Popeye the Sailor—Never Kick a Woman

Produced by Fleischer Studios in 1936

“Take it easy, Skinny,” Mae West tells Olive Oyl. “You’ll last longer.”

Never Kick a Woman, which debuted in 1936, was the 37th Popeye cartoon by Fleischer Studios. It opens with Mae West hitting a freestanding punching bag in a sporting goods store window. The scantily clad blonde catches the eye of Popeye and Olive Oyl, his jealous, rail-thin girlfriend. Popeye says to Olive, “That’s not so bad for the weaker sex.” Olive smells a rat and says, “She doesn’t look so weak to me.” Popeye harrumphs and says, “That’s what everyone should know,” and drags Olive into the sporting goods store for a boxing lesson. Mae West likes the Sailor Man and starts to flirt. Popeye blushes and, despite his massive forearms, looks and sounds like Jimmy Durante. Olive grows red in the face. “Take it easy, Skinny,” Mae West tells Olive. “You’ll last longer.” Olive loses control and gets beaten to a pulp. As Mae West makes her move on the smitten sailor, Olive drags herself toward Popeye and reaches into his back pocket—where she removes a can of spinach. Olive downs it in a single gulp and releases her inner pugilist.