Popeye turns 89–things you don’t know about the Sailor Man

Popeye the Sailor Man turned 89!! (Kings Feature)

What was Popeye’s daughter’s name?

How are Bluto and Brutus related?


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The next time you see a superhero movie, read a superhero comic, attend a superhero convention, or ride in a Jeep, you can thank Popeye. Culturally, Popeye was the precursor to the superheroes who would ultimately come to dominate US comic books and movies.

Popeye (KF)

Popeye the Sailor Man turned 89 years old in 2018 as his character was first introduced on January 17, 1929. He had a minor role in a newspaper comic strip by being hired by two men named Castor Oyl and Ham Gravy. He crewed their ship for an adventurous voyage to Dice Island, the site of a casino ran by the notorious crooked gambler, Fadwell.

Today Popeye continues to be a beloved American institution and ranks among the most prominent with Elvis Presley, Mickey Mouse, Superman and the Statue of Liberty. Here are 66 things you may not know about Popeye.

“Well Blow Me Down!” –Popeye

  1. What was the name of Popeye’s ship? (answer at end of article)
  2. What was the name of Popeye’s father? (answer at end of article)
  3. What was Popeye’s seagull name? (answer at end of article)
  4. What was Popeye’s adopted daughter’s name? (answer at end of article)


Popeye comic featuring Jeep, Olive Oyl, Castor Oyl, and Wimpy, on the vessel Elsie. (KF)

  1. What was Olive Oyl’s neice’s name? Diesel Oyl.
  2. What was Brutus’ son’s name? Tank.
  3. Popeye was created by Elzie Crisler Segar.
  4. He appeared originally as a character in the Thimble Theater, a daily King Features comic strip on January 17, 1929.
  5. Thimble Theater was already in its 10th year by the time Popeye was introduced. It was Segar’s third published strip when it first appeared in the New York Journal on December 19, 1919. It was owned by William Randolph Hearst.
  6. Originally, Popeye got his strength from rubbing the head of the Whiffle Hen, changing to spinach by 1932.


  1. A 2010 study revealed that children increased their vegetable consumption after watching Popeye cartoons.[
  2. In November 1932, King Features signed an agreement with Fleischer Studios to have Popeye and the other Thimble Theatre characters begin appearing in a series of animated cartoons. The first cartoon in the series was released in 1933.
  3. William Costello was the original voice of Popeye. Others included Jack Mercer and Mae Questel.
  4. Because of Popeye’s popularity with readers, he eventually became the strip’s title character and it was renamed after him.
  5. Popeye was adapted to radio in several series broadcast over three different networks by two sponsors from 1935 to 1938. Of the three series, only 20 of the 204 episodes are known to be preserved.

Olive Oil chooses Popeye over Ham Gravy. (KF)

  1. His eventual girlfriend was Olive Oyl. She was the daughter of Cole and Nana Oyl. Her brother was Castor Oyl. When she was first introduced her beau was Hamgravy. Later he became known as Ham Gravy.
  2. Sometimes Segar would sign his comic strips with a cigar, because his last name was pronounced SEE-gar.
  3. Segar died in 1938, but Popeye continued on with more artists and writers. Bud Sagendorf and Hy Eisman were the most key writers-artists in the early years. Sagendorf wrote and drew the daily strip until 1986, and continued to write and draw the Sunday strip until his death in 1994. From 1986 to 1992, the daily strip was written and drawn by Bobby London. Hy Eisman has been drawing the Sunday editions since 1992.
  4. When Segar died, he was earning $100,000 a year, or the equivalent of $1,711,972 in 2018.
  5. By 1933, Max Fleischer adapted the Thimble Theatre characters into a series of Popeye the Sailor theatrical cartoon shorts for Paramount Pictures.

    Brutus, Olive and Popeye (KF)

  1. In late 1943, the Popeye series was moved to Technicolor production, beginning with “Her Honor the Mare.”
  2. The cartoons continued production through Fleischer, and later Paramount’s Famous Studios through 1957.
  3. The black-and-white 125 Popeye short films were shipped to South Korea in 1985, where artists colorized them. They were syndicated in 1987.
  4. “Popeye was a great favorite of mine,” Charles Schultz of Peanuts fame once said. …I think Popeye was a perfect comic strip, consistent in drawing and humor.”
  5. Popeye is prominently placed in the “50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time” rankings.

