The Popeye Show is a Cartoon Network TV show that premiered on November 11, 2001. Each episode would include three unedited Popeye theatrical shorts from Fleischer Studios and/or Famous Studios. The show was narrated by Bill Murray, who would tell the audience facts about the history of the cartoons as filler material between each short. Animation historian Jerry Beck served as a consultant and Barry Mills served as writer and producer. A total of 45 episodes were produced, consisting of 135 shorts.
Prior to the premiere of The Popeye Show, most television airings of theatrical Popeye cartoons bore the logos of Associated Artists Productions, the company that bought the films from Paramount Pictures for television distribution. This is due to the shorts having been sold in the 1950s, when most film studios did not want to be associated with television. As a result, a. a. p. was required to replace the original Paramount logos with their own. For The Popeye Show, efforts were made to present these films as close to their original theatrical form as possible: some of the cartoons shown were copies that actually had their original Paramount titles intact, while others needed to have their original titles simulated through the process of digital video editing.
The show focused mostly on the Fleischer Popeye shorts and early Famous shorts that were originally filmed in black-and-white. For all episodes, the first two shorts were from this era. Sometimes the third would be a color cartoon from Famous Studios, but on many occasions an episode would entirely be made of black-and-white ones. While selecting the color entries that would air, the only ones that were initially chosen were those that existed in the Turner vaults with their original titles.
In season one, a copy of Popeye, The Ace of Space (1953) with its original titles was shown for the first time on TV. This particular cartoon was originally shown in 3D and had a unique opening sequence. It also had a unique ending sequence that was not shown on syndication prints because it involved the Paramount logo being formed from the smoke of Popeye's pipe. The black and white short The Hungry Goat (1943) was kept from being shown in earlier seasons because it required extra attention to recreate the ending as close to original as possible. The original ending involved Popeye's nemesis in the short, a goat, laughing at Popeye while watching the end of the very cartoon they were in, and, like Ace of Space, involved the Paramount logo.
1945's Tops in the Big Top, which did not open with the standard Popeye theme music but the rendition of a circus theme, had its original soundtrack restored for the program. Similarly, a version of W'ere On Our Way to Rio (1944) was prepared with the opening soundtrack restored, but the show was cancelled before it could be shown.
Two episodes from Season 1 were initially skipped, and did not make their TV debut until reruns. The reason was because the two contained cartoons that the executives at Cartoon Network would not pass for unedited airings. Episode 10 was originally supposed to have Popeye the Sailor, a Betty Boop cartoon in which Popeye makes his theatrical debut. This particular cartoon had a scene at the carnival where Popeye plays a ball-toss game where the target is an African American stereotype. Episode 11 had the short Happy Birthdaze, in which Popeye appears to shoot his Navy buddy Shorty in an ending that is usually cut from TV broadcasts. When Episode 10 finally aired, I Eats My Spinach replaced Popeye the Sailor, while Episode 11 aired with no changes made and Happy Birthdaze was shown uncut.
- Season 1
- Episode 1 (11/19/2001): Can You Take It / Me Musical Nephews / Olive Oyl for President
- Episode 2 (11/12/2001): Sock-a-Bye Baby / Popeye the Sailor with the Jeep / Fightin' Pals
- Episode 3 (11/26/2001): The Spinach Overture / It's the Natural Thing to Do / Hill-billing and Cooing
