Popeye the Sailor started life in 1929 as a member of the Thimble Theatre comic strip. The Thimble Theatre strip had been running since 1919 and when he appeared, it was thought that Popeye’s first appearance would be his last. However Popeye ended up being so popular after his first appearance that he soon became a recurring character in the strip. By 1931 Popeye had gone from bit player to star of the strip, and a year later he was appearing on the big screen in the excellent Fleischer Brothers Popeye cartoons. Soon Popeye had become the biggest star of cartoon world, with only Mickey Mouse being able to rival the spinach eating sailor’s popularity.

Popeye’s theme song

I’m Popeye the Sailor Man,
I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.
I’m strong to the finich
Cause I eats me spinach.
I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.

I’m one tough Gazookus
Which hates all Palookas
Wot ain’t on the up and square.
I biffs ’em and buffs ’em
And always out roughs ’em
But none of ’em gets nowhere.
If anyone dares to risk my “Fisk”,
It’s “Boff” an’ it’s “Wham” un’erstan’?
So keep “Good Be-hav-or”
That’s your one life saver
With Popeye the Sailor Man.

I’m Popeye the Sailor Man,
I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.
I’m strong to the finich
Cause I eats me spinach.
I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.

Popeye Model Sheet courtesy of “The Fleischer Story” by Leslie Cabarga

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