Popeye and friends…and enemies. (KF)

  1. His son (either by adoption and sometimes characterized as Olive Oyl’s child) is Sweet Pea.
  2. His lookalike nephews are Peepeye, Pupeye, Pipeye, and Poopeye.
  3. While Superman was faster than a speeding bullet, stronger than and locomotive and could leap tall buildings in a single bound, Popeye’s talents reached even greater heights through the years. Among his capabilities, with the help of Spinach, Popeye could outsmart any intellectual, out investigate Dick Tracy, and diplomatically (and sometimes not so diplomatically) win arguments in any debate.
  4. James Bond had nothing on Popeye, who could use his pipe as a tooting whistle, periscope, rocket engine, cutting torch, propeller, musical instrument, and eating utensil for spinach.
  5. Popeye’s adversaries (and sometimes competition while courting Olive Oyl) included Bluto, Brutus, Sea Hag the Pirate Witch, Alice the Goon, Ham Gravy, Fadewell, Jack Snork, Bill Squid, George W. Geezil, King Blozo, O.G. Wotasnozzle, Thung, the Misermites, Bullo Oxheart, and Toar the Cave Man.

Alice the Goon (KF)

  1. When Popeye first began working for Olive’s brother, Castor Oil, it was discovered that Castor had incredibly good luck by stroking the hairs on the head of Bernice, a Whiffle Hen. Castor hired Popeye to captain his boat and crew to the evil Fadewell’s casino on Dice Island so he could win all of the money with this good luck advantage. On the voyage back, one of Fadewell’s stooges, Jack Snork shot Popeye over and over but he was able to recover by simply rubbing the head of the Whiffle Hen. Reader reaction to Popeye made him an ongoing character in the comic strip.

“I Am What I Am!” — Popeye

  1. At first Olive was not at all captivated by Popeye. But he became so popular—with the strip expanding to many more newspapers—that she left Ham Gravy to become Popeye’s gal. Soon Ham faded out of the comic strip.
  2. Castor Oyl was always coming up with get-rich-quick ideas and recruited Popeye in his calamities. Finally, he settled down as a detective and later on bought a ranch out West.
  3. Popeye’s theme song, titled “I’m Popeye The Sailor Man,” composed by Sammy Lerner in 1933.
  4. Sweet Pea was introduced in 1933. Popeye received him in the mail He soon adopted the baby for his own.


  1. Wimpy, was also introduced about that time and is known for his “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”
  2. His full name was J. Wellington Wimpy.
  3. In War War II, the British manufactured over 11,460 twin-engined, long-ranger bombers called the Vickers Wellington. They were nicknamed the Wimpys.
  4. Also introduced on March 13, 1936, was the character Jeep, or Eugene the Jeep. Jeep was from Africa and came with magical powers. Two years later the term “jeep wagons” was in use. Later it was condensed “jeep” with important World War II usage and then trademarked by Willys-Overland as “Jeep”
  5. “I Yam What I Yam,” “I Take All I Can Stand and Can’t Stands No More,” and “Well Blow Me Down” are some of his most famous sayings.

Olive Oyl (KF)

  1. During the dance craze era of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, “The Popeye” joined “The Twist,” “The Jerk,” “The Mash Potato,” “The Pony,” and others in the national spotlight. It originated in New Orleans, in 1962 and was even more popular than Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” in that city.
  2. The Popeye dance was achieved by waddling and moving one’s arms, placing one arm behind and one arm in front and alternating them, going through the motion of raising a pipe up to the mouth, and alternate sliding or pushing one foot back in the manner of ice skating.
  3. In 1960, King Features Syndicate commissioned a new series of cartoons entitled Popeye the Sailor for television syndication. They produced 220 cartoon shorts in two years. It was at this time Bluto’s name was changed to “Brutus,” as King Features were concerned Paramount might own the rights to the name “Bluto”.
  4. Bluto and Brutus were actually not the same person, as many believe. But were actually twin brothers, as evidenced in comics strips and comic books in 1988, 2008 and 2009.
  5. On September 9, 1978, The All New Popeye Hour debuted on the CBS Saturday morning lineup. It was an hour-long animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions. Bluto came back.

