Popeye is what he is, a good-guy underdog with bulging forearms, a mean uppercut and a penchant for canned spinach. The only thing he loves more than spinach and the sea is his flighty, flirty girlfriend, Olive Oyl.
Cartoonist and writer, Elzie Crisler (E.C.) Segar,
is born in Chester, Illinois.
E.C. Segar begins work at William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal where on December 19 he launches the “The Thimble Theatre” comic strip starring Olive Oyl and Harold Ham Gravy.
On January 25, the initial Sunday episode of "Thimble Theatre" is published and the cast grows to include Olive and Castor’s parents, Cole and Nana Oyl, then Castor’s wife, Cylinda, in 1926.
On January 17, E.C. Segar introduces the character Popeye to the "Thimble Theatre"
cast with his famous first line — ’Ja think
I’m a cowboy?!.
Fun Fact: Popeye is known as Iron Arm in Italy, Karl Alfred in Sweden and Skipper Skraek or "Terror of the Sea" in Denmark.
On August 27, Olive Oyl steals Popeye’s heart when she mistakenly kisses him on the cheek, starting their long, tumultuous love affair.
The spinach industry credits Segar and Popeye with increasing the United States consumption of spinach by 33%!
Fun Fact: Popeye’s canned and fresh spinach has been available for consumption for decades and is still available today! Click HERE to find out more!
On September 12, Popeye first encounters “Bluto the Terrible.” Bluto was later adapted into animated form by Fleischer Studios in 1933.
Fun Fact: Bluto is also known as Brutus.
On April 10, J. Wellington Wimpy coins his famous catchphrase - "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today".
Fun Fact: His phrase originally started in 1931 as, "Cook me up a hamburger. I'll pay you Thursday."
On July 24, Popeye finds the “infink” Swee'Pea on his doorstep and decides to adopt him.
Popeye makes his silver screen debut in the July 14, 1933 Betty Boop cartoon entitled "Popeye the Sailor", produced by Fleischer Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Popeye was originally voiced by William Costello and later by Jack Mercer. Popeye’s first animated appearance also introduces his theme song, "I’m Popeye the Sailor Man," composed by Sammy Lerner, giving birth to Popeye’s most famous line "I’m strong to da finich ‘cause I eats my spinach."
"I Yam What I Yam" is the first cartoon in the Popeye series produced by the Fleischer Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures between 1933 and 1942.
Fun Fact: Popeye was one of the most popular cartoon stars from the 1930s through the 1960s with 600+ Popeye cartoons in existence.
The Popeye the Sailor radio program airs 15-minute episodes three times a week. Supporting voices included Detmar Poppen as Popeye, Olive Lamoy as Olive Oyl, Charles Lawrence as Wimpy, Jackson Beck as Bluto and Mae Questel as Swee’Pea.
On March 16, Olive Oyl’s Uncle Ben gives her a gift – a pet named Eugene the Jeep — a mysterious, magical animal he found in Africa.
Spinach Capital of the World, Crystal City, Texas, erects a statue to honor E.C. Segar and Popeye for their influence on America's spinach eating habits, making Popeye one of the first cartoon characters ever immortalized in public sculpture.
“The Mighty Navy” is the first of several war-related cartoon shorts starring Popeye.
Fun Fact: This is the first time Popeye appears in an all-white uniform.
Popeye’s animated adventures are produced by Famous Studios.
In February, Dell Comics publishes Popeye’s first comic book series, written by Bud Sagendorf. Later comic series were published by Gold Key, King Comics, Charlton Comics and Whitman Comics.
King Features Syndicate produces a new series of cartoon adventures entitled Popeye the Sailor for TV syndication.
Andy Warhol debuts the concept of “pop art” in 1961 with a collection of paintings including a piece entitled, Saturday’s Popeye.
Popeye was one of the very first Pop paintings that artist Roy Lichtenstein created in the summer of 1961.
