Celebrity Interviews

Paul Dooley Looks Back at Playing Wimpy in Popeye 40 Years Later [Exclusive]

Hamburgers are scrumptious. Nobody is aware of this higher than Wimpy. The long-lasting cartoon character has been dropped at life many instances over a number of many years, however maybe nobody has fairly captured him like actor Paul Dooley, who performed the hungry schemer in director Robert Altman’s legendary movement image Popeye. The Paramount film is celebrating its fortieth anniversary with a brand new Blu-ray launch, and to usher on this good stocking stuffer this Vacation season, we caught up with Dooley to debate is time spent on set.

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Simply seeing Paul Dooley present up on display screen in Popeye for the primary time is certain to get any mouth watering for a scrumptious all-beef patty coated in melted cheese. We mentioned the character’s burger-loving methods with the actor. Although, it wasn’t at all times meals heaven on set, with Paul having to determine a singular manner to not over stuff himself. Dooley brings attention-grabbing perception into the making of this household traditional, which additionally stars Robin Williams within the lead function, and Shelley Duvall within the function of Olive Oyl.

Popeye arrives on Blu-ray for the primary time ever in celebration of its fortieth Anniversary later this month. Launched in 1980, it arrived as an enormous blockbuster that did not fairly dwell as much as expectations on the field workplace. Over the course of a number of many years, it has turn into a beloved traditional in its personal proper, bringing the long-lasting anvil-armed sailor of the seven seas to life like by no means earlier than.

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RELATED: Popeye fortieth Anniversary Blu-ray Additional Goes Behind the Robin Williams Traditional [Exclusive]

Has your love of hamburgers ever wavered over the course of the previous 40 years?

Paul Dooley: I will let you know an attention-grabbing story about hamburgers and Wimpy. Ah, the meat. The meat served in our hamburgers on the set of Popeye wasn’t excellent meat, that had been imported from Germany. And I knew that if I ate too many hamburgers, and even took too many bites, take after take, I’d get sick of them. All proper. So, as a result of I am a little bit of a magician anyway, I might do magic. I went to the prop individuals, and so they made me a faux latex rubber hamburger, which seemed like a it had lettuce, tomato, sesame seeds and meat. It was simply fabricated from latex. And I had them hiding. So it seemed like there was one chunk lacking in the beginning of any given take. I might have it as much as my mouth. Take it out on motion, Be chewing it with my tongue. I imply, pretending, however by no means ever consuming any of the hamburgers. One would by no means have completed. And that is how I bought on consuming all that terrible hamburger.

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Each time I see simply a picture of you from Popeye, I immediately want a hamburger. It is like Pavlovian response.

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Paul Dooley: I realized after I was within the industrial enterprise, doing quite a lot of these issues. If you must eat one thing like cereal within the industrial, and also you’re speculated to be actually consuming it heartily, since you find it irresistible, you possibly can’t do this. Take after take, in order that they usually effectively say reduce. And you then’ll have a spit bucket to eliminate the meals. So you do not get sick on consuming the identical factor again and again. Yeah, commercials. That is how to do this wimpy factor.

That is humorous. Now, in spite of everything of this time, are you able to level us within the course of the very best hamburger you have ever had?

Paul Dooley: Just lately, I have been loving the unattainable burger, which it tastes precisely like a hamburger. There was one on my nook. I ship out for it from time to time. However I had…usually out right here, the very best hamburger in L. A. For me, it is a spot referred to as In and Out. Oh, yeah. They speak about doing one thing recent with their hamburger. It has an ideal popularity on this metropolis. It is referred to as out and in. You may drive in, or you may go there and sit down.

I simply discovered right now that there was a Wimpy’s restaurant chain.

Paul Dooley: I feel I do know there’s one in London, but it surely will not be round anymore, however there was a Wimpy is in London. I am not shocked that there can be any, in any city, that they’d simply name their hamburger place Wimpy’s. You already know? It is smart.

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I watched the Harry Nilsson documentary and man, his tales from Popeye are simply wild. What was it truly like being there, on this set that they constructed for Sweethaven? Seeing it for the primary time, and type of residing in that ambiance? I imply, that must be a fairly unbelievable expertise.

