Popeye the Sailor is an American animated series of comedy short films based on the titular comic strip character created by E. C. Segar. In 1933, Max and Dave Fleischer's Fleischer Studios adapted Segar's characters into a series of Popeye the Sailor theatrical cartoon shorts for Paramount Pictures. The plotlines in the animated cartoons tended to be simpler than those presented in the comic strips, and the characters slightly different. A villain, usually Bluto, makes a move on Popeye's "sweetie," Olive Oyl. The villain clobbers Popeye until he eats spinach, giving him superhuman strength. Thus empowered, the sailor makes short work of the villain.
The Fleischer cartoons, based out of New York City, proved to be among the most popular of the 1930s, and would remain a staple of Paramount's release schedule for nearly 25 years. Paramount would take control of the studio in 1941 and rename it Famous Studios, ousting the Fleischer brothers and continuing production. The theatrical Popeye cartoons began airing on television in an altered form in 1956, at which point the Popeye theatrical series was discontinued.Popeye the Sailor in all produced 231 short subjects that were broadcast on television for numerous years, garnering enormous popularity with new generations.
These cartoons are now owned by Turner Entertainment, a subsidiary of Time Warner, and distributed by sister company Warner Bros. Entertainment. After many years of negotiations, Warner Home Video reached an agreement with King Features Syndicate for an official DVD release of the series. Restored and uncutPopeye cartoons through 1943 were released on DVD in the late 2000s. The 1930s Popeye cartoons have been noted by historians for their urban feel, with the Fleischers pioneering an East Coast animation scene that differed highly from their counterparts. In addition to becoming iconic within mainstream public consciousness, the majority of 231 Popeye short subjects are highly acclaimed by animation historians and fans.