Monday, June 13, 2011

Sony Sails With 3D "Popeye"

Avi Arad, producer of the live-action "Spider-Man" movies, continues to develop Sony Pictures Animation's 3D "Popeye" feature film, rendered in CG by Sony Pictures ImageWorks. Arad confirmed that the new film will highlight themes of friendship, love, greed and life, focusing on human strengths and human frailties. "Popeye has become one of the most enduring and iconic cartoon characters of all time and indelibly linked to the evolution of animation," said Hannah Minghella, president of production, Sony Pictures Animation. 'Popeye the Sailor' was created by Elzie Crisler (E.C.) Segar, debuting in the daily King Features comic strip 'Thimble Theatre', January 17, 1929. Thimble Theatre was carried on after Segar's death in 1938 by several writers and artists, most notably Segar's assistant Bud Sagendorf.
Retitled "Popeye", the comic strip continues to appear in first-run installments in a Sunday edition, written/illustrated by Hy Eisman, with daily strip reprints of Sagendorf's original stories. In 1933, Max and Dave Fleischer's Fleischer Studios adapted the Thimble Theatre characters into a series of "Popeye the Sailor" theatrical cartoon shorts for Paramount Pictures. The Fleischers and Paramount's Famous Studios, continued production through 1957.
Since then, Popeye has appeared in comic books, television cartoons, arcade/video games, advertisements and peripheral products.
January 1, 2009, 70 years after the death of his creator, the Popeye character became public domain in most countries (but remains under copyright in the US.)
Born in a typhoon off Santa Monica, California, Popeye is a 34-year old, mumbling, squinty-eyed, pipe-smoking sailor with muscular forearms sporting two anchor tattoos.
Continuing characters include his father 'Poopdeck Pappy', who does not share his son's moral righteousness, sweetheart 'Olive Oyl', 'Swee'Pea', an infant left on his doorstep, look-alike nephews 'Peepeye', 'Pupeye', 'Pipeye' and 'Poopeye', hamburger craving 'J. Wellington Wimpy', the magical, orchid-eating pet 'Eugene The Jeep', the villain 'Sea Hag' and 'Alice The Goon'. From early 1932 onward, Popeye was depicted as eating spinach to become stronger, either squeezing a spinach can until the top opens, or sucking the spinach through his pipe, infusing him with extraordinary strength and making him invulnerable.
"While each generation has discovered him in different incarnations, the fans have continued to embrace him through the years, coming back time and again to that quintessential collection of character traits that has made Popeye beloved around the world," said "Rocky" Shepard III, president of King Features Syndicate. Click the images to enlarge...