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Cartoons: Popeye
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Episode Review
History of Popeye
Quick Facts
Voice Cast

History of Popeye

Quick Facts:


Original Series (1933-1957)
"Popeye the Sailor" (1960-1963 TV Series)
"The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie" episode, Popeye Meets the Man Who Hated Laughter (October 7, 1972)
"The All-New Popeye Hour" (1978-1983 TV Series) [later titled "The Popeye and Olive Show"]
"Popeye & Son" (1987-1988 TV Series)
"Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy" (2004 Film)

Episode Review:

Voice Cast:

Popeye #1- William "Red Pepper Sam" Costello (1933-1935)...

    Costello was the first voice actor to portray Popeye beginning in 1933 with "Popeye the Sailor" and ending with "You Gotta be a Football Hero" in 1935.  It's been said that Costello let success get to his head and became kind of a jerk, so he was fired and replaced by Jack Mercer.  Popeye's voice is definitely a lot meaner in these early Popeye cartoons than it would be with later voice actors.

Popeye #2- Jack Mercer (1935-1957)...

    Jack Mercer became the standard "Popeye".  Mercer did Popeye for most of Popeye's theatrical cartoon career.  He's a lot funnier and easier to take than Costello's Popeye voice.  What really made Mercer's Popeye voice-acting stand out was that he added  "under-the-breath" mutterings that developed funnier dialogue as well as Popeye's personality:  gruff and grumbly.  Personally, he's my favorite Popeye.  He started in 1935 with "The Hyp-Nut-Tist" and ended with the very last Popeye cartoon for Famous Studios called "Spooky Swabs" in 1957.  There were a handful of cartoons during this 22 year period that he did not voice due to his military service in WWII.

Popeye #3- Jackson Beck, Mae Questel, and Harry Welch (1945)...

    For the cartoon of "Shape Ahoy" (1945), a very unusual thing happened:  Three people supplied Popeye's voice!  Jackson Beck (who played Bluto at the time), Mae Questel (who played Olive Oyl at the time), and newcomer to the series Harry Welch all did Popeye for this one cartoon only.  By the next cartoon, "For Better or Nurse" (1945), Harry Welch became the only Popeye until Jack Mercer's return in 1946.

Popeye #4- Harry Welch (1945-1946)...

    Welch did Popeye's voice for most of the time Jack Mercer was away.  He was Popeye from 1945s "For Better or Nurse" to 1946s "Rodeo Romeo".  His Popeye voice is noticably different and I really don't care for it that much.  Mercer's grumbling and odd-talk seems to come out more natural where Welch's sounds forced.

Popeye #5- Harry Welch and Jack Mercer (1947)...

    A one-time line-up for the single voice of Popeye, appearing in the cartoon "The Fistic Mystic" (1947).  After this cartoon, Jack Mercer reclaimed his Popeye throne for the rest of the original series.

Popeye #6- Maurice LaMarche (1987-1988)...

    LaMarche played Popeye in the all-too-short TV series of "Popeye & Son".

Popeye #7- Billy West (2004)...

    West played Popeye in the computer-animated film "Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy" (2004).