A few years ago, I tried to watch and blog about a different classic animated short each day. Eventually, it became hard to keep up, I suspect it still will be but I’m going to try it again. So we start today with a classic entry from Popeye. Every major character, it seems, must be involved in a bullfight at some point. Goofy, Bugs Bunny, Droopy, Woody Woodpecker and others have all fought the bull! In “Bulldozing the Bull,” Popeye doesn’t want to have anything to do with it. Animal rights activists will love the fact that Popeye repeatedly says that it’s “cruelty to am-i-nals” in his mumbled, half-lip-synched, voice.
However, he’s lured into the arena by a lovely senorita (played by Olive Oyle) and eventually finds himself as the toreador. Though Popeye says he “ain’t fightin’ no bull,” the bull apparently has no hesitation about fighting one-eye sailors.
Of all the characters who have fought the bull, Popeye is probably the best suited for it. Not only is he a tough character, but the rubbery animation style of the Fleischer studio is perfect for being knocked around by a raging animal. Of course, the highlight for me is always Popeye’s mumbled dialogue. Some of his quick, throw-away lines are hilarious, like his pickup line to Olive, “Large weather we’re having.”
The ending of the short did come as a surprise to me. I’ve seen this many times as a child, and my brains expecting Popeye to walup the bull one last time, turning him into a selection of meats for the butcher counter. However, the two resolve their differences, shaking hands and giving one last verbal jab that the animal rights folks will like.