Saturday, February 18, 2006


One of my most favorite movies is Robert Altman's live-action Popeye. I was pretty much a toddler when I first saw it, and it blew my baby-mind! First of all, I'm a little obsessed with the character of Popeye. Out of all the sailor-men, Popeye is the one who must EAT in order to SUCCEED. You remember, don't you? He's "strong to the finish-ke 'cause [he] eats [his] spinach-ke!" Growing up, Popeye's strength-ke from spinach-ke became a fundamental life lesson to me, and it's continued to shape the core of my personality. It is only through FOOD that we become STRONG. That is POWERFUL!

Altman's Popeye is also one of only a few film musicals that I truly adore, and that's because the soundtrack was written by GENIUS songwriter Harry Nilsson. This Harry is One To Watch. I mean, he GETS IT! At least, he GETS ME!

Here are the lyrics to the song Food, Food, Food, which is as close to my life's philosophy as you're likely to find:

Everything is food, food, food
Everything is food to go
Everything is food for thought
Everything you knead is dough

It is food
Everything is food

Everything is meat, meat, meat
Careful what you put on your feet
Once it lived on an animal
Now it walks along with you
It could be food
Food, food, food

It is food
Everything is food

Everything is upside down now
Everything is sunny side up
It's ubiquitous
Enigmatic and
They can't trick us
With no hot dogmatic

It is food, food, food
And it's full of flavor
Food, food, food
It's so good to savor

Everything is food, food, food
Everything is upside down
Everything is sunny side up
It's ubiquitous
Enigmatic and
They can't trick us
With no hot dogmatic

It's food, food, food
Make no mistake about it
Food, food, food

Never ever doubt it
Food, food, food
Everything is food


I will give you a minute to wipe the bits of bloody gray matter off your computer screen, 'cause I know YOUR HEAD JUST EXPLODED!

You've got to HEAR this song to truly appreciate it. Wimpy, that burger-loving scamp, sings underneath the chorus, "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today," and honestly: Wimpy is the kind of man a girl like me could fall in love with. I know he's got a problem with the burgers and the paying for them, but I LOVE him for this weakness because IT IS MY WEAKNESS, TOO.

Unfortunately, the Popeye Soundtrack is NOTORIOUSLY difficult to come by. I'm fortunate that my parents have it on first-edition vinyl, and believe me that it has been well-played over the years. But if you ever come across it, BUY IT, because EVERY SONG is AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING.

Or you could just get a hold of the film. Which you should do. I know I seem to be doing a lot of schilling for Popeye in this entry, but that's only because he needs me, he needs me, he needs me...


Blogger Keir said...

Og og og og og!

(What else could I say?)

2:18 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I think it's pronounced Ah gah gah gah gah!

2:25 PM  
Anonymous arch-ie said...

We will stipulate that you know your foods. And for quite a while now, you have instructed, opined, and otherwise lectured as to the goodness of food and of foods that are of maximum goodness. Good, meaning in the healthful sense. You are always the first to tell all who will listen what to eat and especially, what not to eat. OK. Understood. Especially since you have always been able to find a food venue that is oh so delicious; and healthy; and never terribly expensive. Quite an accomplishment these days, yes? Which makes us all the more curious as to why there seems to be this background and incipient references to hamburgers, of all things, in your blogs. Have you converted? Is it now acceptable for US to eat them too? Are you recommending them? Can we participate?? And assuming your answer is yes, shall we dialog as to the very best of the hamburgers out there? Oh my gosh, what a perfectly delicious subject! OK. we shall rise to the occasion: You first.......

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love you

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Popeye (the man, the movie, the legend) is awesome. As for Harry Nilsson--don't get me started. I will say, however, that if you haven't seen/heard The Point--you'd better get yourself to the nearest B&N or check out Good to see another gal out there with awesome tastes.

I remember a place from long ago where I'm so mean I had a dream that I beat myself up!!


5:03 PM  
Anonymous justin said...

Hi! just so you know, there's a link somewhere in the comments section at the bottom of the popeye entry on, where you can download harry nilsson's DEMO'S (!) to the songs from the popeye soundtrack. they are FANTASTIC. (i'd have just given you the link myself, but i'm at work, and i dont want people to see me dicking off on imdb...
take care!

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just finished watching Popeye for the first time and the FOOD scene for the second time, skipping back straight away after the film was through to hear it again. Then I just had to know about that song and when I googled "popeye soundtrack food" this wonderful account of the tune and its lyrics comes up. Thank you, almost a year after your post!
New Orleans

3:01 AM  
Blogger VonCheech said...

Here is Popeye !

LP Rip:

Unreleased Demos:

The Popeye LP does NOT have the song
"Everything is Food" on it,
but Harry sings it in the demos...

8:48 PM  
Anonymous The Rough House said...

I'm only 16, but I have been watching this movie since as long as I can remember. That is the only reason why my brain decidedly did not explode due to the awesomeness of that song.

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Derek said...

I watched Popeye with my 4 year old daughter the other day. First time to watch it in 3 or 4 years. It's such an incredible movie. The thing I love about it is how full every scene is. There are no generic "extras" in Sweethaven. Everyone has there little story going on. You just have to hunt it out. After watching it about a dozen times, though, you really KNOW the characters. I would absolutely LOVE to see what was cut out of this film.
Plus, Harry Nilsson's music is AWESOME.

2:23 PM  
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Blogger Rebecca Sheehan (Nana) said...

I too absolutely love the Popeye movie and soundtrack. It makes me sad that you can't find it anywhere - no Hulu, Netfix, Sling, etc. I recently bought the delux version of the soundtrack that had a second CD with Harry Nilson's work tapes included. What a find!

11:31 AM  
Blogger Call me Dave said...

I always liked this movie too, and this song in particular. The movie is much more like the Thimble Theater comic strip (i.e. Popeye's origin) than the cartoons. This probably threw a lot of people for a loop, because most modern Popeye fans seem to know him only from the cartoons.

Don't get me wrong. The cartoons, especially the older ones, are very entertaining. They are inspiring, exciting and often really, funny. Even the most ardent Popeye fan has to admit though that they are rather formulaic. That isn't bad for a 7 minute short, but a feature length movie needs more.

The Thimble Theater strip was filled with diverse and delightful characters, most of whom rarely if ever made it into the cartoons (i.e. Geezil the geezer, Roughhouse, Ham Gravy, Castor Oyl, etc.) This movie gave them a chance to be seen and shine. This song provided an excellent opportunity for that.

Thanks for the memories.

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