- Episode 4 (12/03/2001): Goonland / Wotta Nitemare / Pip-eye, Pup-eye, Poop-eye an' Peep-eye
- Episode 5 (12/03/2001): Cops is Always Right / Hello How Am I / Robin Hood-Winked
- Episode 6 (12/10/2001): Shiver Me Timbers / Alona on the Sarong Seas / Insect to Injury
- Episode 7 (12/10/2001): The Man on the Flying Trapeze / I Yam Love Sick / She-Sick Sailors
- Episode 8 (12/17/2001): A Dream Walking / Organ Grinder's Swing / Cops is Tops
- Episode 9 (12/17/2001): The 'Hyp-Nut-Tist' / Child Psykolojiky / Cartoons Ain't Human
- Episode 10 (02/11/2002): I Eats My Spinach / Little Swee'Pea / Popeye the Sailor with Poopdeck Pappy
- Episode 11 (02/18/2002): Vim, Vigor and Vitaliky / Happy Birthdaze / Abusement Park
- Episode 12 (12/24/2001): Choose Your 'Weppins' / Mutiny Ain't Nice / Kickin' the Conga Round
- Episode 13 (12/24/2001): Never Kick a Woman / Shakespearean Spinach / Popeye, the Ace of Space
- Season 2
- Episode 14 (07/07/2002): What -- No Spinach? / Lost and Foundry / Popeye Presents Eugene the Jeep
- Episode 15 (07/14/2002): Strong to the Finich / Nurse Mates / Quiet! Pleeze
- Episode 16 (07/21/2002): Beware of Barnacle Bill / Wimmin is a Myskery / Olive's Boithday Presink
- Episode 17 (07/28/2002): I Yam What I Yam / The Football Toucher Downer / I'll Never Crow Again
- Episode 18 (08/05/2002): Hospitaliky / Me Feelins Is Hurt / The Mighty Navy
- Episode 19 (08/12/2002): Blow Me Down / The Twisker Pitcher / Nix on Hypnotricks
- Episode 20 (08/18/2002): Hold the Wire / Ghosks Is the Bunk / Olive Oyl and Water Don't Mix
- Episode 21 (08/25/2002): Adventures of Popeye / Stealin' Ain't Honest / Many Tanks
- Episode 22 (09/01/2002): Let's You and Him Fight / Onion Pacific / Baby Wants a Bottleship
- Episode 23 (09/08/2002): Pleased to Meet Cha / Let's Celebrake / A Hull of a Mess
- Episode 24 (09/15/2002): A Clean Shaven Man / Protek the Weakerist / Spinach Fer Britain
- Episode 25 (09/22/2002): Brotherly Love / Popeye Meets William Tell / Too Weak to Work
- Episode 26 (09/29/2002): I Wanna Be a Life Guard / Puttin' on the Act / Wood-Peckin'
- Season 3
- Episode 27 (11/17/2002): We Aim to Please / Learn Polikeness / Shape Ahoy
- Episode 28 (11/24/2002): King of the Mardi Gras / Popeye Meets Rip Van Winkle / A Haul in One
- Episode 29 (12/01/2002): Axe Me Another / Never Sock a Baby / Peep in the Deep
- Episode 30 (12/08/2002): Morning, Noon and Night Club / Flies Ain't Human / Parlez Vous Woo
- Episode 31 (12/15/2002): Seasin's Greetinks / Doing Impossikible Stunts / Wigwam Whoopee
- Episode 32 (12/22/2002): Dizzy Divers / A Date to Skate / Assault and Flattery
- Episode 33 (12/29/2002): The Two-Alarm Fire / Females Is Fickle / A Wolf in Sheik's Clothing
- Episode 34 (12/19/2002): The Dance Contest / Customers Wanted / Out to Punch
- Episode 35 (12/20/2002): For Better or Worser / The House Builder Upper / Symphony in Spinach
- Episode 36 (12/24/2002): The Spinach Roadster / Ration Fer the Duration / A Job for a Gob
- Episode 37 (12/26/2002): Shoein' Hosses / Plumbing Is a Pipe / Alpine for You
- Episode 38 (12/27/2002): I Likes Babies and Infinks / Pest Pilot / Mister and Mistletoe
- Episode 39 (12/31/2002): Fowl Play / Fleets of Stren'th / A Balmy Swami
- Season 4
- Episode 40 (06/15/2003): I Never Changes My Altitude] / Wimmin Hadn't Oughta Drive / The Marry-Go-Round
- Episode 41 (06/22/2003): Wild Elephinks / The Hungry Goat / Tops in the Big Top
- Episode 42 (06/29/2003): The Paneless Window Washer / Big Chief Ugh-Amugh-Ugh / Moving Aweigh
- Episode 43 (07/06/2003): Bridge Ahoy / Leave Well Enough Alone / Pitchin' Woo at the Zoo
- Episode 44 (07/13/2003): I-Ski Love-Ski You-Ski / Bulldozing the Bull / Spinach Packin' Popeye
- Episode 45 (07/20/2003): You Gotta Be a Football Hero / Olive's $weep$take Ticket / The Anvil Chorus Girl
- The Popeye Show at the Internet Movie Database