Popeye the Sailor was originally created by a man named Elzie Segar for newspaper comics titled Thimble Theater. In his first appearance, which was in 1929, Popeye played small roles in the comic strips, providing some relief from the two main characters, Olive Oyl and Ham Gravy. Soon, the public wanted more of the lovable swashbuckler so eventually Ham was completely removed from the strip and it became Popeye's stage. Later, in 1932, Wimpy, the hamburger-munching pacifist apeared. Then in 1936, Sweet Pea (pronounced swee' pea) was born.
Popeye's first movie appearance came in 1933, where he met Betty Boop, another popular cartoon star from the time period. From this first short spawned Popeye's first group of full length cartoons entitled "I Yam What I Yam", managed by Fleisher Studios.
In 1942 Fleisher Studios was purchased by Paramount and oddly renamed Famous Studios. From 1933 to 1942, Fleisher Studios created some of the best Popeye shorts ever viewed, so it wasn't a surprise when Famous Films couldn't achieve such quality as its predecessor.
Then, in the 1960's, all hell broke loose in the world of Popeye. The cartoons started to be mass-produced all around the world, distorting the original concept of the Fleisher shorts.
While Popeye was being watched by children on Saturday morning TV, he was still starring in his comic strips, which by now have been adopted by a multitude of magazines and newspapers. But Popeye's next big feature didn't go over so well at the box office. In 1980, Popeye the Sailor was made into a live action film. Robin Willams was Popeye, Shelly Duval was Olive Oyl, Ray Walston was Poopdeck Pappy, and Paul Smith as the infamous Bluto. In my opinion, this film was truly terrible and should never have been created.
Here is a list of most of the important characters that appeared with Popeye in his cartoons/comic strips:
- Olive Oyl
- Brutus (Bluto)
- Poopdeck Pappy
- Eugene the Jeep
- Sweet Pea
- Sea Hag
I suppose my whole inspiration for writing this little number was seeing a can of Popeye's Spinach in the store. In the cartoons/comic strips, to win the final battle against whatever villain he was facing, Popeye would bust out a can of spinach, which gave him some sort of 'super strength'. When I was little I saw a Popeye cartoon and was thusly compelled to start a collection of Popeye the Sailor memorabilia. Upon seeing this concoction on the shelf, I had to buy some to add to the archives growing in my display cases. After purchasing the spinach, I took it home and placed it in an empty spot in the display case... the collection was complete. Now all I have left to do is write on here about my useless knowledge that is, Popeye the Sailor Man.
Some information utilized from these sources: