60s Popeye: Abdominal Snowman (it’s not clear he even *has* abs)

We’re with Larry Harmon’s studios for today’s Popeye of the 60s. Also with 1960 for the 1960s. The story is once again by Charles Shows. Directing the future stars of Filmation are Paul Fennell. Here’s Popeye searching for the Abdominal Snowman.

Abominable Snowmen were in the air, in the late 50s and early 60s. It’s reasonable enough to send Popeye after one. The premise seems clean enough so it’s odd there’s so much setup. Olive Oyl’s never-before-seen Uncle Sylvan gets introduced like he should play a bigger part in the plot. Claiming to finance things is about all he does that Wimpy couldn’t do as well. I also can’t make out a pun on Sylvan Oyl’s name, which makes him a real anomaly in the Oyl family. Maybe it was the company Larry Harmon got his heating oil from.

At the Explorers Club Popeye keeps asking when it’s time to eat, and when they can eat. I’ve seen this food-obsessed version of Popeye before, although I can’t find just which cartoon did that. I think it was another Larry Harmon-produced one. After maybe two minutes of setup we finally get to Popeye chasing the Abominable Snowman, which is where I’d have started the cartoon.

They crash into Mount Idiot. Why is it Mount Idiot? At Sylvan’s urging, Popeye yodels. The echo scat-sings back. Getting the wrong thing back from an echo is a solid joke starter. But all I get from the “Mount Idiot” name is the worry that if Charles Snows explained to me exactly what the joke was I would be offended. The Popeye Wikia says the name is “because the mountain can never make correct echoes”, which is consistent with what we see, I guess. But with one example it’s not clear the “idiocy” isn’t just scat singing.

Popeye, trapped under a mound of snow in an ice cave, looks up to see two giant green Abominable Snowman figures staring down at him.
“Ahoy! I don’t suppose any of youse Aplombinable Snowmen has seen Doc Harvey Camel, has ya?”

Popeye falls through the ice and meets the Abominable Snowman, who’s tiny and vaguely cute-shaped. He’s been sick, he explains, in a Wallace Wimple-esque voice. The Internet Movie Database credits only Jack Mercer and Mae Questel for this episode, so I suppose it must be Mercer doing the Snowman’s voice. And we get to the Abominable Snowman’s Gift Shop, where Popeye can get all sorts of trinkets including a “life size” snowman suitable for the Explorers Club. The idea of the Abominable Snowman supporting himself on gift shop sales is, again, a good joke starter. It doesn’t work for me and I can’t pin down just why.

Popeye pays for a “life size” snowman doll with a spinach sucker, the only spinach that gets eaten. It gives the tiny Snowman energy and vitality and good cheer. I’d have thought it would also restore the height he lost due to being sick.

Back at the Explorers Club, Uncle Sylvan talks up his heroism in bringing back the creature and conceding that Popeye assisted. So Popeye, in the doll’s mouth, growls and makes threatening noises. Once everyone’s scared he pops out and reveals it’s all in good fun here. It’s an odd ending. It feels like the ending to a different draft, one where Sylvan had more clearly annoyed Popeye.

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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