The Man on the Flying Trapeze (1934)

Fleischer Studios
Starring:
 William Costello, Mae Questel
Directed by: Dave Fleischer

Cat Out of the Bag Alert!  This review contains some spoilers for this film!

Synopsis: Popeye (voiced by William Costello) finds out he has lost his love Olive Oyl (voiced by Mae Questel) to a trapeze artist.

Cartoon Cat: Much of the short is set to the song by George Leybourne, Gaston Lyle and Alfred Lee. After Popeye learns from Olive Oyl’s mother that Olive Oyl has run off, Popeye mopes toward the circus. Three boys and a black cat are looking at a billboard for the famed trapeze artist and greet Popeye as he approaches.

The Man on the Flying Trapeze - sad Popeye approaches kids and cat dancing in front of trapeze artist poster

Seeing Popeye upset, the kids and cat ask what the trouble is. Popeye sits down and tells them the story in song.

The Man on the Flying Trapeze - sad Popeye with concerned kids and cat

The Man on the Flying Trapeze - Popeye sitting on curb telling his story to kids and cat

The Man on the Flying Trapeze - kids and cat looking at photo of Olive Oyl

The Man on the Flying Trapeze - sad Popeye singing to kids and cat while holding picture of Olive Oyl

At the end of his sad story, Popeye busts a hole through the billboard and then takes the kids and cat inside to watch the show. There they see Olive Oyl up on the trapeze with the famed aerialist.

The Man on the Flying Trapeze - Popeye punches hole in billboard for himself, kids and cat

The Man on the Flying Trapeze - kids and cat pointing out Olive Oyl to Popeye

The Man on the Flying Trapeze - Popeye, kids and cat watching aerialists with concern

Eventually Popeye climbs up and has it out with the man in leotards. Olive Oyl is grateful, as she was being misused by the star. Finally Popeye calls for her to jump down to him. At that moment the kids and cat show up to praise him and he turns to them, letting Olive Oyl bounce off the ground before catching her.

The Man on the Flying Trapeze - Popeye holding arms out to catch Olive Oyl as kids and cat approach

With his spinach-induced strength he holds all of them in his arms as the short ends.

The Man on the Flying Trapeze - Popeye holding up kids and cat and Olive Oyl on his arms

Final Mewsings: We didn’t know cats enjoy going to the circus.

Many thanks to Ted Davis for letting us know about the cat in this animated short.


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