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Rocket to Mars (1946)

Popeye and Olive are touring a museum when they accidentally launch a rocketship to Mars. Olive escapes, but Popeye gets to Mars, where he is attacked (by a group led by Bluto) that was ... See full summary »

Director:

Bill Tytla

Writers:

Bill Turner (story), Otto Messmer (story)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Harry Welch Harry Welch ... Popeye (voice)
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Storyline

Popeye and Olive are touring a museum when they accidentally launch a rocketship to Mars. Olive escapes, but Popeye gets to Mars, where he is attacked (by a group led by Bluto) that was preparing to invade Earth. Fortunately, Popeye has a can of spinach handy, so he can save the Earth (turning most of the Martian war apparatus into amusement park rides). Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 August 1946 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Famous Studios See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (Cinecolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jack Mercer was on active military duty and wasn't available to do Popeye's voice for this cartoon. See more »

Alternate Versions

A brief shot of a Japanese soldier hiding behind an eight-ball, between Venus and Mars, is usually eliminated from TV prints. See more »

Connections

Referenced in My Favorite Martian: Rocket to Mars (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

First studio cartoon to depict invaders from Mars
3 September 2014 | by BrianDanaCampSee all my reviews

Two years before Warner Bros. sent Bugs Bunny to Mars for "Haredevil Hare" (1948), Paramount sent Popeye there for "Rocket to Mars" (1946), in which Popeye accidentally takes off in a rocket at a technical museum and winds up on Mars where he encounters a green-skinned Martian Bluto and his army of "little green men," all intent on invading Earth. Armed with spinach, of course, our hero fights to stop the fleet before it can launch. There are a few impressive shots of the Martian landscape and the relentless march of Martians and their armored vehicles as they prepare to load up a massive spaceship for the invasion. The gags employed in Popeye's subsequent fight scenes with the Martians are, however, less impressive. The whole threat is handled a little too easily and one wonders what a longer, two-reel cartoon with this theme, with added action and suspense, would be like, especially when compared to the spectacular two-reel Technicolor cartoons made in 1936-39 which placed Popeye in Arabian Nights settings (Sindbad, Ali Baba, and Aladdin).

This is, I believe, the first Hollywood cartoon to feature a theme of alien invasion and it came eight years after Orson Welles' famous "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast. There were, of course, earlier cartoons with depictions of travels to Mars (e.g. Max Fleischer's Koko the Clown cartoon, "A Trip to Mars," from 1924) and the moon (e.g. Fleischer's "Dancing on the Moon," from 1935) and at least one cartoon I know of that referenced Welles' broadcast (Bob Clampett's "Kitty Kornered," also 1946), but I don't know of any others before this one that actually depicted alien invaders, either on another planet or on Earth. (In Fleischer's earlier Superman cartoons, the threats were always earthbound.) There was renewed interest in this theme after the war as reports of UFOs, or "flying saucers" as they came to be known after 1947, began to increase.

The director here is Bill Tytla, a former top animator with the Disney Studio who was renowned for his work on SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO, FANTASIA and DUMBO, and one can see his considerable talent in the overall design of this above-average postwar Popeye entry. The color process used here is the two-color process, Cinecolor, and not Technicolor.


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