Friday, March 30, 2012


It’s politics as usual in this 1956 film Popeye for President! Popeye and Bluto are both running for President and need only one more vote to break the tie… and that vote belongs to Olive Oyl. Dirty tricks abound as they vie for her vote. 

Planned to be timely, this film was released in 1956 just as a real Presidential campaign was in progress. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the extremely popular Republican President was being challenged by Democrat Adlai Stevenson. This was a rematch from four years earlier when Eisenhower first defeated Stevenson.

Some other interesting things to note. The 'story credit' in this film is given to Jack Mercer. In addition to story development, Jack Mercer also did the voice of Popeye. Mercer had been working as an in-betweener at Fleischer Studios in 1935 when he was overheard by Lou Fleischer singing in Popeye’s gravelly voice. Lou immediately put Mercer to work doing Popeye’s voice. In addition to working as an animator in training Mercer became an extremely versatile voice artist providing Popeye’s voice as well as the voices for many other Fleischer films.
Jack Mercer and Popeye   Collection: V. Mahoney
Mercer had a real talent for developing story ideas. He submitted hundreds of them, many of them ideas for Popeye films. Although Famous Studios had a story department all staffers were encouraged to come up with story ideas, and if a concept was accepted a staffer was paid an extra fee. 

Here’s two story proposals that were submitted to Famous Studios for a film to be titled Popeye for President--- both were written by Izzie Klein, who was part of the Famous Studios story department. These are two different proposals for a film with that same title, neither of which were used, though one has a slight resemblance to the final film of that name. It may be that Jack Mercer, who received the screen story credit for this film, used this basic idea and elaborated on it, producing the final story. You can click on the pages to enlarge for reading...

The two story proposals below, “TWO SCRAMBLED YEGGS“and “GUIDES AND DOLLS” are samples of other story ideas that were submitted by Jack Mercer. I get a big kick out of reading these stories in this early form…….

BTW- Seymour Kneitel was the Director of Popeye for President.

Scripts: Collection of Virginia Mahoney
Popeye, Olive Oyl and Bluto are copyright King Features Syndicate, Inc. TM Hearst Holdings, Inc.


  1. One of the great pleasures of my life was interviewing Jack Mercer. He was a very nice man and wasn't really aware of the great number of fans he had or his influence in animation.

  2. Amazing! Thanks so much for posting these! It's really fun to see which gags and premises worked their way into other cartoons!

  3. Wonderful blog about a truly under-appreciated director. Glad I found you!

    1. Thank you all for the good words--- keep checking back--- more to come!

  4. Hai,
    This seems to be an awesome creation and hats off to the creator,actually we are also under the same business that is 3D Process Animation url
    Please do have a look.

    1. What a totally awesome site-- the cutting edge of 3D!!! Amazing how far things have come since the Fleischer's attempted to create that illusion building miniature sets on a rotating turn-table. What next???

  5. Popeye For President is in public domain. It can be found in any store.