Paul Dooley: It Was. It was nearly life altering for the actors. To begin with, it was so brilliantly created and designed by Wolf Kroeger, who ought to have gained an Oscar for it. He created it out of nothing, from scratch, with nothing there. A complete city that seemed like an actual place that basically existed. They used new lumber, however then it was painted grey and distressed to make it look 100 years previous. And after they left Malta, it will value extra to tear it down than to offer it to the nation, and so they turned it into Popeye Island, which is now a vacationer attraction. Now, as a substitute of all these nice buildings which are very evocative and previous, previous trying, they most likely added quite a lot of shiny colours. Nevertheless it’s a profitable vacationer attraction. I by no means felt I used to be in Malta making the film. I felt I lived in Sweethaven. All of us did. We fell in love with that Set as a result of it was greater than a set. There have been no faux fronts, like in a Western city. Altman advised his designer, “I want to be able to go down behind the houses, go down the alleys. I want Popeye to have four walls, windows, doors, chimneys…” And there is about 15 buildings there, together with a extremely large restaurant set. And it was like being in one other world. It appeared such as you had been in Sweethaven. We even had a nationwide anthem. Nilsson wrote it, and it begins with a number of chords that sound like our nationwide anthem. ‘Oh, say are you able to see?’ Nevertheless it’s Sweethaven. Effectively, I keep in mind the entire thing as not being in Malta, however as being in Sweethaven, that is the place we lived and that is the place we labored. That was it.

It is bought to be one of the crucial immersive experiences for an actor?

Paul Dooley: Robert Evans was well-known for this. One of many causes Bob Evans selected Robert Altman to be director…It is due to issues…Like, he did a factor referred to as McCabe and Mrs Miller. Bob discovered a bit slender valley with a creek in it, and he constructed a number of buildings there and created the place. Whenever you watch the film, you felt that place had been there perpetually, not like a film set that seemed like a extremely grungy place. It seemed like a spot that had been there an extended, lengthy, very long time. So he might carry these locations to life with a sequence of eccentric characters. It did not appear to be a film with actors. It appeared like actual individuals, particularly McCabe and Mrs Miller. However he did it with Popeye to, all these individuals who had been clowns and jugglers and acrobats, and all these individuals from the Italian circus. And we had Fellini’s cameraman Giuseppe Rotunno.

It seems like a Fellini film. One of many attention-grabbing issues that lots of people might not know…I would not have identified if I hadn’t discovered this particular version soundtrack. However you will have your personal music, which is now a bonus observe on the newer version of the Popeye soundtrack that got here out a yr or two in the past.

Paul Dooley: I did make one music, however I haven’t got a replica of it as a result of I unsure the best way to discover that.

There was a particular launch for Document Retailer Day. It was a model of the soundtrack that has Harry Nilsson singing many of the songs. And your observe is a bonus observe on there.

Paul Dooley: How would I discover it?

You may go to Amazon. They’ve your observe accessible to obtain proper from the location as a single.

Paul Dooley: I might love to listen to it. I keep in mind a number of the lyrics, however I by no means bought a replica. That exact music, it was speculated to be within the film and it bought reduce out. I do not actually know the historical past of that. I sang it. We recorded it and it was reduce out. However quite a lot of issues, in fact, within the modifying, you lose issues. However I used to be a bit dissatisfied. I assumed it was going to be tribute to hamburgers. I imply, what can be extra good to have that? As a substitute Nelson did it a bit in another way as a result of, when he was a conman, in spite of everything, he bought the child for a bag of hamburgers.

However who would not do this? Come on.

Paul Dooley: He is a type of a conman, however I assumed it will be a tribute to hamburgers. And I used to be in my thoughts, pondering…’I might eat them on a plate. I might eat them on a date, I might eat them over right here, and eat them there.’ I would really like it. And the factor…I imply, it appears to me it was a pure music to offer us kind of a tribute to the burgers. You already know, nearly like that Dr. Seuss factor about Inexperienced Eggs and Ham. ‘I might do it on a airplane or a prepare…’ Simply go on and on. I assumed can be a pageant of consuming hamburgers. However as a substitute, it was about about conning issues. I keep in mind the primary few traces. [singing] ‘Oh, if I might, in the event you might hear what was in my thoughts, would not you say you are a buddy of mine? And would not you enable your self to say, Effectively, then…’ It was one thing like that, however I might love to listen to the music now. Additionally possibly as a result of he did the tribute to meals going, [singing] ‘Meals, meals, meals, all the things is meals.’ That is why he did not pay that a lot consideration to the hamburgers.

Effectively, you possibly can obtain the music for a greenback and twenty-nine cents. Lookup Harry Nilsson and Popeye on Amazon and you will find it. I do know you had been a arise comic earlier than you probably did Popeye. Do you know Robin Williams coming into this film, or did you guys get to know one another on set?

Paul Dooley: I did a lot of my stand-up earlier than he turned a comic book. I used to be older than him. I used to be on The Tonight Present in 1959, earlier than Johnny Carson. For about three years. I used to be a stand-up. Nevertheless it was a really uncommon act. I used to be not a comic who advised unrelated jokes, after which went onto a brand new subject each two minutes. I might do issues that lasted 4 minutes or 5 minutes. They had been lengthy issues like Bob Newhart did later. I might do a one man kind of present enjoying many characters. So my act is admittedly about six or eight of these routines that weren’t jokes per se by themselves. They had been a part of a sketch, a one man sketch, a one man play. I performed all of the characters. I did a comedy Western, from the perspective with the Indians. I did quite a lot of beatnik poetry and, nice Czechoslovakian fairy tales, however poorly translated. It was a really particular type of factor, and I did effectively in New York and massive cities. However I died out of city as a result of I am doing Shakespeare in Dallas. I might go right into a reserving in Dallas for 4 weeks and I might be out of there in two weeks. Then I went into Boston for 2 weeks, got here house in a single week as a result of it simply wasn’t proper for the room. As they are saying.