Olive Oyl (Popeye in background) at annual Popeye Picnic Parade in Chester, Illinois. (Facebook)

  1. On Popeye’s 70th anniversary, Ocean Comics celebrated with a comic book entitled “The Wedding of Popeye and Olive Oil.”
  2. In 1981 Nintendo created a widescreen Game & Watch called Popeye. Their arcade game Donkey Kong was originally conceived as a Popeye video game but because of licensing disagreements with King Features, this idea was tabled. Many Popeye games have been released by various computer game developers since then.
  3. By 1987, CBS had another Hanna-Barberia TV saws called “Popeye and Son,” featuring Popeye’s and Olive Oyl’s son, Popeye Jr. Junior hated the taste of spinach, but would eat it for strength.
  4. Robin Williams’ first movie role was Popeye in a 1980 live-action musical feature film. It also starred Shelly Duvall as Olive Oyl and Paul L. Smith as Bluto. It was directed by Robert Altman and co-produced by Paramount and Walt Disney Productions.
  5. The American box office earnings were double the movie’s budget and was deemed very successful even before it was released worldwide and on video.

  1. The movie was mostly in Malta, in the village of Mellieha, on the northwest coast. The set is now a tourist attraction called “Popeye Village.”
  2. In honor of Popeye’s 75th anniversary, the Empire State Building was illuminated green the weekend of January 16–18, 2004 as a tribute to his love of spinach. This special lighting marked the only time the Empire State Building ever celebrated the anniversary/birthday of a comic strip character.
  3. In 2001, the Cartoon Network began airing the Fleischer and Famous Studios Popeye shorts. The series aired 135 Popeye shorts over forty-five episodes, until March 2004. The Popeye Show then continued to air on Cartoon Network’s spin-off network Boomerang.
  4. In 2004, Lions Gate Entertainment produced a computer-animated television special, “Popeye’s Voyage: The Quest for Pappy,” in time with the 75th anniversary of Popeye.
  5. Popeye appeared in The Simpsons episode “Jaws Wired Shut,” Family Guy’s “You May Now Kiss the…Uh…Guy Who Receives,” Robot Chicken episodes “The Sack”, “Squaw Bury Shortcake” and “Yancy the Yo-Yo Boy” and South Park’s “Imaginationland.”

  1. In March 2010, it was reported Sony Pictures Animation were developing a 3D computer-animated Popeye movie, but postponements have caused it not to be released yet. (See SNEAK PEEK above)
  2. Popeye’s Chicken, the fast food chain retained rights to use the character’s image and name. But the chain was originally named after the main role in the 1971 Academy Award movie, “The French Connection.”
  3. Allen Canning Company produces its own line of spinach, called “Popeye Spinach”, in various canned varieties. The cartoon Popeye serves as the mascot on the can.
  4. Popeye, and some of his friends, have appeared in numerous commercials and in ads for such products as Minute Maid Orange Juice, Quaker Oats, Crown gasoline, World Candies, and McLean energy drinks. In 1940, Popeye became the mascot of Rio de Janiero’s Brazilan soccer team, Flamengo. They have about 50 million fans around the world.
  5. In 1995, the Popeye comic strip was one of 20 included in the Comic Strip Classics series of commemorative U.S. postage stamps.

Popeye and Bluto’s Bildge Raft Ride at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL. (Universal)

  1. The author, Jack Dennis, in Crystal City, Texas (circa 1992). Jack Dennis

    From 1996 to 1999, the Darien Lake theme park in Western New York operated a “Popeye’s Seaport” in the park. It was rebranded as “Looney Tunes Seaport” after Darien Lake came under the Six Flags banner.

  2. In the film Alien Resurrection (1997), John Vriess (Dominique Pinion) whistles the Popeye theme song.
  3. In Universal Studios Orlando Resort’s island theme park, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, there is a river rafting water ride, “Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges,” themed after Popeye the Sailor saving Olive Oyl from Bluto.
  4. Local folklore in Chester, Illinois, Segar’s hometown, claims that Popeye is based on Frank “Rocky” Fiegel, a man who was handy with his fists. Fiegel was born on January 27, 1868. He lived as a bachelor his entire life. According to local Popeye historian Michael Brooks, Segar regularly sent money to Fiegel. Each year after Labor Day, the city holds a Popeye Picnic and Parade.
  5. The spinach-growing community of Crystal City, Texas, erected a statue of the character in recognition of Popeye’s positive effects on the spinach industry.
  6. There are also Popeye statues in Chester, Springdale, Arkansas, Alama Arkansas and Las Vegas, Nevada.



  1. Elsie
  2. Poopdeck Pappy
  3. Liverstone
  4. Mary Ann. She only appeared in a few strips.



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