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He is what he is: Popeye the sailor man returns on DVD

LOS ANGELES (AP) — He’s almost 80 years old, but Popeye the sailor man is still strong to the finish.

Strong enough, it turns out, to carry into video stores a four-disc DVD set from Warner Home Video and King Features Syndicate, “Popeye the Sailor, 1933-1938, Vol. 1.”

So start arranging for medical care for Bluto and get ready for plenty of wham, blam and kapow — not to mention a few “I yam what I yams” and “Well blow me downs.” The little sailor with the gravelly voice and the massive forearms arrived in video stores on Tuesday.

Not that Popeye, who sprang to life in King’s Thimble Theater comic strip in 1929, ever left the public consciousness.

“Every generation grew up with him. My dad saw him in the movies, we grew up with him during the TV boom and the comic strip was always there,” says 44-year-old animator Frank Caruso, who spent a year tweaking the DVD release.

The result is 60 of the classic Max and Dave Fleischer black-and-white cartoons, plus bonus shorts and interviews with animators, voice actors and historians.

Later volumes will include the more recent color cartoons and other features, said Caruso, vice president of creative for King Features, as he prepared to leave for a DVD release party where spinach was on the menu.

“To this day parents get their kids to eat spinach by saying that’s what Popeye ate,” Caruso laughed.

“I say it to my kids. My parents said it to me.”

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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