Fox to celebrate Popeye's 75th anniversary 3D style

NEW YORK: Production for a Popeye 3-D computer-animated TV and home video special has commenced, to celebrate the cartoon character's 75th anniversary next year, King Features Syndicate announced recently.

The first television airing of the 3-D special will take place next year on Rupert Murdoch's Fox.

To be precise, Fox will air the special between 24 November and 21 December 2004. An official release informs that King Features has assembled a group of partners to produce, broadcast and distribute this special.

This will form part of the multifaceted anniversary celebration for the sailor next year. The company is looking to further solidify Popeye's worldwide popularity well into the 21st century.

The release adds that King Features hired 3-D computer animation producer Mainframe Entertainment to give Popeye a whole new dimensional look. Mainframe uses state-of- the-art 3-D computer-generated imagery (CGI) animation.

Mainframe created the logo, branding and original animation segments for this year's MTV Movie Awards,. It is currently producing 13 episodes of Spider-Man for Sony Pictures Television.

The Popeye 3-D CGI animated special was co-written by actor/comedian Paul Reiser who can be seen in India on Zee English and Hallmark in Mad About You and Jim Hardison.

Popeye made his first public appearance on 17 January 1929 in a comic strip. He jumped to the silver screen in Popeye the Sailor, a 1933 cartoon.

In 1993, Cartoon Network celebrated the 60th anniversary of the muscled mariner's film debut with Popumentary, a series of six prime-time specials. Popeye was one of the world's first characters licensing sensations. Today it boasts of 500 licensees in 50 countries.

Meanwhile, Artisan Home Entertainment, through its Family Home Entertainment label, will be releasing an hour-long version of the Popeye special featuring never- before-seen footage as well as classic material on DVD and VHS next year.

Artisan's Family Home Entertainment president Glenn Ross says, "Popeye continues to represent one of the most likable animated characters of all time. The character's popularity, combined with the highly-sophisticated animation that will bring him to life in this programme, will help the special have widespread appeal to both classic and new Popeye fans."

King Features claims to be the world's premier distributor of comics, columns, editorial cartoons, puzzles and games. It distributes some 150 features to nearly 5,000 newspapers around the globe. It is one of the largest and most experienced organisations in merchandising licensing.

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