As a kid, I found myself in possession of a VHS cassette featuring a series of old Popeye cartoons. And when I say old, I mean old. These shorts were from the 1930s and included such gems as Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves. I loved 'em.
In Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor, Sindbad is played by Bluto. Bluto, you might know, is Popeye's nemesis and coveted Olive Oyl. If you're watching a Popeye cartoon from the 30s, Bluto's the bad guy. That's also true if you're watching a Popeye cartoon from the 40s or most of the 50s. Then, in 1957, Popeye's nemesis changes from Bluto to Brutus.
After the theatrical Popeye cartoon series ceased production in 1957, Bluto's name was changed to Brutus because it was incorrectly believed that Paramount Pictures, distributors of the Fleischer Studios (later Famous Studios) cartoons, owned the rights to the name "Bluto". King Features actually owned the name, as Bluto had been originally created for the comic strip. Due to a lack of thorough research, they failed to realize this and reinvented him as Brutus to avoid supposed copyright problems.
Bluto became Brutus because Fleischer Studios erroneously believed Paramount Pictures owned the rights to the name "Bluto". And they didn't just change the name, but they changed the character from muscular to obese. Brutus stuck around from 1957 until 1978 when Bluto made his return for the CBS series The All New Popeye Hour.
Brutus sucked, and the change wasn't even necessary. #TeamBluto