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Popeye The Sailor Man Day on January 17

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    Celebrating the 95th Birthday of the globally acclaimed spinach-loving and seafaring legend, Popeye the Sailor Man! Embark on a grand commemoration to pay homage to this indomitable sailor, whose resilience and strength have etched him into the annals of American pop culture as an iconic figure. Popeye exemplifies the spirit of tenacity and robustness, staying true to the mantra, “I yam what I yam!”

    Popeye’s adventures have been chronicled in thousands of comic strips, spanning over 600 animated episodes, and extending to more than 100 books since his inception. Astoundingly, the sailor boasts a substantial social media following, with over 9.6 million enthusiasts eagerly keeping abreast of his escapades. Popeye has become deeply ingrained in the fabric of pop culture, emerging as not just a cartoon character but a symbol of resilience and unwavering determination.

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    The brainchild of Elzie Crisler (E.C.) Segar, Popeye made his debut in the comic strip “Thimble Theatre” on January 17, 1929. Originally conceived as a minor character, Popeye swiftly ascended to stardom, prompting the transformation of the comic strip’s title to simply “Popeye” by 1938, solidifying his status as one of the most legendary cultural icons in the realm of comics.

    15 Fun Facts about Popeye

    1. Popeye is 10 years younger than Olive Oyl! He walked on to her strip, “Thimble Theatre,” as a bit character in 1929 and became so popular the strip was eventually renamed “Popeye.”
    2. Before spinach became the source of Popeye’s super strength, his power came from rubbing the head of a magical Whiffle Hen named Bernice!
    3. Popeye is known as Braccio di Ferro (“Iron Arm”) in Italy, Karl Alfred in Sweden, and Skipper Skraek (“Terror of the Sea”) in Denmark.
    4. Popeye made his silver screen debut on July 14, 1933, appearing in the Betty Boop cartoon entitled “Popeye the Sailor.” The cartoon was produced by Fleischer Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures. 
    5. The song “I’m Popeye the Sailor Man” was released in 1933. Composed by Sammy Lerner, the song gave birth to one of Popeye’s most famous catchphrases “I’m strong to da finich ‘cause I eats me spinach.”
    6. Popeye is recognized for his influence on America’s spinach consumption, so much so that Crystal City, TX, the Spinach Capital of the World, erected a statue in his honor in 1937.
    7. The Popeye Village in Malta was developed for the 1980 Popeye movie starring Robin Williams. The village still exists today and has grown into a major tourist attraction in the Maltese Islands.
    8. Popeye has inspired many iconic pop artists over the years, including Andy Warhol (1961), Roy Lichtenstein (1961) and Jeff Koons (2002).
    9. In the Summer of 1976, Tokyo-based Magazine House launched the “Popeye” magazine. The magazine was the first fashion and lifestyle magazine to be published in Japan that targets young, Japanese men. The magazine is named “Popeye” because the creator’s son was a fan.
    10. In 1957, Popeye’s balloon first appeared in the Macy’s Day parade. Interestingly, Olive Oyl became the first female balloon to join the parade in the early 1980’s.
    11. Popeye was featured as the Google Doodle in 2009 to honor creator E.C. Segar’s birthday.
    12. Popeye is a clean ocean advocate and ambassador for ocean conservation and clean-up organization known as The SeaCleaners.
    13. Chester, IL, the birthplace of Popeye creator, E.C. Segar, honors hometown hero the Popeye & Friends Character Trail. Every year, granite statues representing the wide cast of characters from Segar’s Thimble Theatre cartoon strips are added to the trail throughout the city.
    14. Good Housekeeping’s Nutrition Lab awarded Popeye the “Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved Emblem” in their January/February 2024 issue to celebrate his decades-long commitment to healthy eating, and fitness as well as his efforts in ocean conservation. Popeye is the first “person” to receive this honor.
    15. New Popeye comic strips are still released weekly! You can find the latest strip by Randy Milholland at ComicsKingdom.com.

    Tony M.