)
I'll Never Crow Again (1941)
The Mighty Navy (1941)
Nix On Hypnotricks (1941)

Kickin' The Congra Round (1942)
Blunder Below (1942)
Fleets Of Stren'th (1942)
Pip-Eye, Pup-Eye, Poop-Eye An' Peep-Eye (1942)
Olive Oyl And Water Don't Mix (1942)
Many Tanks (1942)
Baby Wants A Bottleship (1942)
You're A Sap, Mr. Jap (1942)
Alona On The Sarong Seas (1942)
A Hull Of A Mess (1942)
Scrap The Japs (1942)
Me Musical Nephews (1942)

Spinach Fer Britain (1943)
Seein' Red, White 'n' Blue (1943)
Too Weak To Work (1943)
A Jolly Good Furlough (1943)
The Hungry Goat (1943)
Happy Birthdaze (1943)
Wood-Peckin' (1943)
Cartoons Ain't Human (1943)
Her Honor, The Mare (1943)

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