The Man on the Flying Trapeze
Number 8

Let’s You and Him Fight


Can You Take It

The Man on the Flying Trapeze is Popeye’s eighth cartoon, produced by Fleischer Studios and released on March 16, 1934. The story called for the presence of Olive Oyl’s mother so the same character from the comics, Nana Oyl, was used as a supporting character in the cartoon.


The cartoon is a musical. Popeye sings (his theme tune) as he sails his ship, eventually reaching the shore, and the city, disembarking right in front of Olive Oyl’s house. Olive’s mother, Nana Oyl, however, delivers the news that Olive has gone off with an acrobat – in song, “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze”. Even a group of children admire a billboard of the athlete, and Popeye relates to them the reason for his sadness, via the same song.

Nearby, the acrobat (a caricature of the famed Jules Leotard) is being announced. Popeye and the kids break through the billboard into the show in time to see J. Wellington Wimpy introduce the performer’s act. The latter perches on the trapeze, singing his own theme song. We see Olive is also part of the number. Leotard harshly helps her acrobatics and also uses her as a human trapeze; her job seems grueling and risky indeed. Her sailor beau then climbs into the act himself in order to save his sweetheart from this, and with the aid of some spinach he gains awesome trapeze skills. A brief airborne fight ends with the abusive acrobat kicked trapeze-to-trapeze and finally punched into the shape of an upside-down chandelier, after which Popeye slides down a pole. Olive is relieved and only happy to dive down to her beloved’s arms, which she does after bouncing off the ground as Popeye is distracted by the kids. He closes the cartoon by singing the line, “I’m Popeye The Sailor Man”.


  • Only theatrical short appearance of Nana Oyl. In the cartoon, she goes unnamed.
  • First cartoon in which Olive is smitten with a male character other than Bluto. In this case, it was the title character, as stated by her mother.
  • First Popeye cartoon presented as a musical.
  • Last Popeye cartoon to use the inkwell variant of the Paramount Cartoons logo.

External links[]

  • The Man on the Flying Trapeze at the Internet Movie Database

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