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Warner Archive: Popeye the Sailor (1940s) First Volume on Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Crawford, Nov 20, 2018.

  1. TJPC

    TJPC Producer

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    When I watched these cartoons, no one saw them in colour on their black and white TVs! I am anxious to see them in their full restoration.
     
  2. Mark Y

    Mark Y Screenwriter

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    Well, apparently not full control: I saw the fine print and found a 2018 copyright notice for "King Features Syndicate, Inc., Turner Entertainment Co., and Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc." That seemed very curious to me but I looked at the first volume of the black and white Fleischer Popeye cartoons and the same wording is on there too. Since King Features is named first, does that imply they have the biggest say in what is done with the library, or am I reading too much into that?
     
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  3. Traveling Matt

    Traveling Matt Supporting Actor

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    I don't think you're reading too much into it. I recall the old press releases for the DVDs included language stating, or at least indicating, King Features was working with WHV/WB to handle the library properly from start to finish. The sense was they were going straight thru with full restorations, which is presumably why the recent news confirming this is likely related.

    If correct, it raises the question as to why an outside agreement gets this moving for Popeye but no one is at the switch on Looney Tunes.
     
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  4. Message #104 of 137 Dec 14, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
    Mark Y

    Mark Y Screenwriter

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    Well, I guess it's different for the Warner Bros. cartoons since Warner owns those films and the characters outright, while with Popeye they have to play ball with King Features, to the point of having company staffers interviewed for the extras on past sets, etc. (In other words, it seems the agreement requires them to be released.) From what I recall of those early press releases, the deal with King Features also included a license for the made for TV King Features Popeye cartoons. Indeed, Warner Archive released a "Volume 1" (but nothing further) from the 1960 series, and WHV put out a single disc (but nothing further) from the 1978 series.
     
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  5. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    And now I've gotten notification that my copy has shipped and will arrive Monday, December 17th! :laugh:
     
  6. ThadK

    ThadK Second Unit

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  7. Ken_Martinez

    Ken_Martinez Second Unit

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    I got the set too. One consistent thing I've noticed is that while the restored cartoons on the Looney Tunes Golden Collections and the Fleischer two-reelers have almost psychedelic, Day-Glo colors, the colors on the Popeye cartoons are more subdued. The Sindbad clip in Spnach Packin' Popeye looks more like the Library of Congress' 35mm print while the 2007 restoration of the entire Sinbad feature looks more like this cel.

    I'm in no position to guess which is more accurate, and fully admit ignorance. But if the authorities can't find fault with the colors, that's good enough for me.
     
  8. B-ROLL

    B-ROLL Cinematographer

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    Arguably we in the US saw the color ones "in color" but in faded prints ... once we had a color TV (I believe the earliest RCA system Color TVs available in the US was in 1954)
    030117_tbt-first_color_tvs[1].
     
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  9. TJPC

    TJPC Producer

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    We also had colour sets available at around the same time but who could afford them. I remember shopping for a new tv with my parents around 1967. The black and white 21” Sylvania was about $170. The colour set was $500.
     
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  10. TJPC

    TJPC Producer

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    I remember walking down town with my friends to my cousins house to see Star Trek at his house in color in its final season. He didn’t like Science Fiction and had never seen the show. Of course the episode was one of the stupidest ones. — I forget which episode, but it involved a “United Nations” type meeting on the ship with a bunch of different aliens.
     
  11. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    And it actually arrived a day early: Sunday, December 16th.
     
  12. Traveling Matt

    Traveling Matt Supporting Actor

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    Thank you for the review, Thad! I see Jerry Beck mentions that if this sells well (he calls it a "test" set), they hope to add bonus material to future volumes.
     
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  13. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Mine shipped. Very excited!
     
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  14. Bradskey

    Bradskey Stunt Coordinator

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    My copy arrived a few days ago and I've now watched them all. Great memories all around, except now with restored picture, color and sound, and the always missing original titles. Overall the set looks great. The colors are maybe not as saturated as one might expect, and I saw a comparison with a different 35mm transfer that was a tad more vivid, but overall I don't see any real issue. They look very very good.

