60s Popeye: Psychiatricks, and I really want to believe something else


It’s another Seymour Kneitel festival today. He’s credited for the story, direction, and production of 1960’s Psychiatricks. So let’s watch.

This feels so much like a clip cartoon. Even more specifically, it feels like the Famous Studios clip cartoon Friend or Phony, where Bluto tricks Popeye into thinking spinach makes him a murderer. Things are gentler in this made-for-TV production. Here Brutus merely tricks Popeye into thinking spinach makes him reckless and violent.  This based on some incidents from childhood when there’s as many as 62 other Paramount Cartoon Studios shorts they could have used here.  Popeye throws his spinach away, Brutus starts clobbering him, Olive Oyl recovers the spinach, all ends well.  (Also, Olive Oyl says it’s Popeye’s brand of spinach.  Does she mean his preferred brand?  Or does she just mean any opened can of spinach that’s been warmed by contact to body temperature must be Popeye’s?)

You see why I think it’s a clip cartoon. It’s got an extended flashback to infant Popeye and Brutus fighting. Then another of young Popeye-and-Brutus fighting over Olive Oyl. What I can’t do is figure which cartoons these are excerpted from. I don’t recognize them. The Internet Movie Database offers no connections. And looking over the list of Paramount Cartoon Studios-produced shorts doesn’t suggest anything. If I’m overlooking a source I hope someone will say. Maybe I’ll notice in time.

Brutus, disguised as a psychiatrist, glares sinisterly and cups a hand to his chin. He seems ready to cackle.
He seems trustworthy.

I don’t understand the cartoon if it’s not. I admire when a production uses the frame of a clip show to present original material. It’s a clever manipulation of audience expectations. But I also know these cartoons were made without the time and budget for luxuries like fake clip shows. And these clips require a lot of work, with new models and new animation for the characters. They reused the footage of Popeye trotting along, blowing heart-shaped bubbles from his pipe. If they were going to blow the budget on this cartoon why make it look like a budget-saver?

There’s much I’d like to understand better about these cartoons’ making.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

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