To honor Popeye’s creator, E.C. Segar, a 6 ft. tall, 900-pound bronze statue of Popeye is erected in Chester, IL in Elzie C. Segar Memorial Park. The “Home of Popeye,” Chester, IL was E.C. Segar’s birthplace and the Popeye & Friends Character Trail begins there. It includes statues honoring many other Thimble Theater characters, and features a new installment each year. An annual Popeye Picnic and parade is also held in Chester the weekend after Labor Day.
Hanna-Barbera Productions releases The All-New Popeye Hour, an animated series of 60-minute episodes that aired as part of the CBS Sunday Morning lineup. Later, in 1981, the show was cut into shorter 30-minutes episodes and re-titled The Popeye and Olive Show, which ran on CBS until 1983.
Paramount Pictures releases a live-action, musical motion picture “Popeye” on December 12, 1980. The film was directed by Robert Altman and starred Robin Williams as Popeye and Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl.
Fun Fact: The Popeye Village in Malta still exists today! It has grown from its days as a film set for the 1980 Musical Production 'Popeye' into one of the major tourist attractions on the Maltese Islands.
Nintendo™ launches the Popeye arcade game.
The U.S. Postal Service features Popeye in its "American Comic Classics" collection of postage stamps issued to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the American comic strip.
In 1995, Moschino launches the Cheap & Chic fragrance in an Olive Oyl shaped perfume bottle, a design which was then recognized in 1996 when it received the FIFI Award for Best Women’s Packaging of the Year. The packaging has continued to evolve over the years and new iterations of the original design were produced in 2001, 2005, 2008, 2009 and in 2013.
Popeye and Son, an additional Hanna-Barbera animated series runs.
Popeye and his friends sail into home port in Orlando, Florida as Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure® theme park opens, launching the churning white-water raft ride, Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges® and Popeye’s ship- Me Ship, The Olive™ - an interactive play area for kids.
Popeye becomes the first-ever brand to takeover the lights of Empire State Building – the tower glowed green from Jan 16-18 in celebration of Popeye’s 75th Anniversary.
In November, Popeye officially adopts Swee’pea in a ceremony officiated by Judge Greg Mathis and hosted by the National Council for Adoption.
Popeye’s first-ever 3-D, CGI animated production “Popeye’s Voyage: The Quest for Pappy” airs on Fox.
Popeye appears in an advertisement for BMW in Spain.
Nintendo® releases a Game Boy® Advance version of the 1980s arcade game! Popeye® Rush for Spinach, is developed and released by Namco Networks.
Popeye is quoted in a Pepsi advertisement.
Olive Oyl stars in a commercial for Prego pasta sauce.
Nearly 75 years after Popeye’s silver screen debut, Warner Home Video releases classic Popeye the Sailor episodes from 1933-1943 in 3 volumes on DVD.
Popeye is featured as the Google Doodle on December 8 in honor of his creator Elzie Crisler Segar’s birthday. The image appeared with scroll-over text, "E.C. Segar’s Birthday."
Artist Jeff Koons creates a statue in Popeye’s likeness in mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating, which in 2014 sold to Steve Wynn for $28 Million at auction. Today, Popeye and his can of spinach reside at The Wynn hotel in Las Vegas.
Olive Oyl appears in a UK advertisement for Kerrygold spreadable butter.
Wimpy and Popeye star in a commercial for Bank of America in which Wimpy finally pays his debts.
Designer Jean Paul Gaultier globally launches his “Le Male” fragrance, inspired by Popeye, across Europe and in the US.
Spinach isn’t the only think that keeps Popeye strong! In Canada, he serves as a milk spokesperson for Le Lait.
Kiehl’s launches two Popeye-themed men’s care kits for Father’s Day at David Jones in Australia.
Havaianas releases Popeye, Olive Oyl and Bluto flip-flops styles.
Joyrich launches collections of Popeye apparel for both men and women.
"Popeye and Friends Official" YouTube Channel Launches.