Popeye and his family have come to Sun City Peachtree to take shelter from Hurricane Ida, which is pummeling the Louisiana coast as I write.  He has abandoned his boat somewhere on the lower Mississippi, so I hope it will weather the storm ok. 

I missed the day Popeye arrived; he was snagged off the bench before I got to him.  The artist helped me out with a photo for this story.  The same happened with Wimpy.

The corn cob pipe-smokin’ sailor is actually from the upper Mississippi, in Chester Illinois.  We visited his birthplace in 2017, and you can read about Popeye’s hometown here.

Elzie Crisler Segar, Popeye’s creator, was born in Chester, and created his Thimble Theatre comic strip in 1928.  Several of his characters were based on his experiences with people from the town.

The muttering Popeye is a language-challenged character—he mangles the easiest of words to pronounce.  Although he is violent and uncivilized, the sailor is an introspective guy and has his morals. 

Sporting a couple of anchor tattoos on his huge forearms, he has an interesting body type with those skinny upper arms.  Since we never see his right eye, I’m not sure if he is missing it entirely or just squinting. 

Those massive forearms serve Popeye well when he needs his strength.  Of course, it isn’t until he eats spinach when he becomes mighty enough to lift huge, heavy objects.

Olive Oyl is Popeye’s absent-minded and flirty girlfriend.  Have you wondered how she got her name?  Back in the 1800’s, Chester’s chief commodity was castor oil, which was used as a lubricant.  Castor Oyl and Crude Oyl are two of Segar’s comic strip characters, and Olive is their little sister. 

Segar actually created Olive Oyl an entire decade before Popeye came along.  The sailor became so popular, though, that Segar renamed his strip after the spinach-eating dude.

Olive, as Popeye would like to say, is “a perfect 57… 19-19-19.”  Those are her measurements—extremely skinny! 

Baby Swee’Pea, named for the flower (and Popeye’s term of endearment for Olive Oyl), was found in a box on Popeye’s doorstep, on July 24, 1933.  Popeye adopted the baby and raised him as his son.  In an August 17, 1933 comic strip, he christened his “boy-kid” as “Scooner Seawell Georgia Washenting Christiffer Columbia Daniel Boom.”  It’s a bit cumbersome, don’t you think?

Finally, there’s Popeye’s lazy pal, J. Wellington Wimpy.  The guy loves his burgers, and it shows!  He’s smart and well-educated, but watch out, because he likes to mooch!  He’ll do whatever it takes to get a free burger.  Although he’ll always promise to pay you back “on Tuesday,” he never does. 

I’ll keep you posted if any of Popeye’s other pals come along.  Meanwhile, here are a bunch of other Betty Boop’s that I never got to see, because they were snagged before I got to the bench:


It’s Betty Boop and her pooch Pudgy!  Now, that’s a blast from the past of about thirty years before my time.  They came along in the same era as when our oldest Sun City Peachtree residents were born!

The year was 1930 when Betty made her first appearance in the cartoon Dizzy Dishes, the seventh installment of Max Fleischer’s series Talkartoon, which was released by Paramount Pictures.  She has also been featured in comic strips and mass merchandising and is one of the best-known and popular cartoon characters in the world.

Betty Boop began as a caricature of singer Helen Kane and was transformed into a cute, light-hearted flapper girl of the Jazz Age.  She was featured in 90 theatrical cartoons between 1930 and 1939.

Helen Kane took exception with her caricature, though.  In 1932, she filed a $250,000 infringement lawsuit against Max Fleischer and Paramount Publix Corporation for the “deliberate caricature” that produced “unfair competition”, exploiting her personality and image.  The case finally went to court in 1934, and Fleischer testified that Betty Boop purely was a product of the imaginations of himself and detailed by members of his staff.  Yeah, right.  Kane had risen to fame in the late 1920s as the “The Boop-Oop-A-Doop Girl”, a star of stage, recordings, and films for Paramount.  It’s a bit too coincidental to me, and Fleischer even admitted that Helen Kane had been their model for Betty Boop.  Surprisingly, Helen Kane lost her case.

Meanwhile, Betty Boop’s sexy looks weren’t acceptable to the prudes of the era, because once the Motion Picture Industry instituted the Hays Code, her character and appearance became quite demure.  The Hays Code was a set of industry guidelines for the self-censorship of content that was applied to most United States motion pictures released by major studios from 1934 to 1968. 

In a 1934 court case, the flapper was described as: “combin[ing] in appearance the childish with the sophisticated—a large round baby face with big eyes and a nose like a button, framed in a somewhat careful coiffure, with a very small body of which perhaps the leading characteristic is the most self-confident little bust imaginable.”  (Yes, my eyes were rolling when I typed that last part!)

Once the Hays Code went into effect, Betty’s flapper dress was tossed in favor of a fuller dress or skirt.  Her hair became less curly, and she eventually stopped wearing her gold bracelets and hoop earrings. 

Betty had to tone down her personality, too.  Joseph Breen, the new head film censor, ordered Betty to stop winking and shaking her hips in her film introductions, because they were too “suggestive of immorality”.  As a result, Betty’s personality became less sexy and more mature.  At least they made her wiser, too!

It was about that time when Betty got her puppy pal, Pudgy, and he starred with her in Little Pal.  Pudgy is quite the cutie with his black spots, and he is her very faithful companion.

Now, then, are a few Betty Boop Quotes:

“I wanna be loved by you!”

“I’m too pooped to Boop…”

And, my favorite and yours, “Boop-Oop-a-Doop!