Sunday, July 22, 2007

Spinach Remastered: Popeye Classic Shorts on DVD

Warner Brothers Home Video has a treat in store for fans of classic animation with the July 31st release of Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938 Volume One. I got my copy early and it's clear much care has been put into this project. The remastered shorts have been cleaned up and restored to their uncut form. I have not finished watching the whole set, but I am really enjoying it. Popeye is not my favorite animated character, but the inventiveness and whimsy of these Fleischer Studios cartoons is eye-popping. There is so much going on in each frame that these cartoons beg to be watched over and over again. The set is popping with extras about the history of the character and early animation efforts, along with numerous commentaries and featurettes. This set includes two Technicolor Popeye double length shorts from the late '30s. There is talk that Warners will produce four Popeye DVD sets in all.

Now, if only someone do the same for Betty Boop!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Matinee at the Bijou: The Return

I started to develop a love for old movies when I was a teenager in the 80s, watching them on our local PBS station on the weekends. I remember staying up late on Fridays to watch Fox Musicals with Sonja Henie and Betty Grable. I also remember faithfully watching a series on Saturday afternoons called "Matinee at the Bijou." The show would put together short subjects (Betty Boop cartoons, newsreels, and cliffhanger serials) along with a feature film from the golden age. The show really did a great job of recreating the moviegoing experience of the 1930s for those of us not around to enjoy it the first time.

I just discovered that they are producing a new series of the program to be hosted by Debbie Reynolds. Twelve new two-hour episodes will broadcast in HD on PBS later this year or early next year. Keep track of the progress of the return engagement at Bijou is Back.