Popeye

Popeye the Sailor Man is a cartoon fictional character, created by Elzie Crisler Segar, who has appeared in comic strips and theatrical and television animated cartoons. He first appeared in the daily King Features comic strip Thimble Theatre on January 17, 1929; Popeye became the strip's title in later years. Differences in Popeye's story and characterization vary depending on the medium. Originally Popeye got his strength from rubbing the head of the Whiffle Hen, changing to spinach by 1932. While Swee'Pea is definitively Popeye's ward in the comic strips, he is often depicted as belonging to Olive Oyl in cartoons. The cartoons also occasionally feature members of Popeye's family who have never appeared in the strip, notably his lookalike nephews Peepeye, Pupeye, Pipeye and Poopeye. Even though there is no absolute sense of continuity in the stories, certain plot and presentation elements remain mostly constant, including purposeful contradictions in Popeye's capabilities. Though at times he seems bereft of manners or uneducated, Popeye is often depicted as capable of coming up with solutions to problems that (to the police, or, most importantly, the scientific community) seem insurmountable. Popeye has, alternatively, displayed Sherlock Holmes-like investigative prowess (determining for instance that his beloved Olive was abducted by estimating the depth of the villains' footprints in the sand), scientific ingenuity (as his construction, within a few hours, of a "spinach-drive" spacecraft), or oversimplified (yet successful) diplomatic arguments (by presenting to diplomatic conferences his own existence—and superhuman strength—as the only true guarantee of world peace). Popeye's pipe also proves to be highly versatile. Among other things, it has served as a cutting torch, jet engine, propeller, periscope, and, of course, a whistle with which he produces his trademark toot. Popeye also on occasion eats spinach through his pipe, sometimes sucking in the can itself along with the contents. Popeye's exploits are also enhanced by a few recurring plot elements. One is the love triangle among Popeye, Olive and Bluto, and the latter's endless machinations to claim Olive at Popeye's expense. Another is his near-saintly perseverance in overcoming any obstacle to please Olive, who often renounces Popeye for Bluto's dime-store advances. She is the only character Popeye will permit to give him a thumping. Finally, Popeye usually uncovers villainous plots by accidentally sneaking up on the antagonists as they brag about or lay out their schemes. Although Segar's Thimble Theatre strip was in its 10th year when Popeye made his debut, the one-eyed (left) sailor quickly became the main focus of the strip, and Thimble Theatre soon became one of King Features' most popular properties during the 1930s. Thimble Theatre was continued after Segar's death in 1938 by several writers and artists, most notably Segar's assistant Bud Sagendorf. The strip continues to appear in first-run installments in its Sunday edition, written and drawn by Hy Eisman. The daily strips are reprints of old Sagendorf stories. In 1933 Max Fleischer adapted the Thimble Theatre characters into a series of Popeye the Sailor theatrical cartoon shorts for Paramount Pictures. These cartoons proved to be among the most popular of the 1930s, and Fleischer—and later Paramount's own Famous Studios—continued production through 1957. These cartoon shorts are now owned by Turner Entertainment, a subsidiary of Time Warner, and distributed by sister company Warner Bros. Entertainment. Over the years, Popeye has also appeared in comic books, television cartoons, arcade and video games, hundreds of advertisements and peripheral products (ranging from spinach to candy cigarettes), and the 1980 live-action film directed by Robert Altman that starred comedian Robin Williams as Popeye. In 2002, TV Guide ranked Popeye #20 on its "50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time" list.

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