February 16, 2019


(CBS, September 9-Decmeber 12, 1987)

Hanna Barbera Productions, King Features Entertainment

Don MessickEugene the Jeep, various

For the history of Popeye, check out the post here.

In the second collaboration between Hanna-Barbera Productions and King Features Syndicate, Popeye and his friends returned to CBS Saturday mornings in a new series: Popeye and Son. It was the first Popeye production since the death of long-time voice actor Jack Mercer in 1984 and featured many of the same cast from The All-New Popeye Hour.

Popeye, Olive and Junior.

The series saw an advance in the Popeye story with Popeye (Maurice LaMarche) and Olive Oyl (Marilyn Schreffler) having finally tied the knot and settling down in the town of Sweethaven. Although Popeye still owned his boat, the Olive, he traded in his sailor suit for a Hawaiian shirt and part ownership in a fitness center with Olive. Oh, and they also had a kid--aptly named Popeye Junior (Josh Rodine). Junior shared Popeye’s ability to get enhanced strength by ingesting spinach, however he didn’t share his father’s love of the vegetable; detesting the taste and begrudgingly downing it when the situation called for it.

Popeye and Junior being harassed by Bluto and Tank.

Surprisingly enough, Popeye’s rival, Bluto (Allan Melvin), also managed to settle down into a life as a wealthy and unscrupulous businessman seen hobnobbing with the who’s who of the town. He married Lizzie (Schreffler), one of Olive’s friends, and had a son named Tank (David Markus). Tank was very much a chip off the old block as he often antagonized Junior whenever the opportunity presented itself. Other Popeye characters made frequent appearances, including J. Wellington Wimpy (Melvin) as the owner of a local diner, and the magical Eugene the Jeep (Don Messick) as the Popeye family’s pet. New characters included Junior’s friends Woody (Nancy Cartwright), Dee Dee (Kaleena Kiff) and Poly (Penina Segall), as well as Tank’s thuggish buddies Puggy (Schreffler) and Rad (B.J. Ward).

Junior leading Woody, Dee Dee and Polly on an adventure on the Olive.

Popeye and Son debuted on CBS on September 9, 1987. The series was a blend of family and adventure stories with a larger focus on Junior and his world. Like the previous series, stringent rules for children’s television kept the outright violence of the Popeye franchise from being featured in favor of off-screen conflict and slapstick antics, and Popeye’s pipe was more of a tool than something to be smoked. Each episode was broken up into two segments written by Cliff Roberts, Eric Lewald, Anthony Adams, Mark Cassutt, Bruce Faulk, Charles M. Howell IV, Kelly Ward, Pamela Hickey, Dennys McCoy, Ken Koonce, Bryce Malek, Scott Shaw, David Weimers and John Loy, who also served as the associate story editor. Jeff Segal and Ward were the primary story editors, and Hoyt Curtin produced the series’ music; with the exception of Popeye’s theme composed by Sammy Lerner

Model sheet.

Unfortunately, the series didn’t prove a hit and was cancelled after a single season of 13 episodes. Once it left the network it did make brief rerun rounds on cable, particularly as part of USA Network’s Cartoon Express programming block. Beyond that, future Popeye media has chosen to ignore the characters and events of the series. Merchandising for the show included a  bundle of play money featuring Popeye and Junior and ball puzzles featuring scenes inspired by the show by Ja-Ru; Thermo-Serv made a lunchbox that had an embossed image of the characters and show’s title on the lid; Milton Bradley made a puzzle; and a stationery set that was based on the “Attack of the Sea Hag” segment. 

Father-son bonding time.

Channel 5 released three VHS collections in the United Kingdom as Popeye and Son: A New Generation. Each tape contained two episodes and released episodes 1-4 and 9-10 overall. In 2008, Warner Home Video had planned to release eight episodes of the show onto DVD as Popeye & Friends Vol. 2, which would follow up the previous collection’s selection of The All-New Popeye Hour episodes. However, the poor sales of Vol. 1 prompted Warner to cancel its wide release and instead only released it in Australia. It contained episodes 1-2 and 5-6. Hollywood DVD Ltd. released their own collection in the UK containing episodes 1-5 and 10. That release had also been combined in collections with other series, including Prince Valiant, Defenders of the Earth, Galaxy Rangers, Krazy Kat & Popeye Hour. The entire series has been made available for streaming as part of Amazon Prime Video.

“Attack of the Sea Hag / Happy Anniversary” (9/19/87) – Junior finds a wooden mermaid that ends up in the hands of the Blutos—and the sights of the Sea Hag. / Believing Popeye forgot their anniversary leads him and Olive to recount the day they were married.

“The Sea Monster / Poopdeck Pappy and the Family Tree” (9/26/87) – Bluto decides to capture and sell the sea monster the kids have befriended. / Junior becomes embarrassed by the relatives Poopdeck Pappy tells his class about.

“Bluto’s Wave Pool / Here Today, Goon Tomorrow” (10/3/87) – Tank and his friends ruin the beach in order to get people to visit Bluto’s Wave Park. / Woody ends up kidnapped by the Goons and taken to Goon Island.

“Don’t Give Up the Picnic / The Lost Treasure of Pirate’s Cove” (10/10/87) – Bluto and Tank cheat to win the competitions at the town picnic. / Junior and his friends head out to follow a treasure map with Tank and his goons right behind them.

“Junior’s Genie / Mighty Olive at the Bat” (10/17/87) – Finding a genie causes Junior to behave more like Tank. / Olive volunteers to replace an injured Popeye in the father-son baseball game, but there’s a problem: she’s a lousy player.

“Junior Gets a Job / Surf Movie” (10/24/87) – Junior ends up working for Bluto to earn some quick money for Olive’s birthday gift. / Junior ends up cast in a movie being filmed in town and Bluto and Lizzie scheme to get him replaced with Tank.

“Junior’s Birthday Roundup / Redbeard” (10/31/87) – Junior refuses to celebrate his birthday if Tank is invited to his party. / Stowing away on Redbeard’s ship leads Junior to witness his being captured by pirates.

“The Girl from Down Under / Olive’s Dinosaur Dilemma” (11/7/87) – When a new girl from “down under” arrives in town, all the marine life begins disappearing. / A hot-air balloon lands Olive in a lost prehistoric land.

“Dr. Junior and Mr. Hyde / Popeye’s Surfin’ Adventure” (11/14/87) – Junior and Woody accidentally drink Professior Whatasnozzle’s formula, turning them into monsters. / Believing surfing doesn’t take much skill, Popeye challenges Junior to a surfing contest.

“Split Decision / The Case of the Burger Burglar” (11/21/87) – When Polly spends a lot of time with her new basketball team, Dee Dee joins a hang-gliding club and gets blown away. / Francis and Junior tries to find who’s been stealing burgers from Wimpy.

“Orchid You Not / Ain’t Mythbehavin’” (11/28/87) – Eugene snatches a lot of orchids, leading Popeye and Junior to follow him to a cave full of Jeeps. / Popeye and Junior go on a quest for the Golden Fleece.

“There Goes the Neighborhood / Prince of a Fellow” (12/5/87) – One of Junior’s classmates turns out to be a werewolf, and Bluto is determined to run his family out of town. / Junior trades places with Rex, a young prince that he resembles.

“Olive’s Day Off / Damsel in Distress” (12/12/87) – Olive takes the day off leaving Popeye and Junior to clean up the house in time for Granny Popeye’s visit. / Popeye and Bluto race to see who can rescue a damsel, which turns out to be a trap set by the Sea Hag.

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