Was it like Brother Theodore? Do you know him? As a result of it sounds much like what he was doing across the similar time?

Paul Dooley: I knew who he was. He was rather a lot darker than I used to be, however I knew who Theodore was. He was across the similar time I used to be breaking in.

Yeah, that is an attention-grabbing interval of comedy. I have been trying into a few of that stuff simply because, it wasn’t stuff that performed to a room, but it surely’s a deep, attention-grabbing, completely different type of comedy.

Paul Dooley: It was. It was odd instances, it was. There was type of a revolution that occurred. A small revolution when Bob Newhart and Shelley Berman and Jonathan Winters got here alongside. Yeah, Lenny Bruce, even Lenny Bruce. I had an uncommon job, a beautiful job. I solely bought 5 bucks an evening to indicate individuals to their seats at a well-known nightclub referred to as the Village Vanguard. And without cost, I might see Lenny Bruce or soul professor Irwin Corey. I noticed Mike Nichols, Michael Elaine make their debut in New York, and I used to be simply seeing them without cost as a result of I used to be within the room. That is only a man who confirmed you the place to sit down. And I additionally noticed Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, all these individuals without cost. That is a extremely nice job, paying little or no, however I might have paid them to go. I am type of a sponge of comedy. I memorized Lenny Bruce, which is all drag, you already know? Yeah, Michael Elaine’s materials…As a result of that is the way in which my head works. That is loopy. I used to be at a spot, I used to attempt materials out that solely had 5 minutes, at a spot referred to as the Duplex, down in Greenwich Village. And nobody to invoice with me. Typically there can be George Segal, enjoying the banjo. He turned a film star later, a 16 yr previous Streisand, Woody Allen. There was actually, actually lots of people who turned very well-known later, like Joan Rivers. They had been all simply breaking in the place we’re all younger and attempting materials out in a spot the place we did not receives a commission. So I met quite a lot of these individuals in these days. Gary Marshall got here in. He was a comedy author. Was simply attempting to be a stand as much as

So he truly bought up and did stand -up mhm. Gary Marshall truly did arise. I did not know that.

Paul Dooley: Effectively, I noticed him a number of nights. I do not know. He was most likely attempting out stuff he had written. He was primarily a author, however, you already know, he is a humorous man. Yeah, I keep in mind one joke. He stated, ‘I bought a brand new telephone referred to as the Princess Cellphone.’ That was the identify of it. It first got here out in pastel colours, and that was a giant deal for a number of years, and he stated, ‘It is a good telephone. However in the event you do not pay the invoice, a man on a horse with the lance comes to gather the cash.’ Yeah, I keep in mind he advised that one.

Popeye is such a particular film. I really like Wimpy. I really like that entire film. Each time, it simply transports you elsewhere.

Paul Dooley: Yeah, it is fairly wonderful. It did not make sufficient cash. It made its a reimbursement. Nevertheless it’s not regarded as successful in Hollywood. Nevertheless it actually has its legacy.

Popeye arrives on Blu-ray for the primary time ever December 1, 2020 from Paramount Residence Leisure.  Starring the incomparable Robin Williams in his first big-screen function and Shelley Duvall as his devoted sweetie, Olive Oyl, the pleasant musical celebrates its fortieth anniversary this yr, having debuted in theaters on December 12, 1980. The brand new Blu-ray contains entry to a Digital copy of the movie, together with practically half-hour of all-new bonus content material that includes excerpts from one in all Robin Williams’ closing interviews, a classic interview with director Robert Altman, in addition to a newly carried out interview with Stephen Altman. 

  • The complete record of bonus options is under:
  • · Return to Sweethaven: A Look Again with Robin and the Altmans
  • · The Popeye Firm Gamers
  • · Popeye’s Premiere
  • · The Sailor Man Medleys
  • · Theatrical Trailer

Legendary producer Robert Evans and screenwriter Jules Feiffer labored for practically three years to get Popeye into manufacturing.  The movie mixed the abilities of Robert Altman, composer and lyricist Harry Nilsson, quite a few filmmaking artisans, and an impressive forged of actors, mimes, athletes and road performers to carry the world of the beloved character to life. The result’s an uplifting and visually pleasant movie that celebrates the magic of what Altman referred to as “a genuine American hero.”

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Popeye on Blu-ray 2020

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