Popeye the Sailorpedia
Popeye the Sailorpedia

Not to be confused with Baby Wants a Bottleship.

Baby Wants a Battle
Number 197
Baby Wants a Battle.jpg
Firemen's Brawl

Baby Wants a Battle is Popeye's 197th theatrical cartoon, released on July 24, 1953 by Famous Studios.  It features Popeye, Bluto, Olive Oyl, Poopdeck Pappy and Bluto's father.


This cartoon presents a revisionist background to the Popeye-Bluto feud that is at odds with Segar's canon and, in concert with Lunch with a Punch, posits that Popeye, Bluto and Olive Oyl had grown up together and known one another from childhood. It should be noted however that the animated cartoons' continuity often even contradicted itself.

As the episode begins, Popeye and Bluto arrive at Olive's residence simultaneously looking for a date, and the usual altercation ensues.  Olive separates the combatants and proposes that they all "spend a nice, quiet evening at home."  Seated in between her bored-looking suitors, she pulls out a volume marked "Family Album," and giggles.  "Here's one of Popeye's baby pictures, taken with his Pappy," she observes.  Bluto stirs to life and admits responsibility for inflicting Popeye's "first shiner" that is plainly in evidence in the photograph.  "Oh yeah?  Well, let me tells ya what REALLY happinged that day," retorts Popeye.

Bluto Father & Son.jpg

A flashback scene commences with an infant Popeye in a carriage pushed by a young-ish Poopdeck Pappy (he is dressed in a conservative tweed business suit and is bereft of the beard and salty accent known from various other cartoons).  They are confronted by what is clearly Pappy's enemy, "that big bully and his little bruiser, Bluto."  We see a man of intimidating size with a thick handlebar moustache clad in a ruffian's tee shirt and bowler hat.  His infant son is practicing boxing moves in his baby buggy with his father's encouragement.  "Well, well, if it ain't Poopdeck Pappy and his little weakling, Popeye," the big fellow declares derisively. 

We witness a series of  mean-spirited assaults on little Popeye by the aggressive baby Bluto (his father laughs with approval) as Poopdeck's sense of alarm escalates.  Finally, even as Popeye's carriage is sent careening down a hill and into traffic, Bluto Senior mounts Poopdeck Pappy on a lamppost and instigates a beating (as Bluto would do to Popeye in Barking Dogs Don't Fite).  Baby Popeye, about to be crushed by an oncoming trolley car on a narrow bridge, quaffs his bottle of spinach juice, shows us his muscles (with the power of the 'infantry'), and propels himself back to where his father's brutal destruction continues. Bluto Senior orders his son to "give 'im a boxing lesson," but a right hook from the empowered infant Popeye knocks the would-be pugilist into his father and smashes the two of them into a stone wall, saving the day.

Baby Wants a Battle Photo.jpg

Back in present day, Bluto hoists Olive's grand piano over Popeye's head and prepares to beam Popeye with it. But the quick-thinking sailor downs his spinach first and lets Bluto have it with a mighty blow. Bluto flies out the window and rockets past Olive's clothesline, where he somehow becomes entangled in some feminine lingerie that gives him the appearance of a bearded baby in a bonnet.  He comes to rest in a conveniently-placed baby carriage, bawling uncontrollably (as in Tar with a Star).  Popeye snaps his photo and hands it to Olive to be added to her album.


External links