    As to the fate of the Paramount library, someone mentioned that Universal owns the rest of it via Dreamworks, and this is true through a series of acquisitions in recent years. But originally Famous/Paramount had a second series (or several I guess) of loosely related character and one-off cartoons under the banner of the Noveltoons. Some of the earliest of these are now public domain, but most of the rest of the Famous cartoons from the early 50s to the early 60s were sold to Harvey comics and became known as the Harveytoons. There was a DVD release of these some years ago in an edited and compiled half-hour television show format (The Harveytoons Show). These cartoons featured characters like Casper the friendly ghost, Wendy the good little witch, Herman and Katnip (the true inspiration for Itchy and Scratchy), Baby Huey and Little Audrey as well as one-offs known as Modern Madcaps. Harvey also acquired a few of the late Famous Studios Screen Songs. All of this eventually found its way to Classic Media which was bought by Dreamworks which was bought by NBC/Universal.

    Although I can't say they were all broadcast in the same half-hour package, I saw all of these along with older Paramounts like Little Lulu and Screen Songs as well as AAP color Popeyes all together on weekday afternoon broadcast TV back in the early-mid 80s. Generally the older Fleischer cartoons were not seen until later Turner broadcasts. These Famous cartoons were usually also mingled or alongside of a package of color Terrytoons (everything from Mighty Mouse to Luno the Wonder Horse). They're not all the greatest theatrical cartoons, but I grew up with them and would enjoy having proper releases of any and all of them. But for now I'm content to look forward to more Famous Popeye cartoons.
     
  15. Message #115 of 137 Dec 22, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
    ClassicTVMan1981X

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    Only the 1962-67 Paramount Cartoons library (which began with "Penny Pals" and ended with "Mouse Trek") was owned by Paramount lock, stock and barrel, with the exception of the Comic Kings series (which, like Popeye, is owned by King Features Syndicate), and "Frog's Legs" which is owned by Marjorie Buell (the creator of Little Lulu).

    ~Ben
     
  16. Ken_Martinez

    Ken_Martinez Second Unit

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    They also own the non-Popeye, non-Superman Fleischer and Famous library through 1950 via Republic.

    God, I would love to see proper treatment of those. They have been dealt an even rawer deal than the Popeyes, which is really saying something.
     
  17. Bradskey

    Bradskey Stunt Coordinator

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    Probably the most valuable or at least recognizable part of the Republic portion of the library is Betty Boop. A lot of the later ones have been considered public domain, but thankfully the earlier/better Betty Boops were licensed and released on blu-ray by Olive a few years ago. I remember Jerry Beck seemed to have a bee in his bonnet about this set of Betty Boop releases because he wasn't involved. I wouldn't claim it was perfect, and no doubt he could have contributed in valuable ways, but overall I think those releases look beautiful and were well done, and I'm super happy to have them.

    The rest of that library is what? Older Screen Songs, Talkartoons, Little Lulu and maybe some Color Classics? The Color Classics especially need some TLC. They featured the same quality of animation and gags as Fleischer's other series, include their 3D background/scenery process, but in gorgeous Technicolor, with imaginative artwork and stories, but usually don't feature recognizable characters. Most people at least probably remember "Somewhere in Dreamland" as well as Grampy in "Christmas Comes But Once A Year". These cartoons have been PD tape fodder for years. Jerry Beck's Somewhere in Dreamland DVD some years ago tried to collect them and do them some justice, but even after a revised edition they were far from restored. Would be wonderful if Olive could release these using the original elements, even though there seems little financial incentive to do so.
     
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  18. Ken_Martinez

    Ken_Martinez Second Unit

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    According to another thread, Kino has a deal with Republic, and they'd be a good fit. They do really well with cartoons, since they're almost done with the United Artists/DePatie Freleng library of cartoons. They've put out not only The Pink Panther, but also really obscure, unknown series like Hoot Kloot, The Dogfather, and Misterjaw..

    BTW, if you missed out on the now-OOP second and third Popeye DVD volumes, they're being reissued on January 18.

    https://www.amazon.com/Popeye-Sailor-1938-1940-Vol-2/dp/B07LD8RHPV/?tag=blurayforum-20

    https://www.amazon.com/Popeye-Sailor-1941-1943-Vol-3/dp/B07LD4STNR/?tag=blurayforum-20
     
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  19. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor
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    Kino said they are through with cartoons because of the poor sales on the releases. They will release the rest of the Pink Panther cartoons. So don’t expect any more cartoons.
     
  20. Message #120 of 137 Dec 22, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
    Ken_Martinez

    Ken_Martinez Second Unit

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    Ouch. That's unfortunate. Where'd you read that?
     

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