Coney Island had a Mardi Gras celebration every September until 1954, but ATZ had no idea that Popeye the Sailor Man and his rival Bluto were once part of it! Many thanks to sideshow historian James Taylor, publisher of Shocked & Amazed! On and Off the Midway, for sharing this fun find.
In this 1935 cartoon, Popeye and Bluto perform duelling sideshow acts against the backdrop of Coney’s rides and amusements. “Oh, I’m King of the Mardi Gras, in fact I’m the whole bloomin’ show,” sings Bluto as he struts onstage in front of his awesome banner line.
I run the whole works here at Coney, What power supreme I enjoy!
Hey, speaking of kings,
I’m one of those things.
In fact I’m the real McCoy!
A few steps away, Popeye blusters on a makeshift stage and steals Bluto’s audience by resorting to dirty tricks.
“So the message is that, if you screw with a guy’s act, you’re the hero of this thing? Jeez,” writes Taylor on the Shocked & Amazed! Facebook page. “Still, how often you get to see Popeye AND sideshow together?” The sideshow acts and roller coaster climax are well worth the price of a ticket.
Related posts on ATZ…
February 25, 2012: Video: Happy International Sword Swallowers Day!
January 15, 2011: ATZ Saturday Matinee: Shorty at Coney Island
November 25, 2010: Happy Belated Birthday to Harpo Marx
September 20, 2010: Movie Monday: Teaser Trailers from the Coney Island Film Festival