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Bluto (Also known as Brutus from 1960 to 1962) is a cartoon character created in 1932 by Elzie Crisler Segar as a one-time character, named "Bluto the Terrible", in his Thimble Theatre comic strip (later renamed Popeye). Bluto made his first appearance September 12 of that year. Fleischer Studios adapted him the next year (1933), to be the recurring villain in their theatrical Popeye animated cartoon series.

Character

Bluto or Brutus is Popeye's nemesis; he, like Popeye, is attracted to Olive Oyl, and usually attempts to kidnap her. However, with the help of some spinach, Popeye usually ends up defeating him.

On most cases, name "Bluto" is used as an apparent first name; however in Fleischer Studios 1934 cartoon "Axe Me Another" his full name is given on screen as "Pierre Bluto". This is the only occurence of such name and can be a nom de plume, as Bluto is portrayed in this cartoon as a Canadianmarker lumberjack.

Bluto is a large, bearded, musclebound man. He mostly uses his physical brawn to accomplish what he is trying to do, but does display some ability for tactical planning. Neither Popeye and Olive Oyl, nor any other characters, think of him as anything more than a worthless scoundrel, although Olive seems to forget this in the beginning of an episode, only to discover it later. However, there are some cartoons that show Popeye and Bluto as friends and Navy buddies, with Bluto usually turning on Popeye when an object of interest (usually Olive) is put between them. A prime example of this is the cartoon We're On Our Way to Rio (1944) in which the two pals are singing together, "Tell all the girls in Riomarker that Popeye and Bluto are coming." In some cartoons and comic strips, Wimpy is portrayed hanging out with Bluto and usually appears to have nothing against him.

In more recent Popeye cartoons, such as the computer-animated movie Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy, Bluto and Popeye are back to being good friends with Bluto being somewhat afraid of Popeye, although Bluto getting mind-controlled puts a wedge between them once again.

In some cartoons it was directly shown that, unlike Popeye, Bluto hates spinach (which in Popeye usually gives people inhuman strength), which is the primary reason he will not use it against Popeye. However, in Twisker Pitcher Bluto eats spinach to win a baseball game against Popeye. A couple of times Popeye has tricked (or forced) Bluto into eating spinach, in order to benefit from his extra strength during tense situations.

In certain "fourth wall-breaking" episodes (such as "Fightin' Pals" and "The Natural Thing to Do"), it is revealed that Popeye and Bluto are actually good friends who enjoy brawling together, but who simply portray themselves as adversaries for the sake of drama in their various adventures.

In Italianmarker produced Popeye comic-books, he is identified as the Sea Hag's son.

The Bluto/Brutus issue

After the theatrical Popeye cartoon series went out of production in 1957, Bluto's name was changed to Brutus because it was (wrongly) believed that Paramount Pictures, distributors of the Fleischer Studios (later Famous Studios) cartoons, owned the rights to the name Bluto. (King Features owned the name all along as Bluto had been originally created for the comic strip. However, due to poor research, they failed to realize this, and re-made him as Brutus to avoid copyright problems.) "Brutus" appears in the 1960–1962 Popeye television cartoons (with his physical appearance changed, making him obese rather than muscular), but he is again "Bluto" (and back to his original muscular physique) in the 1978 Hanna-Barbera Popeye series and the 1980 live-action Popeye movie, as well as the 1987 Popeye and Son series also by Hanna-Barbera. Brutus was also the name Nintendo used for their arcade game based on the property.

Another subtle difference between the characters of Brutus and Bluto is that while Bluto was often portrayed as a fellow sailor who also sought to win the heart of Olive Oyl, Brutus was portrayed as a generic villain, or bank robber, who showed no romantic interest in Olive. Instead, he usually took her hostage, leaving Popeye to rescue her.

Prior to the name change to Brutus, the bearded strongman was known as "The Big Guy Who Hates Popeye," "Junior," "Mean Man," and "Sonny Boy" in the comic strip and comic books. The name "Brutus" was first used on Popeye-related products in 1960 and in print in 1962. It is generally accepted that Bluto and Brutus are one and the same. However, Ocean Comics (which published a comic-book miniseries recounting Popeye's "life story" with realistic art), postulated that Bluto and Brutus are twin brothers. Bobby London, who did the Popeye daily strip for six years, wrote and illustrated the "Return of Bluto" story where the 1932 version of Bluto returns and discovers a number of fat, bearded bullies have taken his place, calling themselves "Brutus" (each one being a different version of Popeye's rival). On December 28, 2008 and April 5, 2009, the Popeye comic strip added Bluto in the capacity of twin brother of Brutus.

In all Spanish-speaking countries, the character is mostly known as "Brutus".

Voiced by

Bluto was voiced by a number of actors, including Pat Cassotta, Gus Wickie, Billy Bletcher, Pinto Colvig, and, most notably, Jackson Beck. Beck also supplied the voice for Brutus in the early 1960s. In the 1980 live-action movie, he was portrayed by Paul L. Smith. In The All-New Popeye Hour and Popeye and Son, he was voiced by Allan Melvin. Today, Bluto is voiced by Jim Cummings (also voices Popeye) in Commercials.

Other characters

In the animated cartoons, Popeye's foe is almost always Bluto, functioning in some capacity—fellow sailor, generic thug, carnival hypnotist, sheik, lecherous instructor, etc. However, in the Famous era shorts there have also been "original" one-time characters with Bluto-like personalities and mannerisms such as the blond, beardless lifeguard in "Beach Peach." Jackson Beck also voiced these characters using the same voice.

Appearances in other media

Bluto appears in the Robot Chicken episode "The Sack" voiced by Dave Coulier. In a segment that parodies the Popeye cartoons in the style of It's a Wonderful Life, Popeye and Bluto have opened up a bank together in shot that would show what the world would look like without Wimpy.

The Bluto/Brutus name debate has become a topic of interest on The Rick Emerson radio program.

Bluto (along with Popeye and Olive Oyl) was going to have a cameo appearance in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but the rights to the characters could not be obtained in time.

Bluto is the main antagonist in the Popeye-themed ride Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges, found at Universal Islands of Adventuremarker in Orlandomarker, Floridamarker.

Bluto is referenced in BBC mockumentary The Office as a nickname for David Brent given to him by some of his colleagues, to which he takes offence.

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