Bride and Gloom
Fright to the Finish
Greek Mirthology is Popeye's 205th cartoon, released in 1954 by Famous Studios. Much like 1948's Popeye Meets Hercules, it features the demigod Hercules, yet not this time as era-appropriate Bluto but instead embodied by Popeye himself, or rather a very similar ancestor, in a starring role.
In a recurring theme from the animated Popeye cartoons, the sailor character readies to serve his nephews Pipeye, Peepeye, Poopeye, and Pupeye a good helping of spinach for their lunch, only for them to declare "But we hate spinach!" and set their plates aside, to replace them with ice cream cones. Popeye sucks the contents of their cones with his pipe and replaces it for portions of spinach. He says they should eat the greens if they wanted to be as strong as their great-great-great-great-great-uncle, the mythical Hercules. This piques their interest, so Popeye proceeds to tell them the story of how the usage of spinach in the family began. As the caring uncle relates the tale, we enter a faux-ancient world in flashback, where we see Hercules (who looks very much like Popeye) drive along on his two-horse chariot. In order to save a bird that has fallen from a tree, he does not eat spinach, but rather takes out a cluster of garlic and smells it. He gains a boost of strength that allows him to give the tree a better height for the little bird. Soon afterwards, a big bully (resembling Bluto) arrives on elephant-back and wreaks havoc upon the city in his intent to challenge the famed Hercules. The hero accepts the feats-of-strength challenge, with the enemy proceeding to lift up his elephantine mount - only to be lifted himself *and* his pet by the garlic sniffer. They attempt a tug of war across a cliff, with the bully resorting to cheating, until the scent of garlic lets Hercules slam the two sides of the mountain together. He is then punched down the mountain to crash against a statue and, before he can use garlic again, Bluto's forefather neutralizes its potent aroma by dousing it with chlorophyll. Next, the weakened Hercules is sent flying mouth-first into a spinach field. Acknowledging its empowering qualities, he munches on, gains muscles upon muscles and strikes his adversary, whose armor is made into a trash can - with him caught inside.
Popeye ends the story to find his nephews gone, with four signs spelling out "Aw that was a bunch of spinach" left in their respective places, to suggest the epic tale was nothing but mere fabrication. Looking out the window, he sees them eating ice cream cones and conversing with the vendor (Bluto, looking much like his ancient counterpart, down to the shape of his beard, and giving Popeye some grief even as a friendly ice cream vendor).
- This is one of ten Popeye cartoons that could be viewed in the first-person shooter video game The Darkness.
- Greek Mirthology at the Internet Movie Database