Short, balding, ordinary and downright ugly, the adorable spinach chomping sailor man turns 75 this year. Countless children and adults alike have grown up on Popeye and his exploits with his lovable crew of co-stars, Olive Oly, Swee`Pea, Brutus and Wimpy .
Popeye made his first appearance on Jan 17 1929, in Elzie Segar`s then ten year old comic strip, "Thimble Theatre" which revolved around Olive Oyls family. Originally Popeye was introduced as a minor character, but he soon grew so popular that when Segar tried to discontinue the series after a few weeks, protests poured in and he was compelled to resume.
A keen sense of fair-play, the perpetual pipe dangling from the corner of his mouth, Popeye has endeared himself to one and all. With bulging fore-arms and the ever ready can of spinach, Popeye, is honest and hardworking and good natured, until you double-cross him. Then the one eyed sailor man is not one to reckon with as he dunks a can of spinach, wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and springs into action.
Olive Oyl, is Popeyes all time love , and Popeye proves his devotion to his damsel in distress time and again by battling the fiercest foes. The lanky Olive is devoted to Popeye, but is still easily impressed with anyone who has more `edumacation and ettiket` than Popeye.
Swee`Pea was left on Popeye`s doorstep and entered his heart. He is the sailor`s "adopted infink" who can talk and fight , but strangely enough cannot walk yet".
When it comes to rivalries there is no one to beat this duo yet. Brutus and Popeye have dedicated their lives competing for the affections of Ms Olive Oyl , and quite obviously Popeye -helped by the can of spinach- always comes out on top. This , however, does not deter Brutus from trying just one more time.
And then there is the hamburger loving Wimpy who is lazy, cowardly and selfish, and forever in debt , " Ill gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today".
The comic strip which started as "Thimble Theatre" went on to gain popularity because of its singular hero. The feature started as a gag a day, but soon became a continuing comic strip.
Segar, the creator of Popeye, died at age 44 on Oct 13 1938, but the comic strip has endured long after that with newer cartoonists and `Popeye` also making his way to the silver screen and on Cartoon Network for television. Robin Williams played the bulging-armed character in Robert Altman`s 1980 musical movie Popeye.
Popeyes vital statistics are: Weight: 158 libs, height 5foot 6 inches, hair, red; neck, 8inches;chest ,30inches normal, 60inches expanded, thigh, 7inches,calf,20inches;spinach capacity,36tons.
Always a fighter, in 1936, he figured he had been shot 120 times and stabbed 922 times. He refuses to tell us how he lost his right eye, only that it was in "the mos arful battle of me whole life." And Popeye does not have a last name. Hes just Popeye. As he puts it, " I yam what I yam".